We spend a LOT of time discussing the seasons – too hot, too cold, too much pollen floating about. But when you stop to think about it, the changes in scenery, in the pace of things, in the activities we choose and the clothes that we wear, these are all beautiful to behold. To skiers, boarders and all-round snow lovers, winter is the best time of year. In fact even if you’re more of a sun baby, we think you’ll find there’s something magical about a blanket of the powdery stuff piling up at your feet, and putting a cold-weather flush in your cheeks.
You don’t need to be keen on rocking back and forth in a chairlift and zigzagging down the slopes at top speed to find there’s plenty to love about a holiday to Australia’s snow-capped peaks. Like hot chocolate. Hot toddies. Cosy fires and cuddling up with your cosy someone. Get the whole crew together for a trip filled with scenic vistas and spicy mulled drinks. Or lock in your S.O. for a weekend of sharing wine whilst lazing around in cable knits. These eight cabins, chalets and lodges are ideal for taking on all of the mountain action... or simply holing-up, and chilling out.
If a holiday filled with snow-centric activities is what you’re after, Hotel Pension Grimus is in a position that can’t be beat. This is a proper ski-in, ski-out spot – while most have to lug their gear halfway up Mount Buller, with this as your base, you’ll simply stroll onto a chairlift metres away. But skiing is just one part of the appeal. The chalet-style rooms each come with a spa ensuite, which you’ll relish returning to after days spent on the slopes. And some of the more spacious apartments and penthouses have their own private balconies for you to soak-up the snow-capped surrounds. Balance out the action with a sauna and a massage, and be sure to hit up Herbie’s Bar for their speciality item: Schnapps.
Set within Kosciusko National Park amid the Snowy Mountains, Guthega Alpine Inn promises everything you’d expect. Steaming mugs of hot chocolate on the terrace. A guest lounge filled with the warmth of a roaring fire. A sauna to melt away activity related aches. And a space to stow your soggy gear. Yes, this place certainly ticks all the snow-related boxes. Though there are some things you may not have guessed. The onsite restaurant attracts skiers from all around the mountains with its menu of super fresh regional produce. Ski lessons are available at the inn itself, which is great if there are a few in your group bunny-slope-bound rather than ready to tackle the more extreme Alpine environments in the area. This stone and cedar chalet has everything you could want from a wintertime retreat – seclusion, charm, and some of the most remarkable scenery in Australia.
For a cosy break with European Alpine feels, you can’t go past Marritz Alpine Inn. You’ll be surrounded by the winter flurries but kept warm in absolute luxury – in the Perisher Valley, this is as indulgent as it gets. You have access to an indoor heated pool in a room with walls of glass, which means you can take in the dramatic scene while luxuriating in the waters, or lie back on a daybed and watch the blizzard unfold. This boutique beauty has 24 rooms to choose from, ranging from style-on-a-budget to all the extras and more. All of the options allow you to snuggle up in bed and take in the snow-filled wonderland outside. And for skiers, Marritz is an easy 250 metres from the slopes.
While Victoria’s High Country is attractive at any time of year, many of its parts are within easy reach of Mount Hotham – making it the perfect place to get snow-ward bound. Feathertop Retreat happens to be the closest off-mountain accommodation to Hotham, and is also an incredibly stunning Harrietville stay. With cathedral-style ceilings, exposed beams, mud brick walls and custom timber furnishings, this is the stuff cosy winter breaks should be made of. Huge windows frame the surrounding ranges, and it wouldn’t be surprising if you got too comfortable taking in the views to venture to the ski runs. Because when you’ve got crackling wood fires, a deep soaking bath and plush perches everywhere, who could blame you? Just add red wine.
Ecocrackenback is accessible to several popular ski trails – situated just fifteen minutes from Thredbo and Jindabyne, and half an hour from Perisher. And with its 18 habitats boasting innovative eco-friendly features – such as ethanol fireplaces and worm farm waste management – this is a winter retreat you can feel good about. Yes, you’ll rest easy knowing you’re being sensitive to the surrounds, but you won’t be sacrificing a thing. Each stay comes with a balcony to take in the bushland bounds and the powder-covered hills beyond. There are plush beds and leather lounges to recline on when you want to catch-up on rest. And the heated floors and glowing fires will keep you cosy on snowy nights. It’s wintertime bliss, with an earth-loving twist.
Set at the foothills of the Bogong ranges, Falls Creek and the Alpine National Park, this Mount Beauty stunner is spread across five-acres framed by high plains. Dreamers Mountain Village is the brainchild of creative power couple Mal and Wendy Lee – bring together an eco-architect and a talented designer, and the result is one totally luxurious, entirely green retreat. Couples will love this collection of cosily romantic chalets, each with individual flair. For the ultimate indulgence book ‘The Penthouse’, which comes with its own stonewalled outdoor spa so you can return from Falls Creek's slopes and soak the cold away.
For the quintessential Banjo Paterson experience, Snowy Wilderness Resort is much like his poetry suggests. On a reserve spanning a whopping 7200 acres – complete with bands of Brumbies trotting about – if there was ever a reason to pack your Akubra, this would be it. There’s a range of accommodation depending on your needs. The homestead comfortably sleeps 10, or for something more intimate choose the one-bedroom lodge or cottage. These structures combine local timber and stone to give them an earthy vibe, and all of the options come with fire-lit lounge rooms and super comfy beds. Before you head out into the Snowy Mountains, be sure to fuel-up on owner Justin MacIntosh's famed high country cuisine. Think scrambled eggs infused with black truffles, and camp-oven fired roasts.
Mount Buffalo National Park, VIC – The Kilns
If you want to do High Country in style, look no further than The Kilns. Just 10 minutes drive from the cross-country skiing favourite, Mount Buffalo, and set on a working cattle stud, these three separate houses are all architecturally stunning, with designer interiors and huge picture windows capturing unbroken mountain views. The landscape here is beyond beautiful, drawing cyclists, hikers, ski aces and nature lovers to visit throughout the year. And once you’ve worked up an appetite taking it all in, you can take part in a traditional Italian cooking class led by hatted restaurant, Simone’s. Or, just pour yourself a wine, put your feet up in a floaty window seat, and enjoy.