Enjoying the best of winter in Victoria when it gets hot here

Enjoying the best of winter in Victoria when it gets hot here

Upset that you have to forego your year-end skiing holiday because of work or other commitment?

Be patient for several months, and you will finally get to enjoy your run on snow-capped peaks near Melbourne in Australia's Victoria state when skiing season starts again in May. And just timely too, to escape the sweltering heat here.

One great location is Mount Buller, which offers satisfying ski runs and other fun activities in winter which falls in the middle of the year. Conveniently located, it's only a three-hour drive from Melbourne.

But don't be too quick to charge into the snow if you're flying in from the tropics.

Get acclimatised to the cold first - in the city or the Yarra wine country - before making your alpine ascent. It can get bitterly cold on snow mountain especially when the wind blows.

With good preparation and a schedule of varied activities, your sojourn can turn out to be a far more enriching experience. The wide array of attractions within easy reach in Victoria will ensure that there will always be things to please everyone along the tour.

Here are 15 things you can do to make it happen:

1) Warm up in Melbourne

If your chosen cold destination is Mount Buller or a nearby mountain, you have to fly to Melbourne first.

Spend a day or two in this multi-cultural city to get used to the cold before moving to colder climes.

Regarded as one of the world's most livable cities, it's not bitingly cold here. The long walks in crisp cold air will prepare you for the trudges in the snow later.

2) Get high on caffeine

Experience the dynamic cafe culture, which has transformed Melbourne into a coffee capital of Australia, if not one of the best in the world for a cuppa.

Instead of a milk-drowned cappuccino or latte, go for the more characterful single-estate or specialty brews like Ethiopia or Columbia.

Who brews a better cuppa? St Ali, Brother Baba Budan, Patricia or Cup of Truth? Check them all out, and their brunch fare and pastries too.

3) Gorge yourself silly

This is meat-and-seafood country. So treat yourself generously at the food stores in the big markets such as the popular Queen Victoria Market.

Load up on freshly shucked oysters, scallops and sea urchins that are as affordable as candy.

If have cash to splash, book a table at a top fine-dining restaurant. It's like striking a lottery to indulge in haute cuisine for those who managed to get a table at The Fat Duck.

4) Shop at South Melbourne Market

If you want to avoid the hordes at touristy Queen Victoria Market, the South Melbourne Market is a good alternative.

Neatly laid out, it's a shopping haunt popular with locals, so you won't find many busloads of visitors. You'll get everything here - from great coffee, gourmet fare from all over the world and organic products to household items, jewellery and clothes at knocked-down prices towards the end of a season.

Steaming hot Asian dumplings, simmering Spanish paella and all manner of seafood compete for your attention as you're wondering what to eat - next.

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