Spring is now blooming in its own way, across Australia, as it does every year. But just a few weeks ago Alpine Australia was hit with the biggest snow dump seen in almost ten years, and I was lucky enough to take on my first ski season in the beautiful Victorian ranges of Mount Hotham and Falls Creek.
As a first time skier, I was told the conditions were PERFECT. 100cm in one week was the most that picturesque Falls Creek had seen in a decade. The snow was fluffy, soft and compact, primed for sliding down on skis, carving on snowboards and, of course, falling over.
Falls Creek is great for beginners. Once you head up the mountain on the main chairlift, you’re greeted with ski-schools, small slopes for perfecting skills and a massive café eatery for when it’s time to take a break and refuel.
You can hire or purchase your own equipment on or off the mountain, and get discounts if you book lift passes and national park passes in advance. For those of you who’ve never skied before, I highly recommend booking a lesson or two. The instructors are patient, kind, helpful and in private sessions can tailor the lesson to your needs.
Both Hotham and Falls Creek cater to skiers of all abilities. Each mountain showcases runs for all levels from serene green runs to double black diamonds for those who are up to a real challenge; and both offer night skiing and back country tours for the truly adventurous.
There is also a trick park or two at both resorts, full of jumps and bars for flying through the air and impressing your friends. For the kids there are sections of snow dedicated to children for tobogganing and snow play, plenty of space for a snowball fight.
If taking on the slopes really isn’t your thing, don’t be worried, there’s still plenty to explore. There are also plenty of places to shop, day spas to enjoy a massage or two and café’s with open fireplaces where you can watch others fly down the slope with a latte in hand.
For those of you looking for adventure, both resorts offer dog-sledding as well as picnic tours and an events calendar so jam-packed you’re bound to have a fantastic time.
If photography if your passion, do. Not. Forget. Your. Camera. The views here are absolutely stunning, and although some days are grey, the Australian sunshine promises to make an appearance and light up the mountains to capture the perfect shot.
Places to stay and things to know…
The resorts are ski-in-ski-out style, meaning you can slip on your board or skis and let them take you almost anywhere.
Accommodation is abundant here, it entirely depends on your budget and the type of experience you’d like to have. The mountain top resorts feature a wide range of places to kip for the night, from self-contained rooms to luxury chalets.
Most places feature their own heated pool and spa, (though if you’re super lucky you might have one of your own overlooking the mountains!).
Both resorts have more bars, restaurants, and cosy pubs than you could dream of, most of which have daily specials, guaranteeing you a feast for a deal almost every night.
There are also plenty of events, as well as places to meet people and get to know those who live on the mountain. Take part in a darts competition, play a game of pool, test your smarts at trivia, or pick up some gear in a fundraising auction and immerse yourself in the fun-loving community.
While snow sports may be the main focus of a trip to alpine Victoria, there are plenty of things to do at the foot of the mountains too. The ranges are dotted with quaint towns that feature rustic cafes, independent stores, pubs full of locals, and Saturday markets where you can pick up some handmade goods.
If you have time, you can also try your hand at trout fishing, or simply explore til you’re heart’s content.
Perhaps the most surprising discovery was the Bright Chocolate store, where you can see the creation of chocolate from bean to bar, experience a history lesson, and grab a few luxury bars to enjoy in your time on the mountain.
Alpine Australia is definitely one of those places I wish I’d known about years ago. It’s the perfect place to take on a new challenge, relax, and soak up the beauty and diversity of Australia’s wondrous natural features.
If you’re interested in having your own alpine adventure, we have tours available for Mount Buller.