Snowboarding in Victoria

Hi all,

Looking to travel interstate to Vic for the mid August period as we've redeemed free Virgin flights for Melb. We'll be there just around a week.

Looking for say 4 nights/5 days in a ski resort. I've been to Mt Buller before but wondering what other mountains would be 'accessible' like buller (we took the bus from federation square for Buller which was 'easy' vs hiring a car, last we went a few years ago when that super snow dump storm hit).

Is it mainly just Mt Hotham and Falls Creek? We are past beginners and more intermediate snowboarders. Nothing fancy, but decent enough to whittle our way down on our own around the place and have a good time.

The other issue is how easy are these to drive a car up and get chains put on (are they required)? Being from sunny state we don't use chains, but i presume it's a no brainer (take caution, slow speeds yada yada).

Also - how reasonable are the drive ins from picking accommodation in towns near mountains e.g. Mt Hotham or Falls Creek? Usually overseas staying in the villages are great: short bus or walk to the ski lifts, snowboard until end of the day and walk home then walk to some cosy eats and drinks. It seems abit less of a fun experience to have to transport back wet and soaked in a car down the mountain each evening (and up again the next AM) but the prices on mountain are extortionate from what is left on booking.com currently?!

Also with the whole COVID situation most are non refundable and for 4 nights mid august close to $1500-2500 (is this normal?). I would normally commit - as Annual leave is booked, and we can pay the money/afford it, but am worried about snap state border closures. The towns are the cheaper non refundable options e.g. Harrietville for Mt Hotham, should the unfortunate (Covid leak, snap state shutdown/quarantines) happen.

How was the snow season last mid August? Were resorts running as per normal, anything else to "note" for outsiders who aren't as familiar locally? Appreciate any advice!

Comments

  • +2 votes

    Just go to your nearest 7/11 for a Slurpee and save some coin.

    •  

      Thanks for the help.

      •  

        Hotham has best snow and runs
        in Australia imo

        have skied and boarded everywhere in Australia dozens of times.

        Get cheap car or camper at Mel airport or downtown for a week-off airport cheaper. Used to about $20 a day. Now probably double that.

        Drive to Bright. Stay night.

        Woolies for groceries unless going out for dinner every night on snow.

        We would take 2 bags. One inside the other. At bright use one for groceries. If old bag leave at Hotham.

        Leave car at bright motel. Ask in advance if ok to leave at motel rather than on Rd.

        Get govt subsidised 7am bus to Hotham about $8 I think.also another at 3pm.

        Stay in cheap club lodge near big d chairlift from 1 to 5 star. Some include breakfast. Some you need to take sheets pillow slip or rent or take sleeping bag.

        You need to clean up after yourself in most cases. They are not hotels.

        Board 6 days with only 5 nights on snow.

        On last day get 5pm bus back to bright then either stay there or head back to Mel. Yes you will have to check out in the morning and leave luggage hopefully somewhere in club lodge.

        There are 3 buses going to bright Fri afternoon but govt subsidised one is far cheaper.

        Lift prices are supposed to be out today

        Message me if want more info.

        State your dates. Try & avoid Fri and SAT nights on snow. Saturday s will be crowded on slopes.

        And

        Peak snow depth is end of August on average

        •  

          Thanks for the tips. With the ski/snow lodges though I thought they are only open to members and their guests? Given we aren't members of any of the ski lodges can we book? I know we stayed in a lodge in Melbourne's buller at the time : Schuss lodge? But for Falls creek I've looked at one or two and they seem to be members only?

          No worries with cleaning up after ourselves. We just need a private room for a couple with our own bathroom (mrs doesn't like shared bathrooms). I know most have shared buildings but lockable rooms so that's also ok. Happy to eat out most nights but also if there's a kitchen we can make our own too if need be…

          Dates wise looking at 16/08 (Monday) and perhaps 4 nights, checking out Friday 20/08. If we can't find 4 nights anywhere then we can shorten to 3 nights i suppose and come back on Thurs 19/08. Happy to avoid the weekend. Thanks for your help!

          Also - any concerns as other responses have mentioned, re: Hotham being hard to get to with bad weather and closures?

          •  

            @SaberX: There are roughly 50 club lodges at Hotham. Some are for members and guests of members but most seem to take public even if non members pay a bit more. Some are as cheap as $30 a night in September. Vaguely remember when looked few weeks ago that August prices started at $65 a person a night. Some made you pay for 5 nights midweek sun-fri no matter how many nights you stay.

            Is checking in on Sunday 15 August an option ? Ask as govt subsidised bus only runs Sunday Wednesday and Friday twice a day in each direction. Others might run Monday.

            Ok had a quick look and alpine spirit snowball express seems to run everyday from bright to Hotham and drops at 6 stops at hotham 2 of which few 100m apart where most of club lodges are. Depart bright 6.45am or 1.45pm . Seems to cost $35 each one way.

            With 50 or so club lodges lots of variation but you can get private room with ensuite at many. Have driven to all 3 Vic resorts and 1 no better or worse than others. Don't even think about staying off my when you can stay in a club lodge.most are near big d lift which is beginners but only few km from main part of Hotham and free buses go every few minutes esp around opening and closing of lifts. At night less regular but think there is a timetable.

            The NZ don't think there will be any more state or NZ border closures. Think scomo and ardern have been told by their bosses.

            Club lodges
            Some are on Hotham site some are on other Hotham accom sites (they are obviously the ones that pay agents Commission)

            But to find them all you need to do individual searches

            Search Hotham map and this will give you names of Lodges.

            Also do a google map search. Enter

            Big d chairlift mt Hotham

            and then most not all will appear in red. Most to right of big d lift and then can click on link on LHS

            •  

              @DisabledUser394143: Typo above

              Don't even think of staying off

              MT

  •  

    IMO NSW snow terrain (Thredbo/Perisher) is far superior for intermediate snowboarders.
    Vic resorts were closed last season due to covid however mid August is peak season so snow coverage should be adequate.
    Australian on mountain accommodation costs are exorbitant due to the relatively short snow season.

    • +1 vote

      Have you snowboarded much in Vic? I would say Buller is pretty decent for intermediate boarders but maybe I’m very noob at snowboarding.

      The thing that sucks about NSW is the trip is 5-6 hours from Sydney to the snowy mountains making day trips pretty difficult, it’s only 3 hours from Melbourne to Mt Buller.

      •  

        You go to Buller for a day trip, not a multiday ski/boarding holiday. My numerous visits to Buller have usually included heavy rain and long lift queues. You spend more time waiting for the lift than snowboarding as the runs are also shorter than Falls/Hotham. IMO Buller is more suited to beginners or advanced skiers.

        • +1 vote

          Buller is fine for just day trips but as mentioned I definitely would not waste my money on multi day trips there. Hotham or Falls Creek are much better options in terms of runs and snow.

          •  

            @chartparker: Yeap given we just want to knuckle down for a 3 or 4 night trip (me and the mrs) shall we stick to Hotham or Falls creek then? Which would you recommend for snowboarders? And would staying in the towns off mountain be ill advised/not worth the saving?

        •  

          That's what they want you to think! Buller has by far the best dining, nightlife, atmosphere. Don't fall into the daytripper trap, Buller is the one you want to stay at overnight. Falls also has a quaint village but is geared more towards families. I'd give Hotham a miss unless you're staying in the region.

          •  

            @Genepi: I've been going to Buller for 15 years now… the snow and runs pale in comparison to the other two. Not to mention how crowded bourke street gets. Hotham also had much better nightlife IMO, but honestly if you're spending all that money to go to the snow, the nightlife and "atmosphere" should be lower priorities than what you'll be doing during the day. Unless you count night skiing

    •  

      Unfortunately our flights redemptions are already booked for Melbourne… as we usually visit the city there… so hence trying to find a place that's suitable in Victoria that we can go to. That's good to hear that August is the better time to go to, originally thought the winter period would mean that July is the better period… but due to the end of the financial year we had no other choice….

      Yes, unfortunate about the snow season. For that price a nice place in Japan or Whistler etc. were possible. In fact our accommodation/trip during Covid last year was cancelled - Zermatt was cheaper…. and of course much nicer.

      •  

        Buller is awesome overnight. Best dining and nightlife of any Aus resort (maybe Thredbo is on par). Yes the snow is generally not as deep as other resorts but if you go end of August / start of September that's when the best snow is so it's usually never a problem. Terrain is the most varied so it's not as good as Falls for beginners but it's really good for intermediate / advanced.

      •  

        Have you thought about NZ? Last time I checked it cost me the same for a week at Hotham as flying to NZ, hiring a car and staying at Queenstown. From there you've got your choice of at least 3 decent mountains within 30 min drive.

        •  

          Only 2 ski hills 30 mins from Queens town

          Cardrona is an hour each way the short route.

        •  

          I wouldn't book NZ due to all the snap border closure issues…. the risk there is just a bit of a pain.. probably not looking towards any night life bar some drinks after dinner haha.

    •  

      They're flying into Melbourne !!!

      Vic resorts were closed some of last season due to useless Vic govt

      •  

        Were refunds and cancellations/credits given as a result? Or hit or miss depending who you dealt with?

  •  

    I went early August 2019 and that weekend had the biggest snowfall for the year. Apparently El Nino years have higher average snowfall while La Nina years have a lower average.

  •  

    Falls has more intermediate slopes, Hotham has more advanced stuff. Falls village is way more accessible to get around as it is at the bottom of a bowl and clustered together, where as the Hotham village is spread out along a ridge and to travel any distance there are free shuttle buses to take around.

    Both are superior to Buller in terms of number of runs, amount of snow etc, but are an extra 1.5-2 hours drive away.

    •  

      So Falls Village would be typical to those overseas e.g. able to walk to a dinner or drinks after and walk home? If so that would be preferably to one that's all spread out or in the case of BUller extremely tiny! Would you say Falls is intermediate for snowboarders - not skiers? Falls is further to get to, and is it advised to stay on mountain also?

      Are there buses like the Mt Buller one that can whisk you away to the mountains so no need to worry about the car ride? or is it far easier to drive? If walking within village is do'able for falls creek then happy to leave the car behind.

      •  

        Yes, Falls is easier to walk around. There are plenty of buses at Hotham, but it is an extra step you have to take to get around. Falls has gone plenty of intermediate for either - I think most runs are blue, although there's some gentle blues that are like a green on a slight angle. There's nothing insane at Falls, although the Ys when they haven't been groomed or St Elmo's slide when it forms a cornice at the top can be a bit gnarly. The Maze is a great set of runs if the snow is decent, but again can get super heavy.

        Hotham has a lot more advanced terrain.

        There are buses to Mt Buller from the city, or you can drive to Mansfield and get a bus from there - I've done that as a solo day trip on occasion. I'm not sure about getting to Falls via a bus, I'm sure it's possible but I've only driven.

        •  

          Thanks for that. I'm abit unsure then to go Falls for the mrs who is abit more on the lower end of intermediate, versus myself who after a day of warming up i can meandre by way through a black run/down at my own pace, and get into the rhythm of just cruising down the mountain and taking in the sights/thrill. Wondering if falls with gentle slopes may be abit basic? then again perhaps a good chance to practice proper control and S turns, versus the "jigging" i do to get through the black/advanced runs to stay on the board.

          Just recently discovered through messing around the fun of closing the typical S run down a long run into a more | line down via forcing the board out underneath ones legs to carve straight down. Most exhilarating fun, but unfortunately i'd torn my ACL and was due for surgery so held back - but i've never forgotten the feeling! Without trying to sound overestimating of my abilities would Fall allow me to "sneak' some more advanced/harder slopes and terrain whilst accommodating the mrs so she isn't left out? Or would Hotham be better suited?

          Have been to BUller once before so wondering about trying something new. It seems Buller has the least likely snow coverage from what people are saying ? Or will mid August be the better times for most VIC resorts?

          •  

            @SaberX: I went to Hotham a couple of years ago. Accomodation at Dinner Plain was surprisingly affordable, not quite ski out the door but it is very convenient, above the snow line and a short bus ride to Hotham. The issue we had was lack of beginner runs, as the beginner runs are on top of the mountain and very exposed to the weather. It was my son's first try snowboarding, and after a couple of days we ended up on the black runs. Seems like the ratings are intended more for skiing as the snowboard lets you negotiate steep bits pretty easily if not concerned about style. Helps that we had lots of fresh snow though.

            •  

              @md333: Why stay dinner plain if you can stay relatively cheaply in a club Lodge at Hotham ?

              •  

                @DisabledUser394143: Do club lodges typically cater for a private room for couples with own bathroom? just looking to avoid those bunk bed hostel style arrangements? And given most aren't on booking.com is there on alternative for a central search for availability but to google and search each one by one?

            •  

              @md333: Is the drive there as hostile as some suggest i.e. if weather is not great one could be left stranded? As some have mentioned falls creek further from Melbourne but much more accessible due to this?

              Im abit at a loss which of the 3 to go with though - any idea? I've been to buller once, but none of the rest. Mrs hasn't been to any .

              •  

                @SaberX: As crow flies falls and Hotham very close. They even have a race between them on skis. No one can say road conditions will be better at one. If lots of snow buses will put on chains and 60 to 90 min trip bright to Hotham might take 2 hours. Big deal. That's life.

    •  

      Nah no way, Buller is far superior in terms of terrain, the problem is Buller gets less snow that the other resorts. Basically when there's tons of snow Buller is the best. Also their snowmaking system is the clear winner. However if you're a beginner and want an easy-going first-time experience I'd recommend Falls. The blue runs there are more like greens at other resorts and it's a soft progression. Plus the village is beautiful.

      •  

        Yes snow at Buller is always a bit iffy. Been there in August peak and rained all day and washed a lot of snow away.

        Looks like all borders will now be open before Xmas as scomo has-been told by his "bosses".

        Overseas apart from NZ, is quite cheap and can stay on snow much cheaper than here and cheap to fly there.

      •  

        For intermediate would Falls be abit basic for snowboarders? Thoughts vs Hotham? Buller in between Hotham (top) and Falls (more beginner)?

        I too wonder about Bullers snow… i suppose there isn't a prediction on how this year's Buller season will go come mid august? roll of the dice? only thing is no drive up to accommodation… haha but first world problems i suppose and only happens at start/end of trip if you're catching the melb-bulller coach bus up.

        •  

          Falls is a bit boring for me and not easy to get around village at night if lots of snow. There is oversnow but that costs. From everything you've said I'd forget Falls

  • +1 vote

    am worried about snap state border closures.

    sadly this can happen anytime… its a shitty situation to be in if you got flights/AL booked …

    •  

      sadly one of the reasons why the aus to nz bubble is not very popular (IMHO). THe uncertainty they provide in snap lockdowns/retrospective quarantines is what is quite offputting. Nearly caught in the recent flare ups en-route back home from Tasmania…

  •  

    Falls Creek for beginner/intermediate. Hotham for intermediate/advanced. I would recommend Hotham if you're used to blue runs and are starting to get into black runs. They have quite a few nice groomed black runs which usually gets snow coverage first.

    If you go to Hotham via Harrietville, I've heard the conditions can get really bad. I've always driven to Hotham via Omeo which is supposedly the easier way up. The drive to Falls Creek is fine, nothing hard. I've never had to put chains on my car (4WD), but have occasionally seen 2WD needing to put chains on when it's raining/snowing heavily on the day.

    In terms of accommodation, I've always stayed in lodges on the mountain which is around $150pp.

    •  

      Interesting… some of the comments above saying the reverse! haha - we have wandered our way down to blacks a few times 'accidentally' in Japan - hakuba, niseko, and even in Whistler. So long as they aren't steep drops off the side that scare the crap out of us we're quite happy to go down them slowly or at our own pace… they're actually quite fun! some of the best memories are from peak (or near) all the way down the black and red runs etc. It's blue-green-red then black correct?

      Someone mentioned the Omeo route to Hotham can be quite a detour? Is the drive to Falls creek less susceptible to road closures and bad weather?

      $150pp is pretty cheap! Do you know the name? For falls creek?

      •  

        We only have green (beginner), blue (intermediate) and black (advanced). The main area for black runs don’t have any steep cliffs off the side from memory. However, the slope is definitely a lot steeper than blue runs so may not be suitable for your partner.

        Depends where you are located I guess. Omeo route is only half an hour more for me but considering conditions on Harrietville it’ll probably work out the same. I’ve only been to Falls Creek once but from memory there’s far less road closures than Hotham.

        I stayed at Halleys Lodge in Falls Creek a couple years ago. Prices might have changed since…

        •  

          Thanks for the recommendations. Regardless of closures will the coach buses find an alternate route through? or do you get cancellations on the day at times? Just trying to work out if we book an accommodation if you're guaranteed they'll still run to get you there, or do you get cancellations at the time and tough luck?

          Looking towards Falls Creek.. we'd be coming from Melbourne, but it seems the village and everything is meant to be nicer there? And less of a detour with road closures than the trip to Hotham it seems?

          Edit: Also never stayed in a ski in/out place before! Sounds fun. I presume Hotham is higher up village wise so unlike Falls you wont ski in/out as much? And having never experienced it… perhaps worth trying! not sure how walking to the restaurants/bar at night will go though!

  •  

    We usually stay in Bright for a week over snow season, and go between falls/hotham/wineries from there depending on conditions. Personally I find being confined to any one resort for 3-4 days a bit monotonous. If there's crappy weather, great wineries and other attractions to be had nearby Bright. Cheaper accommodation off mountain in Bright of course, but increased drive time - about 60-75 minutes one way depending on which mountain.

    As mentioned, the road between harrietville/hotham can be very treacherous, and in the past has been totally closed for days and there's no short way to get around it. Something like an 8 hour detour via Omeo if you need to get back to bright and the road is shut. At night, after a long days snowboarding, it's not a drive I look forward to.

    •  

      Wineries in winter still a treat? haha we just came back from Tassie so alot of wine recently otherwise it would be right up our alley. We've found travelilng Japan and Whistler's resort that the 3-4 nights there quite pleasant, like walking to/from dinners and just going out in AM and walking back in the PM . But i guess we aren't from snow states so for us it is a thrill to be there, so we're there morning to night - with very sore muscles, due to a lack of rest.

      So given the potential closures in winter for Hotham - does this mean the access by bus or to stay on the mountain also has several hour delays to get up there? Or is this only applicable when the town routes are closed - but one can still get up there? Is Falls Creek less susceptible to the winter closures and a sure path to get up there?

  • +1 vote

    Is it mainly just Mt Hotham and Falls Creek? We are past beginners and more intermediate snowboarders. Nothing fancy, but decent enough to whittle our way down on our own around the place and have a good time.

    You've basically got Buller, Hotham and Falls as your choices for downhill skiing/snowboarding. Other mountains are only really suited for tobogganing/cross country. Hotham usually has the best snow and good runs, but a pain to get to, Buller has the worst snow, but closer to city and the runs are ok, but I personally think Falls Creek is the bees knees - the runs are the most fun (for an intermediate snowboarder like me), it has decent snow, and whilst it's not as easy to get to as Buller, you can stay in accommodation on the mountain where you can literally ski out your front door to a lift. There are some at Hotham but they're crazy expensive.

    The other issue is how easy are these to drive a car up and get chains put on (are they required)? Being from sunny state we don't use chains, but i presume it's a no brainer (take caution, slow speeds yada yada).

    Depends on the weather. If it's clear skies and no snow on the road then they don't require you to put chains on, but you may have to still carry them if the weather may change, and you definitely need to carry them if you're keeping your car overnight.

    Also - how reasonable are the drive ins from picking accommodation in towns near mountains e.g. Mt Hotham or Falls Creek? Usually overseas staying in the villages are great: short bus or walk to the ski lifts, snowboard until end of the day and walk home then walk to some cosy eats and drinks. It seems abit less of a fun experience to have to transport back wet and soaked in a car down the mountain each evening (and up again the next AM) but the prices on mountain are extortionate from what is left on booking.com currently?!

    Honestly by the time you deal with the bus and the extra time incurred every day, not to mention the fact that off mountain accommodation isn't very cheap now due to COVID either, you might as well spend the extra and enjoy the extra 2+ hours in your day and unwind on the mountain.

    Also with the whole COVID situation most are non refundable and for 4 nights mid august close to $1500-2500 (is this normal?). I would normally commit - as Annual leave is booked, and we can pay the money/afford it, but am worried about snap state border closures. The towns are the cheaper non refundable options e.g. Harrietville for Mt Hotham, should the unfortunate (Covid leak, snap state shutdown/quarantines) happen.

    Yeah I don't think there's much leeway… we've booked for a trip to Noosa and just crossing our fingers that we haven't wasted our money. Whilst you can't get refunds you might be able to get credit. Last time I priced a week at the snow was in 2008 for Hotham and it came to about $1500 per person and that was shared between about 5-6 of us. $1500-2500 sounds about right - the snow fields here have to gouge because of how unreliable and crap our snow season can be.

    How was the snow season last mid August? Were resorts running as per normal, anything else to "note" for outsiders who aren't as familiar locally? Appreciate any advice!

    There were a few weeks of great snow, but there were some very limited caps on numbers up there and the mountains only opened up very late in the season. Usually late July/early August is the best chance of decent snow here.

    •  

      Thanks for your feedback. Youv'e sold me abit more on the Falls Creek side! I think the fact that it's more 'accessible' as a village e.g. walkable and not needing to drive/bus everywhere for dinner or a drink or two after the day would be a +. That and you mentioned you can snowboard down to a lift from your door? Never experienced those, but presumably at the end of the day rather than being in a village you're "higher up" so that you can snowboard back down to start the day? Would be a cool experience!

      Ah fair enough re: carrying chains. Never used them before - stupid question but is it easy enough to put on if it snows? Or is it only when it's icey and snowing that they're required? Silly question i know, but coming from a snow-lesss state it's never been a thought or something we needed, hah!

      GOod luck for Noosa. I think life is short so we'll go through with this - sure puts me on edge though given we never had to worry about snap lockdowns in the past. Past worries about "not making a trip" are so trivial now versus the high chances these days - if only we knew how good we had it back then: book your leave and unless travel/flights were cancelled you were pretty much going to make it there (shhort of any accidents near the trip haha).

      On another note is Falls Creek reasonable enough to pickup a snowboard and boots, general hire? Have our own jackets, pants and basics, so just need the board and boots, helmet :) Presume like all other resorts hire is abundant and can be done on the day without prebooking? So we just neeed tosort out our accommodation and transport?

      Would you remember where you normallly stay in Falls Creek? or the area to target?

      •  

        Thanks for your feedback. Youv'e sold me abit more on the Falls Creek side! I think the fact that it's more 'accessible' as a village e.g. walkable and not needing to drive/bus everywhere for dinner or a drink or two after the day would be a +. That and you mentioned you can snowboard down to a lift from your door? Never experienced those, but presumably at the end of the day rather than being in a village you're "higher up" so that you can snowboard back down to start the day? Would be a cool experience!

        I think we stayed on Arlberg st or similar: https://imgur.com/KwKy6f5 which meant we could walk out the door, strap into the board and coast down to Falls Express. Was pretty great.

        Ah fair enough re: carrying chains. Never used them before - stupid question but is it easy enough to put on if it snows? Or is it only when it's icey and snowing that they're required? Silly question i know, but coming from a snow-lesss state it's never been a thought or something we needed, hah!

        They're pretty easy if you have a half a brain, and they show how you how to install them when you hire them. Don't forget - half of the population is below average intelligence and they seem to go ok at installing them - mostly…

        GOod luck for Noosa. I think life is short so we'll go through with this - sure puts me on edge though given we never had to worry about snap lockdowns in the past. Past worries about "not making a trip" are so trivial now versus the high chances these days - if only we knew how good we had it back then: book your leave and unless travel/flights were cancelled you were pretty much going to make it there (shhort of any accidents near the trip haha).

        Yeah I'm a bit worried, but worst case is I have travel credit sitting around for when we can travel again.

        On another note is Falls Creek reasonable enough to pickup a snowboard and boots, general hire? Have our own jackets, pants and basics, so just need the board and boots, helmet :) Presume like all other resorts hire is abundant and can be done on the day without prebooking? So we just neeed tosort out our accommodation and transport?

        Yeah they're all much of a muchness really, in terms of hire gear. You shouldn't have much problem sorting out gear without prebooking.

        Would you remember where you normallly stay in Falls Creek? or the area to target?

        Check the imgur link above

        •  

          Thanks for the image. So basically anywhere on the Arlberg streets and the parallel streets are the main village areas to target accommodation? So one can actually drive up to the accommodation with chains/car? Or is it a central parking outside of the main slopes like Buller where one has to alight and then commute to their accommodation?

          Never experienced strapping on straight from door which sounds exciting. Is Falls Express the main one that will shuffle you off to all the other ancillary lifts mid/higher up?

          Some are still calling Falls a more beginner slope which is interesting, seems you rate it intermediate and that its the bees knees for if you need to find something…. but it does seem to not get closed off to traffic with bad weather, which is a big positive for out of state travellers… and likely to have much better snow than Buller. I'll try hunting for accommodation there first…. i think it'll be a pretty expensive non refundable option though given most locals have probably booked all the cheap, potentially refundable items. Just need a private room and bathroom and simple storage/heated room and we're set… easier said than done haha.

          Edit: if you know the accommodation you stayed on Arlberg Street please let me know!

  •  

    Falls creek is a nice resorts for beginners/intermediate.

    Falls express, drovers and Towers chair can provide you with enough entertainment for a while in a largish area. Get more confident and go over to Scotts chair and ruin castle. If you can ride a pommel, International opens the exciting stuff

    You can catch the FallsBus from spencer street to falls creek
    http://www.fallsbus.com.au/

    •  

      Thanks! just posted my reply to all just below before i saw this. Good to hear a bus that'll take us there. I presume once in Falls by bus you can easily walk or shuttle to/from the lifts and get to/from pubs and drinks/grocery places like any other village? i.e. not too stretched out? Are all the different areas/lifts easily accessed when wanting to step up to something more intermediate/advances for snowboarding?

    •  

      Just lookeda t the return tickets for mid august - is it all sold out or do they only go Melb-Falls Creek on Fridays-Sundays? I can't find anything for a Monday-Thurs departure, however returning from falls creek does have Fri to Mondays?

      Probably means revamping our accommodation intentions from a Mon-Fri trip to perhaps Sun-Fri… unless there are other bus company alternatives out there?

      •  

        Drive to bright from Mel don't bus.

        This also means you can stop on way at places like wineries eg. Brown Brothers at Milawa or domain Chandon or Glenrowan (Ned Kelly)

  •  

    Thanks for all the responses all - as an extra input I guess we are looking for intermediate runs where we can have long, cruising snowboarding trails down the mountain. We don't know fancy tricks but we can carve an S line down and enjoy the view and atmosphere (what we love about boarding) - so it doesn't have to be fully pristine but a resort we can just chair lift all the way to various high points and find our way down and get lost amongst the different paths without too much of a worry of going down a treacherous cliff haha (not that Aussie resorts are that intense I'd imagine).

    It seems like hotham is more (from most comments) rated as the advanced skiers and falls creek has longer, nicer runs for beginners to intermediates? That said I've found my way down black runs all over in whistler and Japan and found these manageable (just the steep drop ones abit scary) and actually quite exhilarating. Maybe just lucky so far that I haven't gone rolling down one haha.

    With that said consensus still seems to be falls creek? Transport wise if weather is abit nasty it seems falls creek is more accessible from nearby towns and roads don't shut as much? It is only slightly further from Melbourne than Hotham , correct? And i presume a tourist bus runs to/from Melb there easily?

    Prices i'd imagine wouldl be high and the same as Hotham so not much of a diff comparing lift/hire prices etc?

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      Yeah I'd definitely recommend Falls Creek in your case. I'm similar level of ability and that's why i love it because of the fun, flowing runs and decent snow. Buller tends to just be icy moguls which is not much fun for me

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        Great thanks. Yeah long runs with decent decline but enough for you to flow in S and more straight lines down to practice would be great. Not after a family friendly wide run with no thrill though, so I'll take it still Fall's Creeks as a recommendation?

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          100% go for Falls. We have a holiday house near Buller so I'm very familiar with the mountain. It doesn't hold a candle compared to how fun Falls creek is by comparison

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            @chartparker: Thanks chartparker! Looking into falls now. Nothing much in terms of accommodation, but might have found one lodge with an archaic online system indicating "Something"… so enquiring.

            Fallsbus coaches were only going to falls creek on fridays-sundays, and returning back on Fridays-Mondays, which really stuffed us up for accommodation. But there appears to be another falls creek coach services WHICH i am waiting to confirm with, appear to do a daily melb-falls creek bus service.

            My understanding is though the 9am bus gets in 3pm there, so your day is gone? So you write off day 1… Is there any ability to snowboard through the night though? I turned down this opportunity in Hakuba (Japan) once as the train out the next AM was 5am-6am waking time, and have regretted since! Tore my ACL a few years later and never got to experience a night time run since… not to mention i overslept on the trian and missed the connection anyhow!

            Once you arrive at Falls creek you need to take an ATS to your accommodation correct? And at the end of the day once you finish your run do you have no choice but to walk the roads back up to your accommodation? or to/from restaurants? Or is there an easier shuttle that loops around the main roads so you can get to restaurants without trudging through snow?

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      Prices are similar at all major resorts (although Hotham and Falls haven't released lift ticket prices yet).

      The runs at Buller are generally longer than Falls Ck, but Falls has more mellow terrain which might suit you. Their blue runs are almost a green at Buller or Hotham.

      Then it comes down to village / atmosphere. Buller wins on apresski, social vibes, nightlife (nightclub open til 3am!) but Falls is more picturesque and a particularly good experience for families.

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        That said we don't want to be too mellow (family/little kid friendly) as we're still a young enough couple (bones still work haha). NOthing super icy moguls but long flowing, fun declines with variability in decline and curves etc, basically just a fun day carving down.

        Nightclub isn't an issue haha (married) but a pub/dinner and some cocktails would be great. Certainly didn't find the Buller village very big or vast/walkable though when we did go - is Falls Creek more compact and larger things to do/see? All i remember about BUller was a pub and a pretty expensive/small grocery store haha.

  • -1 vote

    but wondering what other mountains would be 'accessible' like buller

    Mt. Dandenong is very 'accessible'…

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    On a side note - how busy does the accommodation get at Falls Creek or Hotham and say Buller for August? Say last seasons - if we left booking our mid August 4 nights on weekdays (not over a weekend) towards the end of July or during the first week of August to see if any snap lockdowns/COVID cases are impacting travel restrictions interstate - would we have nil chance of finding accommodation? Do most locals/interstate tourists bite the bullet and pay the non-refundable accomo in advance well before the month of arrival? I presume accommodation is limited so it will sell out in the next month, and certainly by July and so we need to bite the bullet and book or give up on going on the trip?

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      Stupid busy. If there's any chance of it being a bumper snow season you can basically kiss any chance of booking accomo goodbye if you leave it to later. The bonus with it being so in demand though is that you might be able to onsell to Victorians if you can't travel interstate.

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        Thanks. Once booked under your name via sites like booking.com etc. can you usually onsell said accommodation? I presume you can't be stopped from doing so if you provide the details of the accommodation onwards?

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        There's plenty of availability outside of peak periods. Was even surprised to find accommodation in August.

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    Not sure what your dates are in August, but avoid Buller in the week of 23-29 August due to the Vic Interschools comps being held then.

    I think for your circumstances, Falls Creek would be best as the road is almost always open (compared with Hotham's Harrietville approach) and it is a true ski in/out village that is closed to traffic when snow cover is good (which should be the case in August).

    As for covid cancellation policies, I am only aware of Alpine View apartments which are pretty generous IMO:

    COVID-19 CANCELLATION AND REFUND POLICY
    If payment is made and government Covid-19 restrictions come into place for the time of your stay (including having to quarantine when you go home) you will receive a refund of your payment amount less 5% of the total tariff quoted. Or your full payment can be keep in credit with us to use for stays up to the end of the 2022 Winter snow season.

    If you have started your stay and you have to leave Alpine View due to government Covid-19 time constraint restrictions (such as having to cross a state border by a certain time, but not having to travel home within Victoria) you will receive a refund of the nights you could not stay less 5% of the total tariff for those nights. If you have started your holiday and decide to leave for any other reason (including ski lift closure, bad weather) and Alpine View Apartments remains open, our cancellation policy below will apply.

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      Thankfully the 16-20 august is what we're looking into (week before). WIth the traffic being closed in Fall's creek during good snow - how does one drive/leave there car for their accommodation then? Or if one's already driven to said accommodation int he village?

      Thanks for the link, CHecked it out and it appears only the Mon-Wed is free. So limited availability in only one room - anything else decently priced on the montain/village you'd recommend?

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        You can always drive to the base of the resort, and some accom is always accessible by road (FC Country Club, QV, Ropers/Pretty Valley come to mind).

        You're looking at peak season, so not much fits my definition of "reasonably priced"! Only a small proportion of accom is listed on booking.com, with most being listed on local/specialist agents, so I'd start here: https://www.fallscreek.com.au/accommodation-search/

        If your accom is snowed in, use the ATS when you check in and check out. The official page is quite comprehensive: https://www.fallscreek.com.au/carparking/

        Shuttle buses within the village (no luggage) are free.

        The overnight car parks are quite close - mostly walking distance from the main road, but you can usually get a (free) ride from the car park attendants if you want. Buller make you pay for this (called "ride share") due to the distance.

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    Well Sunday 15/08 - Thurs 19/08 at Falls Creek yields only two Available properties: Riparoo lodge for $4.4k for the 4 nights, and Karelia Alpine Lodge for $2.3k… geez sure is hard to find accommodation! Perhaps booking.com doesn't have the full suite - so hoping we can find more elsewhere. if not we may have to look elsewhere…

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      How many people are in your group?

      I'd try contacting these places:
      * https://www.alpineapartmentsfallscreek.com.au/
      * http://www.fallscreekreservations.com.au/
      * https://www.alpineboutiqueapartments.com/

      These are local booking agents, not individual properties. Some properties may be listed by more than one agent, and not all of them are listed on websites, so I suggest you call them.

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        literally just me and the mrs currently.

        Compounded issue i've realised is the fallsbus means a small window of getting from melb to falls: fri-sun, and returning fri-mondays form Falls. So doesn't help with accommodation options… for example i've found schuss at falls creek has some 'pending' reservations for odd combo room or two, but having to time in with the rigid bus an issue. Havne't seen Hotham bus timetables or buller's but i might need to go down that route if nothing aligns with the falls creek bus timetables….

        Thanks for the link - will check them out. Seems the lodges are pretty decently priced but antiquated manual methods and require checking each site directly.

        Edit:

        Tried the fallscreekreservation link and a big "we have limited availbility remaining for July and August 2021 winter season" - guess that says it all!

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          It'll be a busy season this year with no one able to ski overseas, local demand is sky high! Good for the industry I guess. Some availability might free up later as property owners can be late in releasing their apartments to the rental pool, so it's worth keeping up the search.

          You might consider a private shutte if the bus schedules don't work for you - try the ski.com.au forums, or the bus operators themselves might offer this.

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            @he3at: NZ is open & lift tickets much cheaper than in Australia. Latest news is all borders open before Xmas 2021 but think most will be open long before that.

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      That's crazy money. A lot of accommodation is not Online & that's normally the cheaper end. Online commission can be up to 30%