While we were planning out trip to Melbourne, one of Aristotle’s requests was to see snow. After seeing so many references to it on the idiot box, he was just itching to see what it was like in real life. So we planned a trip to Lake Mountain – the nearest mountain to Melbourne with “snow” (okay, so most of it is man-made but the effect on a child is about the same – it’s white, it covers everything, and you can make a snow man out of it).
After we arrived in Melbourne and Aristotle was constantly complaining about the cold, I had grave reservations about how much he would enjoy the “snow”. If I anticipated the disastrous repeat of our trip to Sovereign Hill (more about that in another post), I was pleasantly surprised. Not only did Aristotle love the snow but he enjoyed it so much, he didn’t want to go home. He finally agreed only after we promised a return visit with Daddy. Hercules played until he was ready to drop from fatigue so he didn’t really argue when I took him back to the car to change his clothes.
We borrowed a couple of really cool toboggans from my aunt and I had this image in my mind about how much fun the boys were going to have with them. Just looking at these toboggans brings back fond memories of my snow trips up to Lake Mountain as a child, although our toboggans were a far cry from these fancy-looking ones. They were more like oversized, plastic serving trays with a string for a handle.
It’s funny how few things ever go as anticipated with children. I thought they would both love tobogganing and it turned out that all they wanted to do was play with the snow, make a snow man (or rather get Mummy to make a snow man while they both simultaneously tried to undo all my efforts), and have a snow fight.
In Hercules’ case, all he wanted to do was roll around in it and slide down the hill on his behind. He wouldn’t get into the toboggan but he kept telling me he wanted to slide. I was confused until he dropped onto his behind and pointed down the hill then I realised that he actually thought he could slide down the hill like he saw on Ice Age (there is one scene where Sid, Manny, Diego and the baby are all sliding through an ice rollercoaster on their behinds). I tried to explain that it wasn’t possible unless he sat on the toboggan but he insisted in his frustratingly stubborn toddler way that it was. We were only able to avert a full scale toddler meltdown when I suggested we make the snowman.
Aside from the minor temper tantrums, it was a fun day for all of us. Grandpa got some lovely photos of the boys. Mummy took a walk down memory lane making the snowman and throwing snowballs at the boys. Aristotle had a mission to make the biggest snow ball in history. Hercules demonstrated a budding rock climbing interest scaling the rocks and jumping into the snow. We only did a half-day trip but it was enough for both boys to crash in the car and sleep all the way home.
All in all, as far as first time visits to the snow go, a trip to Lake Mountain is sufficient if all your kids want to do is play in the snow. It’s an easy 2 hour drive from Melbourne that usually doesn’t require any special treatment to the car other than adding anti-freeze to the radiator (and making sure your car is fit to travel – NRMA has some good information on driving in the snow you can also check out). You can also stop off at Marysville at the base of the mountain to check the weather conditions to see if you need snow chains for your tyres (the visitor information center doesn’t open until 9am on weekdays, though).
It will cost you A$40 for the gate entry fee if you go up during the weekdays, and A$30 if you purchase your entry fee online. Weekends, Public Holidays and School Holidays is A$59 ($50 if you purchase online).
You can also take a bus up if you prefer not to drive.
If you don’t have snow gear, you can hire them at Marysville before driving up to Lake Mountain, although you can probably get a better deal if you hire your snow gear from Melbourne. Lake Mountain is not Bulla or Hotham but it is still a good idea to get warm, waterproof clothes if you intend to play in the snow because the windchill can be pretty bad.
Food and Drinks
There is a bistro serving hot food and drinks, or you can pack your own lunch. There’s a nice little cafe at Marysville that opens fairly early if you want to have breakfast before heading up the mountain.
During the winter months, aside from playing in the snow and tobogganing on Village Run, you can also do cross-country skiing. There are lots of other activities you can do during summer, too – check them out here.
Check out their website for more information about Lake Mountain.