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Mt Donna Buang in the Snow

Home > Melbourne > Free | Kids | Nature | Snow
by Lorraine A (subscribe)
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.
Published July 21st 2013
Go to the snow for free
Along the path to the toboggan runs

Mt Donna Buang is an easy drive from the city and a perfect place to go for snow play and tobogganing and best of all it's absolutely free. Unlike all of the other ski resorts in Victoria, where you need to pay entrance fees and then battle the crowds to use the toboggan run, you can do it at Mt Donna Buang for free and have the choice of three toboggan runs and plenty of room for snow play at the top.

One of the three toboggan runs

There are no cafes or clothing shops on this mountain but there are toilets and barbeques and a shelter with a fire inside. However, if you have kids, you probably wouldn't get the chance to get too cold - they will have you going up down the toboggan runs too much for that.

warm up by the fire

What's great about Donna Buang is the ease of getting there. From Melbourne it's 95km, Lilydale 53km or from the Mornington Peninsula it's 126km. The short distance from Melbourne and surrounds makes it an achievable day trip with children and also a very enjoyable one.

Making an igloo on the summit

For first time visitors to the snow you will not be disappointed, our kids have been to the snow plenty of times but still get a real excitement going up Mt Donna Buang; the sides of the road went from greenery to white in a matter of minutes and the kids were in astonishment exclaiming "mum, this is what Christmas looks like" said the oldest.

Bring the drinks

The only down side to Mt Donna Buang is that it's not high like the alpine mountains and snow comes as fast as it goes so to be there in great conditions like in the photos - you need to check the weather radars or sign up to the Warburton information Centre which sends out text messages if they are expecting good snow fall.

Too cold for cycling, never !

On days that are likely to snow or when there is good snow coverage, there is a food van and toboggan hire truck that will usually turn up. Toboggans cost $10 for two hours hire, a bucket of hot chips $4 and 6 doughnuts $7 (though maybe stick to the chips, our doughnuts were hard!)

Food van and toboggan hire

If you want purchase to your own toboggan, there is a hardware store at Yarra Junction that sells good quality toboggans for $59.95 for large and $49.95 for the smaller toboggans.

After your day on the mountain, head back down to Warburton for a hot drink and a bite to eat. A winter's day doesn't get much better than that, except maybe having the kids sleep on the way home.

Snow, water, ice

Have a great time at Mt Donna Buang.
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Why? For a cheap day at the snow
When: During winter, check for snow coverage before going
Where: Mt Donna Buang
Cost: Free
Your Comment
Thanks for this great article. We went to Mt Donna Buang today and had a wonderful time! Will go back again I'm sure. I loved that there were Parks staff on hand too, for information and safety. Would be happy to make a donation to the Parks dept for such great facilities! Thanks again for your articles - we are new to Melbourne from NZ, and they've been so helpful to us as we explore the region :)
by needl (score: 1|15) 2591 days ago
Always enjoy your articles and this looks
Like a lot of fun for very little money! You
Have to love that. Can't believe the amount
Of snow on the tables. That fire looks awesome.
Can you cook on it? Or is it better to take a burner if wanting to have a BBQ for lunch? Cheers.
by bakerboy (score: 1|71) 2933 days ago
Oops yes you did mention bbqs. Thank you.
by bakerboy (score: 1|71) 2933 days ago
Why would anyone need snow chains? I don't see any snow on the road. The temperature is clearly above zero. Even if there was snow, it's not ice, it's SNOW. Although thinking about it, Australian drivers are terrible even without snow. I can't imagine what they would be like with 3 cm of snow on the road...
by yyb (score: 0|4) 2340 days ago
Do you need snow chains to drive there and if so where do you get them from?
by lisad (score: 1|10) 2930 days ago
Nice article Lorraine and the photos look great too. :)

I have such fond memories of Donna Buang as a kid, nice to see it hasn't changed much over the years.
by Jo Ferguson (score: 2|179) 2920 days ago
Wow...isn't that amazing. We almost forget here in Perth that is does snow in Australia. LOL
by GilliansCamera (score: 2|381) 2922 days ago
An update on snow conditions at Mt Donna Buang for this weekend 27th +28th of July, only a few handfuls of snow remain and NO snow this weekend. The following weekend is looking great for snow fall.
by Lorraine A (score: 3|1630) 2929 days ago
Parks Victoria say snow chains aren't required for Mt Donna Buang. The roads are kept clear, we had no trouble at all without chains.
by Lorraine A (score: 3|1630) 2930 days ago
Thankyou for this. Takes a Mum to realise that htere arte other Mum's out there looking for somewhere cheap but geat for kids
by maira (score: 0|4) 2931 days ago
Beautiful photos!
by Mallory (score: 2|474) 2195 days ago
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