Hello team! Maxxis Man back again and all prepared to make an alpine road trip adventure — from Melbourne, Sydney or Albury Wodonga to the winter wonderland of Falls Creek in Victoria’s High Country.
It’s that time of year when the chill has well and truly set in, so whether you’re a long-time “snow-goer” who’s been hanging all year for this moment and are ready to try your snowboard or skis at a new destination, or you’re planning a trip to the snow for the first time – there’s no time to lose! Pump up those trusty Maxxis tyres, pack your snow gear and let’s get the snow show on the road!
A few simple directions
If you’re lucky enough to be coming from Albury Wodonga, this prize winter destination is literally on your doorstep – just two hours away via Kiewa Valley Highway (C531). From Melbourne it’s a well-worn path by many – with the trip time clocking in at an average of just under 5 hours on the Hume Highway (M31). If you’re a Sydneysider, it’s a bit more of a trek – but still quite do-able in a day, taking about eight hours on the Hume. The bottom line is that wherever you’re coming from, when the snow’s thick on the ground – you’ll want to make the most of it, so give your tyres and vehicle a good check over (including those headlights which are essential in foggy conditions) in the day-or-two leading up to your departure.
What car to drive and the all-important question of tyres
Nothing beats travelling to the snow in comfort so you can really enjoy the experience – as well as having room for all the family or a couple of mates (not to mention all your gear)! A Toyota Kluger (or other SUV or wagon) fitted with Maxxis HT770’s would be perfect for the task at hand. You’ll also need to think about snow chains, which may be necessary in certain conditions – we’ll talk about this a bit more later on.
A bit about the surrounding countryside and where to stay
This part of the world is truly spectacular in all seasons – but none more so than when there’s snow covering the mountain slopes and peaks. There’s a huge range of accommodation at Falls Creek from boutique lodges and hotels to family-oriented lodges, hotels and apartments, self-catering cottages and backpacking options – all well equipped for wintery, subzero conditions and snow sports’ lifestyle. Staying “on the mountain” can sometimes be a little pricey – so if you can’t find something available to suit your budget, there’s also the alternative of staying somewhere outside the resort (such as Tawonga South or Mount Beauty) – where there are houses and other accommodation available, many with outstanding views!
What to pack and a few tips
You’re definitely going to need your beanie and scarf for this adventure, along with the rest of your snow gear! It goes without saying that icy road conditions can be treacherous – so extra care is needed for this road trip and definitely, slow down!
- Vehicle essentials: Ensure you carry a first aid kit – as well as a torch which could be needed if you have to fit snow chains in low-light conditions. A shovel is always a good thing to have on hand in case you get stuck in the snow, as is an ice scrapper (for the windscreen) and check to see if your vehicle needs antifreeze: If you’re not sure about this one, take a look in your owner’s manual or get it checked by a mechanic or someone else in the know before you depart – you don’t want damage being caused to your engine by the coolant freezing up! Your battery is always put to the test in very low temperatures, so it’s also advisable to ensure it’s in good condition prior to your departure. And if, you’re driving a 4×4, you can’t go wrong with a recovery track on board!
- Snow kit hire, food and supplies: You can hire skis, snowboards and other snow gear within Falls Creek, but if you have your own or organise to rent some along the way, you’ll be able to waste no time in hitting the slopes once you get there! There’s nothing to beat a hearty winter meal (fireside of course!) at one of the many restaurants or bars in the resort, and if you’re self-catering, there is a Foodworks supermarket at Falls Creek where you can stock up on supplies.
- Snow chains: Let’s talk about the all-important topic of snow chains. While these are not always needed, it’s a legal requirement to carry them when entering the Falls Creek resort area during the snow season (from June to the end of September). These can be hired from a number of specialised outlets on the way to Falls Creek (such as in Mount Beauty). While in certain conditions snow chains are essential (including when there is a layer of snow or ice on the bitumen) – don’t use them unnecessarily as this will cause damage to your tyres. Also remember to slow down while driving with snow chains!
- Fuel: Fuel is not available in Falls Creek, so it’s advisable to fuel up prior to your arrival — again Mount Beauty (30km away) is a good spot to refuel.
- Parking: To park in the resort you will need a special permit (which will need to be displayed on your windscreen). Permits can be purchased both online and at the resort entry ticket box.
- Phone app: Falls Creek also has its own, very handy phone app – complete with snow reports and snow cams along with lots of other useful information – so load this up before you go.
Anything else I need to know
Whether you’re snowboarding, cross country skiing or a newbie taking a few lessons – you’ll find your journey to Falls Creek worth every kilometre travelled. But it’s worth bearing in mind – that with heaps of toasty firesides, places to sit back and read a good book, have a decadent hot chocolate sip on some mulled (or chilled!) wine and enjoy the views over the slopes – there’s nothing stopping you enjoying the snow experience without even putting on a pair of skis!
Well that about wraps it up from myself and the team at Maxxis for this winter adventure. So, until next time – remember to check those tyres before you set off, happy skiing and most importantly, have fun!
Please note: The information offered in this blog is of a general nature only and should in no respect replace detailed research, travel and safety preparations as relevant to your individual requirements and vehicle.