How To Get There

Wagner Custome Skis

Where is Mt Hotham?

Mount Hotham is located in the Great Dividing Range in the state of Victoria. The Mt Hotham Ski Resort is located on the Great Alpine Road in the Australian Alps National Park. The Hotham village is located at an elevation of 1,750m, just below the summit of Mt Hotham (1,861m).

By road, Mt Hotham is 381km northeast of Melbourne and 710km southwest of Sydney. The village of Dinner Plain is 11km southeast of Mt Hotham, the town of Bright is 55km to the northwest, whilst the sleepy town of Omeo is 55km to the southeast.

Driving to Mt Hotham

Driving is the most common way to get to Mt Hotham. From Melbourne and southern areas there are two primary ways to drive there.

The main route from Melbourne is via the Hume Highway to Glenrowan/Wangaratta and then onto Bright and Harrietville, with a drive time of approximately 4.5-5 hours. The 32km drive from Harrietville up the mountain to Mt Hotham is very exposed, steep and windy, particularly near the top of this northern approach. The drive is relatively easy compared to most New Zealand ski fields (which can be frightening!) because the Hotham road is paved, there are lots of safety barriers, and there are big orange poles with flashing lights. Nevertheless, in foggy or blizzard conditions the drive can be very challenging for those with limited mountain driving experience. Occasionally during or after big snowfalls, this approach is closed or access is only permitted in convoys.

The other route is via the Princes Highway to Bairnsdale and then via Omeo and Dinner Plain. The drive time is about 5.5 hours. This southern approach is a little mellower and is less buffeted by the weather. Chains are a little less likely to have to be applied on this approach, and the road between Hotham and Omeo is less inclined to close compared to the road up from Harrietville.

Chains

Tyre chains must be carried during the winter season and applied as directed via signage (or as directed or required). Chain hire is available at ski shops in Ovens, Myrtleford, Bright, Harrietville and Omeo. During peak travel times, Hoys provide a chain hire fitting service on the Harrietville to Hotham road, which is free for those that hire chains at Hoys.

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Petrol

There is no longer petrol available on-mountain so make sure you fill up before you head up the hill. The closest petrol stations are in Omeo and Bright. The petrol stations in Bright are generally not open very late in the evenings, so you might need to fill up out on the major highway (e.g. Glenrowan on the Hume Highway) if travelling at this time. Thankfully for night owls, Omeo has 24 hour fuel.

Car Parking

As if the lift ticket and chain hire prices aren’t high enough, they also stiff you with mega parking fees too! Like the other Australian ski resorts, exorbitant fees have to be paid for car parking aka resort entry fees. These fees go towards ski patrol, village bus services, village snow clearing, cross country trail grooming (not sure why the cross country skiers shouldn’t have to pay trail fees), and waste management.

Day parking is rather limited at Mt Hotham. Early birds can park at the Summit car park opposite Hotham Central, whilst other day car parks are located further down the road and generally require a shuttle bus to get to the slopes (advanced skiers can ski-out from many of the day parks, pending snow conditions). For intermediate and above riders (and ideally those with a 4WD vehicle), the other option is to park at the Loch car park, which provides direct access to the Heavenly Valley slopes.

There is very short term parking for overnighters to drop off their gear at their accommodation, but other than a few lucky folks who have privileged parking near their accommodation (e.g. Hotham Heights), most overnight parking is a long way from the accommodation and requires a shuttle to get back to the main resort. At least it’s better (and cheaper) than at Falls Creek and Mt Buller where you have to get a special taxi or snowcat over-snow transport to get to the accommodation.

Buses to Mt Hotham

Buses depart at least daily from Melbourne at Southern Cross Station and the Melbourne Tullamarine Airport and travel via the Hume Highway to Mt Hotham, making brief stops at Myrtleford, Bright and Harrietville. There are also bus services from the Wangaratta train station.

For those who don’t want to drive up the mountain, there are also regular bus services between Harrietville and Mount Hotham.

Flying to Mt Hotham

Hotham is rather unique in that it has its own airport. The only catch is that it’s located 20km away from the ski area, down the hill past Dinner Plain towards Omeo. The other catch is that there are no longer commercial flights into Hotham Airport. You'll need to charter a plane unless you just happen to have your own plane, although there are a few pilots offering inexpensive services via Facebook groups. From Hotham Airport you can get a very expensive 4WD taxi to Hotham Resort, so ideally you can find someone to pick you up.

The other option is to fly into Albury Airport where coach buses meet some incoming flights for the 2.5 trip up to Hotham. You can decide whether you think it’s worthwhile to fly to an airport 2.5 hours away…

One limitation of flying into Hotham Airport or Albury is that you can’t take much luggage on those little planes. Another limitation of the Hotham airport is that it tends to be weather plagued.

Getting Around the Mt Hotham Village

The Mt Hotham village is rather spread out along the Great Alpine Road. There aren’t really any specific walking paths, so leave your stiletto heels at home! There are very regular Mt Hotham buses that travel up and down the village between the main accommodation areas, the parking areas, Big D, and Hotham Central. These free buses operate into the wee hours.

Getting Between Mt Hotham and Dinner Plain

The Dinner Plain village is located about 11km southeast of Mt Hotham. Dinner Plain is located outside the national park so resort entry fees don’t have to be paid for those staying overnight at DP, however they are required for those driving up and stopping at Mt Hotham.

Alternatively there are semi-regular buses between Dinner Plain and Hotham, with a few bus stops at each area. Fees are charged for the bus to cover the resort entry fee (the buses are partially subsidised by Dinner Plain council rates). Generally if there are only one or two people travelling from DP to Hotham, it’s financially worthwhile to catch the bus.

Other Ski Resorts Nearby

Not sure if you’d classify Dinner Plain as a ski resort, but it has one platter lift and a beginner run, and is considered by some to be part of Mt Hotham.

Falls Creek Ski Resort is located a little to the northeast of Hotham as the currawong flies, but it’s 105km by road via Harrietville and Mt Beauty. On fine days it’s possible to get a helicopter between Mount Hotham and Falls Creek so you can ski the sister resort for the day, but it’s not available for those with luggage who are transferring between resorts.

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