Australia

7 Things To Do In & Near Melbourne During Winter – Skiing, Snowboarding & Chill Mountain Retreats

Winter activities in & around Melbourne


While Singapore certainly isn’t lacking in the F&B, retail and entertainment department, there’s one thing that we tropic islanders don’t experience much of – winter. While we can head to places such as Snow City for some of that winter chill, there’s nothing like flying over to a foreign country and experiencing legit snow.

If you’ve been on the fence about a frosty vacay, let this be your sign. Just ~7 hours away is Melbourne, where it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas – I mean, winter. To help kickstart your planning, here are things you can consider for your trip to the Land Down Under.


When is winter in Australia?


For Australia, winter usually starts in June and ends in August. On average, temperatures are around 15-26˚C but don’t let the numbers trick you into thinking it’s just air-con weather. When the wind blows or night falls, it will feel like you’re in sub-zero temperature conditions.

Snow is not something that occurs throughout the entire country; only certain states such as New South Wales and Tasmania or the mountainous areas like Australian Alps experience snowfall. To catch snowfall near Melbourne, head to Mt Buller, which is a known ski resort.

If you aren’t a fan of heavy snow and very cold weather, you might want to consider visiting areas such as Darwin or Cairns where the weather is cool – a perfect escape from Singapore’s heat.

With regards to attire, it’d be heavily dependent on which part of Australia you’re visiting and your own personal resistance to the cold. For some, a simple pullover would suffice while others might require a thicker down jacket.

We’d recommend you to layer your clothes instead – this way you’ll be able to easily remove or add on clothing depending on how you’re feeling. Start off with thermal innerwear then sweaters, followed by a padded jacket for chilly temperatures. Wool socks, beanies, and scarves do well to keep heat in during winter.


1. Go whale-watching on a cruise



Image adapted from: Klook

Get ready to have a whale of a time by catching these majestic sea creatures from the comfort of a cruise. Winter just so happens to be whale migration season, so it’s the perfect time to catch pods of whales swimming near the Bass Straits.


Image credit: @phillipisland via Instagram

There aren’t any whales in Melbourne itself; they’re all at Phillip Island, which is a 2-hour drive away. Aside from whales, lucky ones might also get the opportunity to see some and seal rocks during their cruise.

The cruise takes about 4 hours and includes lunch with free coffee and tea. Those looking to let loose on the cruise have the option to order alcoholic beverages on board the cruise too.


Image credit: Klook

Once you’re back on land, stick around to catch the Little Penguins that this island is also known for. They swim up to shore in the evenings in droves and is quite a sight to behold.

Book Winter Whale Watching Cruise in Phillip Island.

Book Phillip Island Penguin Parade.


2. Feast at Queen Victoria Winter Night Market



Image credit: @thenightmarket via Instagram

Any visitor to Melbourne would’ve visited Queen Victoria Market at least once. Now here’s a reason to revisit this place in the winter – the Queen Victoria Winter Night Market. It’s the place to go if you’re looking for an enjoyable night of feasting on street food, watching performances, and shopping for local knick knacks.


Image credit: The Night Market                    

Past years have seen stalls selling pastas tossed in giant cheese wheels, hawker nights featuring Asian dishes like dumplings and satay, and even lion dances.

Queen Victoria Winter Night Market takes place every Wednesday from 5th June to 28th August 2024.

Queen Victoria Winter Night Market
Admission: Free

Dates: Every Wednesday from 5th June – 28th August 2024
Time: 5pm-10pm
Venue: Queen Street, Melbourne VIC 3000, Australia
Contact: Queen Victoria Winter Night Market website


3. Warm up at Firelight Festival



Image credit: Firelight 

If you aren’t used to Aussie’s chilly weather, we recommend heading over to the Firelight Festival where you won’t only warm up but will also be able to enjoy free and spectacular fire performances. With more than 40 fire pits and drums, as well as over 35 flame jets and fire sculptures, you’re bound to feel toasty by the end of the night.


Image credit: What’s On Melbourne

After your visual treat of fire spitting and theatrics, treat your stomach to a feat with the festival’s food offerings. They’ve got hot chocolate, paella, churros, and – get this – smoked meats.

Firelight Festival
Dates:
28th June – 30th June 2024
Time: 28th June – 29th June 5pm-10.30pm | 30th June 5pm-10pm
Venue: Marvel Stadium, 740 Bourke St, Docklands VIC 3008, Australia
Contact: Firelight Melbourne website


4. Go on a winter outdoor treasure hunt at Mt Buller



Image credit: @grandmama_travel
via Instagram

Just a 3-hour drive away from Melbourne Airport, Mt Buller is a snow resort with a plethora of activities for you and the gang to try out – including snowgaining. Think outdoor treasure hunt, where you’ll have to put your sleuthing skills to test and locate all 9 hidden checkpoints spread across the snow-covered slopes to receive a Mt Buller-themed multi tool.


Image credit: @wellspringkids_burlington via Instagram

Those travelling with kiddos can go tobogganing, where you can have a fun challenge and see who whizzes down the slopes the fastest. There’ll be a fee of AU15/pax (~S$13.39) that allows visitors to have unlimited access to both parks. Children under 100cm can enter for free but need to be accompanied by an adult who paid for a ticket.


Image credit: Mt Buller

If you’re more for chill vibes, take the scenic route and get on the chair lift ride from AU$121/adult (~S$108.41) for a full day pass and AU$73/child (~S$65.41) for those aged 5-18 years old. Then, rest up at The Arlberg and stay the night on the mountains, where there are cosy rooms from S$255.59/night.

Address: Mount Buller, Victoria 3723, Australia
Contact: +61 1800 285 537 | info@skibuller.com.au
Website: Mt Buller website


5. Try snowshoeing & cross-country skiing at Falls Creek



Image credit: Falls Creek

For our fitspo pals, Falls Creek is a place not to be missed. Boasting the largest ski field in Victoria, the resort has 4 terrain parks with varying difficulty levels for you to explore. Ski and snowboard newbies can also check out the 2.2km green run, a beginner-friendly route that also happens to be Australia’s longest green run.


Snowshoeing lets you walk on the snow with ease.
Image credit: @waas_sappening via Instagram

There’s also the lesser-known snowshoeing, a great family activity for folks who feel foreign skating on the snow. For the uninitiated, snowshoes are a type of footwear that’ll prevent you from sinking into the snow. So, gear up and explore the several paths available. And if you don’t have your own equipment, there are multiple rental shops at the resort.

You can also embark on cross country skiing here, where your journey starts from the Nordic Bowl and pans across the corners of Bogong High Plains. There are 6 courses to choose from, ranging from the beginner-friendly 1.5km Nordic Bowl Loop to the higher-levelled Rocky Valley Lake Loop.


Image credit: Falls Creek

For those planning a trip in July or August, Falls Creek will be bringing back their Fireworks Fiesta every Thursday at 7pm. Grab your cameras and head over to The Village Bowl, located at the base of the Eagle and Summit Chairlifts, and feast your eyes on the fireworks show that’ll make for a perfect end to your day.

Address: Falls Creek, Victoria 3699, Australia
Contact: +61 1800 232 557 | info@fallscreek.com.au
Website: Falls Creek website


6. Take helicopter flights & backcountry sled tours at Mt Hotham



Sit back and relax as you go on the “magic carpet ride”.
Image credit: @snowstuffpark via Instagram

Set atop the mountain, Mt Hotham is considered by many to have the best snow and unique terrains – hence being dubbed the “powder capital of Australia”. The resort is a hot favourite amongst local winter sport enthusiasts, with many coming in for night skiing and snowboarding that happens every Wednesday and Saturday.

Besides the quintessential winter activities, the place also offers backcountry sled tours that’ll bring you across the picturesque views of Dargo Valley, Swindlers Valley, Mt Feathertop and Bogong High Plains. The tours are 30 minutes long, and rates go from AU$190/2 pax (~S$184.64).


Image credit: Alpine Helicopters

If you’re looking to splurge and pamper your boo during the trip, book a Mt Hotham Scenic Flight that’ll have you soaring across the alpine regions. The total trip takes around 12-minutes, and will set you back from AU$120/pax (~S$107.12).

Address: 28 Great Alpine Road, Hotham Heights, Victoria, Australia 3741
Contact: +61 3 5759 3550 | info@mthotham.com.au
Website: Mt Hotham website


7. Taste unique brownies at the Brownie Festival


Image credit: @yarravalleychocolaterie via Instagram

Those who love the decadent bite of a fudgy brownie must bookmark the Brownie Festival happening from 5th-23rd June 2024 at the Yarra Valley Chocolaterie & Ice Creamery.

Indulge in sweet treats with the 45-minute Ultimate Brownie Session, where you’ll get to try 6 unique brownie flavours. There’s also a fun DIY segment that’ll have you creating your own signature brownie with toppings for you to take home as a souvenir.


Image credit: @yarravalleychocolaterie via Instagram

Yarra Valley Chocolaterie & Ice Creamery also usually runs an annual Hot Chocolate Festival in August. Stay tuned to their social media pages for exact dates and workshops.

Website: Yarra Valley Chocolaterie & Ice Creamery website


Winter activities to enjoy in Melbourne

*Note: The promotions featured may no longer be available.

Escape the heat and pick a winter destination like Melbourne this June to September – you’ll discover that there’s more to the place than its Instagrammable graffitied lanes and hipster cafes.


Image credit: @ashleemckee.realestate via Instagram

The options are endless here, from winter sports to the Hot Chocolate Festival. Besides these activities, you can also catch Borealis on the Lake, a Northern Lights inspired outdoor lights installation happening in Daylesford, every Thursday to Sunday from 15th July to 4th September 2022.


The Winter Wonderlights is back from 25th June to 17th July 2022.
Image credit: @weareballarat via Instagram

Then, switch up your night activities and visit the Winter Night Markets at Queen Victoria Market, open every Wednesday at 5pm from 1st June to 31st August 2022. There’s also the Winter Wonderlights in Sovereign Hill where there are tons of things for you and the fam to do – including candle dipping, horse-drawn coach rides and visiting good ‘ol Santa’s grotto.

And for those who aren’t familiar with winter activities, Chan Brothers is offering a free and easy 7-day tour package that you can sign up for so you won’t have to fuss about the planning. Simply customise the tour to your preference and you’ll be well on your way.

Find out more about the Mt Buller package

 


This post was brought to you by Visit Victoria.
Cover image adapted from: Visit Victoria, Klook
Originally published on 3rd June 2022. Last updated by Gracelyn Lim on 26th May 2024.

Joycelyn Yeow

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