Difference between revisions of "Mount Hotham"
Revision as of 21:56, 25 October 2009
Mount Hotham has an airfield that used to be served by Qantas but as of 2008 there are no commercial flights at all. You will need to charter a plane to fly to Hotham. The closest airport with commercial flights is Albury.
From Melbourne either:
From Sydney take the Hume Highway to Albury-Wodonga, and follow the signs to Yackandandah and turn off to Myrtleford. At Myrtleford turn off onto the Great Alpine Road through to Harrietville and Mount Hotham. This is about 8.5 hours' driving.
In all cases, cars must carry fitting snow chains when travelling on the Great Alpine Road between Harrietville and Omeo between June 1 and October 10 every year. You must be able to fit them when the signs indicate: there are numerous chain fitting bays located on the road. Chains are available for hire in Harrietville and Omeo.
Parking fees at Hotham are substantial: $28 per day (multiple entries are allowed), paid in cash at the gate at either end of the resort. You will be given a permit to stick on the inside of your windscreen. Parking is free until midnight if your first entry of the day is after 3PM, but you still need to stop at the gate and get an evening parking sticker. Parking inspections are frequent before 3PM and after midnight when the free evening parking passes run out. If you are just driving in to drop someone off you do not need to pay a parking fee but you must pay a drop-off fee of $10 per person. If you're just driving through without stopping, let them know, because no fee applies.
Drivers who don't wish to drive in the snow can park in the security car parking at Hoys Skis  in Harrietville for $10 a day (cheaper for longer stays) and catch a bus to Mount Hotham.
Christian's Bus Company has buses to and from Albury airport on Fridays and Sundays during the snow season from June 27 - September 14 in 2008. They depart the airport at 10AM, 1:45PM and 5PM and return 8:30AM, 12:30PM and 4PM. Call Hotham Holidays on 1800 468 426 to book.
Hoys Mount Hotham (tel +61 3 5759 3017) operate a bus from Dinner Plain several times a day, no bookings necessary (timetable ). Return trips are $14 for adults and free for children under 15. The ticket includes the drop-off fee at Mount Hotham.
O'Connell's Ome Bus Services offer charter services from Omeo to Mount Hotham. They have many years of safe driving in alpine areas. Contact them at  or 0428591377
The nearest train station is in Wangaratta, on the main Sydney to Melbourne line. Travellers would then need to transfer to a bus to Bright and a second bus to Mount Hotham.
The Great Alpine Road runs through the middle of the resort (in fact, there's a point on the Sun Run where you can ski over a road bridge). Most runs or lifts to them leave at an easily accessed point on the road. However, parking near the center of the resort is difficult to get, and you may need to park at the edges and catch the free bus to the run of your choice. Be careful of pedestrians: people catching the bus up and down the resort frequently have to cross the road on foot with armfuls of gear, and there are no marked crossings. The usual practice is to give way to any pedestrians.
The village bus service is operated by a set of clunky old school buses with big SNOW BUS labels. This free bus service drives up and down the length of the Great Alpine Road inside the resort. Catch it at any of the "Village Bus" bus stop signs which are located near most carparks and major lifts and run end-points on the road. It arrives every 5-10 minutes. Skis must be stored in the holders on the outside of the bus, but snowboards are carried on board. Be careful when waiting for the bus, particularly if waiting on the side of the road that has a drop-off. There are no fences or safety rails protecting you from walking off the edge, although obviously the bus doesn't park right next to it it also doesn't stop far away from it.
Visitors are treated to stunning views of the surrounding mountains but the village itself is all about snowsports.
There are plenty of stores selling skis, snowboards and other gear. By the base of Big D is a bottle shop and grocery store carrying the essentials.
The General Store offers delicious and affordable pizza with the best views and is open all year round.
The two main (and competing) drinking holes are Swindlers at Hotham Central and The General (The Jenny) close to Big D. Swindlers seems to attract the younger, fashion-concious crowd while The Jenny is more down to earth. Both stay open late and often put on live music and DJs. Both get suitably messy as the night wears on with mountain staff trying to relieve the cabin fever.
Other places to go include The Snowbird Inn and Zirky's both of which are located within the village.
Medical facilities are provided by:
In winter months Ski Patrol will assist injured people on the snow, providing first aid and transferring you to an ambulance or to the medical center as needed. Ski patrol wear red and black jackets with a large white cross on the back and smaller white crosses on the arms. Resort employees such as the lift operators can summon Ski Patrol to assist you. If there is an accident on the snow, someone should be sent down to the nearest lift to alert the operators and tell them where to send the patrol. Flying injured skiiers off the mountain by helicopter is fairly common, make sure your insurance cover this or sign up for an ambulance membership.