Dreaming of a white winter? Victoria has so much to offer during the chilly months of the year, including family friendly dog sled rides and first-rate ski resorts. And best of all, many of these attractions are within a short drive from Melbourne.
So, if you’re looking to get out of town this winter, here are some of our favourite snow-centric experiences to have in Victoria.
Join a Husky Sled Adventure
Who hasn’t dreamed of gliding through the snow on a sled pulled by a pack of huskies? Well, there’s no need to head to Alaska or the Yukon to make this dream a reality – Mount Hotham and Mount Baw Baw offer a variety of dog sled adventures all winter long.
Perfect for both kids and adults, these tours can range from 30 minutes to a couple of hours, and let you explore Victoria’s alpine regions from a completely different perspective. And if you’re up to the challenge, your tour guide might even let you take the reigns and have a go at mushing.
Explore the Backcountry
If you’re looking to go off-piste this winter, Victoria offers plenty of cross-country skiing opportunities. Mount Stirling, which is adjacent to Mount Buller, is a largely undeveloped alpine area which means zero lifts but plenty of pristine snow for true adventure seekers.
Falls Creek, Mount Hotham and Mount Baw Baw also offer their fair share of cross-country trails, making it all too easy to get away from the crowds and back to nature. Just be sure to take note of the snow conditions before you head out, as while rangers do patrol most backcountry areas, it always pays to be prepared for whatever the day will bring.
Go For a Wander in Snowshoes
If skiing and snowboarding aren’t for you (or you just want to try something a little different), then hire some snowshoes and head out on foot into the backcountry.
Many trails can easily be explored without the need for a guide, including:
Best of all, no experience is required to go snowshoeing. Simply bundle up in warm layers and spend the day wandering through picturesque mountain ash and snow gum forests.
Go Skiing or Snowboarding in the Australian Alps
Victoria boasts a number of options for avid skiers and snowboarders. Located just three hours from Melbourne, Mount Buller is the most accessible mountain, with this resort offering 13 chair lifts and a range of lessons and mountain programs for kids, first-timers and those just wanting to brush up on their downhill skills.
A little bit further afield you have Mt Hotham and Falls Creek, which offer 13 and 14 lifts respectively. Located on the beautiful Great Alpine Road, Mt Hotham also boasts three terrain parks for those in need of an adrenalin fix, with three areas also dedicated to snow play and tobogganing for the little ones.
Meanwhile, Falls Creek has Victoria’s largest area of skiable terrain, with night skiing available a few nights a week for those who just can't get enough of the snow during daylight hours. Finally, Mount Baw Baw also offers a selection of runs perfect for beginners, and conveniently within just a few hours of Melbourne.
Go Fat Biking at Falls Creek
Cycling through the snow is now entirely possible thanks to the invention of fat biking. These specialised bikes are designed for riding on snowy trails, and provide yet another way to tour the backcountry.
Falls Creek offers daily rentals of fat bikes which can be used to access five picturesque trails spread out across the mountain.
Cruise Around on a Snowmobile
Snowmobiling is an adrenaline charged way to explore Victoria’s winter landscapes. These motorised sleds make it incredibly easy to zip across the snow, with Falls Creek offering exciting snowmobiling tours into the backcountry where you’ll be treated to magnificent views of Victoria’s mountain ranges.
Mount Hotham also offers children aged five to 14 the chance to get in on the fun, with miniature snowmobiles available for short rides around their SnowStuffPark.
Go Ice Skating in Ballarat
Every July the city of Ballarat transforms into a winter wonderland, hosting the heart-warming Ballarat Winter Festival. While not exactly a snowy destination in winter, Ballarat does showcase a pop-up ice rink every year, allowing us all to lace up some skates and try our hands at a favourite North American winter pastime.
Camp in the Backcountry
For those keen to spend the night outdoors, there are a number of areas in Victoria that are great for snow camping. Mount Stirling is a popular option, offering a few mountain huts as well as camping areas.
There’s also Mt Samaria which lies 14 km north of Mansfield and offers two free campsites equipped with drinkable creek water (though it’s always advised to bring your own supply too).
Sheepyard Flat is another great option, but if you’re looking for something a bit closer to Melbourne, The Gums campsite in Kinglake is an accessible spot providing access to a number of lovely bushwalks that you’re sure to have all to yourself in the cooler winter months.