by Dinesh Malhotra
Melbourne, July 19: Breathtaking is the word for the Lake Mountain highland – atop a 20 minute snow-shoeing or a 10 minute cross country skiing from the resort centre base, through an undulating and pristine snow-covered easy climb.
You cannot pass it for anything in the world!
The magnificent snowy plateau better known as the ‘helicopter pad’ boasts of a half frozen glassy lake with the regenerating alpine backdrop – is a vision that can only be seen to be believed.
This invigorating opportunity, some great outdoor adventures and making of the most memorable experiences on a wondrous alpine landscape lie only at a beautiful 1&½ hour drive from Melbourne – Lake Mountain is Victoria’s youngest natural theme park.
Entry to the mountain
A shuttle bus service from base township of Marysville that includes the resort entry fee is a spectacular worry-free half an hour ride to the resort, cruising through the roadside snow, the gums and the stunning mountains.
The resort also has a per car entry only at $56 irrespective of the number of people in the car.
But arrive early! The gate at the base of Lake Mountain opens at 7.30am. With limited parking, cars are turned away on busy days. You can also make the most of your day on the snow, arriving early.
During the white season Lake Mountain transforms into a winter wonderland. Melbourne’s closest and very affordable, this resort is ideal for families and first timers to the snow.
The winter wonderland offers a myriad of adventure activities with
- network of nearly 40 kilometres of patrolled world-class cross country ski trails;
- exhilarating toboggan slopes;
- snowshoe trails;
- the wildly fun and popular Flying Fox;
- the thrilling all-weather tube run; and
- many snow play points to build a snowman or throw a snowball.
The state of the art modern facilities in the main visitor centre of Lake Mountain Alpine Resort provides an ideal base from which to explore the mountain.
The Bar & Bistro with an incredible view through to Melbourne on a clear day is open 7 days a week over the snow season.
The Ski Hire and Retail outlet on the mountain stock on-mountain clothing and gear in a large range of sizes in both PVC and Padded Outerwear, for hire. Gloves and beanies can be purchased.
Expect to be fitted personally by resort staff whether it is your snowshoes, ski poles or ski boots – and helpful advice about how each gear is to be worked with; or advice on heading up the trails, if you are by yourself.
You could also have a resort guide accompany and show you around.
The resort offers a team of very exuberant and kid-friendly team of instructors that will guide children and adults alike through all activities and all ability levels.
Head out to the winter wonderland’s immaculate snowy tracks – over 30km of well-marked and perfectly maintained alpine tranquility to explore. Ask for complimentary laminated maps before you start; and you will be good through the very well signposted ski and snowshoe trails.
The Snowgum Trail is best described as an amazing experience and for novice skiers’ safety; the resort even offers a separate trail – Echo Flat Trail, back down to the centre.
For those loathe to skiing, but love nature and snowy paths; the snowshoes are a wonderful and amazingly safe way to explore the stunning summit and the entire alpine landscape.
Venture into some of the most un-trodden and picture-perfect walking trails through the snow gums and heath-lands. The blissful snowy terrain leads to some meandering trails through the alpine forest to the lookouts that will beat any life-time experience.
Panoramic views of the Victorian Alps, the Great Dividing Range, the township of Marysville and if you get a clear day, right across to Melbourne – await you from the various lookouts.
Marvel at beautiful trickling snowy streams as you walk, run or ski your way to the summit to enjoy the beautiful valley vistas.
Ask one of the helpful assistants at the resort office to guide you to the Loop – you would not want to miss it for your life. The crunch of snow underfoot, a pristine snowy alleyway with snow gums in fresh regeneration – this is paradise fit for snow-white; while only a kilometre down you can watch hundreds of families merry-making on the toboggan slopes.
Families with small children can now experience a unique first-time snowboard experience for children aged 3-6 years, in a safe and controlled environment. The Burton Riglet Park, which opened in 2016 offers one hour lessons including board, boots and helmet hire at just $35.
Another kid-friendly feature is the Fischer Nordic Fun Park, which offers kids under 10 years the chance to learn to cross-country ski for FREE every Saturday and Sunday, including equipment hire.
Lake Mountain’s snow making ensures that the Fischer Nordic Fun Park is open every weekend, regardless of snow fall. The park has also recently introduced a 700m Fun Park Trail.
Snow players and skiers can relax and take in the stunning surrounds at one of the new picnic shelters and public BBQ facilities – and if you visiting over the summer, have a picnic; or even do a few pushups at one of the log-poles.
Soon to come on the mountain is an Alpine Burger Bar featuring gourmet burger, crispy fries and mountain milkshakes – complete in a rustic environment with leather couches and an amazing view of the sunset. The majestic sunsets can last so long on top of the mountain.
Great food and clean air – what a way to end an equally amazing cross country!
Seeking some nocturnal snowy adventure?
Explore the beauty of Lake Mountain under lights every Tuesday with night skiing now available. And the best part is that entry to the resort after 4.30pm is FREE and all equipment can be hired at reduced rates. Look out for the full moon nights.
Established as a recreational facility and day-resort, creating some lifelong memories with family and friends is easy at Lake Mountain with its year-round adventures and action.
And if you like the quiet – head to the mountain mid-week, you can have the mountain almost to yourself with all activities open.
At the base of mountain is the quaint and picturesque township of Marysville which offers many accommodation options and a range of activities and experiences.
With a tranquil vibe, Marysville is a great station from which to head to the mountain and explore other magnificent drives, walking trails, local food and wine and some souvenir shops as well.
You could have your catch-of-the-day at the Buxton Trout and Salmon Farm or visit Bruno’s Art and Sculpture Gallery featuring some stunning terracotta masterpieces.
Nearby spectacular Steavenson Falls with its viewing platform lets you get up and close to the falls catchment and also features some beautiful walking trails, one a steep climb to the beginning of the falls itself.
On your way back to Melbourne, taking an off route through the forest trail is great ride – the Hurstbridge route through the green rolling farmlands covered in mist and frost on the roadside is a remarkable way to end your trip.
The alpine season is blasting with lots of snow on the mountain, this year. Before you head out – check updates on snow levels through the live web cams
(the writer visited the resort at the invitation of Lake Mountain)
uploaded on 20/07/16; updated on 27/07/16