Getting to Hotham
FROM MELBOURNE 1. Via Omeo from Melbourne
Take the Princes Highway out of Melbourne. Pass through the Latrobe Valley, Sale and go on to Bairnsdale. Go through Brainsdale and take the Bruthen/Omeo turnoff (which is traight ahead, the Prices Highway veers left at the round-about) and drive to Bruthen (about 20 mins). From there turn left to Omeo at the sign. The road then follows the Tambo River up though the mountains. You will pass through the towns of Ensay and Swifts Creek and get to Omeo.
From there, turn left, there is about 50k to the mountain, which in clear conditions will take you about 45 minutes.
Bairnsdale is normally a cheaper fill for Petrol and may be your last opportunity to fill if coming up late at night.
The Omeo approach is open all the time, even in the middle of large storms. As Omeo is in the rain shadow of the mountains, you will normally get less snow on that side which will make the approach easier.
If you live in the south eastern suburbs of Melbourne, this is a quicker way to the mountain as you do not have to do a cross town journey.
The route is marked with the customary brown 'Snowfields' signs from Bairnsdale onwards.
Speed Cameras: No fixed cameras. Normally just outside of Stratford and through Yarragon. Not normally out at night.
2. Via Harrietville from Melbourne
Get to the Hume Highway by either exiting up Sydney Road or taking Citylink. Take Citylink to the Tullamarine Fwy exit, the Tullamarine Freeway to the Hume Hwy exit, and then head east to the Craigburn bypass.
Beware of the two fixed speed cameras near bridges on the Craigieburn bypass, one camera about 2k after the speed check sign before the Kilmore turnoff, one after the Kilmore turnoff, and one more just after the Allens sign near Broadford.
Take the Hume Hwy to Wangaratta. Fuel stops on the road on the way include Seymor Mobil, Avanel Caltex and Glenrowan BP. Off the road, there is also a Shell in Seymour and a BP in Euroa.
Turn off the Hume Highway at Wangaratta, or at Glenrowan. The Glenrowan turn off onto Snow Road is the normal turnoff for going to Hotham. This route goes though the towns of Oxley and Milawa. The second turnoff is after the first turnoff to Wangaratta, and has a sign before it describing the Great Alpine Road (which replaced the Crap Alpine Road we had before it was sealed). The GAR is a much straighter drive than Snow Road and as a result, it only takes about 3 minutes more to drive.
The GAR and Snow Road join just outside of Myrtleford. From there you go though Ovens (where you can turn off to Falls Creek), Eurobin and Porepunkah before getting to Bright. After leaving Bright, you will travel up the valley for about 20k until you get to Harrietville. From Harrietville onwards, you will need chains, so make sure you have hired them by now.
The start of the Hotham ascent is marked by an led sign, hazardous area signs, and a sharp left turn. Make sure you take the sharp left turn... people do drive up the valley wondering where the hell Hotham is from time to time.
The road up Hotham is about 30k of winding road. There are lots of blind corners so keep on your side of the road. The road is prone to adverse weather conditions in storms so take care and drive slowly. There are plenty of pull over bays to use. There are three large defined chain bays below the ticket office with signs indicating if you have fit chains.
The ticket office is at about the 20k mark and is a booth in the centre of the road. From there is is a steep ascent onto the ridge that leads to Hotham. On a clear day, this is probably one of the most spectacular streches of road in the country. In a storm it can be a pig.
Above the ticket office there are a number of chain bays. You may have to fit chains even if the road looks dry and it is not snowing. This is because runoff and refreeze overnight can see large patches of ice frozen on the road. If these patches are in the shade they may remain there all day. As you drive to Hotham you will go up and down along the ridge line.
In bad weather, look for the bright orange poles. You'll know you have made it to the village when you go undernearth the skiiers bridge.
Speed Cameras: Fixed cameras, in Epping North, Cargieburn, 1 near Kilmore, 1 near Wallan Wallan, 1 at the Allens Sweets sign before Seymour. Mobile cameras: all over the place. This is a popular route and police are always in force on Friday evenings and Sundays.
FROM SYDNEY 1. Via Harrietville from Sydney
Take the Hume Hwy down to Albury. When you get to Wodonga head south (not back onto the Hume Hwy). Follow the signs to Beechworth. From Beechworth follow the signs to Myrtleford. From Myrtleford, head up the valley as per step 2.
2. via Hotham Airport (flights available with Qantaslink from Sydney in 2009 - check www.qantas.com for 2010 routes and timetables)
Hotham airport is at Horsehair plain, about 15km from the resort. Transfers are available from the airport to the resort.
FROM ADELAIDE Take the Mallee Highway to Ouyen, connect to the Murray Valley Highway to Swan Hill, the Midland Highway to Shepparton, then take the Hume Highway to Wangaratta, followed by the Great Alpine Road direct to Hotham. Travel time around 12 hours.
FROM BRISBANE From Brisbane drive south along the Newell Highway across NSW via Tocumwal and Cobram then across to Wangaratta. Take the Great Alpine Road direct to Hotham via Bright and Harrietville. Travel time around 15 hours.