Living in Melbourne, Victoria means we are blessed with four seasons. Sometimes in a day but I’m talking about Spring, Summer, Autumn, and Winter. Coming from a country with 365 days of summer, snow was always that magical adventure that I have seen in Harry Potter movies or Christmas movies. So the first time I got to see the snow was truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience. After getting Ollie I was determined to give Ollie all experiences possible, but we were stuck in a very long Melbourne lockdown for his first winter and couldn’t travel far. So come this winter I was even more determined to take him to see snow. After rescheduling this snow trip 2 times due to COVID restrictions we got lucky enough to get to the dog-friendly Dinner plain Alpine resort on the one weekend between Melbourne lockdown 5 and 6. Thought of sharing our experience in case you find it useful to have the best dog-friendly snow adventure there too!
Where is Dinner plain?
In Australia, the snow season lasts from June to September (can vary depending on the conditions). There are several Alpine resorts within a few hours of drive from Melbourne. Mt. Buller is the closest with only 2 and half hours away from the city. Our favourite Alpine resort Falls Creek is about 6 hours from Melbourne. But none of these allows our four-legged friends. Dinner plain is the only alpine resort in Victoria that allows dogs. It is about a 6-hour drive from Melbourne, closer to Falls Creek, Mt Hotham, and other favourite alpine resorts.
You can stay within Dinner plain if you get in early and book your accommodation. If you do get lucky and stay in one of the cabins in the resort you will be able to experience snow at your front door! Otherwise, you will have to stay in one of the towns closest to the resort such as Bright, Harietville, Mount Beauty, and Omeo. The pet-friendly accommodation is sparse but if you expand your search you can always find something. Refer to our previous blog post on the best ways to find pet-friendly accommodation
Things To Do When In Dinner Plains
Dinner Plain is a town full of all kinds of snow activities. There’s so much to do, but you can also spend the whole day walking around and just enjoying the snow and all that it has to offer.
- Dogs must be on a lead everywhere in Dinner plain, except at the make-shift fenced dog park. Which is also a basketball/tennis court. It is located to the left at the entrance to the resort.
- You can hire ski gear and toboggan at the resort itself. Hoy’s snow gear hire is right near the car park. Toboggan slope is also near the basketball/tennis court.
- If sled dogs are your thing then check out howling huskies, again near the basketball court. Dogs aren’t allowed of course. And if you are watching them maintain a clear distance so huskies won’t be distracted.
- We had lunch at Elements and highly recommend the Pizza there. Dogs aren’t allowed indoors but if it is a nice sunny day there’s plenty of seating outdoors and there’s a nice fire pit to keep warm.
- You can also do day trips to other ski resorts (dogs aren’t allowed so you’ll have to find a pet sitter)
Snow Adventure Check list
- Check the website or social media for Alpine resort entry requirements
- Carry snow chains at all times. Chances are you don’t have to put them on, but it’s a legal and safety requirement to carry them. If you are entering the Alpine region from the high country Harrietville is the last town to get snow chains. And if you are entering from the Gippsland side, Omeo is the last town to get snow chains. We got ours at Hoys, Omeo. Do recommend Hoys because if you decide to take a different route, you can return the chains at any of their branches.
- For Humans – Snow boots are a must. Do yourself a favour and wear waterproof boots with traction. Depending on the time you go, snow can be pretty deep, and if you are walking off-path, foot can sink in deep, so get boots that cover your legs well so you won’t have soggy socks. Remember to wear warm clothes and carry a change of clothes in case. You can hire waterproof gear at Hoys in Dinner Plain if needed.
- However, dogs can be completely fine in the snow. Dog claw creates traction in snow and help them to navigate. However, if the snow is powdery, that can get attached to feet and cause a painful experience. So snow boots can be a good choice! Make sure to carry some paw balm with you.
- If your dog gets cold carry warm clothes. Plenty of towels (things can get wet pretty fast) and make sure where you stay has a hair drier or you carry one with yourself.
- This didn’t happen to us but if it’s below freezing point and snows, the snow can get trapped in whiskers or long hair, like little snowballs. This is completely ok, just make sure to get rid of them so they won’t melt everywhere in your car or at the rental.
- Carry a long lead (waterproof preferably), water bottle, and plenty of treats
Refer to our previous blog post to find out travel with dog essentials and list of things we carry when we travel
Dog Friendly Accomodation
We found Omeo creek cottages on Airbnb and it’s not listed pet-friendly so we messaged Tracey, the owner, explaining how good of a dog Ollie is. It’s always important to highlight good qualities and reassure owners that you will care for and respect the property. Here’s what we usually say when we message accommodations.
- Ollie is hypoallergenic and non-shedding
- He is well trained – we have stayed in multiple Airbnb and never had an accident (previous reviews help). Ollie is so good at letting us know when he wants to go out etc.
- Share our Instagram so they can have a look and decide.
Omeo creek cottage is a 125-year-old property that is decorated beautifully in french provincial decor. It’s a cozy space with 1 large bedroom, a small kitchen, and a bathroom. It has one fireplace which is enough to warm up the whole space if lightened early. The cottage is located right in the middle of the town with a few minute’s walk to everything.
Omeo is a little town with all that you need. Pipa’s Pantry is literally a 1-minute walk from the cottage and you can have amazing freshly baked goodies with coffee that rivals Melbourne cafe coffee! While restaurant options are limited, we tried the food at Golden age hotel and Hilltop hotel and they were both decent food options. And of course Hoys, Omeo is where we hired our snow chains from.
Although next time we’d very much like to stay in Dinner plain village itself we will return to Omeo creek cottage. Tracey loved having Ollie at the cottage so much that she is looking forward to hosting more dogs like Ollie in the future. So drop her a message if you are interested in staying.
We hope this article will inspire you to take your four-legged friends to the snow country. We got lucky to go in between lockdowns. When the country Victoria opens up again, check out the snow report. Chances are there will be snow into early October, and you will be able to book something last minute! The advantage of travelling that far in October is that you are already halfway to the dog-friendly Tesselaar Tulip Festival in Canberra! Have you been to Dinner Plain? Did you like it? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below!