Travel News

Stylish skiing in Victoria

Heading for the slopes this winter? Don’t settle for anything less than the best, with this round-up of the most stylish spots to stay, drink, dine and recharge.

By Emma Breheny
Astra Lodge, Falls Creek
Astra Lodge, Falls Creek (photography: Mark Roper)

STAY

Astra Lodge, Falls Creek
Opened last year, the 27-room ski-in ski-out Astra Lodge has everything for the avid skier as well as those who take luxury seriously. Physiotherapists, wet and dry saunas, massages and world-renowned ski instructor, Adalbert Leibetseder, ensure enthusiasts get the most out of every day on the slopes, while for downtime activities, guests can spend a few hours in the library, visit the barber for a hot towel shave or settle in for a pre-dinner blow wave with the on-site hair stylist. The menu at the lodge's namesake restaurant applies Italian and French technique to ingredients such as barramundi and lamb rack, while a well-stocked bar ensures après-ski is a highlight of each day. Choose from the extensive range of single-malt whiskeys and fortifieds from near and far or pick a winner from the Victorian-focused wine list.
$695 per night for a deluxe room (peak season), with a minimum two-night stay. 5 Sitzmark St, Falls Creek, Vic, (03) 5758 3496, astralodge.com.au

QT Falls Creek
This award-winning ski resort brings QT's signature playful touches to the snow, from the open kitchen and roving global menu of hotel restaurant Bazaar to bold colours and clashing patterns seen across the hotel's common areas. Under-floor heating, balcony hot tubs and views from every one of the 42 apartments and penthouses add to the in-room experience, while a snow-gear rental shop and Falls Creek's main chairlift are mere footsteps away. Meanwhile, SpaQ's treatments, designed for those who've been putting their body through their paces, include green tea salt scrubs, massages and facials. The mountain views are the finishing touch.
$836 per night for a one-bedroom apartment (peak season), including breakfast, with a minimum two-night stay. 17 Bogong High Plains Rd, Falls Creek, Vic, (03) 5732 8000, qthotelsandresorts.com

SpaQ at QT Falls Creek
SpaQ at QT Falls Creek

RECHARGE

Star Lodge, Mount Buller
Escape the elements and rest your legs with a quick pit-stop in the Star Lodge, opened for the first time this year atop the Bourke Street run at Mount Buller Resort. The handiwork of Mercedes-Benz, the Star Lodge is modelled on the warming huts seen on Europe and North America's ski fields and offers all visitors to the mountain a spot to rest and recharge, quite literally. Phone chargers and free WiFi ensure your trip to the snow doesn't go unseen by your Instagram followers while chairs, blankets and air vents modelled on those seen in Mercedes-Benz cars keep things cosy. The building – a temporary structure made from concrete blocks and shipping containers especially for the 2018 season – commands 180-degree views of Mount Stirling and the surrounding High Country. And it's located just steps from the ski-lift. Win-win.
Located at the top of the Mercedes-Benz Chairlift, Mt Buller Resort, Vic.

Mercedes-Benz Star Lodge
Mercedes-Benz Star Lodge

Aveda Damage Remedy Split End Repair
Nangai oil repairs split ends instantly while helping prevent future damage from the elements in this easy-to-apply leave-in treatment.
$52, aveda.com.au

Onsen Retreat & Spa, Dinner Plain
Embrace the conditions the way Japanese, Norwegians and countless other cultures do at this luxurious retreat featuring an outdoor bath, surrounded by gumtrees and snow-covered mountains. Just a short drive from Mount Hotham, Onsen Retreat & Spa's centrepiece is its 38-degree pool styled on Japan's outdoor onsens. Elsewhere in the facility there's an indoor heated pool and treatment rooms where hot stone massages, treatments targeting sore feet and calves and facials designed for both men and women beckon.
Big Muster Dr, Dinner Plain, Vic, (03) 5150 8880, hothamholidays.com.au

Elizabeth Arden FourEver Bronze Bronzing Powder
Packing light doesn't have to mean skimping on beauty essentials. This sleek compact belies a powerful four-in-one package of highlighter, blush and contouring and bronzing powders, designed to be used either alone or together. The formulation is designed to both absorb excess oil or moisturise dry skin, ideal for the active traveller in challenging conditions.
$48, elizabetharden.com.au

Dr Dennis Gross, Alpha Beta Universal Daily Peel Packettes
A two-step exfoliator that comes in a super travel-friendly package, Dr Dennis Gross's treatment pads are an easy way to maintain your usual beauty routine while on the road. And with all the wind, cold air and aggressive heating you're likely to encounter on a ski trip, your skin will thank you for this at-home peel that achieves a smoother texture and brighter complexion.
$24 for 5 day packettes, mecca.com.au

The lobby at QT Falls Creek
The lobby at QT Falls Creek

EAT AND DRINK

Black Cockatoo, Mount Buller
Australian and Japanese ingredients collide on the new-season menu of this moody dining room nestled within Mount Buller Chalets. Start proceedings with the wallaby tartare topped with a quail egg yolk, perhaps, or opt for lamb ribs boosted by a sauce of miso and Kirin. Large plates, ideal for sharing with the crew, include dishes touched by the flames of the kitchen's Josper. Think Moreton Bay bugs with garlic butter or Rangers Valley oyster blade that comes with a rich bone marrow butter. On the cocktail list you'll find concoctions featuring warm and aromatic ingredients, such as cardamom, pine syrup, sage and clove mixed with Four Pillars gin.
207 Summit Rd, Mt Buller, Vic, (03) 5777 7918, blackcockatoo.net.au.

The Grimus Grind, Mount Buller
Those in the know don't start a day on Mount Buller without a visit to The Grind, whether on foot or via the ski-in ski-out coffee window. Run by Anton Grimus, Olympic skier and son of Hans, who established the alpine-style Hotel Pension Grimus, this tiny café continues the family tradition of hospitality. Grimus Grind serves coffee by BlackBoard Coffee Roasters all day, alongside a menu of ski-friendly snacks, including jaffles, egg and bacon wraps and chia puddings topped with red wine-poached pears, for those in need of a quick refuel on the mountain.
5 Breathtaker Rd, Mt Buller, Vic, 7.30am-4pm daily.

Dishes at Black Cockatoo, clockwise from left:
Dishes at Black Cockatoo, clockwise from left:

Gitan Alps, Dinner Plain
Melbourne's L'Hôtel Gitan will bring a touch of French sophistication to the slopes of Dinner Plain this August with a take-over of Alphutte restaurant that includes a menu of French favourites, such as beef Bourguignon and coq au vin, along with vin chaud and other touches from the Alps. Think warm raclette with charcuterie and cornichons and crêpes Suzette. For lunch, a croque Monsieur may be more your speed. A menu this good may be worth planning your snow trip around.
Gitan Alps, 8-21 August 2018, lunch Fri-Sun noon-3pm; dinner Mon-Thurs 4pm-9pm, Fri-Sun 5pm-9pm. Alphutte, Lot 563 Big Muster Dr, Dinner Plain, Vic, (03) 5159 6620.