Hotham or Falls Creek???

kbrown5297

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We are intermediate snowboarders and have visited Buller a few times since moving to Melbourne. I am wanting to try one of the other mountains further afield in August and cant decide between Hotham or Falls Creek..which is best for snowboarding? I like long, wide runs with not many crowds...
Also whats the best accomodation options for both? Want to stay off the mountain to keep costs down. My parents are coming with us so they can look after our one year old son while we are up boarding so want somewhere nice walks and scenery for them to fill in the day. Thinking Harrietville or Bogong?..any other suggestions?
Thanks
 

LaNeige

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Hi kbrown I'm probably not the best to answer this, not a boarder and I haven't been to Falls but from what I gather round here Falls is flatter than Hotham and maybe a bit more family friendly. If you want off mountain near Hotham you might want to consider Dinner Plain.
 

Bogong

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Falls Creek is superb for people who ski and board blue runs. They have plenty of green and black runs too, but intermediate runs are their strong point, they have dozens of really excellent choices. After the crowded slopes of Buller you will really appreciate the wide open slopes of Falls. Falls also has a nice town layout. It's on the side of a hill, but nothing is more than 15 minutes walk away.

By contrast, Hotham doesn't really do beginner or intermediate very well. Their strong point is dark blue and black runs. They also have the worst town lay out of any ski resort in Victoria, but don't let that put you off, because if you want seriously challenging skiing, then Hotham is the place for you.
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kbrown5297

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Thanks Bogong..sounds like Falls Creek might be more what I am looking for

Can you suggest a good spot for us to stay? We dont mind driving up to an hour to get to the mountain each day...would like a nice spot for my parents who are coming over from NZ to look after our son while we are up having fun on the mountain..
 

weerab

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And the drive from Harrietville to Hotham can be challenging, I wouldn't want to do it on a daily basis. The drive from Mt Beauty is much easier and only about 40mins or so. There are hotels and alot of private rental accomodation, checkout stayz. Depending on your budget, Svarmisk is supposed to be very nice.
 

Bogong

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Off mountain accommodation is a matter of taste. Personally, I'd rather bite my own head off than commute up and down a mountain road each day, but if you're a Kiwi, you are probably used to that and staying off mountain is cheaper.

Where you stay is a matter of your budget, do you want backpacker standard, 3 star, or 4 star? Here's a quick summary of the vibe of the off mountain options.

For Falls Creek

Bogong really is a village, a few dozen houses, a shop and a pretty lake. But there isn't much to do. However it is much closer to Falls Creek than Mt Beauty.

Mt Beauty / Tawonga South is a proper town with shops, cafes, a pretty lake and a couple of thousand permanent residents. However much of the place was built in the late 1940's and 1950's so the architecture isn't that great, but it is in an appealing mountain valley, so the scenery is nice.

Another cheapish option near Falls Creek is Howman's Gap. It's really a school camp in the snow with a slight vibe that 'teacher is watching you'. Basic backpacker hostel standard with bathrooms shared with strangers, but with full board meaning simple breakfasts and dinners are included in the tariff. It's only 10 minutes drive from Falls Creek.

For Hotham.

Harrietville is another village. It has a few hundred residents, a shop and 2 pubs. But it is a fairly easy drive to the nearby town of Bright. Harrietville's greatest disadvantage is that to get to Hotham, you have to drive the most challenging sealed road in Australia every day. (Although the Harrietville - Hotham road is pretty good by the rough standards of NZ mountain roads.)

Dinner Plain is only 10 minutes easy drive from Hotham, there will be snow on the ground, but it is a real (small) town with a decent permanent population. Very pretty, but a bit more expensive than other places away from the lifts.

Omeo. A good choice if you live in the south eastern suburbs, as you drive through Gippsland to get there. A pretty town with a relatively easy access road to Hotham.
 
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kbrown5297

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thanks for the info everyone

i dont mind paying a few hundred/night for the right place.

is there much for my parents & one year old son to do through the day up falls creek if we decide to stay on the mountain?
 

snowchasser

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Now, now. I'm female and ski better than most of my male friends! Better to say Falls for beginners and hotham for advanced.
I would recommend hotham over falls. I find falls very boring to ski with no challenge. Falls is a lovely resort for a family though. In saying that, Dinner Plain is even nicer for a family and a quick 10 minute drive to hotham (or the shuttle bus of course). Accommodation is cheaper at dinner plain in comparison to falls and hotham. Hotham might help push you to the next level faster with lessons.
 
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Flakey

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kbrown5297 if you decide to stay at Bright you are able to choose between Falls Creek and Hotham for your ski destination on a daily basis. This keeps all options open. Adena Lodge is a place many of the forum skiers have stayed for many years and has very comfortable 2 bedroom units with full kitchen (including pans crockery, cutlery, etc), lounge & bathroom. There will not be snow there, so may suit your parents – gorgeous area and lovely town. Many shops to visit, cafes and restaurants (Simone's and Poplar are terrific). From Bright Hotham is approx 1 hour drive, Falls Creek is more like 1.30 from memory.

Harrietville (on the Hume/Bright side of Hotham) is mostly a Hotham servicing town. Lovely, picturesque, with a variety of accommodation, a pub or two, ice creamery. Half an hour+ drive which is relatively challenging. There is a caravan park for budget accommodation if you require this.

Omeo is on the Bairnsdale side of Hotham. Lovely, quaint old gold mining town of a few hundred, not usually in snow, but each season there are a few days. 2 pubs (Golden Age does fabulous meals), lovely shop or two, cafes, a fabulous gold mining/prison museum. This is where the recent movie "Red Hill" starring Ryan Kwanten was filmed. Easy 40 minute drive to Hotham, 20 minutes to Dinner Plain, so you can easily stop off there for a meal and a look around on the way home after a day on the snow. Accommodation is quite reasonably priced and comfortable. Best butcher on earth is in town!!! There is a caravan park for really budget accommodation if you require this.

Dinner Plain is considerably more expensive than the above 3 options, but you have the advantage of being in the snow, in a buzzing friendly village with good places to buy meals (Mountain Kitchen is superb, good pizza, great Japanese at Tsubo, great tapas at Cilantro, reasonable pub. It is one of the most quirky and spectacular holiday destinations and quite different to any other in the country.

Hotham Village is great if you decide to stay on mountain. Obviously more costly, though you may find a lodge that welcomes non-members that may suit you very well and at a reasonable price. Cars are parked at the edge of the resort so are not so readily accessible if your parents wanted to leave the mountain for a day drip. That the village is two distinct parts is not really correct as there are lodges all the way along the roads, and given the free shuttle bus that operates til the wee hours from end to end of the resort, there are no issues getting around at all. Great family meals at the General (Genny) or Swindlers. The more exclusive White Room is terrific, and Blake's is now gone, with another more casual restaurant apparently opening. A few other reasonable eating places – SnowBird is fabulous for lunches. Dinner Plain is only 10 minutes away if you wanted to go down for a meal - you can easily catch the shuttle bus instead of getting your car to drive down.

As far as skiing/boarding this is where my daughter & I learned, and we have found it terrific. Definitely more terrain for the more adventurous as it has many black and double black areas. If Orchard is open (in August it usually is) this provides extensive and beautiful intermediate terrain.

Falls is lovely too, I just love Hotham
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weerab

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Brilliant information! I have visited Dinner Plain a couple of times in summer and think it would be a gorgeous place in Winter. Bright is also quite a good suggestion, depends how much driving you want to do.
 

VSG

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snowchasser said:
Now, now. I'm female and ski better than most of my male friends! Better to say Falls for beginners and hotham for advanced.
I would recommend hotham over falls. I find falls very boring to ski with no challenge. Falls is a lovely resort for a family though. In saying that, Dinner Plain is even nicer for a family and a quick 10 minute drive to hotham (or the shuttle bus of course). Accommodation is cheaper at dinner plain in comparison to falls and hotham. Hotham might help push you to the next level faster with lessons.

Hotham is da bomb.

If your party is all beginners, well maybe Falls is your thing.
 
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Hully

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Flakey said:
kbrown5297 if you decide to stay at Bright you are able to choose between Falls Creek and Hotham for your ski destination on a daily basis. This keeps all options open. Adena Lodge is a place many of the forum skiers have stayed for many years and has very comfortable 2 bedroom units with full kitchen (including pans crockery, cutlery, etc), lounge & bathroom. There will not be snow there, so may suit your parents – gorgeous area and lovely town. Many shops to visit, cafes and restaurants (Simone's and Poplar are terrific). From Bright Hotham is approx 1 hour drive, Falls Creek is more like 1.30 from memory.

wink.gif

If you are staying off mountain...forget about Bright. Alpine Shire tourism would lead you to believe that Bright is the only option for Alpine Valleys accommodation, but you are much better off staying at Harrietville or Mount Beauty. Bright makes a longer trip to both major resorts. If you want to mainly ride Hotham stay at Harrietville and if you want to do a Falls trip it is about 15 min longer than drive from Bright. Vice versa if mainly Falls stay at Mount Beauty and if you want to go to Hotham about 15 min longer than from Bright. If you stay in Bright you will be doing about 30 mins extra everyday...and wake up in the morning to views of pine plantations not snow covered mountains.
 
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Slushii

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Fair points Hully, especially for people whose sole purpose is to board/ski and pretty much nothing else and they want the lower cost off mountain accom.

However, if you want to do a little bit more than simply board/ski and eating simply/economically at your off mountain accom, then I would suggest Bright is a better compromise. There are far better (IMHO) restaurants/eateries in Bright, there's the Bright micro Brewery and excellent wineries.Mt Beauty falls short, IMHO in this regard.


kbrown5297, If you want detailed advice about Falls Creek accom, I suggest you go to the Falls Creek sub-forum and post your Falls C, where Falls Creek enthusiasts hang out more.

Oh, and welcome to the Sno-Info forums.
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weerab

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Slushii said:
There are far better (IMHO) restaurants/eateries in Bright, there's the Bright micro Brewery and excellent wineries.Mt Beauty falls short, IMHO in this regard.


Re the Bright microbrewery, I had one of the worst beers ever there last year. I took it back and so did 5 or so of my friends/relies. The barman was embarrased and said he knew it was suss but he didn't have any choice but to sell it as it was not his business. I suggested it might be infected, he said no, but there was too much volume to just toss it away. Seems like a strange way to encourage business. They got a $100,000 or so gov't grant you would think they could sacrifice a few thousand litres of crap beer!
 

chriscross

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Just silly. I ran into a former work colleague who is a snow boarder now. Has been visiting Hotham for years with friends and told me they are suggesting he/family buy into a lodge there. Fair enough. I have suggested he should check out FC for the variety and touring possibilities but he says they always go Hoth with friends Then the kids' school ski trip comes up, to FC. So my friend, a secondary teacher still, volunteers to go along as a parent helper. Now he tells me, 'how good is Falls?' Wide open blue/inter terrain, rather than steep, narrow gullies funneling into a crowded valley. His words. Now I know many strong skiers/boarders really like Hotham and that's cool too. When I had a lesson there with Camille (It) she said it was the only place in Australia she would work (but it rains too much). If it has to be steep, then Hotham has the terrain. But for variety, touring and a village that has alpine atmosphere, not a stinky diesel road through the middle, FC is worth a visit. Or 2.

P.S. With regard to the earlier post, weerab is a chemist who, in a former life, specialised in brewing beer. Commercially. Still likes to sample brews recreationally. I would back his judgement.
 
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Young Angus

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I love Hotham, but have never been to Falls...think I need to try it this year as I'm an intermediate skiier. I just don't have any hookups up there for lodge accomm at good rates which sucks
 

MarkV

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I've skied both Hotham and Falls and think given your requirements for long open runs that Falls would be more suitable. Hotham has a lot of runs that funnel into gullies and a lots cat tracks to move around the mountain. If you like to be challenged and like a greater variety of terrain then Hotham is great. If you decide on Hotham and off mountain then consider Omeo or Dinner Plain for accommodation. The drive on the Omeo side is a lot less stressful and is less likely to be closed due to heavy snow. Accommodation in Omeo can be quite affordable. Good luck where ever you go!
 

doddles

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I've skied both Hotham and Falls and think given your requirements for long open runs that Falls would be more suitable.
Heh - this thread dates back 10 years :)
Not that the advice has really changed much - Falls for easier skiing/boarding, Hotham for more challenging.
Both places for boys and girls, young and old, gay & straight & other.
 
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fenrir

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Falls is short but if you know where to look (and I don't mean on any trail map but it is in the resort) there are some fun little pockets that hold a few fresh turns even days after a decent dump.
There is steeper terrain and more to explore but the bottlenecks are bigger at Hotham.
 

GobrinIce

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How do you get from the Summit to Big D and back? And how would you get from Blue Ribbon to the orchard? It looks like it all flows down from Orchard to Ribbon so not sure how it works going back. Cheers.
 

willsnow

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How do you get from the Summit to Big D and back? And how would you get from Blue Ribbon to the orchard? It looks like it all flows down from Orchard to Ribbon so not sure how it works going back. Cheers.
Summit to Big D? Bus/ Walk / Car. Can't ski from Summit to Big D

Blue Ribbon to Orchard? Fastest way probably bus. Bus to Hotham Central, and ski down to bottom of HV, then up HV ski towards Gotcha, up Gotcha, down to Keogh's / Orchard loading area. Assuming you have the ability to do so (lots of cat tracks and dark blue runs) and have the patience to do it. You can park at Loch carpark and possibly ski down to bottom of Gotcha to save some time (I've never tried this ... ).

It's not that straight forward to get back from Orchard to Blue Ribbon: you can do the reverse of lift rides above, or if it's open, you can do the Spargo's trail to bottom of HV (assuming you can do black run -- def not recommended if you're intermediate skier/boarder), and then keep going down all the way to Blue Ribbon via Swindler's.
 
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GobrinIce

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Summit to Big D? Bus/ Walk / Car. Can't ski from Summit to Big D

Blue Ribbon to Orchard? Fastest way probably bus. Bus to Hotham Central, and ski down to bottom of HV, then up HV ski towards Gotcha, up Gotcha, down to Keogh's / Orchard loading area. Assuming you have the ability to do so (lots of cat tracks and dark blue runs) and have the patience to do it. You can park at Loch carpark and possibly ski down to bottom of Gotcha to save some time (I've never tried this ... ).

It's not that straight forward to get back from Orchard to Blue Ribbon: you can do the reverse of lift rides above, or if it's open, you can do the Spargo's trail to bottom of HV (assuming you can do black run -- def not recommended if you're intermediate skier/boarder), and then keep going down all the way to Blue Ribbon via Swindler's.
Thanks. How often do buses run? I haven't been to a ski field in Australia that is dependant on buses. So people basically setup in one area for a good period rather than skiing around the place?
 

willsnow

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Thanks. How often do buses run? I haven't been to a ski field in Australia that is dependant on buses. So people basically setup in one area for a good period rather than skiing around the place?
Bus run is regular enough that I don't complain about it. Hotham regulars might give a better idea.

Unfortunately, Hotham suffers from a very disjointed layout. I found that once I got to Orchard, I spent a fair bit of time there before going back to HV or Village. The traverse between areas are quite long and in some places flat.

Another factor is that Blue ribbon and Orchard are last to open and first to close during the season (usually). The typical snow days for average punters in Hotham is around central areas, eg village and HV
 
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FatBoyDave

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Village loop Buses ~ every 10-15 minutes in peak periods.
Generally not too bad (can get on a bus) except for...........
- 3-3:30pm when parents have to go down to the Big D to pick up kids from lessons.
- end of the day when most people are trying to get back to Davenport area where all the ski lodges and a lot of the day car parking is based.

A lift that links Big D/Davenport area to the Summit/Hotham Central ski area over Mt Higginbotham would solve a lot of these issues.
Over the years I have seen countless solutions offered in master plans that would solve this issue. None of them ever likely to be implemented in my lifetime....
 
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