Real Estate

5 July, 2023

Tycoon buys country pub

Chris Morris snaps up hospitality venue for $1.2m, and gives it a tidy makeover

By Nick Dalton

Chris Morris (left) has bought the Julatten Hotel for $1.2 million and has spent $400,000 on renovations.
Chris Morris (left) has bought the Julatten Hotel for $1.2 million and has spent $400,000 on renovations.

TOURISM mogul Chris Morris has snapped up the Julatten pub, which re-opened for business yesterday.

The businessman, who owns The Ville Resort-Casino in Townsville and Nautilus Helicopters in Cairns, said he often drove past the closed down hotel when he travelled between Port Douglas, his nearby Kuramar cattle farm and Mt Mulligan cattle station.

Mr Morris said when it went to auction in November last year he was the only bidder and paid $1.2 million.

“It was an absolute steal. It sits on 1.5ha and has sensational views of the mountains,” he said.

Mr Morris said he invested another $400,000 renovating the pub and upgrading equipment and beers from his breweries in Melbourne and the Margaret River were on tap.

He said he chose to call the venue the Julatten Hotel because that was where it was located. It was previously the Highlander Tavern which closed when COVID struck.

Mr Morris said about 15 staff would be employed and a manager would be appointed from one of his pubs in Melbourne.

He said he hoped to add further accommodation to the property. The pub was acquired by Mr Morris’ CLG, the hospitality arm of Morris Group that operates a number of tourism and hospitality venues across northern Queensland including Orpheus Island Lodge, Daintree River Ecolodge and Mount Mulligan Lodge.

Mr Morris said it would become a popular spot for locals and tourists to unwind with a new menu of popular classics including pizzas, burgers and steaks. 

“Dishes include the whole tiger prawn bucket, the signature Julatten beef burger, the Nashville chicken burger and classic chicken parmi,” he said.

“Working with a range of local suppliers, other menu highlights include Barramundi Gardens spring rolls, Port Douglas Smokehouse antipasti and grilled local barramundi fillets.” 

On the drinks front, guests will be able to refresh themselves with a huge range of tap beers from CBCo while happy hour returns Wednesday to Friday from 4-5pm with $5 CBCo pots and $6 house wine and spirits. There will be live music at weekends.


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