David Francis is a freelance writer based in Adelaide.
Published October 19th 2013
The holiday your kids will still want to go on with you
Yes, it's expensive, but there is nothing quite like a holiday in the snow. That's especially true at places like Falls Creek in Victoria, where the accommodation is above the snow line (that is: you live in the snowfall area and can walk out your door, put on skis and glide a short distance to access the ski lifts).
One of the great things about this country is the diversity in climate and, if you are lucky enough to live close to a ski resort – say, in Melbourne – it is achievable in a weekend away, or even a day trip, if you can't get time off during the week.
Falls Creek is about 400km from Melbourne (or nearly 800km from Adelaide) and about 60km past the town of Bright. The last place to get fuel is at Mt. Beauty, 33km before the resort. It is also possible to stay outside of the resort area and catch a bus, or drive in, each day.
It is a legal requirement to carry chains for your vehicle, even if the roads are clear, and they must be fitted if the conditions require it.
This is an alpine area, so conditions can change quickly. I chuckled at someone parked with their chains already fitted under perfect blue skies, until it was time to leave. Fitting chains after the wheels are buried in snow and ice is quite a bit more difficult. You should also pack a small shovel or something to help you dig snow off your car.
If you ski or snowboard, there are plenty of runs from beginners up to expert level, and instruction is available if required. The scenery is wonderful on some of the runs.
Or you can just throw snowballs, ride up and down the chairlifts, or eat and drink all day while you watch other people on the slopes. There are plenty of night-spots, too, and night-time snow activities if you are still keen.
There are cooking facilities in many of the accommodation choices
You can hire all the equipment you need when you're there, if you don't own any, as well as lift passes.
You need to pay to bring a vehicle into the park. These can be purchased on the way in, or at the Visitors Centre if the booths are unmanned, and can also be bought before you get there.
There are shops, post office, and other facilities (there are people who live there all year, as well as visitors for summer activities like bushwalking or bike riding), and a huge range of accommodation. You are best to arrange accommodation well in advance of your trip.
Visit the website for lots more information and contact numbers for everything you will need to organise, including how to get there. There are even live camera feeds set up to show you the snow conditions on each of the runs. This is pretty useful if you are doing a last-minute day-trip, but is also a great way to build excitement as you count down to a pre-planned holiday.
Chair lifts are close to the accommodation if you stay above the snow line
And remember, if you have kids, a skiing holiday is one thing they'll still want to do with their parents long after that novelty has worn off. Providing, of course, you are willing to pay all their expenses.