From the bottom to its peak, Lake Mountain offers a wealth of enjoyable activities and experiences that delight not only foreigners but also locals.
As a family-friendly tourist destination, Lake Mountain Alpine Resort appeals to a wide demographic and offers enjoyable activities for all ages. Many visitors look forward to the snow sports, but there are also other activities they can enjoy, especially in the summer. Best of all, the resort boasts beautiful, panoramic views of the Victorian Alps in the east, the Great Dividing Range in the west and the Melbourne Central Business District in the valley below.
A Brief History
The ski resort area takes its name from the area’s Surveyor-General, George Lake. To avoid confusion, visitors who are expecting to see breathtaking vistas rivalling those of the Blue Lake are cautioned that Lake Mountain has no such offering.
In 1997, the Alpine Resorts (Management) Act was passed. It resulted in the formation of the Southern Alpine Resort Management Board, the committee that manages Lake Mountain Alpine Resort and the Mount Baw Baw Alpine Resort two hours away.
Lake Mountain Facts
Lake Mountain is one of the 12,000 Crown land reserves in Victoria. As such, its management board is committed to maintaining and developing the area for the public’s benefit.
Lake Mountain Alpine Resort is 120 kilometres or about a two-hour drive from Melbourne. By all accounts, it is the most accessible and affordable alpine resort near Melbourne.
The resort is open all year, although its offerings are seasonal. It boasts 30 kilometres of snow slopes ideal for cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and tobogganing. Lake Mountain’s summit stands at 1,433 metres above sea level — high enough for snow to stick during the colder months, but not too high that visitors need to prepare for dizziness, shortness of breath, and other side effects of being in high altitude.
The snow season officially starts on the Queen’s Birthday Weekend and runs until September. During these months, the resort resembles a winter wonderland. The drive up to the resort can also get chilly and foggy — a sometimes-spooky prelude to an enjoyable day at the peak. In summer, the mountain offers strategic vantage points where people can enjoy beautiful views of Melbourne CBD and Marysville.
Guests can also enjoy summer-appropriate activities like the 240-metre Flying Fox, an outdoor laser skirmish and a tube run. From cyclists and hikers to novice skiers and avid tobogganers, visitors to the mountain will find something exciting and up to their speed.
Memorable Sights from the Bottom to the Peak
A trip to Lake Mountain Alpine Resort is rewarding from start to finish. The leisurely, two-hour drive from Melbourne CBD to the resort’s Day Visitor Centre passes through the scenic Yarra Ranges National Park.
This route starts at Melbourne CBD, where the urban skyline inspires an appreciation for Australia’s progressive economy. The drive goes through the Eastern suburbs, and then through the Yarra Valley.
Just out of Healesville, the road leads to Maroondah Highway which then leads to the famous Black Spur Drive — a 30-kilometre highway that winds through the world-famous, lush rainforest between Healesville and Marysville. Even in summer, the light on the road gets muted by huge, roadside ferns and a thick canopy of trees rising to about 100 metres. Visitors shouldn’t miss out on rolling down their windows to feel the crisp air. The entire drive has an otherworldly, pre-historic feel that never fails to leave people in awe.
After Black Spur, visitors can treat themselves by driving through the charming town of Marysville. From there, it will only take 30 minutes to reach the Alpine resort.
Marysville is a quaint town that has preserved the surrounding lush foliage. Even the downtown area boasts tree-covered paths and outdoor cafes. Just past the town is the Lake Mountain Road, which also offers breathtaking views of the valley below. Top Gear Australia named Lake Mountain Road one of The Best Driving Roads in the country precisely for this reason.
Finally, at the end of the road lies the entrance to the Lake Mountain Alpine Resort. The Daytime Visitor Centre stands proudly at the end of the drive, promising a warm welcome for guests after a fun-filled day out in the snow.
Mountain Trails and Views
It’s not just the ride to Lake Mountain that offers a visual feast. Peppered all over the mountain are hiking, cycling and skiing trails of varying difficulties — ideal for young people and outdoor sports enthusiasts looking for physically demanding outdoor activities, like mountain bike riding or bushwalking. Cyclists and bushwalkers can find the best views from the lookout points: the Panorama, Lookout Rock, High Country, Melbourne, Alps, Taggerty Valley, and Sherlock.
There are also paths for those who want to take a leisurely stroll and soak in the beautiful views of the snowy mountain and the surrounding Yarra Range. In summer, they can get up close with some of the native blooms like the Alpine Mint, Star-bush, Slender Snow Daisy, Trigger Plant and Cascade Everlasting.
Visitors might also see traces of the Black Saturday bushfires back in February 2009. Forest rehabilitation has been ongoing for almost a decade, and there are now newly regrown Snow Gum and Alpine Ash eucalyptus trees. They are especially visible from the Snowy Hill Walk, Echo Flat Walk, Leadbeaters Walk and Summit Walk.
Apart from the flora, there are also other landmarks worth seeing.
The ski trail near Gerratys Car Park leads to Keppel Hut, a popular stone hut whose surrounding area is a favourite camping spot. Another must-see landmark is the wheelchair-accessible Bjarne K Dahl Memorial Boardwalk where visitors can read about the ski resort’s history and the characteristics of Snow Gum and Alpine Ash. Last but not the least is the path leading up to Mt. Arnold. It passes through a tree tunnel formed from a canopy of Mountain Bitter-Pea, a shrub with yellow and red flowers that grows up to 6.6 feet or 2 metres high.
Memorable Tours at Lake Mountain Ski Resort
A trip to Lake Mountain Ski Resort promises to be fun-filled and memorable, regardless if you’re a local or a tourist. Australia has many breathtaking natural landscapes, and the Yarra Ranges is a stellar example. Furthermore, the valley offers other attractions, like restaurants, vineyards and wine cellars that are open for wine tasting tours.
First-time guests may find it more convenient to join an organised tour. For their convenience, Cafe Bus Winery Tours offers a Melbourne Snow Tour, a day trip from Melbourne which includes a 3-hour stop at Lake Mountain and stopovers at Steavenson Falls Nature Walk and Yarra Valley Chocolaterie and Ice Creamery.