Australia, Snow

Mt Buller Backpackers Travel Guide: Snow on a budget

You’ll always remember your first trip to the snow. There is something so magical about seeing those little white flakes dance through the skies and landing softly at your feet for the first time. Combine this with skiing and snowboarding down some of the best runs, roasting marshmallows in the village fire pits while listening to live music and a range of incredible dining and drinking options and you’ve got yourself one hell of a weekend on top of the world at Mt Buller.

Most people think that a weekend at the snow is for the rich but I’m here to tell you that you can do it on a budget too! Backpackers rejoice!

Mountain Views – Courtesy of Mt Buller

Fast facts

Number of lifts: 22
Number of runs: 80+
Highest lifted altitude: 1780m
Skiable area: 300 ha
Snow making area: 78 ha

Why Mt Buller

Mt Buller offers more than some of the best, most picturesque skiing and snowboarding in Australia. If you can’t get enough time on the slopes then never fear, Mt Buller also do twilight skiing under the stars on Bourke Street. But if that’s not your thing there is also a day spa, cinema, museum and much more to keep yourself entertained.

There is always something going on on the mountain. You’ll catch me on the mountain for the Cattleman’s Rail Jam where boarders battle it out hitting rails in the village as well as my favourites – 80’s day and the Pond Skim – If you don’t know what this is then look it up – seriously! There is always a party or a concert at the Kooroora Hotel and plenty of beers. If you want something different try a huskie sled tour. And if all of this still doesn’t have you packing your bags then come for the insta-worthy sunset shots.

There are plenty of affordable options to that ensure that you can get the best bang for your buck.

Cattleman’s Rail Jam – Courtesy of Mt Buller


There are over 30 bars, cafes and restaurants to choose from. You can’t go wrong with a Parma from the Kooroora Hotel and an afternoon pizza and beer on the deck at Tirol in the sunshine to end your day on the slopes.

Top Pick: The cheeky boys at the Bird Cage will look after you with Melbourne quality coffee, fresh healthy meals and some naughty cocktails at the end of the day. They also make a hot choccie that is nearly as big as my head which went down a treat. Find them in the Chalet Hotel.

Highly Recommended: The Grimus Grind serves ski through coffee and jaffles for $10 on your way to the slopes in the morning. You can’t beat that! Find them at Pension Grimus.

DIY: To save some extra $$$’s why not bring your own food? There are day lockers available to store your lunch if you are on a day trip. Or if you are staying on the mountain, cut down the amount you spend on meals out and bring your own.


There are over 7000 on-mountain beds on the mountain and plenty more in the towns at the base. There is something for everyone from backpackers and shared lodges to hotels, self-contained apartments and houses and Chalets.

Top Pick: For the best all round accommodation we loved the Duck Inn. The Duck Inn is a boutique hotel with 25 rooms. A cooked breakfast is included in your stay and most rooms have great balconies. They also have a hire shop on site, restaurant, bar and lounge with a cosy fireplace. Plus they have a snow guarantee – If there is no snow and you choose not to come there is no charge.

Highly recommended:  If you’re like me and want to spend what little money you have on beers and boarding and don’t care too much about where you crash then check out the Buller Backpackers – conveniently located right in the heart of the village next to the pub… Thanks to the genius that thought of that. All rooms are quad share with an en suite and start from $55 per person.

DIY: Save some $$$’s and do a day trip. Buses are available from southern Cross Station in Melbourne or drive. Other ways include staying off the mountain in Mansfield or Merrijig where accommodation is cheaper.

Mountain Transport – Courtesy of Mt Buller

What to wear

So you already know its going to be cold. But that’s exactly what we want. The cold is no problems as long as you come prepared. We don’t want any purple fingers! Think warm layers to trap warmth in with waterproof outer layers  and some dry clothes for the ride home. If you are staying on the mountain make sure you bring some warm clothes for night-time and decent boots to keep your feet dry when exploring the village.

Checklist of essentials:

  • Waterproof pants and jacket
  • Ski goggles (or sunglasses)*
  • Waterproof ski gloves or mittens*
  • Beanie or helmet
  • Warm jumper or fleece and light wool undergarments/thermals
  • Sunscreen (30+) and lip balm
  • Long socks – light/medium weight
  • Change of dry warm clothes
  • Sturdy boots for walking through snow

*Goggles, beanies and gloves often cannot be hired so it is best to bring your own.

Mt Buller Village – Courtesy of Mt Buller

Budget Saving tips

  • Lift tickets are cheaper on Thursdays – c’mon, it would be un’australian to not chuck a sickie to go shredding… (don’t tell my boss I said that).
  • Little known secret, if you get to the resort entry gate before 8am during the peak winter season it is half price day car entry on the weekends.
  • Ski in spring – as the days get warmer the deals get sweeter as shoulder season lift tickets get cheaper and cheaper.
  • Save on accommodation by staying in the backpackers or shared lodges so you can spend more money on the important things… Apres Ski anyone?
  • First timer? Get a free 2 hour lesson with a Discovery Lift pass that gives you access to a number of beginner lifts
Bourke Street – Courtesy of Mt Buller

Special deals just for you!


Ski for 2 Days and Stay 1 Night midweek for:

$189 Low Season (3 – 30 June and 11 Sept – 1 Oct 2017)

$209 High Season (1 July – 10 Sept 2017)


This ticket can only be purchased ONLINE.

Valid for 1 day lift access, ONLY on a THURSDAY,to be used any Thursday within the current season.

For Adults and Tertiary Students.

Sunrise – Courtesy of Mt Buller

Getting there

Located in the snow swept Victorian Alps, Mt Buller is a 3 hour drive from Melbourne, making it the most accessible snow resort in Australia. While it can be enjoyed as a day trip, it is perfect as a weekend road trip. Ditch work on Friday to allow you to make the most of the winter wonderland and spend as much time as possible on the slopes practicing your new shredding skills. Or make the most of the mid-week specials!

There are plenty of beautiful places to stop along the way to enjoy a meal or a coffee break. Mansfield, a short drive from the bottom of the mountain is perfect for picking up your hire gear and snow chains. I also love the bakery in Yea – they make the best vanilla slice in the world.

Car Day Entry – per vehicle

Online: $45

At the gate: $48

Fee’s vary for overnight stays – See prices here.

Wheel Chains

If you are staying in the mountain, you are required by law to carry wheel chains. Day visitors may have to carry chains depending on the weather and what type of vehicle they have. To check to see if you need to carry chains click here.

If you want to save yourself the hassle of learning to fit chains or even the drive, coaches leave the bottom of the mountain and take you to the village!

Night time in the village – Courtesy of Mt Buller


Is it your first time? Don’t be nervous, check out Mt Bullers First Timer’s Guide for everything you need to know for the ultimate snow adventure.

Come find me this winter on top of the world at Mount Buller! I’ll be the one sipping on Espresso Martini’s at the Black Cockatoo 



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24 year old dysfunctional backpacker, creative & storyteller. Cannot do a cartwheel, but I can eat an entire lemon so if that’s not impressive I don’t know what is. Follow my (mis)adventures around the world!