Dinner Plain, which is located above the snowline in winter, is one of the few alpine areas in Australia with freehold land. Very strict planning controls ensure a certain uniformity of look: the buildings are all wooden veneers with a green-grey paint job to match the surrounding snow gums. In winter, Dinner Plain is a dormitory village for the Mount Hotham ski resort. In summer it's a good base for walking, hiking and cycling in the alpine area.
Dinner Plain is accessible by on the Great Alpine Road from Harrietville (45 kilometers) via Mount Hotham (20 kilometers) or from Bairnsdale via Omeo (60 kilometers). If travelling through Mount Hotham, just tell the gate staff that you are driving right through to Dinner Plain and they will not charge you the entry fee. Fitting snow chains must be carried after Harrietville or Omeo between June 1 and October 10 each year and you can be required to fit them at various points on the highway.
There is a bus service from Mount Hotham in winter, leaving from the Transit Center and opposite the Big D ski lift. Bus travellers would catch the Melbourne-Bright-Harrietville service to Mount Hotham and change at the transit center, but the bus is usually used by people skiing at Hotham and staying at Dinner Plain.
Chamonix in Drybone Lane at #7(formerely 179) as the FIRST building of any description ever sold in this new town. Bernie and Leonie Valentini purchased the home called "Wattle Circle" by the builders' architect, Peter Macintyre, before it was even built. It was pre-constructed in modular form in Kilsyth Melbourne, and thence transported by semi-trailers via primitive dirt road from Omeo to Dinner Plain. "Home Welcoming" parties were held for the first few years, with the sale of each home, whereupon the original new owners would give their purchase an official name, by them, the owners. This "pioneering" FIRST home was hence named "Chamonix" by the Valentinis. When complete, there was no infrastructure of any kind, and access to the new home was only possible for the first 2 years via walking across the mud & snow from the primitive car park near original front gate; some 300 metres away, dragging luggage, skiis and food on sheets of plastic. Four wheel drive vehicles driven by inexperienced drivers, were getting bogged in mud and snow more often than not. The Valentini's Datsun 200B had no hope. They purchased a Toyota Landcruiser 4WD very soon after.
- Cobungra Platter. The Cobungra Platter ski slope is a short beginners' run, a good place for introductory lessons or a warm-up. A J-bar lift is provided, tickets for the lift and for lessons are available through many local shops.
- DP Central and Onsen Spa, ☏ (concierge), (spa), firstname.lastname@example.org. Onsen has a Japanese inspired spa, day treatments including massage and hot stone therapy, a 15 metre lap pool and a gym.
When there's not snow, the area has the following walks:
- Room With a View. The Room With a View walk starts across the highway from the tennis courts, about 200 metres towards the Alpine School. After about 500 metres, it descends fairly gently down into the valley, ending in a clear area with a view of Mount Hotham and surrounding peaks. It is 4 kilometres return.
While Dinner Plain is far below the altitude at which altitude sickness is usually a problem, if you've come up from sea level allow for these walks to be a little more difficult than you'd expect.
There are no banking or automatic teller machine (ATM) facilities in Dinner Plain. The closest ATM is in Mount Hotham village. The supermarket and most cafes and restaurants accept EFTPOS (Australian debit cards) or credit cards. The Brandy Creek supermarket allows EFTPOS withdrawals ("cash out") for Australian debit cards, although you will need to make about $20 worth of purchases and pay $1 per $50 withdrawn.
There is no petrol (gas), or other fuel, for vehicles available in Dinner Plain or at Mount Hotham. The closest fuel is available in Harrietville or Omeo, both of which require descending from the alpine area.
- Brandy Creek Cafe and Licenced Supermarket, 1901 Big Muster Drive, ☏ , fax: , email@example.com. Brandy Creek is a small supermarket stocking most essentials such as milk, other drinks, and simple cooking ingredients.
- Brandy Creek Cafe and Licenced Supermarket, 1901 Big Muster Drive, ☏ , fax: , firstname.lastname@example.org. 8:30AM-4:30PM. Brandy Creek is one of the cheaper places to eat in Dinner Plain. It serves simple pies and toasted focaccias. Breakfast and lunch $7-$15.
- Dinner Plain Hotel, Big Muster Drive, ☏ . Relaxed pub with decent food, although it takes a while to arrive. Large pizzas $19, other mains $20-$35.
Most accommodation in Dinner Plain consists of private individuals' holiday houses, which they lease to travellers on a short-term basis when they aren't using them themselves. These are managed through central booking agencies:
- Dinner Plain Central Reservations, Big Muster Drive, ☏ , toll-free: 1800-670-019, fax: , email@example.com.
- Accommodation Services of Dinner Plain, ☏ , toll-free: 1800-444-066, fax: .
- Accommodation at Dinner Plain, High Plains Lodge, Big Muster Drive, ☏ , fax: , firstname.lastname@example.org.
In addition, there are many dedicated resorts that accommodate travellers year-round:
- High Plains Lodge Studio Apartments, Big Muster Drive, toll-free: 1800-444-066, fax: , email@example.com. Double rooms from $170 per night in summer and the low winter season and $205 per night in the winter high season.
The Vodafone mobile network does not have coverage in Dinner Plain — if you want to receive or make calls from your Vodafone mobile you will need to go to Mount Hotham. Telstra and Optus both have coverage. In addition, many lodges have landline phones, which you could redirect your mobile number to.
Internet access is available at:
- Dinner Plain Visitor Information Centre, 572 Big Muster Drive, ☏ 1300-734-365 (local rate), fax: , firstname.lastname@example.org.
Postal facilities, including stamps and parcels, are also available at Brandy Creek. A red post box is located outside. The area is not on the Express Post loop, so sending Australian post using regular postage is just as fast.