Who would think you could spend your days atop of a snowy mountain without travelling to beautiful Switzerland or majestic New Zealand? Not me, that's for sure!
I had heard of many people’s great adventures atop such mountains as Mount Buller and Mount Hotham in Victoria’s alpine region and thought I have to try this out for myself.
I found a cheap deal to Mount Buller and impulsively bought it, thinking there’s probably not going to be that much snow. A few months went past and I lost track of when my upcoming trip to Mount Buller was until I received an email from the hotel saying “we look forward to seeing you in a week’s time!” I figured it was time to round up some friends, fill the car up with petrol and buy some ski passes.
Early on a Saturday morning we left Melbourne in pursuit of snow-capped mountains. Lucky for us Mount Buller was only a leisurely 3-hour drive from the city. We arrived at the bottom of the mountain after making a pit stop for some snow chains in the small town of Mansfield, as it is a legal requirement to carry them if staying overnight on the mountain. The shop assistant quickly squashed our hopes of seeing snow by saying he has never had to use snow chains on the mountain before. At the bottom of the mountain, there was no snow, no nothing. Not a very thrilling welcome. That was until we reached halfway and all of a sudden a thick blanket of snow was covering every inch of ground we could see! We were now very excited as our hopes of chasing a winter wonderland in September had been granted!
We arrived and were directed to the car park where the car would remain for the weekend. We then hopped in the pre-paid taxi we had booked, and off we went to the summit of Mount Buller! Needless to say, there was snow. Everywhere. More snow than we could have even imagined! It was just like being atop Mount Jungfrau in Switzerland and we were beyond excited.
The taxi dropped us off at our cute chalet-style accommodation and we swiftly checked in. The village of Mount Buller eerily resembled a quaint ski town you may find in the great alps of Europe, not in the middle of Australia. Even the gum trees covered in the snow reminded me more of a Christmas tree. We were simply in love.
As the majority of the group had never skied before, we thought it would be best practice to get some lessons before hitting the slopes. We raced to the ski school and took an introductory lesson before trying our skills on the famous Bourke Street slope (it’s called this because it’s incredibly busy, just like Bourke Street in downtown Melbourne), and busy it was. I had a few near misses with some more talented skiers and snowboarders than myself, and I managed to fall into a ditch and lose my pole. After a few hours of attempting (and failing) at skiing, we called it a day and headed back to our hotel to prepare ourselves for a night out, snow style.
There are plenty of dining and nightlife options at Mount Buller village so we were spoilt for choice. We got a hot tip from our ski instructor to visit a nightclub called Kooroora and so we spent our night there.
The next morning it was time to hit the slopes again (and hopefully be better). So we got up early and prepared ourselves for a full day of skiing. After a second lesson, we graduated from the training area called the magic carpet, and got to use the big kids lift which was lots of fun. We were lucky and had a bout of sunshine which gave us panoramic views of the mountain from the ski lift.
Atop Bourke Street, I was ready to finally conquer the slope. After falling on my bum multiple times a day earlier, I was not going to let this go without a fight. And lucky for me, I was able to conquer the slope (it’s really so easy)! After a few successful journeys up and down the slope, my ski partner (who is more experienced) decided we should conquer a much more difficult slope. Silently freaking out on the inside, I agreed, and we took the ski lift to the very, very top, in very, very foggy conditions. Determined to not let my nerves get the better of me,
I ventured down the slope and with heavy concentration, made it without falling over! I was very proud of myself. I decided my reward would be lunch, and we skied across the slope to the ski-in-ski-out restaurant.
After another full day of skiing, it was time to hang up the skis and poles and call it a day. We had a slightly more low key night, where we decided to experience some of the fine dining Mount Buller has on offer. And it certainly did not disappoint! We were treated to a culinary experience which transported us to the streets of Madrid, rather than atop Mount Buller.
I would highly recommend making a trip to Australia’s alpine region, whether you visit Mount Buller, Mount Hotham or Falls Creek, there is plenty to do in all locations and it is incredibly accessible from Melbourne or Sydney. Australia also receives decent powder in a good season and we were incredibly lucky. Someone told me Australia has more snow coverage than Switzerland!
Until the next adventure! Stay tuned.