8 Tips for Visiting Lake Mountain with Kids

Are you ready for some Lake Mountain snow? Lake Mountain is a Victorian ski resort that’s only 2 hours from Melbourne, making it a doable day trip with kids.

It offers cross-country skiing, snowboarding and tobogganing and general snow play fun!

If you’re only wanting to toboggan and snow play then here are my tips for making the most of your visit to Lake Mountain.

For downhill skiing, you’ll need to go to Mt Baw Baw, the next closest ski resort, or further afield again to Mt Buller.

lake mountain

When is 2023 Ski Season in Melbourne & Victoria?

The ski season usually starts on the Kings Birthday long weekend, which will be Saturday 10 June 2023. It usually ends around September.


1. Where to stay at Lake Mountain

There is no on-mountain accommodation at Lake Mountain. The nearest towns with accommodation are Marysville which is 25 minutes away, Narbethong (35 minutes away) and Healesville (60 minutes away).

Marysville is a small town and accommodation is limited, especially during peak periods such as weekends and school holidays. As such, even the most basic accommodation can be relatively expensive.

Find Accommodation near Lake Mountain Alpine Resort

Given that there is no downhill skiing at Lake Mountain my view is that you can do it in a day from Melbourne, or even just half a day if you don’t want to do any cross-country skiing either.

The resort also offers adventure activities such as laser skirmish and orienteering but at an additional cost.

(Note that some of the adventure activities such as the flying fox are currently unavailable. Keep an eye out on their Facebook and Instagram pages to be notified of when it opens up again.)

lake mountain

2. Hire your gear in advance

There is only one rental shop on the mountain so I recommend hiring your ski gear in Marysville or elsewhere in advance to save money and time.

For those who live in Melbourne’s inner west, I use Melly’s Inner West Melbourne Snow Hire based in Williamstown. The prices are cheap and the range is large. For instance, I hire 2 toboggans at $11 each vs $18 each on-mountain and 3 pairs of snow boots at $11 each vs $20 each on-mountain. Check out the price list.

On a separate note – wear snow boots. When I’m not downhill skiing I usually find gumboots are ok because I’m just walking around the village when I’m not in ski boots. But for tobogganing and snow play you really need purpose-made snow boots that are insulated and won’t trap snow and ice as easily inside.

The only thing I don’t hire in advance are snow chains because I am not certain that I need them. Turns out I do need to carry them on the day but fortunately don’t need to actually fit them!

lake mountain


3. Drive rather than take public transport or a tour

The best way to get to Lake Mountain is by car.

However, if you’re not confident in driving up there yourself, Lake Mountain has got you covered with a shuttle bus from Lake Mountain Visitor Centre to the resort. The shuttle bus runs on weekends and throughout the school holidays. The following times are available for the shuttle bus: 9 am departure from Marysville with a 1:30 pm departure from the resort, or a 10:30 am departure from Marysville with a 3 pm departure from the resort.

Tours often try to squeeze in Marysville, Steavenson Falls, Healesville, Yarra Valley.

Don’t do this!

In my view, that itinerary is too much for little kids.

With my kids we spend 3 hours (10am-1pm) at Lake Mountain and are pooped by the end. The other advantage of self-driving is that you can pack in food, drinks, spare clothes (see below).

lake mountain

4. Get there early

The resort opens at 8:30 am and the earlier you arrive, the shorter the line to get in, the better the carpark availability and the better the snow conditions.

If you arrive too late and it’s busy you’ll be directed to the lower carpark and then have to wait for a shuttle bus to take you up the mountain. This wastes time and energy better spent on the slopes!

The upper carpark is on the doorstep of the first toboggan run (Village Toboggan Run), the cafe and ski shop. If you get a car park close enough that means you can leave a lot of your gear and food inside the car and you don’t have to carry it all with you (you can see how close the carpark is to the snow in the photo below). There are no lockers on the mountain.

We arrive at 10 am (I was aiming for 9 am but the road was blocked due to an accident) and our car is 2 rows away from the edge of the snow. By the time we leave at 1 pm, the cars are parked all the way down the entry road.

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5. Prepurchase your resort entry

As of 2023 car resort entry is $55.80 ( pre-booked online) or $62 at the gate. The price includes everyone in the vehicle, so long as there are no more than 9 seats.

Please note that as of this update, resort entry tickets need to be pre-purchased prior to your arrival. If you do not have a ticket, you will not be permitted to enter.

You can also buy an early bird season pass during autumn every year. By the time the snow season opens, you won’t be able to buy an early-bird pass. 

lake mountain


6. Just pay for the magic carpet

There is a magic carpet for the Village toboggan run and it’s especially worth the price if you have young kids.

Trekking up the hill can be hard work for little legs and will exhaust them before they even get to slide down. Children up to the age of 4 years need to be supervised by an adult.

lake mountain


7. BYO food and drinks, maybe play tools

There is only the Lake Mountain Bistro on the mountain and I had been warned that the range was limited and expensive. As such, I pack four thermoses of hot food, a fifth thermos of miso soup, fruit and a whole lot of chocolate.

I carry some of this in a backpack and leave the rest in the car. This approach saves us time and money.

Oh and don’t forget to BYO carrot for your snowman! I advise bringing some plastic tools and buckets for snow play too.

lake mountain


8. Pack spare socks and gloves

If you have spare socks and gloves, take them with you and leave them in the car. Eventually, someone will whine about having wet feet or wet hands, and being able to alleviate the discomfort immediately means that you’ll be able to stay out in the snow for longer.

If you need, take spare pants as well, though my kids just strip out of their ski pants into their merino tights for the ride home.

Finally – The key to all successful snow trips is to be prepared, be patient and remember to smile!

lake mountain


10 tips for a family ski trip or snow holiday

Visiting Mt Buller with kids and Mt Baw Baw with kids

Where to ski, enjoy snow play and ice skate in Melbourne and surrounds


lake mountain

This post contains affiliate links. If you purchase using the links there is no extra cost to you and I earn a small commission that helps me to provide free, valuable and useful information for you! Thanks Joyce

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About Joyce Watts

Joyce Watts is a former intellectual property, IT and media lawyer turned serial entrepreneur.

As well as being the founder of TOT: HOT OR NOT she helps businesses with their SEO, email marketing & social media as BrightSmart.com.au; she owns an online bike store CycleStyle.com.au and develops and produces creative experiences for families via WheelieGoodFun.com. She used to publish another popular lifestyle and food blog called MEL: HOT OR NOT The decisive guide to Melbourne.

She lives in inner-city Melbourne with her husband, two children and seven bikes.

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