Mt Donna Buang – our first snow as a family

This is my first travel update from Australia and I’m excited to be writing again about travel. It is nothing huge but might give some information to (new?) local Melbournites who want to enjoy the winter and go out.

I was giddy with anticipation as I was seeing snow after a long time (last time it was in 2012). It might also have been the fact that I haven’t gone out in a long time as well. Melbourne winter makes it tough to even think of going out. That and my laziness.

We reached there around 2pm. The road was nice and clear of any ice or snow, thanks to the grader that had gone through sometime earlier. As the snow started appearing on roadsides, I was giddy all over again. And once there was snow all around us, it looked like we were driving through a wonderland. The first thing that came to my mind was Frozen. Which is slightly embarrassing. Baby A still remains blissfully unaware of Disney. It was like we were driving through some fantasy and a reindeer might just pop in. There it was, the thick blanket of fresh snow, in all its pristine beauty, mesmerizing and awe inspiring, all at once. And I was lost. For a moment, until my daughter started her incessant requests demands to know when we would reach ‘there’.

The parking near the summit and the one below it were full so we had to park 3 km away from the summit and were deliberating if we could really do dreading the 3km walk with a child so excited she was hardly hearing us or to just play in the snow nearby and come back again to try our luck for nearer parking. Luckily for us, we saw that the traffic instructors (inspectors?) were letting cars go further, based on how many came down from the summit. A few minutes of waiting later, it was our turn to go up. By the way, did you know it is very very difficult to get little kids gloves on, what with them not getting the fingers through correctly. She was distracted and kept her fingers bent. It took me the longest time.


We the flashy bunch!

The walk to the summit is about 300m. And while we wanted Baby A to sit on the sled so we could pull her and get ourselves to the summit faster, she wanted to pull the empty sled herself. So it took us about thrice the time. She kept stopping to watch other kids slide down on the road, on their sleds and toboggans, screaming and throwing snowballs. There on the way up, we met our first snowman, complete with a carrot nose.


When we finally reached the summit we were hungry. I blame it all on the cold. We had a small snack and played in the snow. It wasn’t too crowded and there was a lot of space for everybody to slide down on their sleds. So we did. Baby A was hesitant at first, but then joined me in the sled and went again with her dad. We had to take off the helmet though. Was a bit of an overkill if you ask me. But as is usual with kids, you never know what kind of situation they can get into. People had built snowmen and snow castles. Couple of kids were still trying to carve out the entrance to their huge igloo. Baby A had just begun to open up and have more fun with the snow, rather than being exhilarated and awed by it, that we had to wrap up. It was 4pm and starting to get dark.


Deciding to come back again when it snows, we strapped our unwilling 2 and a half year old to her car seat and started back. It was a day well spent and we still had a full Sunday to relax.

Here are a few pointers.

  • It’s free! Yes, there is no entry charge to go up on the summit.
  • It is a very good place to experience snow for the first time, especially for kids. It isn’t big enough to be crowded with people who want to ski, but not too small for the sleds either. There is even toboggan runs, which we will try next time we go there.
  • For the first timers, wear thermals if you know you get cold easily. My husband didn’t as he has a naturally hot body *hint hint*. And snow gloves to play in snow. Don’t wear woolen ones, they get wet and soggy. Buy the right size gloves for the kids. They will keep coming off if they are too big.
  • We bought a ski helmet for Baby A just in case. As I mentioned before, you can never be too careful with kids. But none of the other kids were wearing one, so I guess it must be safer here. But wear something on your head, even if its the hood of your jacket or a beanie as the snow from the trees keep sliding down and on to people’s heads.
  • Child(ren) can make the experience unpredictable, especially if its their first time. My daughter was cranky and crying every time we took the sled off her hands or when she couldn’t make a snowball by herself. I had to be patient and make her understand we were there to have fun and not have a tantrum. So prepare them beforehand and be ready to expect the unexpected.
  • Bring water with you and some snack, just in case. To the summit I mean. We, for some reason kept getting dehydrated so we had to keep sipping water. Same goes for kids. Thankfully it didn’t make us need to pee. But yes, be ready to use a less than clean toilet. Hand sanitizer is a must.
  • Keep an eye on the information on when the grader goes through that day and start accordingly. We later found out that the grader had been through the road at 10:30 in the morning. On a good day you can spend a major part of the day there if the grader goes through early enough.
  • Pack a lunch and a snack if you are going to be there early. Or you can plan to eat at one of the many cafes and restaurants in Warburton. We didn’t because we were tired and the kid was tired and we just wanted to get home. Which wasn’t a clever idea in the end. The kid slept in the car and had a tantrum when woken up and I was too tired to cook dinner. So eat at Warburton even if you are not staying the night.
  • Pack change of clothes. And huge dustbin bags to carry wet soggy clothes (if at all).
  • No need for chains on tyres. And a sedan will take you there comfortably. No 4wd required. But check the website to make sure of the conditions before you start. And be prepared for drastic change in the said conditions.
  • Be very careful, keep an eye on the kids and also have a lot of fun 🙂

More Information

Visit Warburton

Parks victoria

FB Snow updates

Some more snow report

Snow forecast site

Weather news


In the beautiful mountains

It’s been some time that I’ve written a travelogue or for that matter anything. My recent tour of Manali, Delhi and Agra provided a beautiful opportunity for me to wake up the writer in me.

A week’s worth of travel and sight seeing and eating whatever is available actually made me crave for home made food. So much so that as soon as I came in I hogged the first thing that I was able to prepare.

As usual, I digress. Let me get straight to the beginning of the trip. Travel to Delhi and then to Manali.

Day 1, Delhi, Manali.

We had planned well in advance for the trip, so the flight tickets were booked to and from Delhi. On 27th evening we boarded the Flight to Delhi. Then sat in the AC bus to the inter state bus stand to catch the pre-booked HRTC Volvo to Manali. We later learnt that it was a big mistake to book the government bus. We left the bus stand at 8:45. The bus kept stopping everywhere and we reached our destination only at 11 am the next day. Landed at our hotel very tired and cranky.

Day 2, Manali.

Thankfully we had the hotel cab pick us up from the bus stop.
We had booked Sarthak Resorts in Manali (Naggar road). We had been there after our wedding (2+ yrs back) and liked it so much we booked it again. It is not too expensive and suits our taste as well as pockets pretty nicely. We had a valley view room so we could see the snow capped mountains through the huge window.

Most of the first day went in taking rest and in the evening we went to the Manali market. It got very cold in the evening (which we had not anticipated) and it was drizzling too. We did some window shopping and ate chats for dinner.

Day 3, Snow point, Solang Valley.

As the previous time, this time too we booked cab from the hotel for our day trips. The snow point is a point upto which civilians/tourists are allowed on the Rohtang pass road. I was very hopeful to see Rohtang pass but it was closed. The driver informed us that it might open in late May or early June this year. It differs every year and depends upon snowfall.

So we reach somewhere higher than Gulaba (which was our snow point last time) but there wasn’t much fresh snow. Whatever snow was present was pretty dirty due to too many tourists walking over it. As it had rained the previous evenings there was slush everywhere. My in-laws managed to enjoy a lot, but as I had seen better and fresher snow I was disappointed and moreover damn scared to walk on the ice. We also had to walk a long way and trek up the hill a little, as there were too many parked vehicles and our cab couldn’t go any further than a point.

SIL, her son and FIL opted to ride the horses up the hill. But my MIL put a brave face and walked with us and she trekked up the hill too. So obviously we had to walk back the same distance. There was and is nothing much to see in Solang valley except for the paragliding which didn’t interest us(me and husband) as we had done para-sailing here in Bangalore. So we decided to get back to the hotel and take rest. On the way we stopped at Kothi at the same restaurant where we had been last time for lunch. I still remember the distinctive and very tasty dum aloo that I had eaten in 2009. This time too it was delicious but due to the crowd I couldn’t enjoy much. But unfortunately I don’t remember the name.

Day 4, Manali local sightseeing, back to Delhi.

We had planned to do local sightseeing for half a day and leave for Delhi. We covered Vasisht (don’t ever fall for the Chingu trap*), Manu temple, Hadimba temple and Tibetian monastry near the market.
Later we caught the HRTC bus back to Delhi from the bus stand in the Market. We reached Delhi next morning.

Now is time for some pictures.

Mist covered mountain

Mist covered mountain

View from snow point

Snow point: On the way to Rohtang pass


Ponies to bear your weight

Another breathtaking view

Yak, the cow of Himalayas

Beautiful view from up the mountain

View from our hotel window

Marijuana on the roadside. I’m not gonna tell you where exactly

To be continued …