Avid trail runner, freelance writer and a mother of four with a healthy obsession for the great outdoors. Join me in my discoveries along the Mornington Peninsula and further afield by subscribing to my articles.
Finally the snow is falling after above average temperatures threatened to keep snow from falling during the first month of winter. A good dusting of snow on the mountains is bringing excitement to children that have been eagerly awaiting the white stuff ever so patiently since the Aldi Ski wear sale hit the shelves almost a month ago.
Bargain hunters will be pleased to know that Aldi, Woolworths and Anaconda all have some ski wear left in stores and most of it is reduced to clear due to the late beginning of the season.
Once you have the essentials such as: snow boots, waterproof jacket and pants then you are good to go. You don't need to spend a fortune for a day of snow play, and you won't be the only person there in gumboots and a rain jacket if you choose Mt Donna Buang. My advice is to dress in layers because when the sun comes out it feels warm and don't forget the sunscreen, it's easy to get burnt in the snow.
With warm, dry clothes all sorted then the only other thing to think about is where to go for great snow play?
My favourite day trip to the snow with children is to the nearby Mt Donna Buang for many reasons. Firstly it's the closest place to the city to toboggan (87 km from Melbourne's CBD), it's free, that's right it's FREE, you don't need snow chains, there are 3 toboggan runs, there are two sheltered fireplaces to warm up next to and at the base of Mt Donna Buang is the lovely town of Warburton, which is perfect for lunch and sightseeing. For my full review of Mt Donna Buang click here. To check weather conditions and updates click here.
Second is Lake Mountain. It's a scenic two hour trip from the city (118km) and the facilities are perfect for kids and snow play. Entry is reasonable at $53 per car full, though you will get slugged at the cafe and hire shop if you decide to eat or hire clothing ($22 for a padded jacket) on the mountain. Equipment hire prices are average with skis, poles and boots costing $36.
Lessons are available for all abilities and age groups and cost $75 for adults and $65 for children including equipment and a 90 minute lesson. With over 40km of cross country skiing you may need to come back twice to see it all.
If the kids are young then the toboggan races will be heaps of fun with 3 toboggan runs to explore (we only managed to find two last time we visited, so we need to go back). There is also a 240 metre flying fox, laser skirmish, tube run and more.
Next up is Mt Baw Baw, situated 175 km east of Melbourne and a drive time of around 2:40min and I will warn you that my kids were car sick last time we visited. The road is really slow, windy and narrow in places about 30 km from the mountain itself. Be sure to keep your eyes on the road as it is quite scenic but slippery in the wet.
Entry to Mt Baw Baw is a reasonable $50 per car load on weekends ($45 pre-booked), tobogganing is free and consists of 2 runs. Please note that they are strict on the types of toboggans that can be used on the mountain and restrict it to plastic toboggans only for safety reasons. Down hill skiing is available with lift tickets costing $75 adults, $65 children or $230 for a family of 4. Cross country skiing is free.
Facilities on the mountain include accommodation, ski schools, equipment hire, retail outlet, kiosk, cafe, restaurant and bar, and ATM and information booth.
Alternatively if the weather is going to be totally miserable then it is rare but possible you will get snow showers on Mount Dandenong but you will need to be lucky and be in the right place at the right time.