Driving to Dinner Plain 

Driving to Dinner Plain 

Wagner Custome Skis

Where is Dinner Plain?

Dinner Plain Victoria is situated 43km northwest of the little town of Omeo and 11km southeast of Mt Hotham Ski Resort, which is 381km northeast of Melbourne (approximately 5 hour drive in winter) and 710km southwest of Sydney.

Dinner Plain is above the snowline in winter but not inside the national park where resort entry fees apply.

Driving to Dinner Plain

Driving is the most common way for getting to Dinner Plain. There are two approaches to drive to Dinner Plain.

One route comes via Mt Hotham, Harrietville and Bright. If driving from Melbourne to Dinner Plain, the drive time is approximately 5 hours. The 32km drive from Harrietville up the mountain to Mt Hotham is very windy, steep and exposed to foul weather as you near the top of this northern approach. The road is paved, has lots of safety barriers, and flashing lights to aid navigation in low visibility, but if you have zero experience at mountain driving on snowy roads you may find the drive a little challenging in bad weather. Sometimes during or after big snowfalls, the route is closed so check road conditions on the VicRoads app.

The other route to drive to Dinner Plain is via Omeo. If driving from Melbourne, the trip time via the Princes Highway and then onto the Great Alpine Road is about 5.5 hours. This approach has windy sections that continue for a long time but it’s not as steep, is less weather plagued so it’s less prone to road closure, and it’s less likely that you’ll need to apply wheel chains. If a big snow storm is brewing, this route via Omeo is often the preferred route.

Chains

Chains must be carried at all times in your vehicle during the declared snow season on the Great Alpine Road between Omeo and Harrietville (including Dinner Plain), and applied as directed or required. The chains need to be diamond pattern snow chains and ladder chains, spider chains, and snow socks are not permitted.

If you need to hire chains you’ll need to do this before heading up the mountain. Options for chain hire outlets include Happy Valley Hub in Ovens, Rays in Myrtleford, Hoys in Harrietville, or the petrol station in Omeo. All outlets can show you how to fit the chains.

Whether you use the chains or not will depend on the conditions at the time you travel. You can check road conditions prior and you will be informed along the way by either signage or staff advising that chains need to be fitted. If you’re driving the Harrietville approach, Hoy’s offers a chain fitting service for a hefty fee (unless you’ve rented the chains from Hoys). You won’t even have to get out of your car!

Fuel

There isn’t a petrol station in Dinner Plain or at Mt Hotham, with the closest petrol stations being located in Omeo and Bright. Omeo has 24 hour petrol, whilst Bright petrol stations are generally not open very late into the evening, so if travelling at night you might need to fill up out on the major highway (e.g. Glenrowan on the Hume Highway).

If you have a diesel vehicle you’ll need to do a bit of pre-planning because given the cold conditions at Dinner Plain and Mt Hotham during winter, diesel can freeze which will result in your car not starting. You need to fill up your car with diesel in either Bright or Omeo and ensure that the alpine additive has been pre-mixed with the diesel. Choose “alpine diesel” not just “winter mix”. Ideally arrive at the petrol station with less than half a tank of fuel. If you’re only partially filling your car you should also purchase additive and add it to your fuel. If your car does freeze at Mt Hotham or Dinner Plain, you will need to call RACV to defrost your car. Long delays can be expected, so ensure that you have taken all necessary steps to ensure your diesel car does not freeze.

Also check that your car has adequate coolant levels that contain anti-freeze.

Hotham Resort Entry Fees

Dinner Plain is located outside the national park so the hefty and ouch worthy resort entry fees don’t have to be paid for those staying overnight at DP or those driving past Mt Hotham on the way to Dinner Plain. However resort entry fees apply for those driving up and day parking at Mt Hotham. These can be pre-purchased via the Hotham website.

Driving Between Dinner Plain and Mt Hotham

The 11km drive between Dinner Plain and Mt Hotham is generally pretty easy on a paved and meandering road that’s not particularly steep. It only becomes a little challenging when there’s lots of snow on the road, which isn’t very often. It is incredibly rare that the road between Hotham and Dinner Plain is closed due to blizzard conditions.

Car Parking in Dinner Plain

One of the huge advantages of staying in Dinner Plain for a snow holiday is that you can drive straight to the door of your accommodation. It’s not like Mt Buller where you have to get a snow taxi, Falls Creek where you have to get oversnow transport, or Hotham where you might have to trudge up lots of stairs to unload gear at your lodge and then park your car miles away.

Car parking in Dinner Plain is generally limited at most houses and lodges, and it’s not possible to park along the roads due to snow clearing. For overflow and overnight parking, the other option is the Scrubbers End car park at the base of the Dinner Plain ski run. The parking bay isn’t huge and you’ll need to get a parking permit from your accommodation provider. This prevents any cheapskates who are staying at Hotham from parking at Dinner Plain for the week and then just catching the rate-payer subsidised bus up to Hotham.

There is day parking available in the main part of the Dinner Plain village around the big roundabout.

With respect to parking tips, if possible, try to reverse into the car park as it will make it easier to drive out when it snows. If significant snowfall is forecast you may want to put your chains on the night before because it’s easier to fit chains when the vehicle is clear of snow. Also, lift the wiper blades up so they don’t freeze to the windscreen.

If there is a big snowfall, ensure you clear your car of snow and not just the windscreen but also the roof and lights.

Buses Between Dinner Plain and Hotham

During winter there are semi-regular buses between Dinner Plain and Hotham that operate from 7am to 6pm. There are a few bus stops in Dinner Plain spread around the village, and your accommodation provider can give you a bus stop map and bus timetable. The buses can get rather packed during peak times, but it’s generally a stress-free way to get to Hotham.

The bus fees are reasonable considering they include the resort entry fee (which is subsidised by DP residents). Generally if there are only one or two people travelling from DP to Hotham, it’s cheaper to catch the bus than to drive your car. You need to get a bus ticket from one of the designated shops in Dinner Plain.

Flights

The Hotham Airport is closer to Dinner Plain than Mt Hotham, being only 12km away on the Omeo side of town. The airport no longer receives commercial flights, only private charters. From the airport you can get a 4WD taxi to Dinner Plain.

One potential drawback of flying into Hotham Airport is that you generally can’t take much luggage, so you might have to limit the number of ski jackets you take! Also, in foul weather the airport may close and flights cancelled or redirected to Albury Airport.
150