Worldwide icon-chevron-right South Pacific icon-chevron-right Australia icon-chevron-right Melbourne icon-chevron-right A comprehensive guide to Victoria’s snow season

A comprehensive guide to Victoria’s snow season

Wondering where to go skiing near Melbourne? Here’s where to find snow around Victoria

Mount Hotham
Photograph: Karl Gray
By Claire Mueller and Rebecca Russo |
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Victoria’s alpine region is the place to be come winter. Snow has fallen on the mountain tops making it a prime escape from the hustle of the big city, whether you’re a skier, snowboarder, tobogganer or ardent hot chocolate fan. Victoria has five major alpine resorts you can choose from, including Mt Buller, Mt Hotham, Falls Creek, Mt Baw Baw and Lake Mountain. So how do you decide where to visit? We’ve put together this handy list that sets out everything you need to know about Victoria’s alpine resorts, from where to stay to entry prices and even off-season activities.

RECOMMENDED: How to do the snow on the cheap in Victoria.

Victorian alpine mountains

Mt Buller
Photograph: Visit Victoria
Things to do

Mt Buller

Mt Buller is one of the most accessible major snow resorts in Australia and one of the most popular ski destinations for Victorians. The mountain is home to over 300 hectares of skiable terrain and has the largest lift network in Victoria. 

Distance from Melbourne: 3hrs northeast

Good for: All abilities. Mt Buller is a great place to learn the basics, but expert skiers will also appreciate the plethora of black runs.

Ski season

The ski season at Mt Buller officially runs from the Queen's Birthday weekend in June until the end of September or early October depending on snow conditions.

Cost

Resort entry and parking: $46.40 (online) and $58 on arrival.
Single-day lift passes: Ranges from $66 to $139 depending on day of the week and peak vs. off peak. 

Equipment hire

Inclusive ski or snowboard gear package: adults start at $71, children $54.
Clothing: $42-$47 for children and adults.

Where to stay

If you're looking for budget-friendly accommodation and transport options near Mt Buller, opt to stay in nearby towns like Mansfield, where you can get a room for around $120 a night.

For those wishing to stay where all the action is, there are a number of ski lodges around the Buller village. Depending on dates (off-peak or peak season) expect to pay at least $170 per person for a night atop the mountain.

What to do in the off-season

Run, walk or bike Mt Buller in the warmer months with a generous selection of trails to suit all skill levels. Hiking and mountain bike trails can be found in abundance and can be tackled by families, couples and friends alike. On the off chance you’re feeling like you’ve had enough of the outdoors, check out Buller Air Zone, the resort’s very own indoor trampoline park. 

Mount Hotham
Photograph: Karl Gray
Things to do

Mt Hotham

icon-location-pin Hotham Heights

Mt Hotham is one of the country's highest alpine villages, with 13 lifts and over 80 different runs. It's furthest away from Melbourne but has its own airport, 18 restaurants and bars and even a luxe day spa. 

Distance from Melbourne: 4.5hrs northeast

Good for: All abilities, but intermediate and advanced skiers and snowboarders will thrive. 

Ski season

The ski season at Mt Hotham usually runs from early June until the end of September.

Cost

Resort entry and parking: Cars and 4WD private vehicles start at $51 per vehicle per day (when purchased online) otherwise $56 on the spot. 
Lift passes: Adult and children’s two-day lift passes start at $181 (price varies depending on the date of visit). Plus, tertiary students get 50 per cent off single-day lift passes on Mondays and Fridays.

Equipment hire

Adult ski or snowboard packages (which include skis, boots and poles or snowboard and boots) is $83 per person for a single day. For the kids, ski or snowboard packages are $52 per child for a single day. Check online for competitive pricing and deals depending on the retailer. Family packages and multi-day discounts also available from various retailers.

Where to stay

Hire your own apartment or chalet for great views of the sugar-coated mountaintops. You'll even be close enough to watch fellow skiers and boarders from the comfort of your own lounge.

For those not fussed by particulars, budget and family-friendly options are varied and plentiful. Ski clubs and lodges in the heart of Hotham village cost roughly $35 per person, per night (during off-peak periods) and include like ample heating and recreational space, a large shared kitchen, as well as comforting extras like shared home cinema, saunas, a billiards table and the occasional snow-brimmed outdoor spa. One of the more spacious lodges, the Vagabond Ski Club starts at only $24 (midweek) and $28 (weekend) for a twin-share room, at off-peak times.

What to do in the off-season

Mt Hotham in summer is a world of its own, from road cycling to mountain bike riding, horse riding, bushwalking, fly fishing and even white water rafting along the Mitta Mitta River. Navigate the many trails (by foot or on wheels – including 4WD and motorbike trails) on your own, or join a guided tour. You can even relax at the Onsen Retreat and Spa located in Dinner Plain. Limited resort restaurants and cafés are open and a welcome break from all the action.

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Falls Creek aerial
Photograph: Visit Victoria
Things to do

Falls Creek

icon-location-pin Olinda

Falls Creek is Victoria's largest alpine resort and is a treasure trove for cross-country skiers. Unlike other ski resorts, Falls Creek closes its on-mountain roads to vehicles for the majority of the ski season, allowing for an authentic, ski-in, ski-out experience from lifts to village. 

Distance from Melbourne: 4.5hrs northeast

Good for: Those who are keen to practise downhill and cross-country skiing, and snowboarding, There's also tobogganing, night skiing and some epic terrain parks for the thrill-seekers. 

Ski season

Falls Creek's ski season runs from the Queen's Birthday weekend in June through to early October.

Cost

Book online for resort entry starting at $51.50 and during off-peak periods (June and mid-late September) for discounted lift passes. Adult lift passes start at $118 for a single day pass, and children can get a pass for around $101. Full-time uni students can get half-price lift passes on Mondays and Fridays for an extended weekend. Plus, night skiing is just $20 for adults and $10 per child.

Equipment hire

You can save good money by booking your equipment hire online. For a ski or snowboard package (snowboard and boots or skis, poles and boots) it's $83 per adult on the mountain or $66 booked online in advance. For children, the ski or snowboard package is $65 per child on the mountain or $52 online. For a snow clothing package (jacket and pants) it's $49 per adult and $35 per child per day. 

Where to stay

Falls Creek offers a range of accommodation options including numerous apartments and lodges only metres away from the lifts. Ski or board right up to your doorstep, pull off your boots and step onto heated floors in a luxurious private apartment with open fireplace, in the heart of the resort. Perks like private balconies with outdoor hot tubs ensure that you get to enjoy mountain views without the frostbite. Chalet guests get access to indoor heated swimming pools, hydrotherapy communal spas, saunas and games rooms. Complimentary breakfast is often included, and lodges are connected to adjoining bars and restaurants to satisfy the post- or pre-shredding hunger.

Check out the Falls Creek Hotel for hotel-style accommodation just 100 metres to the nearest chairlift. All rooms include a four-course dinner and a cooked-to-order breakfast.

Private apartments, chalets and hotels within the village will set you back in the high hundreds to $1k per night and above. Opt for communal lodges over private apartments for around the $150 mark. Still centrally located within the resort village, lodges are found metres away from major lifts.

Budget options involve inevitably traveling to and from nearby towns such as Harrietville, Bright and Mount Beauty. Stay in Harrietville's Mountain View Holiday Retreat for $135 per night twin share with an ensuite bathroom. The retreat includes all the necessary facilities, heating and the added bonus of a hot tub before heading onwards to ski at either Mt Hotham or Falls Creek.  

What to do in the off-season

Falls Creek is home to the expected mountaintop summertime activities including mountain biking and hiking for visitors of all skill levels. Additionally, you can rent a canoe and paddle across Rocky Valley Lake, Australia’s highest lake.

You can even explore the high country by horseback on a guided tour. There’s plenty to explore with an 18-hole golf course, wineries, paragliding, hang gliding and 4WD tracks around the Kiewa Valley and surrounding mountainous region.

Mount Baw Baw
Photograph: James Lauritz
Things to do

Mt Baw Baw

Mt Baw Baw is located on the Baw Baw Plateau and Great Dividing Range. It's a smaller mountain compared to the others on the list, but it's the closest downhill skiing resort to Melbourne.

Distance from Melbourne: 2.5hrs east

Best for: Beginners and intermediates. Baw Baw offers great downhill skiing and a great snow play area for families. 

Cost

Resort entry and parking: From $57
Lift passes: $55 (from Monday to Friday) and $80 (weekends) for adult single day passes. Day passes for children (aged seven to 15) are $40 on weekdays and $50 for weekends.

Equipment hire

An inclusive ski equipment package (skis, boots and poles) for a one-day hire will be $50 for adults and $32 for children. Snowboard packages (with board and boots) is $55 for adults and $40 for children. Toboggan hire is $8 for a full day, and clothing hire (jacket and pants) is $35 for adults and $25 for children.

Where to stay

Ditch the daily descent for more valuable shut-eye with Mt Baw Baw’s selection of on-mountain accommodation. There are options that cater to all ages and budgets – from backpacker-style dorm beds perfect for solo shredders and budget private rooms for conscientious couples to affordable family-friendly ski lodges, luxury private apartments and chalets. It's all available year round.

You can get a single-night, single dorm bed at Alpine Backpackers for $45, or a little more privacy in a private room at the flashier Flashpackers for $103. Lodges are made for snow enthusiasts with dedicated gear-drying rooms, ducted heating and cosy fireplaces.

For the more lavish, splash out with a fully equipped three-bedroom apartment like the Cascade Apartment 9. It comfortably sleeps ten and features great snow views for a luxurious home away from home. You can hire it out for $600 per night.

What to do in the off-season

Many forget that Mt Baw Baw is home to a plethora of exhilarating experiences in the warmer months. You can go mountain bike riding (downhill, cross-country and backcountry), or try out the walking and running tracks across Baw Baw and surrounding mountains. Get lost in nature in one of the many bushwalking trails equipped for all skill levels, run or climb depending on your skill level and preferences.

If slower, more social activities are more of your thing, Baw Baw offers an excellent selection of guided tours for all skill levels, including Walk with the Dingoes, a guided walk accompanied by Rowdy and Warragul, the resort’s two alpine dingoes. Alternatively, try out laser tag or archery, fly fishing or glamping atop of the mountain. There’s even an 18-hole 'disc golf' course – like golf but using a frisbee and goals – open to the public and completely free.

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Skiing at Lake Mountain
Photograph: Rob Blackburn
Things to do

Lake Mountain

Lake Mountain is Melbourne's closest alpine resort, with 37kms for cross-country trails that you can explore on skis and snowshoes. There are no downhill runs, but it's probably the best place to try tobogganing, have a snow fight or build a snowman. 

Distance from Melbourne: About 2.5hrs northeast

Good for: Families and day-trippers looking to experience snow. 

Cost

Resort entry is $57 per vehicle (up to ten people). Bigger groups receive discounted entry and buses (school or otherwise) pay per person. 

Equipment hire

Ski packages (skis, boots and poles) start at $40 per adult or child. Snowshow packages (including boots and poles) start at $25 per child and $35 per adult. A toboggan package (toboggan, pants and boots) start at $50 per child and $60 per adult. Rental for just a toboggan is $14 per day. 

Where to stay

Accommodation is just a hop and skip away in Lake Mountain's beautiful surrounding towns and villages. There are caravan and holiday parks for budget travellers that start at $95 per night, or middle-range, self-contained lakeside cottages in Healesville and Marysville for around $200 per night.

For those seeking a lavish retreat, Woodlands Rainforest Retreat in Narbethong is just a 30-minute drive from Lake Mountain. The chalet offers a luxe in-ground jet spa, balcony views, cosy fireplaces, a minibar and in-room kitchens. There's also nearby access to horse riding, free bike rentals, optional local cuisine breakfast and in-room massages for an additional cost.

What to do on the offseason

Hire a mountain bike or bring your own to Lake Mountain in the warmer months for a more relaxed off-road experience or road cycling adventure. Relaxed nature walks or more intense mountain climbs are all possible across the mountain trails. Alternatively, you can try laser skirmish, the flying fox or the tube run. 

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Hiking at The Grampians
Photograph: Robert Blackburn
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