Australia’s Best Ski Value Award Goes to Mt Baw Baw

For a day or few’s skiing Australia’s Best Ski Value Award has to go to friendly Mt Baw Baw.

$55 for a day lift pass midweek is less than a third what you’ll pay at the ‘Big 5’ Aussie ski areas. Go on a ‘Wicked Wednesday’ outside peak dates that goes down to $35! Which is what we used to pay in the late 80s elsewhere ..

Weekends it’s still only $80 a day.

Even better, Kids under 7 and not-so-oldies over 70 are FREE. Always!

Kids 7-15 are $40 midweeks, $50 weekends. See below for the full pricing schedule.

It delivers something for families across the generations to young adults looking for more affordable on-snow good times to school groups. If sticker shock is getting you down looking at the alternatives, check out Baw Baw.

Snow Action’s Dave Windsor who lives nearby has the lowdown..

Baw Baw trail sign with all Excellent
Baw Baw all go .. © Dave Windsor

Lessons and Programs at Baw Baw are also great value

Bookings are open online now for Baw Baw’s extensive snow school programs.

The 4 or 6 hour Group Lesson packages with lunch included for 3 – 6 year olds or 7 – 12 year olds is $145 / $165 respectively, with a maximum of 8 kids per group.

Teen and Adult 2 hour group lessons are $110, again with maximum 8 per group.

Even for absolute beginners, also consider the alternative of a 2 hour private lesson from $240 + $100 per extra person. Anyone adult or child who can ride a bike should find skiing or boarding not much harder to get going at. The key to make a private lesson work is be more or less similar standard – so if you got some sibling kids or a couple or a few friends that fit the bill you do it together in a private lesson instead for 3 or 4 of you. That can work better than a $110 2 hour group lesson with a full group of 8 people. After a lesson you should be able to go and work on your new found skills easily enough on Baw Baw’s easy terrain.

Kids getting the hang of tree skiing at Mt Baw Baw
Introduce the kids (or youreslf!) to tree skiing at Baw Baw © Dave Windsor

Powder days at Baw Baw

Sure, Baw Baw is not exactly renowned for its powder sessions, but during Snowmageddon it didn’t dissapoint in that department either.

One of the best seasons ever was in full swing when we hit Baw Baw on the first weekend in August. Snow covered the road from the tiny township of Tanjil Bren at 838m all the way up to the car parks, which is a bit of a rarity in these parts.

Luckily the cheerful crew from Baw Baw Sports & Outdoor fitted my chains at fitting bay 4, which was complimentary with chain hire from their Neerim South outlet. So I stayed snug in the car with the kids. Admittedly it’s pretty soft, but who am I to argue with that kind of service? Sadly, they fell victim to COVID shutdowns and have closed. Baw Baw offers a hire and fitting service at the Resort Entry for $30 for 1 day hire and fitting, plus $10 per day for extra hire days, or $20 for fitting chains hired elsewhere en-route. Book in advance online during peak times and anytime after decent snowfall.

Shin to knee deep pow at Baw Baw in amongst the tight tangled forest beside the gentle slopes was the order of the day for me, whilst my 8 year old her 13 year old cousin Samara raced down the cruisy greens and blues that make this peaceful place so family friendly.

Steep and deep it isn’t, and Speedy Gonzales is nowhere to be seen, but this doesn’t mean you can’t have fun.

I hooked up with boarder Steve Cousins from Wonthaggi and hit untracked freshies for the best part of the morning skier’s right off Maltese Cross, popping out as close as possible to the awaiting, uncrowded T-bar. We wove and tucked and bent and swerved our way down, discovering different descents each time whilst avoiding the snow swollen low lying limbs. A few times we skied a little too low and couldn’t avoid a bit of a hike out onto the adjacent Ridge Run.

On the other side of the hill, skier’s left of Playground was an equally challenging, marginally tighter yet shorter tree run just below the 1,564m summit that opened into a gentle powder plateau that required a bit of straight line speed to reach the bottom of the Painted Run T-Bar.

Snowboarding fresh snow in the snowgums at Mt Baw Baw
Steve Cousins tree skiing Baw Baw August 2014 © Dave Windsor

More About Baw Baw

Baw Baw’s boutique size and stature belie the fun that can be had here. It’s only 2½ hours from Melbourne.

The undeniable charm of the petite pedestrian village is that you are truly cocooned in nature, with quaint lodge style accommodation nestled amongst vibrantly coloured snow gums bordered by two toboggan runs.

We bunked down at the cosy, yet luxe 4 star Tanjil Creek Lodge, which included après snacks, super convenient luggage pick up & drop off and a glorious treetop view of the Baw Baw National Park. 

Self catering is obviously popular in such environs, though I opted to order a succulent steak whilst downing a couple of frosty beers with my buddy Adam ‘Shaggy’ Sheehan, while the kids devoured a monster parma and spag bol at the aptly named Alpine Bar & Bistro.

Later energizing pub band ‘Electric Intent’ performed classic covers from AC/DC to Dire Straits, U2 to Clapton, and got the whole place amped. So Aprés at Baw Baw, tick that too!

Hangovers aside, next day delivered action aplenty at the 8th annual Battle at Baw Baw as skilled skiers and brave boarders launched themselves down a crazy flight of stairs as they hit a central rail, with t-boxes left and right, and stuck their landings in front of an appreciative audience. A pair of juicy pineapples at the bottom of the feature (literally) kept away the evil spirits (I think). The set up on Tank Hill was again in line with the boutique nature of Baw Baw, but with just enough venom to produce a fair share of big air and the occasional heavy landings.

Despite the thrills and spills of testosterone filled youth avoiding serious injury, our girls preferred spending some quality fur snuggling time with the loveable team of Howling Huskies resting between sled tours adjacent to the ‘Skiosk’ at the bottom of the Big Hill Poma.

Battle at Baw Baw showcasese the best young talent on the mountain
The Battle at Baw Baw went off in perfect conditions © Dave Windsor
2021 BAW BAW LIFT PASS PRICESWeekday (M-F)Weekend
Adult $55 / day $80 / day 
Child (7-15 years inclusive) $40 / day $50 / day 
Student/Seniors – Seniors (65-70years)Valid government issued or Proof of age card required $50 / day  $60 / day  
Child (6 and under) and Seniors (over 70) are free
Proof of age required 
FREE FREE 
Wicked Wednesday Lift PassExcludes July School Holidays and Peak Season dates* $35 / day  
Cross Country Skiing (On Cross Country Trails Only) FREE FREE 
Toboggan Magic Carpet Lift Pass  $15 $15

*Lift pass prices may vary depending on number of lifts open, no further discounts on Wicked Wednesday  rates are possible

2021 Mt Baw Baw Snow Season Resort Entry (from Queens Birthday Weekend 2021)
Resort Entry (Car) $59 for one day entry (there are no additional costs for parking) 
Consecutive Day Cap    $20 per additional day, capped at $159 
Seniors As above, for 2021 season due to COVID-19 
Motorcyclist, pedestrian, other $19.00 Per Person, Per Entry 
Bus (seating 9 or more) $19.00 Per Person, Per Entry 
School Bus Passenger $12 Per Person, $5 per additional day (by invoicing, advance booking only) 
Season Resort Entry Pass $465 

Alternatively the Resort Shuttle is $20 per person each way from Resort Entry. Advanced bookings are required with  guest.services@mountbawbaw.com.au

Mt Baw Baw road access from Melbourne, Gip[psland and the Mornington Peninsula
© Mt Baw Baw

Which is the best way to drive to Baw Baw?

Good question! There are 3 route options that have different pluses and minuses to them. The unsealed option via the South Face is less windy than the most popular Baw Baw Tourist Road for example.

These are Baw Baw’s recommendations for each:

Option 1 – Mt Baw Baw Tourist RoadBeautiful but narrow and winding road. Most visitors from Melbourne take this route, travel time from Melbourne CBD is approximately 2.5 hours.

  • The turn off from the Princes Hwy (M1) is at the Drouin / Mt Baw Baw exit
  • Continue along via Noojee along the Main Neerim Rd (C426)
  • Follow this road through Noojee where it will then follow into the Mt Baw Baw Tourist Road (C426)
  • Travel through Icy Creek and Tanjil Bren before reaching the resort gates
  • Last major fuel stops is in Neerim South

The tourist drive is so very picturesque but is curvy. Stop off via the beautiful old town of Noojee where you can have a quick break, snack or lunch. Along this route, chain hire and fitting is available for hire at Resort Entry, in Neerim South, Tanjil Bren and Noojee. Beans Two Cup coffee and food cart will be operating for the 2019 season in Tanjil Bren serving fresh coffee and food.
Option 2 – South Face RoadAn un-sealed gravel road wider and less winding than the Tourist Road. Travel time from Melbourne’s CBD is approximately 2.5 hours.From Moe:

  • From the M1, take the turn off at the Moe exit, and then continue via Erica
  • At Parkers Corner, continue straight onto the Thomson Valley Road · 3km along, turn left onto South Face Road
  • Last major fuel stop is at Moe, Alpine Diesel is available at Saviges Road, Quick and Ezy, Moe

From Traralgon:

  • Turn at the set of traffic lights at McDonald’s in the town centre of Traralgon
  • Travel along Grey Street and follow signs to Tyers/Walhalla (C477, C481, C461)
  • Continue on the C481 through Rawson
  • At Parkers Corner, turn right onto the Thomson Valley Road
  • 3km along, turn left onto South Face Road
  • Last major fuel stop is in Tyers
  • Facts about the South Face Road: The South Face Road is not sealed for 25km. Along this route, chain hire and fitting is available at resort entry and the township of Erica.

Option 3 – Scenic Suburbs Picturesque and more direct from eastern suburbs. Travel time from Lilydale is approximately 2 hours. This is the best option from the far eastern suburbs of Melbourne.

  • Travel along the Warburton Hwy to Yarra Junction
  • At Yarra Junction turn right onto the Yarra Junction-Noojee Road
  • Follow this through Powelltown and Noojee, where you join the Mt Baw Baw Tourist Road
  • Continue on through Icy Creek and Tanjil Bren until you reach the entry gate
  • Last available fuel is on Warburton Highway in Launching Place
Mt Baw Baw access road with snow down low in the forest
Snow down this low is a good sign things are going to be good up high © Dave Windsor

Baw Baw Accommodation Options are as affordable as on snow gets in Australia too, ranging from share bathroom lodges, a flashpacker and apartments to more deluxe lodges. Check the full selection available on the resort site link here

Mt Baw Baw Weather