Gayle Beveridge is a past winner of the Boroondara Literary Awards and her work has appeared in Award Winning Australian Writing. Gayle is passionate about family, writing, photography, and with Victoria’s beautiful Bass Coast which she now calls home.
Published June 13th 2016
The Snow Fields are Beckoning
7 Places to Enjoy Snow Near Melbourne Winter is here and the snow fields are beckoning. From snowmen and snowballs to skilled skiing and snowboarding Victoria's peaks have something for everyone. Children's programs, cross country skiing, racing, snowshoe hikes, wilderness camping, luxury lodges, day spas, sled dog experiences, and snow mobile rides are all on the agenda.
How about a Howling Husky Sled Dog Tour (Photo from Mt Baw Baw Apline Resort Facebook Page)
You won't find an alpine resort at Mount Donna Buang but you won't pay to see the snow either. It's a great place to take children for their first sight of snow, to throw their first snowball and make their first snowman. It was where I first saw snow when I was a child.
A late winter snowman at Mount Donna Buang (Photo from Warburton Info Facebook Page)
There are three toboggan runs at the summit which are opened when adequate snow has fallen. Toboggans can be hired in nearby towns and are generally available for hire at the summit. If it's more than snow you have come for there are three moderate walking trails and a scenic lookout.
Tobogganing on Mount Donna Buang (Photo from Warburton Info Facebook Page)
Facilities at the summit include a covered picnic area, gas BBQs, and outdoor picnic tables. The shelter has a wood-fired heater for which wood is supplied when there is snow.
Mount Donna Buang Road can become busy so allow ample time and enjoy the scenic drive up the mountain. Perhaps you will spot a lyrebird at roads edge, they are more prevalent during the cooler months. There is parking for 20 cars at the summit unless snow falls are too heavy and there are larger carparks 300m below the summit.
Mount Donna Buang Summit (Photo from Warburton Info Facebook Page)
Renowned for its downhill runs and only three hours from Melbourne, Mt Buller is perhaps the most accessible of Australia's snow fields. The facilities at the resort are substantial and The Village includes over 30 bars, cafes and restaurants, a day spa, a cinema, and a museum. Accommodation at the resort can house up to 7,000 people.
On the slopes (Photo from Mt Buller Facebook Page)
Skiing and snowboarding lessons are available for first timers through to intermediate. Children's lessons are broken down to Bunyips 3 to 6 year olds, Buller Kids 7 to 14 year olds, and Buller Teens 15 to 18 year olds. In addition four seasonal programs are offered.
Snow Squad is an all mountain program for children and teens which focusses on refining skills so participants can ski or snowboard safely and with confidence.
Team Buller Riders is a freestyle skiing club for 10 to 18 years olds which has an emphasis on mogul skiing, slopestyle and aerials.
The 2015 Mogul Challenge (Photo from Mt Buller Facebook Page)
Cross country skiing and snowboarding trails are free to access but there are no ski lifts here, the trip to the top is on foot. There are mountain huts and ski patrols for your safety. The Stirling Experience offers a Cross Country Ski School, Race Training and Competition Programs and a Sunday Cross Country Experience.
Good snow falls on Mt Stirling in August of 2012 (Photo from Stirling Experience Facebook Page)
If getting back to nature is more your cup of tea strap on some snowshoes and hike through this winter wonderland of mountain ash and snow gum forests. There are two signed interpretive walks.
A number of areas at Mt Stirling are suitable for snow camping and there are a number of mountain huts. If you prefer not to go it alone, The Stirling Experience runs an Alpine Winter Camp and provides lodge accommodation at Wairere Lodge.
The Mt Stirling wilderness (Photo from Stirling Experience Facebook Page)
Cost: Mount Stirling is next to Mt Buller and is included in the Mt Buller entry fee. Check the website for current resort entry prices. Cross country skiing trails are accessed for free. Click here for The Stirling Experience package costs.
Hotham Alpine Resort – Sled Dog Rides and More
A little further afield at four and a half hours from Melbourne is Mt. Hotham, sandwiched between Bright and Dinner Plain along the picturesque Great Alpine Road. The resort caters for skiing at all skill levels.
Some of the fun to be had (Photo Mt Hotham Facebook Page)
The resort has 13 lifts servicing 3 terrain parks and 35kms of cross country skiing. A variety of ski and snowboard lessons are offered including Adult Group Lessons, New Skiers and Boarders, Private Lessons, and Children's Group Lessons.
At the Big D Kids Snowzone there is a snow play area and lessons, and games are offered in a safe environment under the watchful eye of instructors and of Harry the Snowdragon. The Mighty Mites Program teaches 3 to 5 year olds how to ski while Kids Club teaches 6 to 14 year olds how to ski and 7 to 14 year olds how to snowboard.
Mt Hotham Resort (Photo from Mt Hotham Facebook Page).
For rest and relaxation there are day spas and 18 bars and restaurants. For the overnighters and holiday makers on and off mountain accommodation is offered in self-contained apartments, chalets, lodges and motels.
At 450 hectares Falls Creek has Victoria's largest area of skiable terrain. Cross Country Skiing is a specialty here and Falls Creek is the home of the National Cross Country Skiing Team.
14 lifts service around 90 runs with a mix of downhill and cross country terrain and beginner, intermediate and advanced skill levels. The main ski area is above the village you can ski all the way back if you wish. Night skiing is available on Wednesday and Saturday nights is available between 6pm and 9pm on Victoria's longest green (easy) run. Wombat's Ramble runs for 2.2kms and is fully lit.
At season's start in June 2016 (Photo from Falls Creek Resort Facebook Page)
Cost: Check the website and choose the Tickets & Passes tab and select from the list for your pricing enquiry.
Lake Mountain Alpine Resort – Close to Melbourne
Less than two hours from the Melbourne CBD, Lake Mountain Apline Resort has the whole family covered. Snow making keeps the snow paly areas available all season. At Snowman's Village children can build snowmen and throw snowballs.
Pretty as a picture in winter (Photo from Lake Mountain Alpine Resort Facebook Page)
Children aged from 3 to 6 years can safely learn snowboarding at Burton Riglet Park and at the Fischer Nordic Fun Park children under 10 are offered free ski lessons and free use of ski gear. The resort has four tobogganing slopes. If it's a more sedate visit you favour you can hire some snowshoes and go for a walk along one of the five snowshoe trails.
The Fischer Nordic Fun Park offers free weekend lessons for children under 10 (Photo from Lake Mountain Alpine Resort Facebook Page)
As wells as all things snow the resort also has a number of adventure activities. There is a 240m Flying Fox stretching above one of the toboggan runs, a tube run, Laser Skirmishes, bushwalking trails, trail running and mountain biking. Night skiing and snowshoeing is available on Tuesdays.
On one of the trails (Photo from Lake Mountain Alpine Resort)
You don't need to be an expert to enjoy the snow, the Snowsports Centre offers equipment hire, lessons and tours. When the snow fun has you all tuckered out drop by the Heights Bistro and Bar for some rest and relaxation.
You might even spy some wildlife (Photo from Lake Mountain Alpine Resort Facebook Page)
When: 2016 Season opened on June 11th for the winter. Resort gates are open from 7am to 6.30pm.
Where: 1071 Lake Mountain Rd, Marysville. It is about an hour and three quarters from the Melbourne CBD and around 30 minutes' drive from the Marysville township. It is accessed by 2WD vehicles but snow chains, which can be hired at Narbethong and Marysville, should be carried when snow falls are heavy.
Although smaller Mt Baw Baw is the closest downhill ski resort to Melbourne at only two and a half hours from the CBD. Seven lifts service two terrain parks, 30kms of cross country ski trails, and three snow play areas.
Tobogganing slopes have kid friendly names like Frosty Frog Hollow and Frantic Frog Park. Frozen Snow Play Park makes for great family happy snaps with sweeping views over the Latrobe Valley in the background. Skiing and snowboarding lessons are offered over four skill levels with Froglets for 4 to 6 year olds and Kids Club for 7 to 13 year olds.
There are also a range of tours on offer including Howling Husky Sled Dog Tours, Powder Pup Snow Shoe Tour, a Village Tour, a Baw Baw Backcountry Tour, a Summit Sunset Tour and Spirit of a Sled Dog Tour.
How about a Howling Husky Sled Dog Tour (Photo from Mt Baw Baw Alpine Resort Facebook Page).
Head to the Alpine Hotel and Bistro for some time out or if you are anxious to get back to the slopes Mt Baw Baw has catered for you too with its Skiosk situated in the heart of the ski area. Accommodation options include apartments, cabins, lodges, and upmarket backpacker digs.
When: From 11th June 2016 through winter. Click here for snow reports.
Where: 32 Currawong Rd, Mount Baw Baw. Click here for directions. Please note that your GPS might not work well in this area.