Round up of skiing in Victoria, Australia with kids. Whether you want to do snowboarding in Australia or you just want to see snow in Australia, there are three options all within close proximity of Melbourne that make great choices as family holiday destinations. Here is the suitcases&strollers travel guide to skiing in Victoria with kids.
Skiing and snowboarding in Melbourne’s outskirts is so convenient because everything is practically ski in, ski out. There is no significant commute from family friendly accommodation to the slopes; in fact at Mount Buller, Falls Creek and Mount Hotham it is quite convenient to return home for lunch or a nap and a rest before heading out again in the afternoon. So as well as a range of interesting snow options for all skill levels and interests, skiing in Victoria is very convenient for families.
Mount Buller With Kids
Mount Buller is the closest large ski mountain to Melbourne (only 3 hours drive) and whilst you can technically visit there in a day trip, it is much more comfortable and sensible to spend at least one night there so that you can go at your own pace and avoid over tiring the kids.
Mount Buller is a favourite mountain for beginners and boasts the largest number of lifts in Victoria (22) over 300 hectares. There are a range of options from beginner right through to advanced black runs, but Buller is often noted for its super friendly atmosphere that makes even the most anxious new skiiers and snowboarders feel welcome. Kids can start in the crèche until the age of three when they transition to ski lessons. If you prefer to ski together as a family, Buller offers family ski lesson packages so you can all snow plough together.
[For more family travel tips on downhill skiing with kids, see the suitcases&stollers story here.]
If you’re only interested in snow play, there are two toboggan parks, one very conveniently close to the carpark, as well as a snow tube park and the cute “gnome roam” (a walk around the village looking for the mystical miniature people). Spectators interested in seeing the top of the mountain can also purchase a sightseer pass up Northside Express chairlift.
For something truly unique, Buller is now offering dog sled tours. Each sled can take up to two people around the park area and you can even opt for a more intimate and extended meet-and-greet with the industrious and beautiful Siberian Huskies. You should book this activity in advance as there are limited rides available per day.
Buller is known for its lively village where there is always entertainment and high jinx going on. Film, festivals and live entertainment practically on the slopes are always part of life at Buller. This year the Mount Buller Chalet Hotel has also just opened an Asian inspired food court with cuisine from Japan, Malaysia and Vietnam for those looking for more international meals.
Family Friendly Accommodation at Mount Buller With Kids
In the month of September 2015 Mount Buller also has a promotion on participating family friendly accommodation where two kids under 15 can stay free.
Falls Creek With Kids
Falls Creek is a fantastic family holiday destination and is well designed for kids. 60% of the 92 runs at Falls Creek are blue (intermediate) which means that the entire mountain caters well to all family members. It also has the prettiest vista of any of the snow resorts in Victoria and the views from the top of the Wombat’s Ramble run will make for spectacular family travel photos.
[For more travel tips on capturing the best travel photos, see the suitcases&strollers interview with a professional photographer.]
If you choose to ski at Falls Creek, there is also the additional and convenient option of a nearby domestic airport so can you can get there even quicker from an international flight. If you fly from Melbourne to Albury the commute to Falls Creek is only an hour and a half drive (car hire is available at Albury airport). Otherwise Falls Creek is about a four and a half hour drive from Melbourne.
[For more family travel tips on things to do in Albury and its sister city Wodonga with kids, see the suitcases&strollers story here.]
The snowsports school offers full or half day learn to ski programs for kids aged 3 onwards that includes meals and designated ski areas with fun props and a very slow magic carpet lift to make the snow more fun for kids. This includes the brand new Burton Ringlet Park, a special space for kids aged 3 to 5 to learn to snowboard. Pete the snow dragon often makes appearances around the snowsports school too.
[For more family travel tips on skiing with preschoolers, see the suitcases&strollers story here.]
If you prefer to just indulge in snow play, you can take a scenic chairlift ride up to Cloud Nine (where the snowsports school is) to watch the beginners (and the pros!) in action, snap some shots of the surrounding vistas and build a snowman. There is also a specific snow play park area located near the Village Bowl where kids can try out other activities such as tobogganing or snow tubing.
After a long day in the snow in Victoria with kids, Falls Creek offers a free shuttle service around the mountain that will cart you, the kids and all your gear back to within walking distance of your family friendly accommodation.
Much of the accommodation in Falls Creek is ski in, ski out which means less lugging of skis, boots and poles up and down the mountain. It also gives Falls a European ski village atmosphere which is a pleasant way to have a different experience without having to go too far out of the way. It’s worth spending a couple of days in Falls Creek with kids as there are loads of activities on in the village throughout the week including street parties, live performances with Pete the snow dragon, fireworks and the famed Sled Dog Classic (an exciting race through the village) from 31 July to 1 August.
Hot travel tip: if you prefer to store your skis and snowboards conveniently at the base of Falls Express chairlift overnight, the mountain offers a ski valet service so you can spend your energy doing enjoyable family holiday activities rather than carrying all the children’s skis and poles.
If you are traveling with baby and need a reliable babysitting service so you can get in some kid-free time on the slopes, there is the Falls Creek Child Care service available for kids under 6.
Mount Hotham With Kids
The most memorable way to go skiing in Australia is to take the Falls-Hotham Heli-Link shuttle service, a helicopter ride that operates regularly between the two mountains. This will give you brilliant views over some of the most famous alpine areas in Australia and will certainly make for a memorable family holiday activity.
If this seems a bit extravagant, Hotham is only a four and a half hour drive away from Melbourne. The home of Harry the snow dragon, Hotham is known for its excellent and varied ski options (such as its cross country skiing terrain) and its close proximity to Dinner Plain village, a fantastic option for those who want to experience the snow in Victoria but don’t necessarily want to ski or snowboard with kids.
Mount Hotham with kids has a real variety of options for experiencing snow in Australia. There are 13 lifts over 320 hectares of skiable terrain and Hotham boasts its own specialised Kids Snowzone at Big D which is where the ski school is located as well as the childcare centre. This is easily accessed via the Great Alpine Road shuttle bus so, unlike Falls Creek, you do not need to start your day on a large chairlift with the kids and all the bulky gear.
If you and your bigger kids are serious skiiers and boarders, there is also a free Kat ski service to take you off-piste to some of the backcountry slopes.
Outside the snowboarding and skiing with kids, Hotham also has fun sled dog tours where Siberian huskies can take you and the children on a tour of the local area.
Then there’s Dinner Plain, the much loved village only a 10 minute drive away from Hotham proper. This year Dinner Plain has opened its own snow park that has tubing and night skiing. What makes Dinner Plain so great for families, though, is that the village has a very romantic alpine feel about it and it is here in the Victorian high country, surrounded by snow gums, that you can go for walks, drink hot chocolate by the fireplace or pop out for a coffee and cake at one of the village cafes, removed from the hustle and bustle of the ski village proper. While staying at Dinner Plain means you won’t actually be in ski in, ski out accommodation, there is a frequent free bus that moves between the village and the mountain ski park and is only a 10 minute ride.
It is well worth investing in at least two days at Hotham with kids so you can experience the magic of the combination of Dinner Plain and the ski resort.
One of the great things about Hotham and Dinner Plain’s village atmosphere is the range of amenities. There are four licensed supermarkets in the vicinity or, if you are very organised, you can preorder your groceries so they are ready and waiting on your doorstep for you on arrival.
Family Friendly Accommodation in Melbourne’s Snowfields
This story is sponsored by Tourism Victoria; Images: Ewen Bell, Charlie Brown Photography, Mark Watson of Incite Images, Tourism Victoria