Monday, June 17, 2013

A snowy experience in Victoria, Australia

 images and text courtesy of Tourism Australia

Exhilarating days on the snow-capped slopes; evenings of gourmet food by open fires in luxury lodges; frolicking in the snow with the kids; snowboarding long after the sun goes down - these do not even begin to describe what a perfect winter would be like atop Victoria’s snowfields, which contains three major snow resorts - Mount Buller, Mount Hotham and Falls Creek - each packed with great adventure and moments to just sit back and chillax.

Victoria’s snowfields are located in the High Country, north east of Victoria, which is approximately three to four hours drive from Melbourne. The snow season officially starts in June and runs through September. Whether it’s building a snowman, snow tubing, or traversing down a black run - it’s easier than ever for families to take a trip to the snow with packages to suit a variety of needs and requirements, whether you’re travelling with family, friends, or that special someone. 

Mount Buller

As the most accessible major snow resort in Australia, Mount Buller is located an easy three hour drive from Melbourne. Coach tour operators including Grayline, APT and Bunyip Tours offer easy transfers to the mountain on a daily basis and tour company Extragreen Holidays runs sightseeing day and overnight tours in Chinese language. Day trip tours and accommodation packages can include lift passes, lessons, equipment hire, kids programs, child snow mobile rides and more. 

At Mt Buller, one can enjoy night skiing, the first-ever, in fact, to be introduced in Australia. Visitors can Ski and snowboard under the stars every Wednesday and Saturday from mid-July and through August on Mt Buller's popular Bourke Street run. The night skiing session is available from 7pm till 10pm. Tickets for night skiing are available from Buller Sports for just $20 (RM60). Of course one thing to note is that night skiing is subject to snow and weather conditions. The area to night ski is safe and well lit-up. It is also good for families and kids even if they do not ski; they can go out and enjoy the resort at night where there’s live music. 

Although night skiing has become a very popular activity, visitors can opt for other family friendly activities that await them atop Mt. Buller. These include scenic chairlift rides, cross-country skiing – a great workout!, snow tubing, snow tobogganing, snowboarding, snowshoeing and an ever favourite amongst visitors – the Mt. Buller Gnome Roam, where visitors can take a stroll and seek out Mr. Buller’s little folk! The Gnome Roam offers a glimpse into the gnomes’ private world on the mountain. The Gnome Roam map, available at the clock tower makes a fun keepsake and contains an intricately designed map and beautiful photos of the Gnome folk. 

The Mt Buller Village is located right in the heart of the snowfields, featuring 7,000 on-mountain beds ranging from basic to luxurious accommodation and more than 30 retail outlets, cafes and restaurants. Arlberg Hotel, Chalet Hotel and Ski Club of Victoria offer international packages that include all a family might need for the ultimate snow play adventure. Additionally, a brand new venue to eat, sleep and play has been introduced in the village. Called Buller Central, the venue contains mid-range hotel style accommodations, apartments, restaurants, bars and retail space. 

Also, visitors are assured more snow now than ever before in Mt. Buller, thanks to a recent $400,000 investment in snow making facilities to improve the quality and efficiency of the Resort’s snow making facilities. This translates into more snow and more fun for visitors.

Falls Creek

Regarded as Victoria’s largest ski and boarding resort, Falls Creek has over 5,000 beds in the village that suit every budget, from cosy lodge-style accommodation to five-star luxury penthouse suites. Trackers Mountain Lodge and Quay West Resort & Spa offer inclusive packages perfect for international visitors. The village also has a day care centre, day spa and plenty of shopping, restaurants and night life.

Wombats Ramble, Australia’s longest green run under lights is now two seasons old and ever more popular – it is an iconic trail at Falls Creek. All 2.2 kilometers long, the Wombats Ramble has been lined with high voltage Green Power floodlights which will light up the trail from the top of Falls Express at Cloud 9 all the way downhill to Quay West. Wombats Ramble lights up after dark on Wednesday and Saturday nights from 6-9pm, ensuring that skiing and snowboarding adventures to continue long after the sun goes down.

The completion of a high capacity snowmaking system along the entire length of Wombats Ramble will ensure night riding both earlier and later in the season as snowmakers will maintain snow conditions to provide a skiing and snowboarding playground suited for beginners through to the more advanced that want to experience night time riding. Prices begin from $10 (RM 30) for kids to $20 (RM 60) for adults. Family and group deals are also available.

Falls Creek has proven to be a favourite amongst kids, thanks to a fireworks night show spectacular which brings Thursday nights to life in July and August! The fantastic Night Show is a great experience for the whole family which include skiing and snowboarding demonstrations by the Falls Creek Snowsports School instructors and a special appearance by Pete the Snowdragon. Pete takes to the stage to entertain the little ones. He can also be seen popping up around the resort and regularly visits the Snow Club 4 Kids, meeting families in lift loading areas and cruising through his favorite runs such as Drovers Dream and Wombat’s Ramble.  

Kids are also invited to get creative at Falls Creek with snowman competitions. Of course, they can make snowmen anywhere in the village, but for something special, they can enter the free snowman making competition held in the village bowl on Wednesdays and Saturdays throughout the snow season. 

Falls Creek offers 92 plus ski runs with terrain suitable for all abilities. Snowboarding, cross country skiing, snowtubing and snow biking are also available.

Mount Hotham
On the other side, Hotham Alpine Resort is known as the powder capital of Australia. One of Australia's highest alpine villages, Hotham is built on a spectacular mountain ridge; the resort features majestic views and terrain to suit all abilities. The village has a snowsports school, day-care centre, day spas, shopping, restaurants and nightlife. The huge range of day and night activities includes sunset and grooming tours, snow kiting, dog sled adventures and mini-skidoo rides for the kids.

With access to 4,500 beds in Hotham and 2,500 in Dinner Plain, there are plenty of accommodation options to suit every budget. Ultima Apartments and Zirkys Apartments offer great value packages. 

Amongst some family-friendly fun not to be missed at Mt. Hotham include sled dog tours. There’s no better way to experience the snow than in a sled led by Huskies. Tours cater to one adult or two children covering approximately a three to four kilometre tour. If that’s not enough, the new snow play area is situated at the beautiful and sheltered location of Possum Flat, adjacent to Wire Plain. A moderate toboggan slope overlooking Possum Flat is suited to kids of all ages. Best of all – access here is free. 

Also situated in this area is the Snow-Stuff Fun Park. Here, visitors can hire a range of exciting and fun snow play products and offers activities such as The Zipfly (a compact mini luge toboggan made out of moulded plastic) and kids snowmobiles. 

Mt. Hotham is as active at night as in the daytime. When the sun goes down, the skiing and snowboarding do not. Fireworks shows are also held on multiple occasions throughout the ski season at Hotham’s Summit Ski Run. 

With Malaysia’s warm weather, snow activities and the cool air can surely be an attractive destination for a holiday. If you wish to plan a snowy adventure in Victoria this winter, look out for packages and promotions available at the ski resorts which include flights, transfers, and accommodation and tour packages.

Find out more about Victoria’s snowfields and go to for more information on Victoria.

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