Mount Donna Buang snow play - what to know before you go

Friday 7 June, 2024

Looking to experience snow near Melbourne this winter? At 1,245m, Mount Donna Buang in Yarra Ranges National Park, Wurundjeri Country, typically receives snowfall from June to August.

During the snow season, the summit area transforms into a snow play area and it’s free to access the mountain. When there is adequate snow, there are three toboggan runs to enjoy, you can try your hand at building the perfect snowman or partake in a fun snow fight.

It’s no surprise that the snow-covered landscape of Mount Donna Buang – two hours' drive from Melbourne – is an extremely popular destination on weekends or when there is fresh snow.

Here’s what you need to know to have a safe and enjoyable experience at Mount Donna Buang this winter.

Mount Donna Buang summit signage

Photo: Mount Donna Buang, 1250m above sea level

Check Mount Donna Buang winter weather conditions

Conditions can change quickly in mountainous areas so it’s important to be prepared for cold, wet and windy weather, no matter what the forecast.

Always pack extra warm layers, spare dry clothing, and plenty of food and water. Ensure you have a full tank of petrol, blankets and a torch in case of delays or road closures.

Phone reception can be patchy on Mount Donna Buang so be sure to tell someone of your plans and have a backup navigation option, like a paper map or park visitor guide.

Check the park is open before travelling and review the Yarra Ranges National Park and Mount Donna Buang Change of Conditions for the latest updates. The Waterwheel Visitor Information Centre in Warburton can also help with information.


Time your departure

If you're planning on visiting Mount Donna Buang on a snowfall day, timing your departure is crucial. Leaving too early might mean you'll encounter ungraded or icy roads, which can be dangerous.

Allow time for road crews to grit and clear the roads, and always check the road conditions before you set out. There are times when the road may be closed by the Department of Transport and Planning due to dangerous weather conditions and congestion.

If the road is closed, you can explore nearby Warburton and enjoy local restaurants and cafes, or the Warburton Riverside Walk while you wait for the road to open.

Aerial view over Warburton in Victoria

Photo: Warburton, Victoria. Image: Visit Victoria

In good weather, it takes about 20-25 minutes to drive the 17km Mount Donna Buang Road to the summit from Warburton.

You may be wondering if you need snow chains to go to Mount Donna Buang. Although not mandatory, it’s highly recommended to carry snow chains. Chain hire should be arranged before you get to Warburton.

Watch this two-minute video before you go: How to fit snow chains.

Always drive slowly, considerately, and carefully, and take time to admire views of Warburton and the Yarra Valley from the many vantage points along the way.


Consider carpooling and visiting mid-week

As Mount Donna Buang is a popular winter snow play destination close to Melbourne, it often gets busy on weekends. To reduce congestion and make your trip more enjoyable, consider carpooling with friends or family and plan to visit mid-week.


Enjoy fun and safe tobogganing

Tobogganing is a favourite winter activity for many at Mount Donna Buang. Use plastic molded toboggans only in designated areas (this helps protect our natural environment), always supervise children, and follow all posted guidelines to help keep everyone safe.

Toboggan hire is usually available at the summit and may be available from nearby towns.

Skis and snowboards cannot be used.

As Mount Donna Buang is at a lower elevation than other snow fields in Victoria, the snow conditions can be variable, and tobogganing may not be possible. Be prepared for this by checking conditions prior to your visit.

Child riding blue toboggan down snowy slope

Photo: Tobogganing fun in the snow

Leave dogs at home

Mount Donna Buang is located in the Yarra Ranges National Park, and dogs are not permitted in national parks. You can help protect native wildlife and ensure a safe environment for all by leaving them at home.

By following these tips, you can enjoy Mount Donna Buang safely this winter – whether you’re tobogganing, snowman-making, or simply taking in the stunning snowy landscapes.


Other places to see snow in Victoria this winter

It's worth planning an extended trip to make the most of these snow destinations near Melbourne.


Mount Buffalo National Park, Taungurung Country.

With plenty of snowfall throughout winter, enjoy tobogganing, snow play and cross-country at Cresta Valley and Dingo Dell.

Distance from Melbourne: 4-5 hours.


Dinner Plain, Alpine National Park, Taungurung and Gunaikurnai Country.

Trade the crowds of Hotham for the quaint alpine village of Dinner Plain, home to 35-kilometres of cross-country ski trails that meander through twisted snow gums and across the wide-open plains of the national park.

Distance from Melbourne: 5-6 hours.


Mount St Gwinear, Baw Baw National Park, Gunaikurnai and Wurundjeri Country

Head to Mount St Gwinear, a family-friendly snow play area offering snowshoeing, tobogganing and cross-country skiing, with free entry. 

Distance from Melbourne: 3 hours.


Lake Mountain, Tuangurung Country

In winter, Lake Mountain becomes an Alpine resort. Head here for cross-country skiing, tobogganing and snow play. Nearby waterfalls are also at their best this time of year. Set out on the Cambarville Circuit Walk or visit the Taggerty Cascades.

Distance from Melbourne: 2-3 hours.

Family tobogganing down Lake Mountain

Photo: Tobogganing at Lake Mountain. Image: Visit Victoria

For more inspiration or exciting things to see and do in Victoria’s parks and reserves, subscribe to our monthly Outdoor Inspiration e-newsletter


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