Howdy all! It might surprise some of my readers to know, but even in Australia we have snow! Sure, not all year round, but in the winter months, in the mountain regions and high planes, there is plenty of snow around for people to enjoy snow sports from late-ish June to early September. Please remember – Australia’s seasons are the reverse to the northern hemisphere!
Of course, the mountains are still there when the snow is not, and it was in February this year that I took the drive to Mt Baw Baw, not too far from the places in Gippsland I went recently. In fact I had a room booked there that I had to cancel due to being classified as a ‘close contact’ of someone who had Covid. They would not refund me my money, but they would keep it as credit and I needed to book again before April this year.
See Also – Lost in Gippsland!
Which is what I did. And I headed up in February on Thursday it was to see what Mt Baw Baw had to offer. When I was younger we had family trips to the snow, but we didn’t go to Mt Baw Baw I don’t think – I can’t remember a trip there. We usually did cross-country skiing on Lake Mountain, which is a bit closer to Melbourne and I don’t believe has any downhill runs. Mt St Gwinear we also went to once or twice, and I had a school trip to Mt Hotham where it snowed and snowed and snowed! We had to get out of our tents every hour or so and dig them out of the snow that was falling on and around them!
But in February the chances of snow are minimal. Not quite zero, but minimal. So I drove my way up to Mt Baw Baw, with a one night stay ahead of me. The road was, unsurprisingly, windy. From Melbourne, Mt Baw Baw is relatively close being probably a bit more than a two-hour drive. Other mountains that have downhill skiing, such as Mt Buffalo or Mt Hotham, well they can be four hours or more away. So in the winter for those looking for a skiing getaway, Baw Baw provides an accessible option.
To get there I went via Noojee, where I was late last year as readers may recall. From Noojee you begin the climb, the road is decent. Once you get off the main road onto the road to the top, that’s really windy, but it was mostly clear mid-afternoon.
I parked at the main car park near the information centre. I had a little cabin which I will be reviewing to stay at, I collected my keys from the information office. I could drive my bags there but I had to go back and park at the main car park, it’s a requirement.
Once I had settled in, I decided to do the hike to the summit. I had hear a few different estimations on the time required, but nevertheless it was still daylight savings in February and there was still plenty of light.
In fact, the summit hike proved to be on a decent track which is a cross-country skiing track in the winter months so its suitably wide. To get there I walked through the village, which was eerily quiet. In fact, the whole mountain was eerily quiet when I was there, but it’s obviously a winter venue and it was a weekday too. I passed all the different chalets where people stay, but people I did not see until I got to the start of the track, I passed a couple who had just done the circuit in the reverse way to what I was doing.
The walk is really beautiful, at times felt like I was in Europe or perhaps South America. Baw Baw is not barren at the top, it actually has a lot of trees – the ski runs are carved through the trees. More recently I hiked to the top of Mt Kosciusko, 2228 metres high and the highest mountain in Australia. I was actually wondering how high it was whilst vlogging on this hike (Mt Kosciusko) and this moment led to me deciding to go to Australia’s highest mountain in March. For reference, Mt Baw Baw is 1567 metres high according to Mr Google.
The hike was very pleasant. The temperature was less than +10 celcius on Baw Baw, perhaps around 8 degrees, but the hiking and a few layers kept me plenty warm. At the very top is this rock formation called ‘Baron Von Mueller’s The Can’ – presumably the first white person to reach the summit, an information board and little bit of a clearing with a couple of seats. It’s not much to write home about, however a bit further along the track is a lookout which I think looks south and gives you a good view of the local mountains.
I completed a circuit back to the village rather than return the way I came, past the top of several ski runs and through the forest. I got a little confused when I hit a clearing called ‘Five Ways’ – where five different tracks met each other, but luckily I took the right one. The ski lifts were not open, but I followed one back down the last 10 minutes of the hike. Mist had well and truly set in, it was spooky! But kinda cool too, even if it rendered visibility limited.
The night was cold. I cooked my own microwave dinner and watched DVDs. It was a beautiful spot though, with nothing but the bush outside my little balcony. The next day the fog had really set in. I had an early lunch at the Village Central Restaurant, not open for dinners in summer (except maybe Friday and Saturday nights) and probably a place with a nice view. But the mist left me none the wiser on that count!
The big breakfast was filling and tasted pretty good. There’s a bar there too and the place is quite big, the main place on Baw Baw for dining and drinking, although some of the chalets would have restaurants I presume, and bars! It was a nice way to finished my short stay on Baw Baw.
Driving down the first bit was hairy. The mist was set in until basically I hit the main road, a little further actually. I took a left turn and went home a different way to the way I drove up to Baw Baw. The road was not sealed for a fair way, I went through the Gippsland towns of Erica and Sale on the way home. Which was is quicker? The Noojee route is shorter, but timing wise there was only a small difference and I thought going a different way would be a nice change as I have been through Noojee many times.
All in all, it was a great little one night getaway, the sort we all need from time to time. I’ll tell you more on the accommodation when I do the review! Thanks for popping by! Take care, and May the Journey Never End!