Snowy pursuits

If you don't fancy skiing or snowboarding, there are many other activities in the mountains, writes Sue Wallace.

Fancy a game of bocce in the snow? Or what about jumping on a snow bike and sliding down the slopes? These days, Victoria's snow resorts have loads of activities for those who prefer not to click on their skis or step on a snowboard.

Falls CreekGet a thrill out of racing down the designated lanes in the tube park. It's just as much fun for adults as children. Cost: $19 for half an hour. Bookings: Activities hotline 1800 204 442, see www.fallscreek.com.au.

Snow tubing

Guided snowmobile tours Grab your driver's licence and explore the snowy terrain. Former Winter Olympic skier Steven Lee also takes tours to the back country. Tours operate daily from 9am, subject to weather. Cost: From $120 a driver or $70 a passenger. Bookings: Activities hotline.

Snow biking Slide down a ski trail on a bike adapted for the snow. There are two sessions daily and evening sessions Wednesday and Saturday. Then play snocce - or snow bocce - at the snocce courts in the Village Bowl. It's free. Cost: Snow bike circuit $36 for a one-hour session. Bookings: Activities hotline.

Grooming tour Step aboard a heated snow-grooming machine for a behind-the-scenes look at how the slopes are groomed. Cost: $45 for a 50-minute trip. Bookings: Activities hotline.

Summit sunset tour Enjoy a glass of bubbles and gourmet picnic hamper while experiencing an alpine sunset from 1800 metres on the summit. Cost: $43 on Thursday evenings for about an hour. Bookings: Activities hotline.

Mount HothamThe only place in Australia where you can do this. Explore the snowgum forests of Dinner Plain with experienced musher Brett Hadden. The tour caters for one adult or one adult plus one child. Cost: $115 adults, $65 children. Bookings: 5756 2767 or 0418 230 982, see www.sleddogtours.com.au.

Advertisement

Dog sled tours

Sunset tour Ride in a comfortable, heated, purpose-built cabin on a Kassbohrer to Mount Hotham's summit. Enjoy the sunset with bubbles, beer and nibbles at 1861 metres above sea level. See Crosscut Saw in Alpine National Park, Mount Buller, Mount Stirling, Mount Feathertop, the Bogong High Plains and, on a clear afternoon, Mount Kosciuszko in NSW. Cost: $45 adults, $15 children. Bookings: Guest Services 5759 4470, see www.mthotham.com.au.

Grooming tour Discover the science behind achieving perfectly groomed corduroy slopes. Head out with one of the grooming team members in a Kassbohrer for a personalised tour. Cost: $35 a person. Bookings: Guest Services.

Snowmobiling for children Zoom around the purpose-built track. For those aged 5-14 years, weight restrictions apply. Cost: $15 for 15 minutes. Bookings: Guest Services.

Ski-in/ski-out spa Head to the White Spa at Hotham for a 30-minute express treatment. Choose from mini facials, massage, manicures and pedicures. Cost: From $69. Bookings: 5759 4488, www.whitespahotham.com.au.

Mount BullerDiscover how the mountain was transformed from a cattleman's run into a premier alpine resort. You can trace the story of the mountain's characters and see an eclectic collection of ski memorabilia. Cost: Gold coin donation.

National Alpine Museum

Mount Buller cinema New releases screened every evening in the 180-seat cinema - the highest movie theatre in Australia. Two movies are screened nightly and on bad-weather days daytime sessions are scheduled. Cost: $13 adults, $9 children. Phone: 5777 6077.

Mount Buller gnome roam Pick up a gnome roam booklet and do a self-guided tour of the mystical gnome world of the village. Catch glimpses of resident gnomes and learn about their favourite places to play. Gnome stickers available at the post office or Clock Tower information centre as a reward for completing the roam. Cost: Free. Phone 5777 6077.

Snowshoeing Suitable for all ages, snowshoeing is as easy as walking. When you get the hang of it, you can trek to the summit to watch a sunset. Cost: $35 for 1½-hour tour, including morning/afternoon tea. Bookings: 5777 6000 between noon-8pm or alpineinstitute@bigpond.com.

Pampering While it's snowing outside head to Breathtaker on High Alpine Spa Retreat, complete with a lap pool, geisha tubs and steam rooms, plus treatments and physiotherapy. Bookings: 5777 6377, see www.breathtaker.com.au.

Mount Baw BawThe Rock Spa Pool is nestled among the snowgums. It is designed to help rejuvenate and invigorate the senses and encourage relaxation after hitting the slopes. There are also a sauna and gym. Cost: Rock Spa $28 for 45 minutes, open daily from 10am-6pm. Bookings: 5165 1136, see www.mountbawbaw.com.au.

Soak in a hot spa

Snowshoeing Take a three-hour tour, or simply hire some snowshoes, grab a map and create your own adventure. Snowshoe tours come with a knowledgeable guide. Times: 11am and 1.30pm daily. Cost: Snowshoe tour $50 adults, $35 students, with a gourmet morning/afternoon tea provided for an extra $10, hire of snowshoe included. Snowshoe hire from Mount Baw Baw ski hire $20. Bookings: 5165 1136.

Grooming tour Take a ride in the resort's groomer at night or early morning and see how the snow is preserved, packed down and smoothed out. Cost: $25 a person for a one-hour tour. Bookings: 5165 1136.

Snowmaking If you have ever wanted to know how man-made snow is created, this 40-minute tour introduces guests to the resort's snowmaking facilities, providing a behind-the-scenes look. Cost: $10 a person includes a free hot drink. Daily tours. Bookings: 5165 1136.

Ride a toboggan Hit the mountain on a toboggan for some good, old-fashioned fun. Cost: $8 toboggan hire and $5 toboggan pass. Bookings: 5165 1136.

Mount StirlingOn the eastern side of the mountain you will see the famed Craig's Hut on Clear Hills. It was used as the set for the Man from Snowy River movie. It is a two-kilometre walk on snowshoes. See www.mtstirling.com.au.

Visit the cattlemen's huts

Ride a toboggan Toboggans can be hired from ski hire and can be used in the toboggan area at Telephone Box Junction. Cost: $10 toboggan hire from Mount Stirling Ski Hire, 1800 039 049, see www.mtstirling.com.au.

Snowshoeing Suitable for all ages, you can trek to the summit to watch a sunset or explore the back country playground with deep snow among the trees. Cost: $15 snowshoe hire from Mount Stirling Ski Hire.

Snow camping Immerse yourself in the alpine experience and try snow camping. Areas suited to camping include the Cricket Pitch, the Bluff Spur Hut area and the top of Dugout Bowl at the summit. Cost: Free, BYO camping gear. Details: 1800 039 049, see www.mtstirling.com.au.

Socialise in the tepee Mount Stirling Alpine Camp features a large central tepee with a warming potbelly stove for social activities and dining, surrounded by seven accommodation tents sleeping four people each on raised platforms with insulated flooring. Cost: From $120 a tent, a night. Bookings: Phone 5777 6441 or see www.stirling.au.com.

Comments