Falls Creek, Victoria, Australia
You know those moments when you think to yourself ‘gosh my kids just don’t know how good they’ve got it…’? I had one of those moments this week.
The first time I saw snow wasn’t until I was 17 years old. I still remember the butterflies of excitement when we saw the first patches of white snow on the side of the road as we drove up the mountain. We went with a group of friends and stayed in dorm style accommodation in Jindabyne, NSW and each morning woke up super early to drive up the mountain, beat the traffic and make the first lifts. Only to then be completely exhausted at the end of the day, have to dig the car out with our snowboards and drive back down the mountain in traffic to our dorms.
This year we did Falls Creek in Victoria and let me tell you, I think we’ve set the bar way too high for our kids! (Not that I was complaining) A stunning ski in / ski out town that left you feeling like you were living inside a snow globe.
I’ll start off by saying that this isn’t one of our budget family holidays. Snow holidays are generally on the more expensive side but TOTALLY worth it, however, there are a few tips to save a few bucks here and there that I will share with you, so keep reading.
We drove from Sydney to Falls Creek in one day (approx 7 1/2 hours driving time). We left around 6:30am, stopped in Gundagai for a wander, Albury for lunch and then Tawonga South to pick up snow gear. It was a pretty easy drive and with amazing scenery everywhere!
Savings Tip – Ski/Snowboard Hire in the town at the bottom of the mountain. We hired our gear from Kiewa Valley Snowsports after checking pricing from many of the other stores around. They also had a car chains offer of half price chains if they are not used when returned. As it is law to carry chains we had to hire some but knew it would be very unlikely that we would have to use them on our Pajero Sport. Saved $30! The service we got from the guys at Kiewa Valley Snowsports was great and I definitely recommend them. You can also email them ahead of time to book chains for your car to ensure they have them when you get there.
We filled the car up with alpine diesel (a must if you drive a diesel car) and then drove up the mountain. The roads are winding so don’t let the kids watch their devices on this bit! As we drove past the Resort Entry Pass ticket booth I remembered to grab our printout pass that I pre-booked from the glove box and put in the window. First stop was the Accommodation Transfer Station where we unloaded our gear ready to be taken to our accommodation. Yes, there are stairs to get you up to the village but beware, it is a long way, and unless you packed light (doubt it!) then you are going to want to pay for the transfer. You then park your car in the overnight parking area, get a lift back to the transfer station and then jump aboard the transfer and off to your accommodation.
Savings Tip – Pre-book your Resort Entry Pass online to get a discount and be sure to print it out once it is booked to place in your car window. I put ours straight in the glove box after booking so I didn’t forget it!
Now let me introduce you to Elk at Falls. Lovely refurbished apartments right in the heart of the Falls Creek village where you most certainly can ski straight out the door and down to the Falls Creek Express chair lift.
We stayed in Elk’s Apartment 4 which is a two bedroom apartment including a queen bed and single bunks for the kids. The apartment had been recently built and includes modern features, stainless steel kitchen and oak clad walls. I loved having a drying cupboard too which made for cosy and warm snow gear in the morning. We also enjoyed the smart TV with Netflix logged in and ready to watch.
Check out the virtual tour of Apartment 4 here.
The rooms are cosy in size but all you really need when you don’t spend too much time in them.
I loved that I could sit on my bed and watch the kids play in the snow right outside the window. If you follow us on Instagram then you may have seen our live video of the kids playing in an igloo while I sat, wine in hand, watching them from my bed. The view from the kitchen window wasn’t much as it was buried deep in snow! The couch isn’t real big but was fine for the kids to sit on. I opted to sit on my bed most of the time!
Elk also have a locked snow equipment room to keep your gear in as well as a washing machine and dryer.
The location was great for us as Matt and the kids could ski right out the front door and down to the chair lift. The walk for me (with a fractured foot) only took 4-5mins. There is also a free village shuttle stop right out front so if I didn’t want to walk, I could get a ride to the door!
Savings Tip – I booked this accommodation well in advance and took advantage of their pre-season booking special. This saved us quite a bit of money so well worth doing!
Elk Restaurant is right inside the front door of Elk at Falls and they serve up a delicious a la carte menu whist enjoying the warmth of the open 360 degree fireplace. Each morning Matt would pop upstairs to the restaurant to grab takeaway coffees for us and they were pretty good too. Whilst we didn’t eat there as a family I did manage to pop in myself and enjoy a delicious lunch and glass of wine.
Savings Tip – Pack dinners and snacks. Food on the slopes can be very expensive and adds up quick so plan a few dinners to take with you to help save some cash. Plus, tired kids and restaurants don’t always go together well so you’ll be glad you’ve got dinner ready at your apartment and then put them straight to bed!
Time to ski! First stop was the ticket office down at Slalom Plaza to pick up our pre-purchased lift pass and kids ski school passes. The process was really simple and the attendant was super helpful. Make sure you have everyone collecting their pass with you as a photo will need to be taken of them, including the kids. Once the passes were safely in the jacket pockets it was time to head up the chair and get the kids into ski school. As I wasn’t skiing myself these holidays (stupid foot) I didn’t purchase a lift pass but was able to go up the mountain twice a day to drop off and pick up the kids for free.
Ski School includes lunch for the kids (full day and half day program). Make sure they have neck/face warmers, helmets and all their snow gear labelled. Ski hire places will put stickers with kids names on the skis too. They won’t need poles either.
There are different groups for different ages so check the website under lessons to find out the group names and cost for your child.
My kids really enjoyed ski school. The first day was a challenge for them but by the second day they were loving it and couldn’t wait to get back for day 3. The instructors were wonderful and very friendly too.
*Note: Unlike other snow resorts in Australia, ski school is up the mountain and not at the bottom. If your child has not done a chair lift before then it is fine to hold their skis and let them walk off the chair lift at the top.
Photo by www.fallscreekphotos.com.au
Savings Tip – Purchase Lift Tickets online ahead of time to get a discount. There are two different levels of discount depending on how far in advance you book. You’ll still get 5% discount up to a day before so it is still worth doing if you remember in the car on the drive down!
I seriously can’t rave enough about the Snow Mobile tour I did with Doug. It was great to be able to experience the scenery, explore the back country and go right to the top of Mt McKay and all with a fractured foot! Check out my little highlights reel below.
There is one other place that you could find me while my family were carving up the powder and that was at Be Foodstore located in the Village Bowl. There I enjoyed the soup of the day, pulled pork burger, great local beer and mulled wine! All of this topped off with an amazing view of the mountain.
Be Foodstore view, mulled wine in hand.
Savings Tip – Take advantage of the Aldi Snow Sale at the start of the season. Theirs is by far the cheapest snow gear available and great quality. Buy a couple of sizes bigger for the kids as you can generally get away clothes being bigger and then you may get two seasons out of it. Beware that 90% of children on the slopes are also decked out in Aldi gear so label the kids items well and sticker their helmets for easy identification. We also have a group of friends that we share our snow gear with which helps heaps, so don’t be afraid to ask your friends or put it out on your Facebook page that you are in need of some snow gear to borrow.
Photo by www.fallscreekphotos.com.au
As you can see we had a pretty wonderful time at Falls Creek this year and I am so eager to go back and this time back on my skis!
My highlights were staying right in the centre of the ski in/out village, the very friendly people working at the resort, the hospitality at Elk at Falls, my snow mobile tour and the incredible snow we were so lucky to experience.
I hope you get the chance to experience this wonderful and family friendly snow resort soon.
Savings Tip – Spring has sprung and surprisingly this year it has brought a fresh dump of snow. So much that the snow season this year has extended to October and with it is a whole bunch of Spring snow deals. So if you were on the edge as to whether you would make it to the snow this year then let this be your sign and contact me ASAP to plan you and your family an epic snow trip!
Coming soon… Our little stay in Bright, Victoria. Hear about what we got up to and the cute cottage that accommodated four adults and two kids, had a fireplace and welcomed us with chocolate!
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Disclosure: We were gifted passes for the kids to try out the Kids Snow Mobiles by Falls Creek Resort. As mentioned above we booked pre-season at Elk at Falls to receive a discounted rate. We had a few changes to make to our booking and they were so accommodating. As always all opinions are my own and, although I can almost be swayed with good coffee and wine, my opinion is true for Falls Creek and we had a fantastic time!
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