5-day family winter holiday in alpine Victoria
You needn’t travel far for bluebird days, wintry nights and frosty family fun. In Victoria’s alpine region you’ll find all of that snow-white magic within easy reach.
By Elspeth Callander
Victoria’s alpine region, also known as Victoria's High Country, is a beloved part of the state’s northeast, known for its charming towns, natural beauty and ski resorts. Every winter its mountains are coated in snow and become giant playgrounds for big and little kids alike.
The dramatic topography and high-altitude of the region mean that it can take up to four hours to drive between ski resorts. So, when travelling as a family, base yourselves at one location, like the family-friendly Mt Buller, and settle in for uninterrupted days of wintry fun.
Day 1: Getting to Mt Buller in alpine Victoria
Of all Victoria’s ski resorts, Mt Buller wins for convenience. It’s the closest resort to an international airport (Melbourne) in Australia, and takes about three hours to drive from the airport or city. Alternatively, Qantaslink flies from Melbourne and Sydney to Albury Airport, which is less than an hour from Mt Buller by car. From Sydney, it’s about an eight-hour drive.
If you’re arriving by car, stop in for lunch or afternoon tea at The Produce Store, which is housed in a historic building on the main street of the bustling High Country town of Mansfield – just 45 minutes outside of Mt Buller. Their chocolate brownies are the best you’ll ever taste, and the coffee’s great, too.
Stay: SkiLib is a laidback lodge on Mt Buller with a relaxed atmosphere, a cosy lounge area and a roaring fire. Nestled among the snow gums, it’s within walking distance of the village centre but far enough away to be quiet in the evenings. Most importantly, it has an onsite coffee machine the managers aren’t afraid to use.
Days 2 and 3: Family ski days
Mt Buller has 22 ski lifts, over 100 kilometres (62 miles) of runs and a huge variation in terrain, including beginner slopes, lots of intermediate runs and double black diamond chutes for those wanting to push themselves a little harder.
Get familiar with the resort by booking the family into some lessons with the Ski & Snowboard School. The school accommodates all ages and has a team of specialist instructors trained to teach adults, teens and young children. Children aged three to six will learn to ski in The Magic Forest (on magic ski carpets) as part of the Bunyips program based out of the Buller Kids Centre, while Buller Kids (children aged seven to 14) will learn to ski on the mountain with specialist kids’ instructors in half-day, full-day and multi-day programs. Teens aged 15-18 years can join adult classes at student prices.
Your days will be full of lessons, practice and chairlifts, so aim for relaxed family dinners in cosy quarters – Chamois Restaurant, Kaptans Restaurant and The Whitt are all great options for families.
Days 4 and 5: Family fun days
Skiing isn’t the only great activities to keep the family entertained. Being on a toboggan is super fun, but they’re notoriously difficult to steer. Head to Mt Buller's Toboggan & Snowplay Park, where the slopes aren’t too steep and the kids can safely toboggan in one of two designated, supervised parks. The resort’s mobile SnowFactory ensures there’s always something cold for the toboggan to slide down in the winter months.
Factor in time for a family dog sledding experience with Australian Sleddog Tours. Drink in the scenery of Mt Buller while you’re pulled through the winter landscape by a team of powerful Siberian huskies. If you’d rather, you can meet and greet the huskies for a small fee.
Take things to the next level on a sightseeing helicopter flight the family will never forget. Fly high above the alpine landscape and get some epic views of Mt Buller, Mt Stirling and the rest of the High Country in its winter coat. Dates are limited so book early with Alpine Helicopter Charter.
If you have more time: Other Victorian High Country spots to visit
If you can add a few extra days onto your winter trip, Falls Creek and Hotham are two other great resorts suitable for families. If you’re travelling with a four-legged family member then Dinner Plain, near Hotham, is the only place in the Australian ski fields you can bring your dog. You also might like to explore some of the quaint High Country villages such as Beechworth and Bright, where you can stay in style at Big Sky Retreat.