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5 tips for a stress-free drive to Hotham

By Anita Coia

Posted 20 June 2019

Driving to Hotham for your snow holiday can seem like quite an undertaking, but if you follow our tips you’ll be set for a trip to remember.

1. Book your resort entry online before you leave

Thanks to the wonders of modern technology, you can now book your resort entry permit online before you get to Hotham, and you don’t have to attach a fiddly sticker to your windscreen. Our system ensures you are covered.

Simply hop onto Hotham’s Alpine Easy Access system in the comfort of your own home, register and purchase. Using the system you can register multiple vehicles, then just select the one you’ll be using for your trip when buying resort entry. Simple! You can even register multiple vehicles and nominate which one you'll be using for your trip.

All vehicles stopping at Hotham must have a valid Resort Entry Permit and people do get fined if they don’t have it, so organising it before you arrive is a great option.

If you travel directly through the resort from the Dinner Plain direction towards Harrietville (or vice versa) and don’t stop, you don’t need a resort entry permit. However your resort exit point must differ from your resort entry point. If you are dropping off family or friends within the resort you do have to purchase a resort entry permit as all vehicles stopping within the resort boundaries must have a valid permit.

Good news - resort entry is complimentary on your day of arrival if you arrive after 3pm, but don’t forget to pay for the rest of your stay! If you are arriving before 3pm you must pay resort entry for that day.

2. Download and print out the Hotham Village map

if you are not familiar with Hotham, finding your accommodation or a car park is much easier if you know the layout of the resort. You can download and print the Hotham village map with accommodation and parking locations listed on it from our website here.

Hotham has ‘Day Parking’, where you can park until 11pm each day, and ‘Long Term / Overnight Parking’, where your vehicle must be between 11pm and 7am the next morning. This allows the snow clearers to do their job overnight, clearing the roads and the carparks of snow and ice and ensuring access the next day.

If you need more assistance, call our friendly Tourism Information Officers (TIOs) on 03 5759 3550, or drop into our office at 28 Great Alpine Road (opposite Hotham Central, above the Transit lounge).

3. Fill up on Alpine diesel

If you drive a diesel car, you’ll need to fill up with a special ‘Winter mix’, also known as ‘Alpine Diesel’, which is sold in towns close to Hotham such as Omeo, Bright and Myrtleford.

Why do you need it? Well, the short, non-technical answer is that when temperatures drop below zero (Celsius), diesel can start turning into wax or gel. When that happens, you aren’t going anywhere! Your car won’t start or if it does, it will quickly stall, and you’ll have to wait till temperatures rise before you can get going again.

Petrol, on the other hand, doesn’t freeze till about -30 degrees.

Your other option is to use a diesel anti-gel cold weather additive such as Lucas Anti-Gel or Western Oil Icebreaker, which are usually sold at the same service stations that sell the winter diesel. These products are added directly into your fuel tank (follow the manufacturer’s instructions!) before the temperatures drop. If you wait till you have a problem, using the additive will be no good.

And possibly the most important tip – you can’t fill up at Hotham Alpine Resort, there is no commercial fuel supply, so make sure you fill up before you leave Omeo or Bright!

4. Carry chains and check road conditions on the Hotham website

The Hotham website is mobile-responsive, and is your best source of information about road conditions on the mountain.

Our nifty Roads ‘widget’ on the homepage (top right of the screen) is updated throughout the day and will give you current road conditions for both the Harrietville and Omeo approaches, including whether you will need to fit tyre chains.

And yes, it is law that during the snow season, you must carry tyre chains and fit them to your car as directed. You’ll understand why when you get here – you will be driving high up in the mountain range, on a road that in some spots has steep rises, and there will most likely be snow on the road. Tyre chains ensure your car can maintain grip on the road.

You specifically need diamond-pattern tyre chains, which you can hire in the towns before you get to the mountain (Myrtleford, Bright, Harrietville, Omeo). You cannot hire chains on the road once you leave Omeo or Harrietville.

5. Stop and enjoy the journey!

Regardless of which approach you take to Hotham, via north-east Victoria or via Gippsland, there are lots of great places to stop and take a break. You’ll be travelling for a few hours, so make sure you take a moment every couple of hours to stretch your legs, or grab a coffee.

On the north east Victoria side, you can find out more about the towns you’re driving through on the Victorian High Country website, and on the Gippsland side it’s worth checking out Visit East Gippsland’s website for up-to-date information on the route.

When you’re on the mountain road, you’ll probably want to stop and take a photo of the stunning scenery for your Instagram feed. Just make sure you find somewhere safe to pull over so you don’t obstruct other traffic. Some areas are used as chain-fitting bays and can get busy when there is a lot of snow around, so try to avoid those.

Enjoy your trip!


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