Mt Baw Baw alpine resort is Melbourne’s closest downhill ski resort, being just 2.5 hours away from the city.
The mountain boasts 35 hectares of snow terrain with 15 ski runs, 7 ski lifts, two toboggan areas and snow play as well as Mt Baw Baw accommodation.
Over a third of its slopes are aimed at beginners, making Mt Baw Baw a safe and fun destination for families wanting to experience a snow holiday or learning to ski or snowboard for the first time. Also, Mt Baw Baw has guaranteed snow all season with a snow factory promising fresh powder in the beginner ski areas.
This year, the Mt Baw Baw snow season 2022 will begin in June (exact date will be confirmed closer to the season opening) and we can’t be more excited as it’s one of our favourite spots for enjoying a winter snow holiday as a family. This year we heard there are a lot more fun opportunities for families who want to try skiing, snowboarding or tobogganing. But for those who don’t want to hit the slopes, Mt Baw Baw village also has a great selection of food, drink and dining venues and often hosts other activities throughout the season.
If you’re also considering an affordable snow holiday or wanting to learn to ski/snowboard, here are my tips for visiting Mt Baw Baw with kids.
Click here for my 10 tips for a family ski trip or snow holiday
When is 2022 Ski Season in Melbourne & Victoria?
The ski season usually starts on the Queens Birthday long weekend, which will be Saturday 11 June 2022. It usually ends around September.
Mt baw baw tips
1. How to get to Mt Baw Baw
There are four different routes to Mt Baw Baw from Melbourne:
- Take Baw Baw Tourist Road via Neerim South and Noogee. This is a windy, narrow road and when I talk to Mt Baw Baw Guest Services team they highly recommend using route 2 instead due to the number of logging trucks using the road.
- Take Southface Road via Moe, Erica and Rawson. This is a wider, less windy route but there is an unsealed section for about 25km. I find that it is okay with a family sedan (i.e. not a 4WD) when there’s no snow on the ground.
- The Scenic Suburb route is the best option for those coming from the far eastern suburbs with a travel time of approximately 2 hours. To go on this picturesque route you’ll have to travel along the Warburton Hwy to Yarra Junction, once at Yarra Junction turn right onto the Yarra Junction-Noojee Road, follow this through Powelltown and Noojee, where you’ll join the Mt Baw Baw Tourist Road. Continue on through Icy Creek and Tanjil Bren until you reach the entry gate. (Take note that the last available fuel is on Warburton Highway in Launching Place)
- The last way of getting to Mt Baw Baw via car is by going through Mt Baw Baw Tourist Road via Willow Grove. Though travel time will take approximately 3 hours from Melbourne CBD, the nice part about this route is that you’ll get to take in the spectacular rolling hills and lake views along the Willow Grove route. Your journey will begin when you turn off from the Princes Hwy (M1) at the Trafalgar or Moe exit, continue along Willow Grove Rd to the Willow Grove township. You’ll then have to travel through Hill End to Icy Creek and Tanjil Bren before reaching the resort gates. Note that the Last major fuel stops are in Trafalgar and Moe. Along this route, you’ll also be able to find chain hire and fitting in Icy Creek and Tanjil Bren.
Note that there is no petrol on the mountain, so fill up your car at Yarra Junction/The Landing Place, Neerim Junction, Neerim South, Tyres or Moe. Additionally, shuttle services are available but must be booked in advance.
2. Where and when to hire snow chains
All vehicles are required by law to carry snow chains during the declared snow season regardless of conditions when entering Mt Baw Baw alpine resort.
You can hire chains from Baw Baw Sports & Outdoors in Neerim South, Baw Baw Chain Hire in Noojee or Erica Ski Hire.
Mt Baw Baw has snow chain rental at the entrance of the resort, which is at the intersection of Southface Road and Mt Baw Baw Tourist Road. They help you with fitting them and I suggest you go there if you’re not familiar with using snow chains.
If you are near Yarraville Melly’s Inner West Melbourne Snow Hire hires them for $20.
3. Where to Park at Mt Baw Baw and Luggage
At the entrance of the resort is Carpark 1, a free day car park available from 7am-7pm. No cars are allowed inside the village so you’ll need to haul everything from your car to your accommodation. This can mean a couple of trips so I recommend bringing wheelie suitcases or a trolley!
If you’re staying overnight in Mt Baw Baw accommodation you’ll need to move your car to one of the overnight car parks about 200m further down the mountain.
4. Where to stay at Mt Baw Baw
All of the Mt Baw Baw accommodation is within walking distance to the slopes, snow play areas, bushwalking trails and central Village services. The range of on-mountain accommodation options includes self-contained apartments, cabins, lodges, and backpacker style accommodation.
Find Accommodation in Mount Baw Baw
It is a cosy, comfortable 2 bedroom apartment with views out over the snow gums.
There is a queen size bed in one bedroom and bunks for up to 3 people in the second bedroom (which is curiously also the entrance/exit).
There is a full kitchen with crockery/cutlery/appliances (though no pantry supplies), a lounge with TV and a bathroom with shower. Keep toasty with radiator heating in the common areas, an oil heater in the main bedroom and underfloor heating in the bathroom.
It suits our needs in terms of location and size. The downside is that access via several sets of stairs, making hauling luggage difficult. If you are storing ski/snowboard gear overnight it needs to go outside and there’s no drying room. Also, being self-contained on-mountain accommodation, it is obviously not cheap. Rates start at $109 per night.
For cheaper shared accommodation try the Frosti lodge starting at $160 per night.
5. Where to hire ski gear
You can hire ski gear at Neerim South and Erica and on-mountain there are two stores. As the resort is not ski in ski out I highly recommend hiring on-mountain so you don’t have to walk all your luggage and ski gear from the carpark to your accommodation/the slopes.
Mt Baw Baw Rentals has new equipment this season and my boots and skis have never been used! You can also hire jackets and pants at the rental shops, but gloves and goggles are only sold retail. We buy some mittens for $15 from Guest Services.
For Melburnians who live near Yarraville I use Melly’s Inner West Melbourne Snow Hire. The prices are cheap and the range is large. For instance, I hire two toboggans at $10 each vs $18 each on-mountain and three pairs of snow boots at $8 each vs $20 each on-mountain and snow chains for $20 vs $30 on-mountain. Check out the price list.
6. Book lessons in advance
If you’re a beginner then it’s essential that you book in lessons before you start so that you learn the skills properly. I also recommend lessons if you’re wanting to brush up your skills.
If you’re not a beginner but your children are then you can book them into ski school and then ski on your own for up to 6 hours!
Group lessons for kids go from 9:30-12:30pm or 1:30-4:30pm or you can book them in for the whole day. Morning sessions tend to be more popular and can book out quickly.
Group lessons for adults go from 9:30-11:30, 11:30-1:30 or 2:30-4:30pm.
Private lessons Take around 2 hours. If you’re an absolute beginner I recommend starting off with a private lesson so you get some dedicated attention. The instructor the kids have is really patient and helpful and they are both happy and encouraged by the end.
Note that group snowboard lessons for children are only available for children 7+ years. So if your child wants to snowboard and they are under 7 years old you will have to book a private lesson. Currently, there aren’t any available lessons to book on the website but it would be best to check in from time to time for updates on possible lesson dates as the season gets closer.
Ski instructors advise that if your child is an absolute beginner that they learn to ski before they snowboard. Learning to snowboard means that you’ll spend a lot of time clipping in and out of your board (especially on ski lifts) and on your bum!
7. Try other activities
Mt Baw Baw is not short of other snowsports activities such as tobogganing, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, doing tricks on the rails and ramps at the mountain’s terrain parks and snow play. (Do note that tobogganing is not permitted anywhere in the Resort except for designated toboggan parks.)
To extend your snow play experience I recommend being prepared with buckets, spades and other toys that you would typically take to the beach for sand play. Of course you can still build snowmen and throw snowballs too!
Finally, bring your bathers for Mt Baw Baw’s Rock Pool Spa!
Bonus tip: If Tobogganing is something you want to do, it would be best to book the passes in advance online to avoid missing out!
8. Meet the dingoes
Mt Baw Baw has three resident alpine dingoes, Rowdy and Warragul and Bunji. They are the main attraction of the Dingo Resource Centre and are part of Mt Baw Baw’s commitment to educating people about these often misunderstood animals.
This year, Every Monday to Friday, join in on the Alpine Dingo Walk and Cuddle experience where you’ll get to meet the loving dingoes for a snowshoe guided walk through the resort’s trails, and learn about other endangered locals, including the Baw Baw Frog and Leadbeater Possum.
We previously had the opportunity to meet Rowdy and Warragul and learn a lot about dingoes in the process. They are both friendly animals and I’m proud that Lady AB pats them and asks lots of questions about them, as she’s normally afraid of dogs.
The Dingo Resource Centre offers educational talks with a booking.
9. Try the restaurants or be fully prepared for self-catering
Mt Baw Baw is small so there are only two eateries.
The former is a sit-down venue with stunning views over Gippsland. The latter is more of a pub/bar and their food menu is more limited, so my preference is the restaurant.
If you are self-catering, note that you need to bring all your supplies. There are a few shelves of essentials inside Mt Baw Baw Rentals and that’s it.
Mt Baw Baw is a fantastic family-friendly resort for first-timers and beginners. It offers affordable on-mountain accommodation as well as a variety of all-inclusive packages. Throughout the snow season there are special events running almost every week. Even though we have no natural snow on our visit we all love practising our skiing, playing in the snow and getting cosy amongst the snow gums. We can’t wait to return!
Click here for my tips for a family ski trip or snow holidays
Click here for my tips on visiting Lake Mountain with kids and Mt Buller with kids
Click here for the best places to ski, skate and snow play in Melbourne & surrounds
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