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9 Places to See Snow Near Melbourne

23/06/2023
9 mins read
Snow at Mushroom Rocks

Ask any local and they’ll whinge that Melbourne is cold but the streets aren’t exactly covered in snow; you have to travel a little further afield. There are a number of places to see snow within a 3-hour drive of Melbourne – some are even as close as 90-minutes.

Best Places to See Snow Near Melbourne

1. Mt Donna Buang

Mount Donna Buang is the perfect snowy escape for those wanting to experience snow without venturing too far from the city. Just an hour and a half from Melbourne CBD, it is the closest snow destination, making it an ideal choice for day trips or impromptu snowball fights.

For those seeking a tranquil retreat from the hustle and bustle, Donna Buang also offers snow walking and tobogganing in a serene forest setting. It’s also well equipped with toilets, a shelter and BBQ’s but don’t come expecting shops and ski-lifts.

Snow coverage here is often patchy but many times during the season it turns a wonderful white as a blanket of snow falls on the summit. A food truck and hire cart turn up with good conditions; 2-hour toboggan hire will set you back just $20.

  • Best season for snow: June-August
  • Distance: 85 km, 90 minutes
  • Snowfall: light and patchy, typically around 30-50 cm during the peak season
  • Snow Chains: While you can get by without them. If it gets too icy, Vicroads will
  • What We Like: It’s only 90 minutes from Melbourne and it’s free. The relaxing ambiance makes it perfect for a last-minute day trip. Enjoy a scenic drive through the lush Yarra Valley on your way to and from the mountain.
  • Elevation: 1,250m

2. Lake Mountain

More consistent snow falls at Lake Mountain in the Yarra Valley region. A small-scale resort operates on the mountain complete with a café and gear shop. Lake Mountain guarantees snow on their toboggan run all season even if it that means it is man-made.

Expect a flat rate of $56.00 per car and extra costs for the flying fox, tube run, laser skirmish and gear hire. Cross-country skiing and tobogganing are the favourites here. The 2-hour drive from Melbourne is incredibly scenic; you’ll drive “The Black Spur” and pass through Marysville too (Steavensons Falls and Keppel Lookout).

  • Best season for snow: June-September
  • Distance: 120 km, 2 hours
  • Snowfall: Moderate to heavy, reaching up to 100 cm at peak
  • Snow Chains: All vehicles must carry snow chains during the declared snow season
  • What We Like: There’s something for everyone at Lake Mountain Alpine Resort. It’s a fantastic place for beginner skiers and snowboarders, and its extensive toboggan slopes make for a fun family day out
  • Elevation: 1,433m

3. Mushroom Rocks

Heading further East into the Baw Baw National Park you’ll find the Mushroom Rocks Walk. Just to be clear, you pay an entrance fee to the Mt Baw Baw Resort but this is not needed to access the rest of the National Park. You beauty’, this one is free.

At 1240m above sea-level, snow regularly falls here turning this bushwalk into a Winter wonderland. Pass-by huge granite boulders and trudge through snow on this 5.4km return walk from the Mt Erica carpark. For more information, click here.

  • Best season for snow: June-August
  • Distance: 180 km, 2 hours 15 minutes
  • Snowfall: Light to moderate, typically around 50-70 cm during the peak season
  • Snow Chains: All vehicles must carry snow chains during the declared snow season
  • What We Like: We adore Mushroom Rocks for the sheer beauty and the sense of tranquility that it offers. The stunning rock formations combined with the soft, fluffy snow make for a picturesque scene that is perfect for photography enthusiasts. Moreover, it’s not as crowded as some of the more popular snow destinations, allowing for a more peaceful and serene snow experience.
  • Elevation: 1,240m

4. Mt St Gwinear

Mt St Gwinear is just a further 30-minutes past the turn-off to Mushroom Rocks in the Baw Baw NP once again. Despite being home to 12-kilometres of cross-country trails and two toboggan runs, this mountain remains relatively unknown. At 1500 metres above sea level it gets a solid dumping of snow and best of all, it’s absolutely free.

There is a Parks Victoria office that hires toboggans for $4 an hour; toilets and a heated shelter room is also on site. If you’re interested in trying something different, dispersed snow camping is allowed on the Baw Baw plateau. Crazy? Maybe not so, snow is actually a great insulator – it might not be as cold as you think.

  • Best season for snow: June-August
  • Distance: 195 km, 2 hours 45 minutes
  • Snowfall: Light to moderate, typically around 50-70 cm during peak season
  • Snow Chains: All vehicles must carry snow chains during the declared snow season
  • What We Like: Mount St Gwinear is a hidden gem offering a wide range of snow activities for families and novice skiers. It’s also a budget-friendly option for those looking to experience the joy of snow without the crowds or the steep prices of larger resorts.
  • Elevation: 1,509m

5. Mt Baw Baw

Welcome to Melbourne’s closest downhill ski resort. 7 lifts, 15 runs and a small-scale village set in the Gippsland high country. At $56 p/car, it’s worthwhile assessing other options if you’re just after snow play but if you want to strap into a set of skis or board for the first time, Mt Baw Baw is ideal.

Hitting the slopes is by no means a cheap adventure in Victoria, expect to pay an additional fee between $50-$80 for a daily lift ticket. Our advice, look for specials in the shoulder season and take advantage of Baw Baw’s “Wicked Wednesday” $35 adult lift pass. You’ll always save a few dollars booking online too.

  • Best season for snow: June-October
  • Distance: 180 km, 2 hours 40 minutes
  • Snowfall: Moderate to heavy, often exceeding 100 cm during the season
  • Snow Chains: All vehicles must carry snow chains during the declared snow season
  • What We Like: Mount Baw Baw is a fantastic destination for a family winter getaway. The range of activities available ensures that there’s something for everyone, from thrilling downhill slopes to gentle cross-country ski trails.
  • Elevation: 1,569m

6. Mt Buller

Mt Buller is Melbourne’s favourite downhill ski destination, it offers something for everyone; gentle slopes for beginners and epic back-country descents for those willing to “send it”.

22 lifts span the mountain to cover 41 runs and there’s a notable increase for the upgrade. Mt Buller just introduced dynamic pricing for lift tickets; they sell just like an airline tickets: Book at a time of low demand (far in advance or for an unpopular date) and you’ll save, leave it to the last minute and you’ll get stung. $55 flat rate p/car at the gate and anywhere between $64 and $148 for the lifts.

  • Best season for snow: June-October
  • Distance: 235 km, 3 hours
  • Snowfall: Moderate to heavy, with up to 150 cm during peak season
  • Snow Chains: All vehicles must carry snow chains during the declared snow season
  • What We Like: Mount Buller is a full-featured resort that caters to all abilities and interests. Whether you’re a seasoned pro or a first-time skier, you’ll find an array of activities and facilities to enjoy, including ski schools, equipment hire, and a bustling village atmosphere.
  • Elevation: 1,805m

7. Mt Stirling

For those seeking a more peaceful snow experience, Mount Stirling is a fantastic choice. Three hours from Melbourne CBD, it offers a quieter, less crowded alternative to the larger resorts while still providing a range of snow activities including snow play, cross-country skiing, and snowshoeing.

Entry to Mt Sterling is included and there’s even twilight skiing till 8:30PM on Saturday if you cough up an extra $25. The mountains are just close enough to brave a day trip and there’s a good chance the season at Buller will extend right through to mid-September.

Best season for snow: June-October
Distance:
235 km, 3 hours
Snowfall: Moderate to heavy, typically between 80-120 cm during peak season
Snow Chains: All vehicles must carry snow chains during the declared snow season
What We Like: We love Mount Stirling for its tranquil environment and beautiful scenery. It’s the perfect place to get away from it all and enjoy the peace and serenity of the snow-covered mountains.
Elevation: 1,747m

8. Mt Hotham

Mt Hotham is a little further afield and might take a day trip out of the equation but it made the list for a number of reasons. 80% of the terrain is considered intermediate or advanced and it’s known as the powder capital of Victoria. The windy drive up Mt Hotham also offers the best scenery; appreciate incredible vistas towards Mt Feathertop and Mt Buffalo as you climb the highest road in Australia.

$50 at the gate and $126-$138 for an adult lift pass opens 67 runs and 13 lifts for an epic alpine adventure. The gate fee is a flat rate once again but the resort offers good deals on lift tickets across consecutive days. Purchase tickets here.

  • Best season for snow: June-October
  • Distance: 375 km, 4 hours 30 minutes
  • Snowfall: Heavy, around 150 cm plus an additional 30 hectares of artificial snow
  • Snow Chains: All vehicles must carry diamond pattern wheel chains
  • What We Like: Whatever you’re after, you’ll find it here. Snow Play, Dog Sleds, Ski + Snowboarding lessons. They’ll give you everything you’re after but the abilities you need—those skills you’ll have to build yourself.
  • Elevation: 1,861m

9. Falls Creek

Falls Creek might require a bit more of a journey, taking around four and a half hours from Melbourne, but it’s well worth the distance. Over 90% of the terrain is suitable for beginners or intermediate skiers and snowboarders, and it’s recognized as one of Victoria’s premier ski resorts. The drive to Falls Creek is equally memorable, presenting breathtaking views of the Alpine National Park’s snow-capped peaks and sprawling valleys.

The vast, snow-blanketed landscape of Falls Creek is a snow-lover’s paradise, offering something for everyone, from the first-time snow-goer to the seasoned winter sports enthusiast. So pack your winter gear and get ready for an unforgettable snow adventure at Falls Creek.

  • Best season for snow: June-October
  • Distance: 385 km, 4 hours 45 minutes
  • Snowfall: Heavy, often exceeding 150 cm in peak season
  • Snow Chains: All vehicles must carry snow chains during the declared snow season.
  • What We Like: Its extensive terrain and variety of runs make Falls Creek a snow lover’s dream. Off the slopes, the village offers a wide range of accommodation, dining, and shopping options, contributing to a vibrant ski scene.
  • Elevation: 1,600m

 

Bonus: Mount Macedon

The Mount Macedon summit and Camel’s Hump both sit above 1000 metres and in the right conditions, snowflakes will fall here. The moment is rare; however, very beautiful. The Top of the Range Café boasts many photos each year sharing a good dusting over the summit; they also claim to have the best views of the Macedon region… might be worth a day trip.

If you want to be throwing snowballs and making snow angels at Mount Macedon, it’s time to smarten up. Check the local BOM (Bureau of Meteorology) report and look for “Snow falling above 900m”. In this case, the Gisborne Forecast is the closest. To make things easier, Top of the Range broadcasts a live snow cam on the website; good luck.

  • Best season for snow: June-September
  • Distance: 60 km, 50 minutes
  • Snowfall: Very light (Not guaranteed)
  • Snow Chains: Not required
  • What We Like: It’s the closest place to Melbourne CBD that we know of which snows
  • Elevation: 1,001m

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the coldest month in Melbourne?

The coldest month in Melbourne is typically July. The average low temperature during this month is about 7° Celsius . However, keep in mind that this is just an average, and actual temperatures can occasionally drop lower, especially at night.

Where is the closest snow to Melbourne?

The closest snow to Melbourne is Mount Donna Buang. It is about 1.5 hours drive from Melbourne CBD and offers moderate snowfall during the winter season. Although it doesn’t have a commercial ski resort, it’s a popular spot for snow play, tobogganing, and cross-country skiing.

Does it ever snow in Melbourne?

Snow in Melbourne’s central business district (CBD) is extremely rare due to the city’s relatively mild winters. The last recorded snowfall in the Melbourne CBD was in 1986. However, the city’s surrounding highlands and mountain ranges, such as Mount Dandenong and the Macedon Ranges, can occasionally receive light snowfall during cold winter fronts.

Which is better Mt Buller or Mt Baw Baw?

Both Mt Buller and Mt Baw Baw offer unique experiences, and the “better” choice depends on what you’re looking for. Mt Buller is one of Victoria’s largest and most well-known ski resorts, offering a wider range of runs, facilities, and off-snow activities. It is more suited to people looking for an extensive skiing or snowboarding experience.

Alpine Warning

Alpine areas see extreme weather and conditions can change suddenly; it can be sunny and still one moment and then windy and rainy the next. Research warnings, exercise caution, and be prepared.

 

mattcharlesworth

Matt Charlesworth is the co-founder of Humble Trail, an independent publisher born from a passion to showcase Australia's natural wonders. With a love for outdoor adventures, Matt has spent countless weekends surfing at Phillip Island and dreaming of van conversions for ultimate Australian explorations. Though he has stepped back to allow a dedicated team to lead, his spirit of adventure and dedication to connecting people with the beauty of Australia continue to inspire the content and vision of Humble Trail.

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