The fresh crisp air awakens your senses as you look out across the gleaming the snow. Your steaming cup of cocoa warms your frozen fingers and all you can hear are the sounds of children’s laughter, a group of friends chatting in the lift line and the occasional crack of an icicle falling from the roof of the chalet cafe. There’s nothing quite like the Victorian High Country in the winter.

Need to know before you go

The Victorian High Country encompasses most of the north east of Victorian, it is well known for having some of the tallest mountains in Australia, snow resorts, vineyards, gourmet fresh produce, rivers, scenic bike riding trails and incredible hikes. Depending on where you go, it can be anywhere from a 3.5 hour drive to a 5 hour drive from Melbourne. School holidays are busy time in all seasons so book in advance if you plan on visiting then.

1. Go skiing or snowboarding

There are three main ski resorts in Victoria;
Falls Creek – It is perfect for beginners with the longest green run in Australia (Wombats ramble). Is also has plenty of blue and black runs to keep those more advanced interested.
Our pick for on mountain accomodation: Falls Creek Country Club

Click here for a detailed trip to Falls creek.

Mount Buller – It is the closest to Melbourne but by far the busiest as it is close enough for a weekend trip. It is also the smallest ski resort so you’ll definitely be sharing the runs with a few others, especially those who have decided to not take a ski lesson and go tumbling down the mountain. There are runs that cater for all abilities and it has the cheapest lift tickets.
Our pick for on mountain accomodation: Alpine Retreat

Mount Hotham – Perfect for those ready to tackle blue and black runs, even multiple double black runs for those wanting to really test their skills. There are a few green runs but not as many as Falls Creek.
Our pick for on mountain accomodation: Arlberg Hotham

2. Ride along part or all of the ‘Mountains to Murray’ rail trail

The Murray to Mountains Rail Trail has over 100 kilometres of sealed and off-road trails, which connects Wangaratta, Beechworth, Rutherglen, Bright and Myrtleford.
Along the ride (no matter which leg you choose) you’ll taste some of Australia’s finest gourmet produce, renowned wines, and handcrafted beer. Our favourite section for fresh produce is from Beechworth to Milawa – We stopped at five different wineries on our ride and had a good laugh at each other trying to stay balanced on the bikes. You can organise this on your own or you can use a company to plan it for you. To find out more, click here.

3. Explore the town of Bright

This picturesque town has it all…. A children’s water play park and waterslide, cafes, bike riding trails, walking trails, breweries and restaurants. I forgot to mention that while you’re exploring all of the wonderful spots in Bright, you will have views of the towering mountains and crystal clear rivers. We recommend doing the Canyon walk (3km return), stopping into ‘Gum tree pies’ and the ‘Beechworth bakery’ to compare their delicacies and having dinner at the Bright Brewery (book ahead it gets busy)!

4. Visit a waterfall or ten

Eurobin Falls – A short 1.5km walk on Mount Buffalo through lush greenery and shady trees. You can continue on a little further to reach the top of the waterfall.
Ladies Bath Falls – 400m from trailhead on Mount Buffalo. Enjoy the misty spray of the waterfall and jump in for a swim on a warm day. It’s a magical spot!
Paradise Falls – Located in the King Valley and a short 500 metre walk from the car park. There are plenty of beautiful picnic spots right beside and behind the cascade.
Fainter Falls – The walk is very short at only 2 km return, but it offers views of the Kiewa River and the Falls for much of the way. 

5. Go for a hike

You’ll never be short of a hike in the Victorian High Country, they are plentiful. These are a few of our favourite day walks but there is nothing better than getting off the trail and hiking through the Bogong High Plains after the ski season has finished.
Mount Beauty Gorge Walk – It has a relatively easy 2.8-kilometre track (or 5.6-kilometre round trip) that leads you through stunning vistas. You can even jump in for a swim.
Mount Pilot Lookout Walk – It is just over 500-metres from the car park, the 360-degree views from the top will have you thinking otherwise.
Mount Bogong Staircase – 6km each way but it’s a hard slog (Allow at least 8 hours). Whilst it’s a popular hike, it’s also commonly regarded as the most challenging ascent. The Staircase is famous for its seemingly endless undulations, steep pinches and spectacular rock formations. The walk begins 2km up the Mountain Creek Road fire trail from Mountain Creek car park.
Bungalow spur to Feather top – 11km each way and again, it’s a hard slog. You can turn this into an overnight hike by camping at Federation hut.

6. Go winery hopping

Most people think of the Mornington Peninsula or the Yarra Valley for winery hopping in Victoria but some of the best wine is produced in the Victorian High Country. There are endless cellar doors, with most wineries offering lunch or grazing platter. We loved visiting…
Brown Brothers Milawa – Offering wine tastings in their cellar and lunch in their restaurant. They also have free camping!
Delatitie Winery – Oh my, the view is incredible… Enjoy sipping on your wine while gazing out over the mountains. You can also enjoy lunch there, most of the produce is grown onsite.
Feathertop winery – The name says it all. It’s a winery with cool climate wines, with an alfresco decking overlooking Feathertop.

7. Did somebody say cheese?

If you’re a food lover like us, you’ll need to pop into the little town of Milawa. You’ll find a lovely store called the ‘Milawa cheese factory’, a cheese lovers heaven. They have cheese tastings which of course entices you to purchase their cheese, you can also pick up fresh bread and breaky/lunch next door. While you’re there, be sure to also check out the ‘Olive shop and Provendor’. It is home to all of the best gourmet produce from the region. We apologise in advance to your bank accounts as it is all too delicious to say no.

8. Have a spa at the Mount Beauty caravan park

This might seem a little random but trust us, it’s an experience that you’ll want to have. It costs $20 for one hour or $10 for 30 minutes. The spa is inside of a Yurt which must be booked at the reception of the caravan park, the best part is that you will get it all to yourself. Imagine getting into a warm spa surrounded by a glass yurt after a long day of skiing. Don’t forget to bring along a wine from one of the wineries we mentioned above.

9. Visit historic high country huts

Dotted throughout the High Country around Mount Hotham, Dinner Plain and Falls Creek are over 60 historic huts of timber, stone and corrugated iron, the earliest of which dates back to 1889. Some were built by cattlemen, gold miners and others were constructed as more of a refuge for skiers in poor weather. Some are close to roads while others are an overnights hike away. We love Wallaces hut, Cope hut, Ropers hut and Tawonga hut.

10. Snow play and tobogganing

Visiting the snow isn’t just about snowboarding and skiing… Often the most fun you will have is galavanting about, throwing snow balls, making snowmen and zooming down on a toboggan. All ski resorts (Falls creek, Hotham and Mount Buller) have dedicated snow play zones but you have to pay to enter the resorts. If you want to visit the snow without paying, you’ll want to head to Mount buffalo, Lake mountain or Mount Baw Baw. These areas have enough snow to play in and have toboggan rental shops.

Where should I stay?

The activities that you choose and the budget that you have will help you decide on the location to stay. We have a few recommendations below from places that we have stayed and have loved. We have also included them under the relevant activities.

  • Falls creek – Falls Creek Country Club – We’ve always found great end of season deals here and its by far the cheapest on the mountain. In your room you’ll have a little kitchenette, fridge, tv and the hotel also has its own indoor pool overlooking the slopes. Sounds expensive right? If it was expensive we wouldn’t have stayed there. It’s so well priced.
  • Mount Beauty – The Park Mount Beauty – Can get caravan sites right on the river! There is also a gorgeous spa inside of a Yurt. The caravan park offers campsites, cabins and yurts. There’s a variety to suit all budgets. The best part is that it is right in town!
  • Hotham – Arlberg Hotham – Has a great wings night and probably the most affordable on Mount Hotham.
  • Bright – Tasman Holiday Parks – Great facilities and well maintained! If you are a big 4 member you also get some free coffee vouchers! its next to the kids splash park and a five minute walk to the brewery.
  • Mount Buller – Alpine Retreat – Good value for on mountain!
  • Mansfield – Lumi Talo, Sawmill Settlement – A quick drive up the mountain! More affordable than staying on the mountain and more space.
  • Milawa – Milawa Muscat Retreat – Cozy and Great Location!
  • Beechworth – Beechworth Lake Sambell Caravan Park – Speaks for itself!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *