SNOW AND SKI AT MT. BULLER - An Adelaidean First Timer/Beginner's Experience (Plus Mt. Gambier Stopover)

by - 11:04 PM

The snow was exactly how I had imagined it to be - pristine white, soft, and utterly beautiful. It was our first time to see snow and we were off on a skiing adventure. Skiing, on the other hand, was NOT how I had imagined it to be. If you're a first timer/beginner and are planning your first snow adventure at Mt. Buller, then read on for a detailed copy of our itinerary and budget breakdown.
Jeannie in a Bottle Blog: snow and ski at Mt. Buller, Victoria
My first snow experience!

When To Go

While winter in Australia is between June-August, I hear the best time to go is in July. We went on the 13th of July and it was perfect timing as there was snow fall the whole day. And for someone who has never seen snow, to experience actual snow falling from the sky was all I could ask for. God blessed our trip with the perfect weather as the day before we went, there was a blizzard (which caused the ski area to be closed for half the day), and the day after we went, the sun was out with no snow fall (although the snow on the ground would still be thick enough to ski on). Take into consideration that the weather might not be what you expect.
Snow fall at Mt. Buller

Getting There

Our group of 14 drove all the way from Adelaide in 3 separate cars. But honestly, if money was not an issue, I'd rather fly. If you check out the itinerary below, we spent more than a total of 24 hours on the road on this trip.

If you're coming from Melbourne, there is a 3.5 hour bus ride that will take you to Mansfield. Allow another 2.5 hours to get from Mansfield to Mt. Buller. Although Google maps says it'll only take you 3 hours to get to Mt. Buller, trust me, that's highly inaccurate as it took as an actual 2.5 hours instead of supposedly 50 mins to get to the ski area from Mansfield.

Where to Stay

We opted to rent a self-contained accommodation at Mansfield, which seems to be the closest town. We booked with Robyn's Nest with no regrets (Thanks for planning this trip, Anna!). The house was spacious, modern, clean and everything you could ask for - at an extremely affordable price.

By the fireplace at our Mansfield accommodation

What to Wear

I wore Kathmandu ThermalPlus thermal leggings and top, fleece jacket, thermal socks, and joggers on top of my leggings. Honestly, you'd think I was sponsored by Kathmandu. Lol. I then donned the rental ski jacket, pants and boots. Put a beanie on, then the helmet, and goggles. The goggles allowed me to keep my eyes open while the snow was falling. Otherwise, I had to keep closing my eyes as the snow fell on my face. Kept a scarf handy which I definitely needed to cover the area below the goggles as we rode the ski lifts. Up in the air, the wind plus snow was intensely blowing on our faces and the area around my mouth needed a lot of moisturizer after. All in all, the layers of clothing allowed me to feel like I had my own little warm cocoon except the toes and fingers sometimes felt frozen.
What to Do/Itinerary

Day 1 - Adelaide to Mansfield
12 AM - That's right, we assembled at midnight to begin the long drive from Adelaide to Mansfield
12 NN - After 5 stopovers for toilet/stretching/breakfast breaks, we finally arrived at Mansfield, where we decided to have lunch at Noodle House.
1:30 PM - Now re-energized, we walked to Discount Ski Hire where we fit and rented our gear. It was perfect timing as you can "pick up" your gear after 2 PM for use the next day (so you only pay 1 day gear rental).
3:00 PM - We drove to our accommodation which was only 2-5 minutes away from Mansfield's commercial area. Our initial plan was to drive to Mt. Buller in the afternoon but it was too late and we were exhausted.
10 PM - After dinner and games, it was time for bed.

Day 2 - Mt. Buller
5:30 AM - Early wake up time for breakfast and an early drive.
7:00 AM - Right on schedule, we left our accommodation to drive to Mt. Buller. According to Google Maps, the drive to Mount Buller would take 50 mins without traffic. We were targeting to arrive at 8:00 to have plenty of time to prepare for our 9 AM ski/snowboard lessons.
9:30 AM - This was the actual time we arrived at the carpark. Unfortunately, Google Maps doesn't take traffic and snow into consideration. Once you enter Mt. Buller, you stop at an area to put tire chains on, then make the very slow, single line, drive up to the car park. The snow was very thick thus cars have to drive with extra caution.
9:45 AM - Walked to Mt Buller Sports Central to claim our B-tags. The staff were kind enough to move us to the 11 AM class as we were already late.
10:15 AM - Changed into our ski/board boots and lined up at the carpark area for the shuttle up to the ski area, while carrying all our gear.
10:45 AM - Arrived at the ski area, and carried our gear to where the lessons were. Our group split up at this time as half went skiing and half went snow boarding.
11:00 AM - By this time, I was exhausted. The combination of the previous day's long drive, walking in ski boots that felt like lead on my feet, and carrying my skis and poles was not a good one. Still, the ski lessons began.
Beginner Skiing at Mt. Buller
12:30 AM - Walking up the slopes and maneuvering my skis was 10x more difficult than I had anticipated. I don't have much stamina nor arm and leg strength (unhealthy, I know) so my friend and I just about gave up at the same time. How embarrassing. Lol. But I figured it was better than collapsing right there. Haha.
1 PM - Our sweet husbands joined us for lunch and ditched skiing too. We had lunch at the cafe which was extremely overpriced but really, there's no way we could bring packed lunches. So just enjoy. By this time, the lessons ended and the rest of our group were ready to tackle the big slopes and went on the lift to ski/snowboard down the slopes.
2 PM - We and our husbands made the journey back to the carpark to change into walking boots. It felt SO good to take those heavy ski boots off. We then went back up, and just enjoyed the snow - went tobogganing (at the kiddie area lol), rode the ski lifts, walked down the slope, and played with the snow.
Tobogganing at Mt. Buller

4:30 PM - The whole group reunited and slowly made our way to catch the last shuttle at 4:45 PM.
6:45 PM - Just made it in time to return our snow gear as Discount Ski Hire closes at 7 PM.
7:15 PM - Back 'home', dinner, and just hanging out.

Day 3 - Mansfield to Mt. Gambier
10 AM - Check out. Drive to Mansfield town.
11 AM - Lunch at Blacksmith Specialty Coffee. Pricey but good. And wow, I did not expect a cafe like this to exist in Mansfield. Impressed.
12 NN - Drive to Mt. Gambier.
8 PM - Arrived at our friend's house. Dinner. Movie. Called it a night.
Umpherston Sinkhole at Mt. Gambier

Day 4 - Mt. Gambier to Adelaide
10:30 AM - Brunch
12 NN - Sightseeing - stopped by the Blue Lake (which was not as blue as it is in the summer), and the Umpherston Sinkhole then drove back to Adelaide
Blue Lake at Mt. Gambier

7 PM - Home, sweet home.

How Much To Spend/Budget Breakdown:

$109.37 ($1,531.20 / 14 people) - Mansfield Self-Contained Accommodation for 2 nights (booked through Robyn's Nest)
$120 - Mt. Buller Beginner's Ski Lesson + Unlimited Lift Pass
$5 - Mt. Buller B-tag (It's like a bus card that allows you to ride the lifts.)
$66 - Rent for ski gear including ski, poles, ski boots, helmet, ski jacket and ski pants from Discount Ski Hire
$109 - Gas and Car Entrance Fee to Mt. Buller ($47 entrance fee plus gas divided by number of passengers)
$70 - Food (saved because we bought groceries to cook for breakfast and dinner)

TOTAL: $479.37 per person

Personal Additional (Optional) Expenses:
$30 - Goggles from Discount Ski Hire (might not be as necessary on a sunny day but on a day with fresh snow fall, you definitely need it. Or else it'd be so hard to keep your eyes open.)
$20 - Walking boots rental
$20 - Ski Gloves from Amart
$170 - Thermal top, thermal leggings, fleece jacket, thermal socks - all on sale at Kathmandu
TOTAL (additional/optional) : $240 per person

My Tips:
  • If money is not an issue, fly instead of drive. It will save you SO much time and energy.
  • Spend at least 2 days on Mt. Buller even if you only spend 1 day skiing and the other day playing in the snow.
  • Consider staying in Mt. Buller (they sometimes have promos that make the accommodation quite affordable) and maybe experience living on a snowy mountain even if it's just for a night.
  • ...or stay in Mansfield if you prefer.
  • Get your rental gear from Discount Ski Hire in Mansfield instead of Buller Sports. Doing so will save you around $60. 
  • Or if you prioritize convenience over money, rent your gear at Buller Sports Central so you don't have to pack and carry your gear. Make sure you go REALLY early so as not to waste any time.
  • Buy your own snow boots and ski jacket and pants if you plan to go on a snow trip more than once. It'll save you from the smell of the rental ones.
  • Bring a scarf to wrap around your face for when the wind or the snow blows.
  • Don't forget the sunscreen!
  • Don't forget the tire chains for your car and make sure you have a car in a condition capable of going up a snowy mountain. What could be worse than having your car die on you in the snow?
  • At the end of my ski session, I thought I should have picked snow boarding so I wouldn't have had to worry about coordinating with the 2 poles, ski boards, and heavy boots. Only to find that my friends who went snow boarding wished they picked skiing because it was so hard to stand up on the board (as you begin sitting on the ground). At the end of the day, we all had tons of fun with no regrets. The choice is really up to you.
Have you been snow boarding or skiing before?
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  1. First time in the snow? How fun! Skiing can definitely be tricky to get the hang of, but I'm so glad to hear you still enjoyed your trip.

    Kathryn • The Fashionography

  2. Oh, it had to be so exciting to see and feel snow for the first time, sounds like you had amazing time during this trip :)

  3. I went skiing before! It was actually kind of difficult but so much fun! My friend and I have some of our greatest memories from that day! :)


  4. I can't imagine how excited you should be to see snow for your first time
    I love skiing, it's so much fun' !
    Want to enjoy summer first but then definitely want to go somewhere to ski this winter ha. :)

  5. I can't believe this was the first time you'd seen snow! It looks so much fun I've never been skiing :)

    Rosy | Sparkles of Light Blog

  6. I hope it was awesome experience for you :-) It's so funny to "meet" someone who never saw snow in her/his life xx


  7. Love your post!!
    I am glad you enjoyed reading my recent posts.
    Thanks for the support and thoughtful words on my recent post, I deeply appreciate it!!

  8. Even if it was a bit of a tiring trip and it was tricky to ski, it looks like you still had a lot of fun! :) I've never been to any of the snow fields in Australia - it would be fun to experience it.

    Away From The Blue Blog

  9. Whatta fun, loved the adventure report. I am so jelly.
    New post on my blog . Do drop by soon <3

  10. Wow what a fun trip!

  11. It looks like you all had so much fun! Thanks for all of your tips! :) xx

  12. Great post! So much fun and adventure. Looks like you had a lot of fun!

    Face to Curls |

  13. Looks like so much fun!! If I ever go to mt Buller, this post will be my guide!

    Adi xx

  14. How cool!! I'm sure you had a lot of fun :)


  15. Ohmygoodness this looks like so much fun. I love when the snow is all pristine and pure, it's better than that sludge you get walking to the shops in winter, if you know what I mean?

    Mt. Buller looks awesome. I have to go skiing some day.

    Little Moon Elephant

  16. Cant wait to experience snow myself. Good you had so much fun.

  17. Wow! Great pics! Really interesting post...thx for sharing! xx

  18. Wow, such a great experience!!! Cool pics babe!
    Kisses, Paola.


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  19. looks like loads of fun! I haven't tried skiing yet but I would love to! :)

  20. That looks like so much fun! The photos are beautiful, it seems to be an amazing place to be in the winter. I've never seen snow before and I would love to, it is one of my dreams. I also posted recently about my latest trip c:

    Cy | Dulce de Mango

  21. Oh darling thank you for share so amazing pics about your trip sounds so amazing and beautiful. I hope someday see the snow by myself because lookssuper pretty. Your looks super cute in all your pics.

  22. Fun trip! Beautiful pictures.
    Xx, Raysa

  23. Wow it is so hard to imagine snow right, now looks like you had fun

  24. The trip totally looks like it was worth the long drive- looks like so much fun! How exciting that you saw snow for the first time :)

  25. Oh wow, the snow really does look beautifully soft, white and pristine! I hope you had an utterly incredible time - and that you're one hell of a lot better at skiing than I am, haha! ;)

  26. Ahhh I can imagine the excitement since it was your first time seeing snow.. but I've seen enough of it and I'm way more fond of summer than winter.. I've never been skiing, but we had sleighs as kids :D Which was always fun.. It seems like you've had an amazing time xx


  27. How fun! SoCal is so friggin hot right now I wish we had snow!
    Thank you for the blog visit babe, hope to see you back to check out my EuroTrip honeymoon travel diaries!

    Xx- Julie

    Haute Khuuture Blog

  28. Oh wow that sounds like so much fun! I've never been skiing though I want to try. I hear that it is definitely harder than it seems. I can't believe that was your first time seeing snow! We get snow every once in awhile during the winter in Seattle. Not as often as we would like, but every time it snows it feels like a magical moment. Glad to hear you got to experience the joy of snow!

    ~Andrea Tiffany~

  29. awww these photos are just too cute *_*

  30. Not going to lie, when I saw these photos I got terrified of the thought of winter and snow coming back (I'm from Canada) since I want to enjoy this hot summer as much as possible! Looks like you had a lovely time though!

    Stacey +

  31. Looks like you had an amazing time, and such a great post giving a run down of itinery and costs :) I went skiing a couple of years ago and was surprised how much I enjoyed it <3

    // xx

  32. Amazing pictures!! Such a cool experience.

    X Merel

  33. wooow! it's so strange to see snow in the middle of summer but... I see it was a great trip. :) beautiful photos <3

  34. How exciting! I've never experienced snow before, but it must be amazing!

    -Jannette | The Diary of a Daydreamer

  35. I HAVE NEVER SKIED BEFORE! I really want to go skiing, and this looks like the perfect place to do it! ;D


  36. Wow, what a trip! That's an entire gang having fun, dear. I've only tried skiing few times & it was tiring but fun. Happy Sunday, babe! xoxo

  37. beautiful!
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  38. Thank you for sharing this detailed and interesting post! I've never gone skiiing but nevertheless this was such an interesting read!
    XO IMKE | Pastellics

  39. Aww what an exciting trip! Looked like so much fun ❤

  40. Amazing post! Have a lovely new week. :)


  41. Pardon my ignorance, I had no idea that it was possible to go skiing in Australia! It looks like you had a great time.


  42. Beautiful pics.
    xoxo <3

  43. How exciting it must have been to experience snow for the first time! And what a way to do it by skiing. I've never actually been before even though I'm surrounded by mountains and snow lol.


  44. That looks like so much fun! x

    Have a nice week,

  45. Sounds like so much fun! Super jealous of the snow in these shots I just adore winter x


  46. That looks really fun! it's hot here in Manila now, but your photos conjured up memories of our winter experience at the border of Swiss Alps and Milan, Italy.

  47. Aww the trip looks amazing, I want the snow!!


  48. It's hard to think of skiing while I'm at the end of summer here in Chicago, but this place looks great. Thanks for sharing!

  49. So cool to document your first time experiencing snow! It looks like you had fun!

    Chow Down USA

  50. This is such a good guide!! Love to know you have such a good time, the photos are amazing :)

  51. Amazing pictures! Looks as if you had a really cool trip :9

    What about following each other?

    Caro x

  52. Wow this looks like a lot of fun!! Snow everywhere seems so perfect, glad you had a fun time. x

  53. Wow! Such an extreme adventure! Thanks for commenting on

  54. Thank you so much dear :D

    Woooow, amazing photos! SOunds a great travel :D

    NEW WISH POST | Beauty: Indispensable After Summer.
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  55. So glad you got to experience snow and had some adventure with it. Skiing is so not my thing and I will probably be stuck on the bunny hill forever!

  56. Looks amazing! I have never skied before.

    Amy Ann
    Straight A Style

  57. It's great that you got to experience snow for the first time Jeanne! Sorry to hear that the skiing didn't work out as well as you'd hoped. I'm glad to hear you had fun overall, especially playing in the snow.

    Saba xx

  58. The first experience is always to remember and you had so much fun!
    Thanks for your comment! xx
    Coco and Jeans by Marisa

  59. Wow...lovely photos babe...xoxo, Neha

  60. So happy you had fun in the snow, cute pictures hun!


  61. Congrats on your first snow experience! It sounds like you totally did it right and got the full effect! These pics are getting me so excited for winter right around the corner.

  62. I adore summer but after seeing these photos, winter and snow are all I want right now :D It must have been such an amazing experience! Lovely photos! Love what you wrote, too :)

  63. Great post! Thanks for sharing.

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  64. I learned snowboarding a few years ago and I can totally relate. It looks so easy, but it is so exhausting. At least for the first few years.

    Linda, Libra, Loca: Beauty, Baby and Backpacking


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