15 Aug Snow play near Melbourne |Mount Donna Buang
Both Tim and I had never been to the snow. My parents will say they took me when I was three but photos show us tobogganing down grass with patches of snow. Now that we live in a Melbourne suburb, seeing snow was as easy as going for a day trip. We chose to go to Mount Donna Buang for a snow play day.
At a bit over an hour and a half drive from Melbourne, it’s one of the closest places to go for snow play. Located in the Yarra Valley, Mount Donna Buang’s summit is 1250m and during winter it can receive snowfall. It features a 21 metre high lookout tower and toboggan runs and is popular for snow play, bike riding and walking. Entry up to the mountain is free.
Access to the mountain is via Donna Buang Road after passing through Warburton. If coming from the Northern suburbs like we did, don’t follow google maps to Mount Donna Buang summit. It took us to the Healesville side of the road, which was closed. We then had to back-track to get to the other side.
Winding up the road and watching the temperature drop we were eager for our first glimpse of snow. As we got further up it was half raining, half sowing and the edges of the roads were now white with snow. We got to the car park and were directed to park rather than continuing up to the top car park. We were all very exited when getting out of the car, snow began to fall. I went to the people directing the cars and overheard them say they weren’t allowing cars up due to snowfall on the road. I asked if we would be able walk up and she said she was finding out.
The kids happily played in snow off the road. Declan’s gumboots had already filled with ice (why didn’t I make sure his pants were over his boots?!) The grader made its way down after clearing the road. Several cars then followed. The lady said people could walk up but reminded everyone it would be slippery. We weren’t sure whether to walk it with two small kids. A little bit after, she said they would start allowing 4×4’s up. We had taken Tim’s car as it was all wheel drive and they said we could drive up. The road up was fine, the issue was the slushy, snow-covered car park. We parked as close to the road as possible.
Just across from the car park was a van hiring out toboggans for $10 each. He asked if we had been to the mountain before, we told him it was our first time and he advised us to skip the toboggan runs and head straight to the summit as we would find it better with little kids. We got our toboggan and started walking up hill. Fletcher sat in the toboggan and I pulled him along.
As soon as we begun walking we were amazed at the beauty of the snow-covered trees, lining the road up. Approaching the summit, all we could see was white. The ground and trees were blanketed with snow and fog meant visibility was low. We could barely see the observation tower, on a clear day it would be a great lookout spot.
Once at the top we took a moment to appreciate the spectacular scene. Unlike in the bottom car park where the snow was icy, this fresh snow was soft and fluffy. It was so fun to play with and we were throwing it around. We started to make a snowman but our logistics were a bit off, we definitely need more snowman building practice. The kids were loving it until the wind picked up. Declan wasn’t keen on the icy air and wanted picked up. Fletcher started whining about being cold so to take his mind off it Tim got him on the toboggan and going down a small hill.
This lasted for a little while but then it started to snow, heavily. As snow hit Declan’s little face, he started crying, then Fletcher followed. I took some quick snaps of the area and we headed back down to the car. Even though we didn’t play with the toboggan much, it was at this moment I thought it was worth the ten dollars. With a cranky five-year old sooking about being cold but refusing to move, I made him sit on it and pulled him all the way down.
Back at the car, we changed the kids wet pants. They weren’t that bad, the second layer was still dry. Poor Declan had cold wet feet though. Dry clothes and snacks and they were fine. Earlier in the day, 2-wheel drive cars were allowed up and now they were having trouble getting out. We had to wait for one car that was blocking the road with engine problems. The road had again been cleared and after getting a helpful push, we slowly drove down, admiring the wintry scene as light snow fell.
Having never seen snow we felt so lucky that on the day we went not only was there snow to play in but we got to experience snowfall as well. I actually wasn’t sure whether I would enjoy being at the snow. I thought I might be too cold and find it painful but I really enjoyed the experience. The heavy snowfall was too much for our young kids and we weren’t properly prepared. Despite that, the boys both say they had a great time. Now that we have had our first snow experience we definitely want more and may plan a visit to one of Victoria’s snow resorts next time.
We visited Mount Donna Buang on Monday August 7 2017. If you are planning a snow play day at Mount Donna Buang be sure to check the weather forecast and latest snow report on the Warburton info site.