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 bevy and lay your head after a magical day on the slopes in the state of Victoria.
Falls Creek – one of the prettiest ski resorts in Australia and the largest in Victoria – is famed for its European style ski-in, ski-out village that sits 1780 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 (for 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.
Vail Resorts in Falls Creek, Victoria
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 will only add to the sophistication and smooth running of the resort. Traverse Alpine Group (owners of Astra Lodge, Huski, Cloud9 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 in Falls Creek, Victoria
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 has been 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 styles 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 all year round here – 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.
Cloud9 & Frying Pan Inn in Falls Creek, Victoria
Frying Pan Inn in the resort’s Village Bowl (a smaller hub than the main village of Slalom Plaza, yet equally as buzzing) has been a well-loved stalwart on the Falls Creek 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 Sunday (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 barbecue meat, so the tacos, chargrilled burgers and slow-cooked meats for sharing are all sensational.
Cloud9 is at the top of Halley’s Comet Chairlift – the main meeting point in Falls Creek while on the mountain. Once 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 Creek 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.
Elk Dining in Falls Creek, Victoria
Make your way to Elk Dining for dinner and the bar next door – Someplace Else – for drinks. Bridging modern café and fine dining, it’s a warm and busy foodie haven, especially when you’re in need of hearty fare. And a highlight for little ones (and 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 a morning coffee and brekkie as you cruise to the lifts.
Snonuts Street Kitchen in Falls Creek, Victoria
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 Creek?
(Lead image: © Mark Roper)