Mt Buller is one of Australia’s most popular ski resorts. Just three hours from Melbourne, it’s the closest Aussie resort to an international airport, and much-loved by those popping up from the city for day trips and weekend trips.
Having come back hard after the peak COVID years, Buller is currently making the most of a lockdown-free season – and it was great to be back in the lift lines with all the skiers and boarders, stoked to rediscover the mountain and everything it has to offer.
If it’s been awhile since your last visit, or you haven’t quite discovered all the hidden gems of Buller, this is the list you need to inspire you for future trips.
They have unlimited champagne après on Mondays
You can buy one bottle of Tattinger for $80… OR you can head along to the Tattinger Ice Bar on Monday afternoons and get unlimited glasses of the stuff, plus canapes, for $75 per head. New this season at an outdoor location perfectly placed outside ABOM on Bourke St, you can see the world go by as you sip yourself well and truly into holiday mode.
The village has everything you could possibly need (yes, donuts)
I’m voting the Mt Buller village ‘best place to be stuck if there’s a zombie apocalypse’. Not only would you be well-protected from the zombies, you have everything you could possibly need – such as a cinema, physio, cute shops, great restaurants and a tiny little hole in the wall dishing out the best hot cinnamon donuts ever at $10 for a bag of 10 (if you know you know).
Even the supermarket reaps the benefits of being this close to foodie haven Melbourne, with everything from freshly-squeezed orange juice to handmade pasta available to purchase and cook up in your on-mountain accommodation.
A must-do is the Buller Air Zone, where the local athletes train, and where kids (and kids at heart) can take on the climbing wall, trampolines and foam pit.
They run twilight skiing every Wednesday and Saturday
A clever way to get more skiing and boarding into your holiday is to have some fun under bright lights of Bourke Street until 8.30pm, two nights every week. Tickets are just $31 for three and a half hours of sliding, or you can toast marshmallows in the village and slide in the snow play park.
Hot tip for parents – you may like to park yourself at one of the pubs or restaurants in the village at the base of the chairlift and keep an eye on the kids as they do laps and make new friends.
You can get a $45 spa pass for three hours of absolute bliss
After a big few days on the slopes, you’ll want to relax and unwind. The best place to do so, even if you’re on a budget, is the Breathtaker on High Spa tucked at the base of the Breathtaker Hotel. They have all the spa treatments you could expect – massages, body exfoliations, mud wraps and facials – but the real deal here is in the water experience area.
For just $45, you get three hours of access to the 20-metre lap pool, spa and steam room. Or add in a hydrotherapy soak in one of the private hydrotherapy geisha tubs for $90. Book in for a mid-morning or early afternoon session to have the place essentially for yourself, pour a cup of tea, and enjoy.
They have a very clever app which can even rescue you if you’re lost
I found myself sitting on a chairlift with a gentleman who told me that the best thing about Buller was the app. His 20-something-year-old son had become lost somewhere on the mountain, and pulled out his phone to share his location directly on the trail map. Ski patrol were able to find him – and point him towards the right way to go.
You can also record your runs, log vertical metres and distance, and send them to a leaderboard to compare with others at the resort. Plus all the info you need about the mountain – groomed trails, lifts running, weather and more.
Buller smokes their own meat on mountain and serves it up
I do not say this lightly: I ate the best on-mountain lunch of my life at Spurs Smokehouse. The Buller food and beverage crew flew in smokehouse specialists from Adelaide to perfect the menu this season, and you can tell; the buffalo wings and brisket are beyond delicious, and the vegetarian offerings are equally as delicious. From loaded sweet potato to mac and cheese, coleslaw, loaded tator tot and cornbread sides, you will be rolling down the mountain rather than skiing afterwards.
It’s easier than ever to get to
Three hours isn’t a bad drive from the city, and Buller is ready for guests with 11 car park areas reserved for day visitors, and a free shuttle service to take you from your vehicle to the village. For those staying overnight, Ride Share Transfers are offered for both you and your luggage.
The best option, and the one I opted for, is to jump on one of the coaches. The Buller Bus services the mountain from both Tullamarine airport and Southern Cross Station, and will set you back less than the price of a rental car. It’s a win in so many ways; spacious and comfortable, with free Wi-Fi, USB charging ports and no luggage restrictions, all you do is sit back and relax until you’re dropped off in the village square.
The season is long, with plenty of deals to be found
The season here kicks off in June and rolls all the way through to October. And while the mountain is busy throughout the winter school holidays, peak season ends in early September – so if you’re happy to book in for a spring skiing trip, you may just have the mountain all to yourself.
September is also the perfect time to book and utilise the Snow Guarantee where available. It’s money back on your prepaid accommodation, lift ticket, rental and lesson packages if there is insufficient snow cover, giving you peace of mind should the weather not cooperate.
Non-skiers can take a scenic chairlift ride
Your non-skier friends and family members are covered at Buller; they can jump on the Northside Express for a 15-minute ride up the mountain, and enjoy the view and food at Spurs Smokehouse and cafe up top. There are also two dedicated toboggan slopes for those keen for some snow play without the full effort of skiing and boarding.
The National Alpine Museum is very, very cool
Did you know that Australia actually sent a bob sled team to the 1988 Calgary Winter Olmpics, the same year as the Jamaican team that inspired the movie ‘Cool Runnings’? And that the Aussie team trained in a supermarket car park – and actually beat the Jamaicans?
I learned SO many fun facts from the National Alpine Museum up in the Buller village, which is well worth a visit. There’s truly something for everyone here, including the kids, the fashionistas, the sports nerds and the history buffs. With a curator from Melbourne Museum, the display also rotates regularly, and they host an après night on Wednesdays with cheese and wine to accompany your browse.
It’s home to a whole lot of Olympians
Like Jacqui Cooper, the most successful Australian World Cup athlete of all time, who stood on 40 World Cup podiums. All eight of her FIS crystal globes now sit in the National Alpine Museum at Buller.
Or Jakara Anthony, who grew up on the mountain and just took home an Olympic gold medal after an incredible mogul run in the 2022 Beijing Olympics.
Even Steven Bradbury, famous for taking out a speed skating win during the 2002 Salt Lake City Olympics, was supported nu Mt Buller’s Olympic Winter Institute.
It’s all because the Buller Olympic history dates back all the way to the 80s, when the lift company sponsored a team of freestyle skiers to make their way to world cups and eventually the Olympics. By the 1990s, Buller became the official Olympic training ground for winter athletes, with heavy investment from the owners, who genuinely believed in Aussies making their mark on winter sports across the global stage.
These days, it’s still home to Australia’s longest-running moguls event, the Abom Mogul Challenge; plus the less-serious annual Pond Skim Championships, the best way to finish off a season.
*Natalia was a guest of Mt Buller.