Your Local Guide to Below Zero

Wonderful things happen when the temperature dips below zero. Mountains get dusted in fresh snow, fireplaces become exceptionally enticing and hot chocolates are easily justified. If you think you have to venture overseas to experience these conditions, think again: we’ve got the local low-down on two wonderful locations right here in Australia that specialise in sub-zero temperatures.

The Great Dividing Range runs for more than 3500 kilometres across our eastern states and contains Australia’s tallest mountains. While some of them, like Mount Kosciuszko, are relatively remote, there’s a little pocket much closer to civilisation. Lake Mountain sits just two hours’ drive out of Melbourne, offering almost 40 kilometres of trails for you to ski or board. There are a mix of slopes, including nice gentle ones for first-timers, as well as good old fashioned tobogganing and snow shoe expeditions. While there is a café on the slopes, our local source suggests venturing into nearby Marysville for your hot chocolates. The top pick is the aptly named Chocolate in Marysville where you can enjoy your mug alongside a warm apple crumble muffin. If it’s a roaring log fire you’re after, Marysville also comes up with the goods. You can enjoy a wine tasting and cheese board at Buxton Ridge cellar door or settle in for a long lunch at Black Spur Inn in front of the comforting crackle of one of their open fireplaces. As an added bonus, the landscape is truly breathtaking around here and easily enjoyed with a rugged-up hiking expedition or from the windows of one of the cosy coffee shops around town. Enticed? Click here to book your stay at Vibe Hotel Marysville.

Canberra is no stranger to chilly temperatures and currently holds the honour of being Australia’s coldest capital. As well as being an excellent stopping point for a trip out to the slopes of Thredbo or Perisher, the city has a pulling power of its own. Canberra’s wine region is gaining recognition every year for its exceptional produce and is a great place to get to know less common varietals, such as Sangiovese and Gruner Veltliner. The wineries are closely packed, meaning you can visit 30 cellar doors within a 35 minute radius of the city. Enjoy a glass of the highly regarded Shiraz Viogner in front of the fireplace at Clonakilla or a tasting and wood fired pizza at Four Winds Vineyard just north of the city. For a fireplace with a difference, head to the spectacular lobby at Vibe Hotel Canberra Airport. The hotel has won a string of design awards and, in our opinion, is best admired from one of the comfy couches around the modern fireplace, hot coffee from the hotel café in hand. Winter in Canberra is also synonymous with truffle season, as a festival devoted to the fancy fungus takes over the city. Cold days are perfect for decadent degustations and, if you’re worried about the calories, you can always counteract them by taking part in an early morning truffle hunt. Finally, while snow does fall in Canberra from time to time, if you want to guarantee it will feature in your time there, take the picturesque 45 minute drive to Corin Forest where you can ski, board or simply build a snowman.


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