Winter family vacations are a great way to make cosy and fun memories over the colder months. It’s a great time to get out of Melbourne and explore the rest of the state you call home. These twelve hot winter locales in Victoria will get you inspired for an unforgettable family road-trip.
1. The Yarra Valley
The perfect winter family vacations for grown-up families always involves a healthy dose of wine. The Yarra Valley has dozens of wineries for you to explore, taste-test, and pretend to be a sommelier (wine expert). There are plenty of gourmet eateries, and attractions like hot air ballooning, native animal sanctuaries, and art museums. It’s the perfect destination as grey skies and chilly weather rolls in.
2. Mount Buller
If your family doesn’t mind the cold this winter, then Mount Buller has countless experiences for you to try. A snow resort fit for young families, it’s the perfect location for snowmen, snow angels, snowball fights, as well as tobogganing into the back of your poor father’s legs. And if the snowfall hasn’t been up to scratch, they even have man-made snow on hand to keep winter family vacations from getting spoilt.
This country town is so relaxing, it was the chosen location for the world’s largest simultaneous massage. It’s also known as the LGBTI capital of regional Australia and hosts the Chillout festival annually. In Daylesford, your family can enjoy a trip to Hepburn Springs, the largest mineral spring in the country. It’s home to a bathhouse and spa, where all your wintry worries will melt away in a nice, hot soak.
Almost all of Eastern Victoria is categorised as part of Gippsland, hence the region has a lot of attractions. The penguin parade at Philip Island is a popular sight, but at in colder weather, the crowds are smaller. There are also national parks, museums, and historical sights to visit. But mostly, breath-taking views of the rolling hills are enough to make for great winter family vacations.
Mildura is located right next to the Murray River, and a family vacation to the town should take full advantage of this. There are historic paddle steamer boats to give your family a unique view of the country town. You can spend cold winter nights at TV chef Stefano De Pieri’s namesake restaurant; spending the next day at the Mildura arts centre, or golf resort.
6. Falls Creek
The best place in the state for cross-country and alpine skiing. The trail has beautiful scenery of forests and mountainous views. The snow-covered village is picturesque, giving off major ‘Christmas-in-July’ vibes if you want to feel festive all year round. Book a warm lodge to most out of your winter family vacations.
Home to Bourkies Bakehouse, which put the town on the map by consistently winning awards for serving the best vanilla slices in the country. It’s located in the Black Forest, which is infamous for highway robbery by fearsome bushrangers during the Gold Rush. In modern times, however, the scenic woods are more likely to be filled with baked goods than thieves.
8. Wilsons Promontory
The prom is a national park filled with all kinds of Australian flora and fauna. White-sand beaches line the rugged coastline, dotted with Lighthouses that also function as accommodation. Exploring the beach is just as valid in winter as it is in summer; especially with locales like Squeaky beach (which earned its name from a peculiar squeaking noise made by the sound of feet walking over the sand). There are many nature walks to take in the rest of the vibrant surroundings.
9. Dandenong Ranges
Full of quirky cafes and elegant tea-rooms, the Dandenong mountains have many events staggered throughout the year, so even winter family vacations should have something to do up in the Ranges. Permanent fixtures of the mountains include a tree-rope adventure course, Puffing Billy (a functioning steam-powered train), and the botanical gardens.
10. Mount Hotham
Mount Hotham is the perfect location for skiing and snowboarding fanatics. It receives the state’s highest snowfall, which is great for its jump and terrain parks. Grown-up families will have an adventurous winter vacation, and in their downtime can relax in the open-air spas.
This town is a mix of historical and contemporary crowd-pleasers for all winter family vacations. Prime Minister’s walk showcases past and present leaders of Australia; the Art Gallery of Ballarat showcases contemporary artworks, like the Archibald prize; while the Ballarat wildlife park is full of cute and cuddly animals to give everyone warm fuzzies.
12. Hanging Rock
Famous picnic spot. Your family can climb and explore these rock formations in the Macedon ranges for hours on end. It’s a great place to take scenic photos, particularly at sunrise and sunset. Just don’t get lost.