Wednesday 24th July
Slopes down under: Where to ski and snowboard in Australia
Australia may not be known for skiing or snow boarding, but the land down under has mountains of ski resorts to choose from.
Australia is known by most people around the world for sand, be it the desert or the beaches. But in winter thousands of Australians as well as people from all over the world head to its mountains where the states of New South Wales and Victoria meet. Here are the top places to ski or snowboard in Australia:
MT BULLER, Victoria
Just a three-hour drive from Melbourne, Victoria, Mount Buller is the closest to a major city and international airport snow resort in Australia and highly popular for skiing and snowboarding. The lift network is the biggest in the state, with 22 lifts capable of moving approximately 40,000 people an hour for access to over 300 hectares of terrain. There's gentle slopes as well as challenging back runs, three terrain parks, an ultra cross course and two toboggan parks. So there's something for everyone. You can even do a tour with a band of huskies on a sled dog tour to take in views of the mountain on scenic chairlift rides Mount Buller has more on-mountain accommodation than any other ski resort in Victoria as well with over 7,000 on-mountain beds with options for all budgets from backpackers to luxurious alpine retreats and resorts. There are over 30 bars and restaurants plus a buzzing nightlife for the young (or old) party animals.
FALLS CREEK, Victoria
Falls Creek is Victoria's largest alpine resort and known as the home of cross country skiing in Australia as it hosts the annual Kangaroo Hoppet. Falls Creek has ski-in/ski-out accommodation, 65 kilometres of free cross-country trails, downhill skiing, snowboarding, tobogganing, and terrain parks with for the advanced ski and snowboarders. It's great for amateurs too with adult, child or advanced lessons at the Snowsports School. There's cosy lodge-style accommodation or five-star luxury penthouse apartments and spa suites for the fancy travellers. There are heap of local cafes and restaurants, or a day spa to warm the sore muscles. You can get to Falls Creek via plane from Sydney or Melbourne to Albury which is about a 2 hours drive away. Or you can drive from Melbourne in about five hours or Sydney in seven hours.
THREDBO, New South Wales
Thredbo is probably Australia’s most famous ski resort with the longest ski runs in the country. The runs are almost double the length of most other Australian snow resorts. Thredbo is a mecca for snow sports and has a plethora of cafes, restaurants and night spots. Through Snowshoed adventurers you can reach Australia’s highest peak as well. A dedicated area is set aside for those still learning to ski or snowboard, both kids and adults. The scenic views and long runs feature the Kosciuszko Express Chairlift which has beautiful views of the Kosciuszko National Park. are spectacular. From the bottom to the top, the ride is nearly 2km long and takes 15 minutes, rising 560 metres to the closest access point to ascend Mount Kosciuszko. There's even a shopping in the village with all latest clothing and equipment you need. If you want a cheaper option to staying on the slopes, Jindabyne and Cooma are great little towns to stay at.
MT HOTHAM, Victoria
One of Australia's highest alpine villages, Hotham, is built on a spectacular mountain ridge. This resort has amazing views and terrain to suit rookies or pros. You can ski, snowboard or toboggan and kids can even ride the mini snowmobiles. There are 13 lifts catering for over 24,000 people an hour and the downhill runs are up to two and half kilometres long. There are lessons for all ages as well as private tutorials available. Or if you wish, enjoy a glass of wine on as you take in the panoramic views on a sunset tour. Or you can even have an amazing experience with a helicopter ride over the mountains or join a team of friendly Siberian huskies and race around the backcountry trails on a sled dog tour. QantasLink flies direct to Hotham Airport from Sydney and charter flights are available from Melbourne, though it's just a four and a half hour drive from there.
PERISHER, New South Wales
The Perisher Ski Resort largest snow resort in the Southern Hemisphere, let alone Australia. With 47 lifts, many ski runs and terrain parks and Tube Town which a fun snow-tubing park. About 20 percent of downhill runs are for beginners, there are five progressive terrain parks for skiers and boarders of all levels, and two half-pipes for aerial tricks. Night skiing and snowboarding are popular, too. Epic Australia Pass holders and kids with a valid day ticket can night ski and board for free. The highest chairlift point is 2,034 metres, on the Mount Perisher Double Chair. There are seven peaks in the Perisher area, with Mount Perisher the highest at 2,054 metres. The views of the Australian Alps are stunning. You can tour the mountainous backcountry with K7 Adventures. Located in the NSW Snowy Mountains along with Blue Cow, Smiggin Holes and Guthega, it's great for all levels of experience, from beginners to advanced skiers and snowboarders. As it's located in the amazing Kosciuszko National Park, there is a plethora of accommodations options. Like Thredbo, you can stay in the Jindabyne and Cooma areas for a cheaper option and travel by the Skitube alpine railway, a Swiss-designed rack-rail train from Bullocks Flat on the Alpine Way to Perisher Valley and Blue Cow. The official snow season kicks off in early June with the Perisher Peak Festival, a four-day music festival featuring Australian and international acts. It's known for amazing nightlight and parties but you’ll also find a huge range of restaurants, cafes and bars.
Stay out of the cold in Sydney
When you're not down at the slopes this winter, why not have a heartwarming meal in Lantern Club's MaZi restaurant or perhaps a nice hot coffee or tea in the cafe? To book a table in MaZi, click here.