The only ski resort in the Southern Hemisphere with its village at the top of the mountain, Mt Hotham stands out for its sweeping summit views and for getting the most natural snow, a fact that’s helped it to earn the nickname of ‘Australia’s powder capital’.
Ski or snowboard its 320 hectares of snowfields accessed by 13 lifts. Crisscross its backcountry on snowshoes or cross-country skis. Or, in summer, take advantage of its prime Alpine National Park location and set off on one of its many hiking or walking trails. And when you simply want to chill out, soak away your everyday stresses in a Japanese-style Onsen or day spa, settle into a fireside spot for a fine-dining meal or slide into a booth at one of its many bars and order yourself a warming schnapps or cocktail.
Whatever you choose to do here, it’s easy to see why Mt Hotham’s appeal isn’t just its snow (though, as mentioned, it’s better than average).
Lift ticket prices vary depending on the day you visit, how early you book and what else you choose to bundle the purchase with, be it lessons or equipment rentals. Your Snow Pass card will hold your lift ticket and lesson passes. Children under four get to ski or snowboard for free with an adult’s Snow Pass. Ski or board under the stars with Night Skiing and Snowboarding sessions held on Saturdays and Wednesdays at the Big D. Buy an Epic Australia Pass and you’ll also get access to Falls Creek and Perisher’s four resort areas.
Keen to cross-country ski? Hotham and Dinner Plain have more than 35 kilometres of cross-country ski trails. Start them at Hotham village, around Dinner Plain or from Wire Plain, which you can get to by the Village Bus.
Hike or trail run the many trails in Alpine National Park on your own or on a guided tour. For a real adventure, embark on three-day, 37-kilometre-long Falls to Hotham Alpine Crossing, one of Victoria’s most iconic walks. Don’t have three days to spare? Hit 22-kilometre-long Mount Feathertop Razorback Walk instead, which will take you from Mt Hotham to Federation Hut, or The Huts Walk, an 18-kilometre-long circuit via Great Alpine Road.
To relax sore muscles after a day of hiking, mountain biking or being on the slopes, book a treatment at Onsen Retreat and Spa in Dinner Plain. All 60-minute or longer treatments come with a complimentary bathing session in a Japanese-inspired outdoor Onsen and an indoor heated pool. Or sign up for a massage or aqua therapy or aromatherapy treatment at White Spa, located in the Hotham Central building. Or one of Mountain Wellness Co @ 1757’s three programs: reset, recover and renew.
In summer, mountain bike scenic and challenging routes along the Great Alpine Road. Horse ride past wildflowers, snowgums and grasslands in Dinner Plain. Or fish at the Mitta Mitta River, Cobungra River or Bundarra River. Afterwards, drop by the towns and cities along the Great Alpine Road, including Wangaratta, Bright and Harrietville, for lunch, dinner or a drink at one of their many eateries, bars and wineries.
Mt Hotham is probably Australia’s best resort for advanced riders needing an adrenaline shot. The village itself doesn’t qui...
Accommodation in and around Mt Hotham ranges from self-contained apartments and holiday homes to cosy chalets and sprawling, luxury resorts. In Hotham Heights, choose from 20 free-standing chalets, including the quirkily furnished Blowhard, which comes with its own theatre room, or four-bedroom Bunnys. Absollut Apartments, Fountain Apartments and Mountain Dreaming Apartments are also attractive options in Hotham Heights.
For luxury, check out White Crystal Apartments in Hotham Central where every apartment comes with a spa bath, Arlberg Hotham, the largest hotel in the ski resort with a bar, bistro and mini-mart on-site, or Peninsula Ski Club, a lodge with floor-to-ceiling windows that will help you to feel completely immersed in the snow.
While on-snow accommodation rates drop dramatically out of snow season, prices at stays outside of Mt Hotham are even more affordable. If you don’t mind commuting into Mt Hotham, look for stays in Harrietville, Dinner Plain or Smoko, most of them conveniently along the Great Alpine Road.
Though dispersed camping is permitted throughout the Alpine National Park, dedicated camping areas with pit toilets and picnic tables allow for an easier experience, as well as the chance to meet other campers. JB Plain Hut and Camping Area between Hotham Village and Dinner is the closest campground to Mt Hotham. Buckety Plain Camping Area, Dibbins Hut and Roper Hut Camping Area are also nearby.
On a budget? Snowbird Inn offers ski-in/ski-out accommodation metres from the Summit Chairlift for affordable rates. Private and balcony rooms are available. Meet fellow travellers (the hostel sleeps 150 guests) in its communal lounge area, complete with an open fire, or at its eatery The Bird Café. If you don’t mind staying further away, look at Alpine Sports Lodge (formerly Alpine Sports Camps) in Bright, roughly an hours drive from Mt Hotham.
As far as Australian ski resorts go, Mt Hotham has some of the most lively nightlife among them. Venues to know are Jack Frost, which by day serves pub food classics with a twist: find the likes of double cheeseburger spring rolls, charred maple carrots and miso-roasted cauliflower; Swindlers Balcony Bar & Restaurant, which has pizzas and chicken wings; and The General, known for its extensive menu featuring pizzas, small plates and large.
Frankie Café + Burger Bar, upstairs at the Big D, is perfect for an easy takeaway or dine-in lunch between slope sessions. Miss Mary’s, downstairs in Hotham Central, has Asian-fusion food. And Hot Doggies in Hotham Central also has quick hot food – namely burgers and chips sides. If you have your own kitchen or for snacks, grab supplies at Hotham Central Supermarket.
Mt Hotham is a 4.5-hour drive from Melbourne, a 7.5-hour drive from Sydney and a 5.5-hour drive from Canberra. The nearest airport is Albury at a 2 hour and 15-minute drive away. If you’re driving yourself, note that during the snow season, diamond pattern wheel chains must be carried and fitted where directed. Chains are not available for hire once you’re on the mountain, but they can be hired ahead of time in the surrounding towns. For a list of chain hire stores, head here.
Hotham Bus runs services from Melbourne, Adelaide, Sydney and Albury. The Village Bus, included in the resort entry fee, connects all of Mt Hotham and has a stop in the town of Dinner Plain, a 10-minute drive away.
To ski or snowboard, visit Mt Hotham during its official snow season, from mid-June to the start of October. Consider visiting in early or late season for fewer crowds and, for the most part, better accommodation rates. The resort provides a daily snow and weather report, as well as snow cams so you can see real-time mountain views. January is the hottest month of the year. Average summer temperatures are 25 degrees.
Whether you’re a first-time skier or snowboarder, or a seasoned pro, Hotham Ski and Ride School have a private or group lesson to suit. Bundle lessons with lift tickets to save.
Want to learn to cross-country ski or snowshoe? Join a tour with Traverse Hotham. The company’s Nordic BC ski tours in Mt Hotham and Dinner Plain are for those who know cross-country skiing and want an experience that takes them to the next level. For a truly unique experience, book a dog-sledding tour with Howling Huskys. In summer, Arrabri Ski Club organises road cycle and mountain bike tours.
For a hassle-free holiday, Hotham Bus does weekend packages to Mt Hotham leaving from Melbourne and Sydney.
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