With Fletcher’s 4th birthday looming my wife, Amanda, and I thought we would stretch out the celebrations over the whole weekend. With good snow reports over the past month we planted the seed that it would be great fun to go on a trip to the snow. Coincidently he decided the week of his birthday that a trip to the snow would be a good idea.
The original plan was to head to Mt Donna Buang, but it unfortunately didn’t have a good snow report for the weekend, so we changed our plans last minute and headed up to Lake Mountain. We were not disappointed. It took a little longer to get there from Lilydale, about 1.5 hours and it cost $56.00 just to pass through to the car park. As we closed in on the car park though we started to see the mounds of snow on the side of the road, which got the kids (and us) pretty excited. Not having ever seen snow Fletch commented that it looked a lot like sand and Immy just kept repeating “Snow. Snow!”.
The place was really well organized with parking assistants’ and shuttle buses to the summit, but we didn’t leave the car park for some time as the kids took off to play in the snow piled up around the perimeter. The kids faces when seeing and touching the snow for the first time was priceless and worth the trip, and price just to see the carpark snow. Fletch went about digging through the snow getting a good feel for it and Immy, who was dressed to the point of almost immovability just kept yelling “SNOW! YAY!”
Car Park Snow! The Michelin Baby
It’s been about 10 years since Amanda and I were last at the snow and I had completely forgotten how cold it can get. I know, silly thing to say, but the few times I had been to the snow it was bright and sunny. This day was windy, overcast and sometimes raining, so like I said it was super cold! Thankfully we had invested in some decent snow gear and we had some friends who lent us some of their kid’s gear. Poor Immy though was a bit wet and cold by the end, as her borrowed snow suit was a bit short in the legs.
Our main dilemma was what to take up to the summit. We didn’t get a park at the top car park and didn’t want to lug around all our gear, so we had to choose wisely about what to take. In hindsight we could have taken a lot more than we did, more than the nappies and some spare clothes. It would have been nice to take more snack food for the kids as there was not a great deal of choice from the café, which was always packed and outrageously expensive. As we walked back to the bus we noticed a room where there were lockers and a place to have an indoor picnic. All Amanda and I could do was just look at each other and laugh. Now we know for next time. Idiots!
Upon arrival to the summit we headed straight for the first toboggan slope. It seemed really busy, but once you got moving to the top of the slope it was easy to pick a spot to fly down. We only got a couple of runs in before Fletch decided he wanted to make a snowman, which was to Immy’s disgust as she wanted to keep doing the toboggan. We moved to the side in between the two main slopes and played in the snow for a while before going to the second toboggan slope.
This slope was much better, fewer people and much smoother and faster run. In saying this we only got one run down as Fletch got distracted on the way back up and wanted to play in the snow again, this time in the bushland area off the path. This was great as it was covered in soft fresh snow, unlike anything I’ve even seen. We played and explored in there for quite a while, with Fletch wandering around looking at the small streams of snow runoff and hunting for treasure. Immy on the other hand was getting restless, not being able to use her hands in the mittens and starting to get a little wet and very cold. We decided to head back to the packed café to warm up and change her clothes.
The heaters in the café along the walls were prime property, but I found Amanda perfectly positioned with Immy sitting on top of the heaters warming up. I didn’t dare ask how she managed to get the best spot, all I know there is no coming between a mother and her children’s health. After warming and freshening up we figured we should give the toboggans another crack since we had hired them. Immy was pumped and couldn’t get up the slope quick enough, Fletch was the opposite. Being a true Dad I did not want to walk back down the slope after slipping and sliding all the way up, so I loaded him up and we went down the slope with him cracking it the whole way down. I kept reassuring him that this was heaps of fun, even though we kept getting stuck in all the huge undulations, but when we got to the bottom he looked at me with disapproving eyes and said deadpan “that was not fun”. He was right the slope had degraded and people were all getting stuck like us.
Amanda and Immy stuck after following us down
So we left the slopes and headed back into the bushland where we trudged through the deep snow, exploring through the trees and over the logs looking for mammoths and dragons. Of course Fletch made a path through some of the tightest cluster of trees that had me crawling and squeezing through to follow him because I had to see everything he discovered. At one point, after contorting myself to get through some trees, I looked up and couldn’t see him. I tried to turn as best I could wrapping myself around the trees and logs like a weird game of Nature Twister. I hear Fletch who is standing five metres away in the clearing where we started and saying, “c’mon Daddy hurry up”. [SIGH] Should have stayed where I was!
Fletch wanting to go back into the trees…I didn’t follow this time
We did get down the other slope one more time each, but we quickly realised it was getting time to leave. We stopped at the café and got some takeaway food (2 x Sausage Rolls and 1 x Pie = $20). We got back to the car changed the kids clothes and headed home.
So what did we learn from our first outing to the snow.
- Get Immy some of her own snow clothes so she is properly protected.
- Bring heaps of snack food and lunch to eat at the indoor picnic area or one of the outdoor tables. Food prices up there are crazy and not very healthy!
- Buy toboggans when they are on special at Aldi next. We hired at Marysville for $10 each, which was a really good price, but I believe Aldi sell them for a similar price so in one trip they could be paid for.
- Only stay for about 2-2.5 hours. All day we saw parents encouraging their kids “c’mon let’s toboggan one more time” the kids reply with tears freezing on their cheeks “I don’t want to I just want to go home”. I chuckled and thought we would never push our kids like that, the poor kids. So we ended up leaving after 3 hours with the kids crying with exhaustion and hunger. Hmmm oops.
- Go back again, make the most of the snow so close to home. We want to explore other places too like Mt Donna Buang and maybe Baw Baw.
The weekends are getting away from us in the next couple of months, but we might be able to squeeze one more trip to the snow before it all washes away.
The best place to follow Josh’s adventures with his family is on his Instagram site @josh.duthie. You can see this post and more Adventures of Duth by clicking the link below.