The Dinner Plain Ski Resort is most unusual. We visited DP, as it's known, as this was the closest accommodation to the Biathlon Range at Whiskey Flat. The Mt Hotham Ski Resort is a further 10 minutes up the road from Whiskey Flat.
The Most Charming Alpine Village in Australia
In the road trip to ski Australia's ski resorts, we found DP to be most unlike other resorts.
Well, for one thing, although it is called a ski resort, it's not really. It's actually a purpose built charming village on relatively flat terrain in the Alpine Region. It has precisely one lift, a poma or drag lift, situated on a short, gentle incline, perfect for beginners and for tobogganing fun.
Dinner Plain is perfect for Cross Country or Nordic skiing, with excellent groomed trails around the village.
Beautiful trails amongst the snow gums
This is a village of lodges and residences built only of stone and timber. The development of buildings is controlled so that the colours are restricted to the colours of the Australian Eucalypt Tree, such as greys, muted greens, reddish brown. The height of buildings is also limited. As a result, DP is a very pretty village with charming housing, spaced well apart.
It's just beautiful!
There are three commercial hotels - the Dinner Plain Hotel, which as a lively Aussie Pub atmosphere; Rundell's just along the main road called Big Muster Drive is upmarket and has an excellent lounge, bar and fine dining restaurant; and the High Plains Lodge has comfortable and affordable accommodation.
Most of the accommodation is at private residences. It seems that the lodges are ideal for families or groups of families sharing a large home. It really is quite difficult sourcing a studio apartment.
Rundell's, rated at 8.2 by reviewers, is an upmarket hotel a mere 5 minutes walk from the luxury spa and Onsen at the big round-a-bout. Some of the rooms have a fully equipped kitchen as well as a fireplace. There is a restaurant and bar and they offer free breakfast and free wifi.
It is located close to the village shops and the bus stop to Hotham is steps away.
Click here to read more and to book your ski vacation at Rundells.
This complex of apartments are located steps from the village center very close to the Brandy Coffee Shop which also doubles as the local supermarket. There is a small office at street level which is the letting agency or reception and they'll look after the booking and payment administration.
They're generally two bedroom apartments that will sleep four to six persons with a well equipped kitchen, open fireplace, decent sized lounge and a small balcony.
Click here for more information and to book an apartment at Snow Gums
This property offers a one bedroom apartment with a fully contained kitchen and a separate lounge area. It is likely to be an area separated from the main house. It's pretty unusual to find a one bedder at Dinner Plain as most of the properties are large family homes. Very often studios or one bedders offered are converted garages.
Nonetheless, visitors have ranked this comfortable apartment with an 8.6 rating, Very good.
Click here to find out more and to book Short Squaw's one bedroom apartment.
Biathlon at Whiskey Flat
Australia's only Biathlon range at Whiskey Flat. The Australian Biathlon Association welcomes novices and holds "Come and Try" days early in the season. You may know, this is a multi-discipline sport of fast cross country skiing with target shooting when the biathlete needs to be as zen as possible. As you can imagine, the skills required tax both mind and body.
Biathlete Prone at Whiskey Flat
Cross Country Skiing
There are excellent XC trails at Dinner Plain. The topography of this development is quite flat, the plain having once been Alpine pastures, making the trails here ideal for beginners. The trails are groomed daily and it is quite lovely wending your way amongst the gum trees.
The cross country trails are extensive, well groomed and run all the way between DP and Mt Hotham.
Mt Hotham Cross Country Trails
The kids will have heaps of fun at the really gentle slope. There is just one poma or drag lift.
The Tobaggan slope at DP
You'll come across the dogs and the sleds practicing on the XC trails. The huskies are completely adorable and so lively. There are regular Dog Sled Races at DP.
For Activities, look up Dinner Plain's Official Site.
Dinner Plain Village
This resort is a purpose built development on a relatively flat plain. The commercial area comprises a handful of retail shops including ski-hire shops, a pub, supermarket, a couple of good coffee-shops and snack bars. These are located at the large round-about as you come in to the village.
For a laid back lovely place to meet friends, go to Rundells for their classy lounge with a welcoming fireplace.
The other coffee places are good for light snacks and are relaxed and casual.
For dinner, many families choose to dine at the Pub or Hotel for their generous sized servings.
To enjoy a fine dinner, you can't go past Rundells' with their very lovely dining room, starched linen and high end menu. Naturally, it is priced " Not budget".
The supermarket here has limited stock but sufficient for making up dinner at your lodge. Most would stock up at the IGA supermarket at Omeo.
Downhill at Mt Hotham
For downhillers, you're only 20 minutes from one of Australia's best known resorts, well renowned for its steep deeps. You'll need a car pass to access and park at Mt Hotham Ski Resort and this can be purchased from Hoy's Ski Rental in the cluster of shops at DP. Be sure that you do obtain your car's pass as the parking fine is expensive.
There are also regular buses servicing the route between Hotham and DP. The bus service is ideal if you're cross country skiing as if you're tired, you just have to hop on a bus to get back to your lodge.
The closest airport is the Mt Hotham Airport about 15 minutes downhill from the resort (direction - south east). The regional airlines service this route with regular flights in winter.
Albury, a large regional city, has the next closest airport. Albury Airport is about 2.5 hours drive from Mt Hotham in the westerly direction.
If you're driving from Albury, take great care on this road from Bright up the mountain to Mt Hotham. You must carry chains in winter - remember, these chains must be the sort approved by the Victorian authorities. What this means is, don't hire them from the nearby states as you'll only need to hire a different set in Victoria.
The road is windy, narrow, with limited parking bays, the steep drops are unfenced. In short, it's treacherous in bad weather. Drivers consider this the dangerous route to Mt Hotham and DP.
The safer road is uphill from Omeo which is relatively straight, wide and a consistent gentle gradient.
I cannot emphasize more strongly, the great care and vigilance, required when driving in bad conditions through Mt Hotham to get to Dinner Plain.