Questions about Mt Buller!

Aidanc

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Hey all!

I've recently moved to Melbourne from Brisbane for full time work and i'm wanting to take advantage of the snow at-least every weekend or fortnight. I've got a couple of questions in regards to Mt Buller and i thought i'd ask here!

-Whats the best / cheapest bus service to get from Melbourne CBD to Mt Buller (If im leaving on Saturday Morning 5am+)

-Is it safe bringing up a rental car.

-Any tips on getting to Mt Buller with no car? eg: rental / bus (As i didn't bring mine down)

-Any full time workers that do this? (I would love to hear your way to implementing the snow while working full-time)

-Best places to stay at with my partner on a budget?

Thanks guys! I appreciate this website! I just found it.
 

TheFake

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I can't speak for the bus options, but I'm not sure I'd be willing to take a rental up Buller in winter. There are an awful lot of absolute spanners who can't drive on that road due to the proximity to Melbourne. You will also need to rent chains.

I'm employed full time, typically I take a day off work and ski mid week in July/August and then go back to skiing weekends once the peak is over.
 
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Aidanc

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Thank you so much. I appreciate that alot. I'm currently on Goget car rental which is handy!
 

Aidanc

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Side note.

Do you purchase the skii pass with mt buller or do you get a ikon pass?
 

TheFake

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Side note.

Do you purchase the skii pass with mt buller or do you get a ikon pass?
Last season I had a season pass. This year I will just buy day passes from Buller directly. I doubt I will get enough days in to make the Ikon worth it.
 

chriscross

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There are a number of bus services from Melb to Mt Buller including Bullerbus and V-Line. Also you can drive to the town of Mansfield and catch a bus from there (good gear hire options there) or drive to the small settlement of Mirimbah at the base of the mountain, then bus. But be aware that because Buller is the closest big mountain ski resort to Melbourne, it gets crazy busy, especially on week-ends. (A smaller mountain called Baw Baw is closer and quieter but does not have the steeps). There is very little accommodation on Buller that could be called cheap, some lodges, perhaps, (Nutcracker comes to mind) but again Mansfield offers the budget options. Merrijig Motor Inn can also work for a couple, but a bit isolated. Worth a look, perhaps. Hope you can get to the mountains before too long.
 
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nezumi

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I've recently moved to Melbourne from Brisbane for full time work and i'm wanting to take advantage of the snow at-least every weekend or fortnight. I've got a couple of questions in regards to Mt Buller and i thought i'd ask here!

Welcome!

-Whats the best / cheapest bus service to get from Melbourne CBD to Mt Buller (If im leaving on Saturday Morning 5am+)

I think this was the best ( from both a cost and time perspective) option that I could find when I went up last year: https://www.extragreen.com.au/mt-buller/. If You are the type of person who can sleep on the bus then it's a great option, as you can basically stay at your own home and daytrip up both days on the weekend. Hell, if you ask them about a season deal or something they'd probably go for it.

-Is it safe bringing up a rental car.

Safe, maybe. That depends on how confident you are driving in adverse conditions, as well as how confident you are in other people's ability to drive in adverse weather conditions. As far as GoGet in particular, the T's & C's expressly forbid the use of their cars on the snow, or above the snowline during snow season.

-Any tips on getting to Mt Buller with no car? eg: rental / bus (As i didn't bring mine down)

There are often rideshare groups (genuine carpooling, not Uber et al) that could be an option, but these lack the inherent reliability you might need.

-Any full time workers that do this? (I would love to hear your way to implementing the snow while working full-time)

Buller is the Melbourne day-trip resort. This is a double edged sword. If you are looking to go up at the weekends you should expect higher lift pass prices* and bigger crowds. If you have any annual leave accrued, or any flexibility in your work location (and especially if you are the sort of person who can work on a bus, like working on your laptop), then midweek may be a better option.

*Pro-tip, if you are looking to be at Buller mid-week, you may be better off purchasing individual day passes rather than a multi day lift pass. E.G., August 17 & 18 as individual day passes would cost $136. As a two day lift pass it would cost $244.

-Best places to stay at with my partner on a budget?

Honestly, as above, if you are the kid of person who can hack the extra time on the bus, then just getting the evening bus home and back the next day is a better option. Otherwise I don't have any suggestions - the only reason I actually went to Buller last year is because I found a deal on Scoopon for the Alpine Retreat that saw myself and two friends get a 4 person room for 3 nights for ~$550.

Another cost-saving tip: If you are with the day trip group and planning to stay overnight, as long as you bring a small enough bag you can just catch the village shuttle bus, saving you an extra $30 per person on "ride-share" each trip. I managed this with a 40L hiking pack last year after chucking on all my snow gear in the car park.
 
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travelislife

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I think this was the best ( from both a cost and time perspective) option that I could find when I went up last year: https://www.extragreen.com.au/mt-buller/. If You are the type of person who can sleep on the bus then it's a great option, as you can basically stay at your own home and daytrip up both days on the weekend.

Honestly, as above, if you are the kid of person who can hack the extra time on the bus, then just getting the evening bus home and back the next day is a better option.

That would be insane! 2 x day trips back to back from Melbourne!? Don't think I have heard of anyone doing that. Would be wrecked. I am usually wrecked enough doing the drive up Sat morning early stay just the one night Sat in Merrijig and drive back to Melbourne Sunday night.
 

pzqxmydgwkpzikrfnj

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is it too much for a person (on their own) to drive up from melb in the morning, ski, then drive back? recently got a car so planning to do day trips more often but not sure how tiring it'll be

also, is the drive pretty easy to do?
 
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TheFake

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is it too much for a person (on their own) to drive up from melb in the morning, ski, then drive back? recently got a car so planning to do day trips more often but not sure how tiring it'll be

also, is the drive pretty easy to do?
No I regularly do exactly that. Doing it solo is hard work, especially in peak winter as most of the trip is dark. Having a companion to talk to makes it easier, and sharing the drive makes it easier again. Plan to stop for dinner on the way home at a minimum.

The drive itself isn't too bad, but that statement is very condition dependant. The road between Mt Slide, Yea and Mansfield can be a foggy mess that takes twice as long because you're stuck at 40km/h. The trip up the mountain itself can be trivial (late Sep/early Oct) or diabolical (post storm stuck behind a fuel tanker). I've generally found the trip off the mountain is worse, it's taken me over 4 hours from carpark to Mansfield multiple times.

If you're going to drive, remember three things: you will need chains, need to know how to fit them, and need to accept the fact that you need to fit them before you run out of talent. Even if you're in a big 4wd. Especially if you're in a Audi.
 

nezumi

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That would be insane! 2 x day trips back to back from Melbourne!? Don't think I have heard of anyone doing that. Would be wrecked. I am usually wrecked enough doing the drive up Sat morning early stay just the one night Sat in Merrijig and drive back to Melbourne Sunday night.

If you live in the Melbourne CBD it's not impossible. Leaving Buller at around 3-3:30pm, on a coach you can expect to arrive in the CBD at about 7:00pm. Quick dinner and off to sleep by 9:00pm, up at 5:00am and out the door by 5:30 to go again.

It involves a long time being bored in the bus, sure - but given that you are looking at saving a few hundred dollars, if you are the type that can do it, do it.
 
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JuLe

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is it too much for a person (on their own) to drive up from melb in the morning, ski, then drive back? recently got a car so planning to do day trips more often but not sure how tiring it'll be

also, is the drive pretty easy to do?

What side of Melbourne would you be driving to after skiing? If you're going towards the east and go Mansfield-Yea-Lilydale along B300 then I find that is much more pleasant than the drive down the Hume. After an early start and a full day skiing, the Hume is a looooooong boring drive, especially by yourself. Although you can get stuck behind some numpties on the B300 that can seriously slow you down! (Although the rage will be enough to keep you wide awake...)

In a normal year, I would recommend being at Mirimbah before 9am during peak times on the weekends if you want a decent park. And totally agree with the post above about chains and fitting them.
 
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Slalom

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I did a solo day trip from eastern suburbs of Melbourne to Falls Creek on the last day of the season in 2017.
Mind you I was still buzzing from the GF win the weekend prior.
Not sure I’d recommend it.
 
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DbSki

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Few bits to add.

Around a 3 hr drive from home to horse hill carpark.
Some people drive that far for work every day so it's easy.

Buy chains and don't wait until you arrive to learn how to fit them.
Do dry runs at home so when you get there and have to kneel on the mud / snow to fit them you wont get too wet / dirty
To that end you need rigger gloves so you don't get filth all over your hands and a small tarp or the like to kneel on. (Bunghole Hardware has those)

"Gate by Eight".
Meaning get to the resort entry gate by 8 or earlier, the earlier you drive up the less traffic you have to deal with all the way from Melb, less people in car park or waiting to park, less people in lift line waiting for Northside to open.

Never pay at the gate, always pre pay day carpark online,
If you pre pay you can drive past the gate and no need to line up, many do not so that saves time

You have to remove back packs on lifts now so if you plan to have one keep it small.
Enough for a cut lunch and drink,
if you can afford to eat at resort cafes then fine but the price of a Spag Bol and coffee might make your eyes water.

If work doesn't allow you to ski mid week then change jobs to one that does.
Mid week there are seldom lift lines or cafe lines and day tickets are cheaper, and even cheaper if you can pick a day 2 or 3 days prior.
Far less traffic on the slopes impeding a rapid descent.

That'll do for now.
 

pzqxmydgwkpzikrfnj

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What side of Melbourne would you be driving to after skiing? If you're going towards the east and go Mansfield-Yea-Lilydale along B300 then I find that is much more pleasant than the drive down the Hume. After an early start and a full day skiing, the Hume is a looooooong boring drive, especially by yourself. Although you can get stuck behind some numpties on the B300 that can seriously slow you down! (Although the rage will be enough to keep you wide awake...)

In a normal year, I would recommend being at Mirimbah before 9am during peak times on the weekends if you want a decent park. And totally agree with the post above about chains and fitting them.

I’m inner west melb so would most likely be going straight up north via hume (according to maps). Would traffic be bad if I plan on going up midweek (leaving melb around 5.30-6)?
 

pzqxmydgwkpzikrfnj

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Mar 23, 2020
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No I regularly do exactly that. Doing it solo is hard work, especially in peak winter as most of the trip is dark. Having a companion to talk to makes it easier, and sharing the drive makes it easier again. Plan to stop for dinner on the way home at a minimum.

The drive itself isn't too bad, but that statement is very condition dependant. The road between Mt Slide, Yea and Mansfield can be a foggy mess that takes twice as long because you're stuck at 40km/h. The trip up the mountain itself can be trivial (late Sep/early Oct) or diabolical (post storm stuck behind a fuel tanker). I've generally found the trip off the mountain is worse, it's taken me over 4 hours from carpark to Mansfield multiple times.

If you're going to drive, remember three things: you will need chains, need to know how to fit them, and need to accept the fact that you need to fit them before you run out of talent. Even if you're in a big 4wd. Especially if you're in a Audi.
Yeah I’ll do one or two trips with friends but don’t think they’ll be too keen on going up every week so it’ll most likely be solo most the time. Trying to weigh up driving vs taking a bus from melb since I won’t have anyone to share costs with. on the other hand, driving means it’ll be easier to bring my stuff and I can leave whenever I want/stay till last chair.

better to hire or just buy chains?
 

pegasusSki

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hiring chains can be a pain - from memory, some shops eg in Mansfield don't open until 8 so it's hard to be at the gate for 8.
Also avoid the big place on the right as you enter - made the mistake once of assuming that big would mean lots of staff and less queues eg better off going to the place in town on the left: Discount Ski & Snowboard Hire, always busy but they do get through quick.
 
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JuLe

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I’m inner west melb so would most likely be going straight up north via hume (according to maps). Would traffic be bad if I plan on going up midweek (leaving melb around 5.30-6)?

Ah ok. If you’re planning on midweek trips then you’ll be fine. Totally different to weekends! Also, I agree with the post above about hiring chains being a pain. If you’re going to make the effort to drive, the beauty is not having to keep stopping, and getting up there much quicker than the bus. And less stuff around with your gear. So if you’re going to drive regularly then I highly recommend getting your own chains. They’re not that expensive and you won’t ever have to worry about hiring again. Mine just sit in the boot and I forget about them until I get told to use them!
 
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willsnow

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Just a note that if you're driving up solo, then you gotta pay the resort entry gate (~$50), plus chain hiring costs and travel all by yourself -- everytime. That can quickly add up.
 
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djam

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look at a season pass for resort entry if your going up every week. Book online
the day before to get a discount , if you are paying each trip. I expect the resort
will have to limit visitors this year, to deal with COVID which may limit the number
of day passes available. The word is Northside express will run all season, that will
get you from the car to the runs fastest.
 
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nezumi

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look at a season pass for resort entry if your going up every week. Book online
the day before to get a discount , if you are paying each trip. I expect the resort
will have to limit visitors this year, to deal with COVID which may limit the number
of day passes available. The word is Northside express will run all season, that will
get you from the car to the runs fastest.

The only problem with that is that it's tied to a specific vehicle registration, right? From what I gathered @Aidanc would be either hiring a car or using a car share program, which is why I was suggesting the bus option.
 

willsnow

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The only problem with that is that it's tied to a specific vehicle registration, right? From what I gathered @Aidanc would be either hiring a car or using a car share program, which is why I was suggesting the bus option.

Yes, that's right -- a change in car reg vehicle is only allowed for very limited circumstances IIRC.
 

travelislife

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I’m inner west melb so would most likely be going straight up north via hume (according to maps). Would traffic be bad if I plan on going up midweek (leaving melb around 5.30-6)?

Midweek you'll be fine. For weekends I don't leave any later than 5:15am. I am in inner west melb and go the hume route.
 

travelislife

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If you live in the Melbourne CBD it's not impossible. Leaving Buller at around 3-3:30pm, on a coach you can expect to arrive in the CBD at about 7:00pm. Quick dinner and off to sleep by 9:00pm, up at 5:00am and out the door by 5:30 to go again.

It involves a long time being bored in the bus, sure - but given that you are looking at saving a few hundred dollars, if you are the type that can do it, do it.

Yea, doable, but I still think mad and don't think you would actually save that much paying for the 2 x return bus trips rather than 1 x return bus trip and cheap dorm bed for 1 x night, and be all the more wrecked.
 
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nezumi

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Yea, doable, but I still think mad and don't think you would actually save that much paying for the 2 x return bus trips rather than 1 x return bus trip and cheap dorm bed for 1 x night, and be all the more wrecked.

The thing is, it costs almost the same for a one way transfer as a day tour, so in both cases you have to pay for 2 x return bus trips. So it becomes an extra $65 per person versus the cost of a single Saturday night's accommodation on the hill, where most properties impose a 2 night minimum over the weekend, and the difference is severe.

Double bus = $150. For two people = $300
Overnight stay = $135 for bus + ~$900 for two night's accommodation. For two people = ~$1,170
 

travelislife

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Mansfield backpackers is always an option for those on a tight budget. It's close to the bus station, and unlike many backpacker hostels, its clean, well maintained and you can get a one or two person room... if you can survive without an ensuite bathroom.

Yeah there are options. Have also stayed at the Merrijig Lodge which is basic but friendly atmosphere.
 
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GiantWatermelon

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I've driven up to Buller a few times last year, the Mansfield to Buller part is the most draining.

If I'm going up by myself, I'd just park at Mansfield and catch the bus, cost about $70 return. The extra 20 bucks you paid compared to buying resort entry is i) 1-2hr of rest on the bus, ii) not needing to hire chains and iii.) not getting irritated driving up the snow.

I wish there are buses going up from melb to buller EARLY ~9am and return late ~5pm. Most buses you catch will either get you there around 11am and leave at 3-ish. I don't think they are really cater to people who wants to spend a lot of time in the snow, as most starters will not last that long. If anyone knows better bus option, do tell....
 
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nezumi

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I've driven up to Buller a few times last year, the Mansfield to Buller part is the most draining.

If I'm going up by myself, I'd just park at Mansfield and catch the bus, cost about $70 return. The extra 20 bucks you paid compared to buying resort entry is i) 1-2hr of rest on the bus, ii) not needing to hire chains and iii.) not getting irritated driving up the snow.

I wish there are buses going up from melb to buller EARLY ~9am and return late ~5pm. Most buses you catch will either get you there around 11am and leave at 3-ish. I don't think they are really cater to people who wants to spend a lot of time in the snow, as most starters will not last that long. If anyone knows better bus option, do tell....

The one I linked leaves the CBD at 6 and leaves Buller at 4 according to Buller's own website: https://www.mtbuller.com.au/Winter/plan-your-visit/getting-here/coach

From there, the best for time looks like it might be Altitude? Ultimately it comes down to how they structure their "gear hire" for day trippers, whether in Mansfield or on the mountain.
 

Apresski

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I'm a big fan of parking in the base town and catching the bus up, whether it be Mansfield for My Buller or My Beauty for Falls Creek.
It's so much easier.
You get dropped off in the Village Plaza.
You don't have to dig your car out then have the drive down the mountain.
You don't have to put chains I'll
 

pzqxmydgwkpzikrfnj

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I've driven up to Buller a few times last year, the Mansfield to Buller part is the most draining.

If I'm going up by myself, I'd just park at Mansfield and catch the bus, cost about $70 return. The extra 20 bucks you paid compared to buying resort entry is i) 1-2hr of rest on the bus, ii) not needing to hire chains and iii.) not getting irritated driving up the snow.

I wish there are buses going up from melb to buller EARLY ~9am and return late ~5pm. Most buses you catch will either get you there around 11am and leave at 3-ish. I don't think they are really cater to people who wants to spend a lot of time in the snow, as most starters will not last that long. If anyone knows better bus option, do tell....
Yeah that's what I was doing last year for day trips- bus from melb leaves 6.30, arrives around 10, leaves mt buller 4pm but realised that wasn't enough time on the snow for me hence why I wanna drive up this year. Catching the bus from mansfield seems like a good idea, iirc there's one that arrives in time for first chair and leaves just after 5? Is the drive from mansfield to the village really that bad though?
 
As has been said earlier in this thread, the drive up/down from Mansfield can be a nice 45 minute cruise or a multi hour nightmare. There are conditions where chains are not required for 2WD day visitors (pretty sure??) so I guess it could be a visit by visit decision. If you're going to have a 2 hour drive down the hill in a blizzard with cars going into the ditch, you might as well be curled up in the bus snoozing, rather than stuck in jam, driving down yourself.
 

blueandwhite

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Is the drive from mansfield to the village really that bad though?

It's highly dependent upon the weather. If it's snowing down below the day car park it can be a very slow trip up the mountain sometimes with chain fitting and the need to keep a constant lookout for morons. However, on a day with no snow falling it is normally absolutely fine.

One of the worst scenarios seems to be heavy snow on a Friday because in addition to day trippers and tour buses going back down the mountain in the afternoon you have all of the Toorak tractors coming up the mountain to go to their lodges at the same time. High volumes of two way traffic on that road in heavy snow is not a good scenario.
 
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TheFake

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As has been said earlier in this thread, the drive up/down from Mansfield can be a nice 45 minute cruise or a multi hour nightmare. There are conditions where chains are not required for 2WD day visitors (pretty sure??) so I guess it could be a visit by visit decision. If you're going to have a 2 hour drive down the hill in a blizzard with cars going into the ditch, you might as well be curled up in the bus snoozing, rather than stuck in jam, driving down yourself.

Until the buses are the vehicles that end up in the ditch, as they have been each time its taken me 4+ hours to get off the mountain. Not saying they're not a great option for some, they're just not for me.
 

snow drive solutions

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buses are the vehicles that end up in the ditch

IMG_1159.jpg
 
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