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One of Australia's most popular ski resorts, and the one with the most reliable snow, Mount Hotham lies almost 400 kms from its state capital, Melbourne - no distance at all for the Aussie traveller! Skiers have been coming here since the 1920s and it is now a magnet for Antipodean winter sports enthusiasts. Although it's much smaller than nearby Falls Creek many Australians favour Hotham for its cosy, friendly atmosphere, the renowned powder skiing and challenging free riding. Hotham is one of the few resorts in the world where the village is situated at the top of the mountain, with visitors skiing down to the bottom of the chairlift from their accommodation. Ten kilometres (six miles) from the resort of Mount Hotham is the new, developing area of Dinner Plain where there is some skiing for beginners as well as a pub, general store, ski hire and restaurants. Dinner Plain is linked to Hotham by shuttle bus.

The highest resort in Victoria and thus one of the most snow-sure. Hotham is characterised by world class ski terrain, it's mountain top setting and every accessibility (Hotham has its own airport). There is also plenty to do with restaurants, shops, bars, spas, sunset tours, etc.

Mountain

The south easterly facing slopes virtually ensure not merely good snow cover but huge dumps of dry powder. The skiing is divided by the road which cuts through the resort into two areas, beginner - intermediate and good intermediate - advanced. The flatter area rising above the road offers good snow and a mix of gentle, wide slopes for novices and cautious intermediates. Below the road, linked by a bridge, is the steep, wooded terrain favoured by the expert and adventurous intermediate. Aside for the near-legendary powder skiing at Hotham, good skiers won't have much to challenge them with only 5 kms of tough trails around. Hotham, of course, shares a lift pass with the much larger resort of Falls Creek where there are a further 80 kms of trails - the helicopter link is quite affordable.

Families

The resorts size (small) and the range of skiing (wide-ish) makes Hotham a nice resort for a families - however, the fact that a road goes through the resort must cause concern to parents. That aside, there are options for families who don't want to ski together all the time. 3-6 year olds can opt for the local nursery or for the ski school's MILO Mighty Mites programme where they can learn to outski their parents whilst having lots of fun in snow playgrounds. A skiing and boarding programme is available for older kids aged 7-14 years. The Kids' Snow Sports School, known as the Kids Snowzone, is located at the Big D, in the centre of the village.

Eating Out

Around 20 restaurants and cafes of various style and price range offer good value eats. Australian food is known for the excellence of its ingredients and good-value portions and the restaurants in Hotham serve a fusion of the best of European, Asian, American and Australasian cooking.

Apres

Raging, as the Australians like to call partying, is big in Hotham, with a large selection of pubs and clubs competing for skiers' and snowboarders 'custom. Indeed, the budget-conscious could happily avail themselves of the many happy hours on offer, and wander from pub to pub until they have all but lost the will to live... For those who last the pace, Hotham puts on all sorts of after dinner entertainments, usually of the musical kind, with live bands, discos and clubs for those dancing the night away. Various bands perform regularly throughout the season and there are also popular theme nights.

Boarding

Snowboarding has taken off in a big way at Hotham and the boarding community will find a warm welcome and some fine terrain for carving and free riding. Hotham has one of the most accessible rail parks in Australia as well as boardercross events.

// HIGHLIGHTS //
Vertical drop
395m
Ski area
21
Resort height
1750m
Airport
Melbourne
Train station
Wangaratta
beginner
27%
intermediate
36%
expert
37%

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