Falls Creek – the essential beginner’s guide for families!
Falls Creek is the perfect place to start the kids off in their love of snow sports – but how do you get the whole family up to the Victorian snowfields, accommodated, outfitted and having fun in the snow with a minimum of fuss? Let us show you how with our essential beginner guide to Falls Creek for families!
A trip to the Australian snowfields makes a great family holiday, but the thought of organising it all can seem a little overwhelming – especially if you’ve never been before! After all, you need to find somewhere family-budget friendly to stay, a way to feed everyone that doesn’t break the bank, waterproof clothes and snow gear for everyone, ski lessons and lift tickets…there’s so much to think about!
Actually, it’s a lot easier than it sounds – just follow our guide to the essentials for a parent-friendly, super-fun family trip to Falls Creek!
Planning your holiday
How long should we visit Falls Creek?
If you only plan on tobogganing or snow-shoeing and soaking up the general ski-life atmosphere in Falls Creek, a weekend away will be ample. But if you want you and/or the kids to learn how to ski or snowboard too, then five days to a week will have them (and you) flying down the slopes in no time!
How do I get to Falls Creek?
Traveling to Falls Creek from Melbourne
Driving by car is the most direct and cheapest way to get from Melbourne to Falls Creek, particularly for families. The drive from Melbourne will take you around four and a half hours. If you don’t want to drive, there is always the option of taking a coach.
A word about Snow chains
If you do decide to drive, you’ll need to hire some snow chains for your car – it’s mandatory to carry them with you in the Victorian snowfields in winter, and if you get caught without them you’ll be fined. They can be hired from most ski shops in Mount Beauty (and Bright), before you start the drive up the mountain. During busy periods they may run short of your wheel size, so it’s sensible to call ahead and book.
If it snows, you’ll need to fit the snow chains to the driving wheels of your car. Don’t worry, the hire shop will give you a quick lesson on how to fit your snow chains, and signs on the hill tell you exactly when and where to fit them if necessary.
Traveling to Falls Creek from Sydney or other interstate locations
Driving from Sydney to Falls Creek will take you nine hours, Canberra five and a half hours and Adelaide a considerable thirteen hours. Flying to Albury airport (located on the NSW and Victorian border) and then catching a bus will save a lot of driving time. For example, from Sydney to Falls Creek via air takes around three and a half hours all-up (including airport transfers).
Where is the best place for families to stay at Falls Creek?
Cheap Falls Creek family accommodation – Howmans Gap
YMCA Howmans Gap is the perfect base for families to stay at Falls Creek. Located just before the Falls Creek entrance gates, this large Alpine Centre accommodates singles, couples and families very comfortably. A convenient shuttle bus runs to and from Falls Creek Village and Windy Corner, which are just ten minutes away.
Howmans Gap offers budget-minded holiday-ers a range of well-priced accommodation options, include family bunk rooms and separate deluxe cabins in the woods. They also offer hot cooked meals in their communal dining room.
You can find out more about Howmans Gap accommodation in our special feature here.
Outfitting the family – what snow gear you should hire – & what you need to buy!
Before stepping onto that cold white fluffy stuff, you’re going to need to hire or buy wet weather gear for the family. Ski clothes (waterproof pants and jackets) can be hired at Mount Beauty (or Bright, if you’re coming from that direction) ski shops on the way, or from a few smaller shops dotted around Falls Creek.
No matter what you are doing at the snow, you will need to purchase your own ski goggles (sunglasses will do in fine weather), and also waterproof gloves. Don’t forget the sunscreen too – it’s very easy to burn up on the mountain with all that glaring white snow around!
Learning how to ski or snowboard (kids and/or adults)
Cross country ski hire and ski lessons
Learning to cross country ski, or going for a snow-shoe walk are beautiful ways to explore the Victorian snowfields without having to worry about a lift-ticket purchase. This is because you can “walk” or skate uphill on your skis! Making your own way around the numerous trails is a great way to appreciate the stunning snowy alpine flora and fauna of the area – and escape the downhill skiing crowded runs! You can find out more about the different types of cross country skiing here.
Cross Country Ski School and adult lessons
Falls Creek Cross Country at Windy Corner offer everything cross country, and can organise family-friendly cross country skiing lessons and cross country ski hire and ski school packages. Here you’ll also find a lovely warm and friendly café, the Windy Corner Café. If you need any help or information, the friendly staff at Windy Corner will be more than happy to assist you.
Downhill ski/snowboard hire and ski lessons
If you’d like to give downhill skiing or snowboarding a try, Falls Creek main village is the place to be. You’ll need a lift ticket and ski lesson package to get you started, plus you’ll need to outfit everyone in downhill boots, skis and poles and a helmet. You’ll find all of these at Homebase, which is located right at the front entrance to Falls Creek Village, next door to the QT hotel.
Downhill Ski School and Day Care
Ski school is held up on the mountain, which is accessed via the main Halley’s Comet chair lift at Falls Creek Village. Don’t be worried about catching a chair lift. You don’t have to ski onto it, and can walk on carrying any skis with you. Sit back, and enjoy the ride!
If you’re not skiing or don’t have a ski pass, catching Halley’s Comet chairlift is still no problem. Parents are allowed to catch the chair lift up for free to take their kids up to ski school, and of course to pick them up later.
Downhill or Snowboard Ski School for kids starts at 10am and goes to 3pm, leaving parents time to have their own adult ski lessons, or just go for a ski. Ski school provides a hot lunch for the kids too, so you really do get a few solid hours of me-time!
Ski School (or Junior Workshops, as they are also known) is expensive at around $250 per child per day (including hire gear), but is also a very fast way to teach the kids how to ski or snowboard. Half-day ski school is available for younger children.
For the littlies, (babies from 12 weeks old, up to 5yos) day care is also available, located at the bottom of the chair lift at Falls Creek Village.
Tobogganing and snow play
Windy Corner, Falls Creek is also the place for some traditional family snow fun. Located next door to Windy Corner is a large family snow-play area, so Toboggans and Apre Ski (waterproof rubber) boots can be hired here too.
Slide down the hill on your toboggan in the family fun area, build a snowman together – you can even have a good old-fashioned snowball fight! Sometimes the simple things in life make the best family memories!
You’re all set – time to get booking!
So there you have it! You’re now all set for an awesome family snow and skiing holiday. But a gentle heads-up – the skiing bug does tend to bite hard, and you may find that you have a family of super-keen skiers on your hands. This first family ski trip may well be just the start of many fun family snow holidays together – have a wonderful time!
For more information on family Falls Creek ski accommodation, go to the Howmans Gap official website here.
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All information is correct as at September 2018 – please check the above website links for relevant, up to date information and accommodation prices. Let’s go Mum were hosted guests of YMCA Howmans Gap, however all opinions remain firmly our own.
Have you ever visited Falls Creek, or do you plan to go one day? Tell us in the comments below…