Falls Creek: a new era
Yes, Vail Resorts have moved in, but don’t worry, that’s good news for Falls Creek. We check out some of the latest and greatest places to dine, enjoy a bevvy and lay your head after a magical day on the slopes.
TrueBlue Magazine - April/May 2019
Words by: Michelle Hespe
Falls Creek – one the prettiest ski resorts in Australia and the largest in Victoria – is famed for its European-style ski-in, ski-out village which sits 1,780 metres up on the top of a picture-perfect mountain dotted with eucalypts and snow gums.
The resort is also renowned for mountain biking in the warmer months, its stunning alpine wildflower season in summer, abseiling, hiking, fly-fishing (trout and salmon) and for the world-class food, wine and beer offerings sourced from the nearby villages and farms of the High Country and Dinner Plains.
US operator Vail Resorts is now managing the ski lifts and resort infrastructure (in Hotham as well), however that has not affected the many savvy businesses in town offering visitors to Falls Creek exceptional experiences on and off the mountain.
In fact, most of the locals agree that the new partnership with Vail Resorts will only add to the sophistication and smooth running of the resort. Traverse Alpine Group (owners of Astra Lodge, Huski, Cloud 9 and Frying Pan Inn) are confident that guests, employees and the surrounding communities of Falls Creek will benefit from Vail Resorts’ expertise, investment and know-how. Here are some of the greatest and the latest places to check out in Falls this winter.
Astra Lodge & Huski
To those familiar with Falls Creek,
Astra Lodge and Huski, sitting side by side in the hub of the village, need no introduction. Both places ooze style and alpine cosiness, and Astra was voted Australia’s best ski boutique hotel at the World Ski Awards in Kizbühel in 2016, 2017 and 2018.
Astra is luxurious and modern, yet with its high wood-panelled ceilings and walls (complete with a mounted elk’s head), enormous stone fireplace and chesterfield couches, it unites European alpine chalet-style with a Rocky Mountains log cabin approach, both bringing warmth and a sense of country charm to the table. The range of eclectic art, leather, timber, stone and stylish soft furnishings complement Astra’s spectacular mountain views. It’s no wonder that weddings are held here all year round – what an Insta-worthy backdrop. The restaurant’s offerings are all based upon the use of fresh local produce and are as artfully crafted as the surrounds.
Huski is the cool, streamlined, modern sister to Astra, where lots of dark wood and chunky communal tables give it oodles of wow factor while also allowing it to maintain a welcoming warmth. It’s a popular place for breakfast, coffee and après ski drinks, and it’s more intimate than Astra, with a smaller café and bar.
Make your way through the hillocks of snow piling up at Elk Dining’s windows and you’ll sigh with relief after shedding your many layers and stepping into the warmth. Its ambience, which beautifully bridges modern café and fine dining, makes it a haven, especially when you’re in need of a hearty, generously proportioned meal. And a highlight for little ones (and the grown-ups!) is the modern glass fireplace where you can toast marshmallows. The breakfast burgers are awesome, so it’s a popular place for regulars to pop in and grab their morning coffee and brekkie as they cruise to the ski lifts.
Cloud 9 & Frying Pan Inn
Frying Pan Inn in the resort’s Village Bowl (a smaller hub than the main village of Slalom Plaza, yet equally buzzing) has been a well-loved stalwart on the pub and dining scene since 1965. In the past year it has gone through an overhaul to not only polish its cool rustic-pub look, but also to up the ante on the food, drink and entertainment options.
From recovery sessions on Sundays (with Bloody Marys and Caprioskas) to live music, DJs, ping-pong tournaments, darts and trivia, it’s the place to be to have some fun and get social. The hot chips and deliciously wicked churros are both fantastic. With a wood-fired grill, the focus is on grilled barbecued meat, so the tacos, chargrilled burgers and slow-cooked meats for sharing are all sensational.
Cloud 9 is at the top of Halley’s Comet Chairlift – the main meeting point in Falls while on the mountain. This was once a place where you went for fried take-away food and maybe a mainstream beer. Not anymore, my friend. Now this trendy eatery and bar with some of the best views in Falls has a cool mezzanine bar and lounging area (with great mulled wine), a zip-in, zip-out meat pie servery, a wood-fired pizza and pasta joint, and even a gourmet waffle and ice cream bar.
Snonuts Street Kitchen
You’ll find Snonuts tucked to one side of Slaloms Plaza, on the balcony-like alcove above the main lifts. It’s impossible to miss, because from this little caravan ‘street kitchen’ you’ll see a continual stream of adults, and a bouncing line of grinning kids, coming and going like ants marching to and from a dripping honey pot.
If you haven’t seen a Snonut before, think of a donut and then times how much you want it by 10. These donuts are off the Richter scale, with more cream, chocolate and toppings than your mum ever let you have. And the milkshakes are just as deliciously naughty. After a Snonuts fix, you’ll be the fastest, happiest person on the mountain. Perhaps even the loudest. But hey, hitting the slopes eats up the calories, right? So why not keep seeking out extra reasons to indulge in the foodie havens of Falls?
Whyalla's Coastal and Aquatic Wonders
There’s more to South Australia than Adelaide and the Barossa, as this industrial city turned tourist destination reveals.
Launceston, the second-largest city in Tasmania, is often overshadowed by the state's cool capital Hobart. But with the MONA FOMA summer festival switching from the south to the north of the state, and the arrival of a benchmark new hotel, things are looking up.
Top Queensland Experiences
From sensational stargazing to cascading waterfalls at the centre of the outback, Queensland is home to unforgettable and sometimes unexpected experiences.