Ski, snow and the Australian sun seem like a contradiction of terms, but the Australian Alps and Falls Creek offer a winter wonderland ready for you to enjoy. The alpine season “down under” starts on the first long weekend in June and runs through to the last weekend in September. So no matter where you call home, planning in and around Easter for an Australian Alps snow holiday is a perfect time.
WHITESPACE = A CHEAP AUSTRALIAN ALPS HOLIDAY
With global warming and the resultant unpredictable weather often, the period of whitespace (otherwise known as the time before and after peak season) sees the Australian Alps full of fresh, white natural snow and the sky a beautiful peacock blue. These days are perfect for days on the mountain, especially as you and your friends are likely to be the only ones on the run.
The other bonus is that travel during whitespace offers you accommodation on the Australian Alps, ski hire, lifts passes and lessons at up to half the price as in peak periods.
HOW TO GET TO THE AUSTRALIAN ALPS
The Australian Alps border the states of New South Wales and Victoria, with access via the major cities of Sydney, Canberra and Melbourne. Most ski fields in Victoria require a 3 to 4-hour drive to get to; with those in New South Wales taking twice the time (Sydney to Thredbo is approximately 8-9 hours by car).
We chose to visit Falls Creek for our latest Australian Alps holiday based on it
- Being ski in-ski out;
- Being less appealing to Victorian day-trippers (and therefore less crowded on weekends) and;
- Being able to stay in a luxury ski chalet with all the trimmings.
GETTING TO FALLS CREEK
Located an easy 4 hours out of Melbourne, the simplest and most cost-effective way to get to Falls Creek is to hire a car out of Melbourne.
Drive a straight 2.5 hours along the Hume Highway and then through picturesque towns including Mrtyleford, you arrive at Mount Beauty. Here you park the car (for $6 a day) and catch the coach into the Alpine National Park up Falls Creek. There is no need for snow chains or anti-freeze!
The Falls Creek Coach Service offers several trips up and down the mountain daily, with fares at approximately $80 return per adult and $40 per child.
The more glamorous arrival is by helicopter however, the flights can’t be confirmed until the day of travel due to influential weather. Personally, I think of a helicopter as a flying brick so in any case preferred the coach transfer!
ABOUT FALLS CREEK
Falls Creek was originally known as Horseshoe Creek by the early Australian Cattlemen. Historians write that this was due to the boggy earth and horses losing their shoes. The Aboriginal people referred to the largest mountain in the Falls Creek area as “Bogung” meaning “big fella”. Hence the name of Falls Creek’s famous Mt Bogong, Victoria’s highest mountain.
Falls (as it is known by Australians – as we shorten and abbreviate most words in the English dictionary) is a ski in-ski out village, so it is a requirement to book oversnow transport to take your luggage from the arrivals hub to your accommodation. Some higher-end accommodation has their own oversnow transport so you don’t have to worry about this added extra.
ACCOMMODATION CHOICES IN THE AUSTRALIAN ALPS
Like any town, there is budget through to luxury in Falls Creek. Below are some options depending on whether you want basic but comfortable accommodation through to luxury feather down quilts and bearskin rugs:
Nelse Lodge to me looks like one of those rustic, log cabins you see secluded on the edge of a lake in the Rocky Mountains. It is a beautiful mid-range accommodation option set among snow gums and framed by two majestic pine trees. From the front door of Nelses Lodge, it is a gentle 500-metre walk (or ski) downhill to the main chair lift.
Astra Lodge is the perfect choice for those of you wanting a more upscale winter wonderland holiday. It is a stylish, sophisticated, ski chalet located in Falls Creek. Dream of a roaring fireplace, textured cushions, slow braises, and a glass of full flavoured red wine – and there you have Astra Lodge. Refurbished by its owner a few years ago, Astra Lodge has featured in Vogue Living magazine and has the most mesmerising magnesium indoor pool.
Koki Alpine Resort is perfect for those on a budget. I stayed here with a group of friends in my early 20s and had a fabulous skiing holiday. Koki Lodge is a family owned and run property situated in a great ski in ski out location. It provides a lodge-style atmosphere with a shared lounge and games rooms where you can meet, relax, socialize and share a story or two with other guests.
QT offers 38 designer apartments, a popular option for many staying at Falls Creek due to its perfect position at the base of the main ski runs. QT has a number of bars and cafes on its lower level, making it a popular option for those who like to ski by day and party by night.
Huski Lodge is a ski in ski out facility offering 14 boutique and stylish apartments from studios, one bedroom and two bedroom options. Breakfast is included in your rate. This is no ordinary breakfast. The Huski Restaurant is world class and certainly, its breakfast will ensure you don’t need any snacks through to lunchtime.
WHERE TO EAT AT FALLS CREEK
With Melbourne only a few hours away, good food, wine and coffee at Falls Creek is, fortunately, challenging some of its city slicker friends. Falls Creek offers an abundance of great dining options from gourmet burgers to pulled pork rolls, wood-fired pizzas, French-inspired cuisine and good old hearty home-style cooking.
Here are a few of my favourites:
Right next door to Astra Lodge, Huski Dining prides itself in serving freshly prepared food from the finest ingredients. If pappardelle duck ragu with porcini mushroom or lamb fillet, Jerusalem artichoke pureè and chestnut mousse sounds like your kind of dish then Huski is a must on your restaurant list.
Milch Cafe Bar
Milch is a casual style restaurant boasting the best gourmet burgers at Falls. Cosy and friendly, it is a mix of café meets bar.
Lilli Pilli Tea House
Just recently opened, the Lilli Pilli Tea House serves homemade cakes, wraps, slices, sandwiches, frittatas, smoothies, leaf tea and great barista coffee. Lilli Pilli is a little bit of Byron Bay on the mountain. Great for morning tea, lunch and afternoon tea, Lilli Pilli became my regular. I also loved the cute teacups.
The ski apres menu at Astra Lodge blends a mix of Switzerland with the Aussie Alps. Perfect with a glass of mulled wine, you can share a fondue of Gruyere, Emmental cheese, bread and vegetables or if you’d rather something true blue, a board of Tasmanian cheeses served with lavish, fig & walnut log, black pepper crackers (and the most amazing honeycomb & muscatels). The dinner and dessert menus are equally as amazing with specials frequently throughout the season.
At the top of the chairlift is Cloud 9. Serving the most amazing waffles this is a must for your break between morning and afternoon skiing.
This is a must try. Hot mini doughnuts, fresh from the fryer, dusted with cinnamon. Two words describe these doughnuts – moorish and addictive.
YOUR FALLS CREEK WINTER BUCKET LIST
There is so much fun to be had in the Australian Alps snow. My 5 must do’s for your winter wonderland holiday in Falls Creek is below.
- Ride a toboggan at Windy Corner or just find a good slope close to your accommodation
- Ride a chairlift and devour a waffle drizzled with milk chocolate at the Cloud 9 Café;
- Lie in the snow and make a snow angel;
- Walk through the village and pick up some new merino wool socks or ski après gear at one of the Falls Creek boutiques;
- Go looking for a mountain deer (the ones hanging above fireplaces don’t count)!
Now you’ve got the bucket list, it’s time to start planning your Australian snow holiday.
For those of you wondering, will you see a kangaroo? Yes, you will likely see a kangaroo and perhaps even a wombat, koala and the Man from Snowy River on your drive up to the Australian Alps.
We hope that this article has inspired you to visit the Australian Alps and Falls Creek. If you have any questions about the destination or have your own travel tips to share please leave these in the comments below.
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Our Top Places To Stay In Falls Creek, Australia:
- Astra Lodge Falls Creek
- Karelia Alpine Lodge
- QT Apartments
- Find the best price on hotels in Falls Creek, Australia
- Sign up to AirBnB with this link and receive a US $35 off your first booking
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