High up in the mountains of New South Wales, Victoria and Tasmania, these ski resorts are the places to be when the temperature drops and the powder settles.
This snow season is going to look a little different. From pre-purchasing lift tickets to zero-contact equipment rentals, it’s going to be a case of trial and error, so sporting a bit of patience is your best bet at having a great time. The snow is building up and the temperature is dropping by the day so if you’re still on the fence about whether or not to head to one of Australia’s ski resorts this winter, yes – there’s still time and yes – it will still be an awesome season!
Charlotte Pass Snow Resort, NSW
Situated in the heart of the New South Wales Snowy Mountains, Australia’s sole snowbound resort is only accessible by oversnow transport. Charlotte Pass sits at 1765 metres, making it the highest of Australia’s ski resorts. Which, of course, means some of the most consistent snowfalls, delivering the best quality natural snow.
If it’s your first time on the slopes, spend some time on the Easy Starter to build up your confidence, then head for the Kosi Coaster; a slightly more challenging intermediate run. Pros can head straight for Guthrie’s Chutes for a true adrenalin rush.
Perisher Ski Resort, NSW
The largest snow resort operation in the Southern Hemisphere, Perisher is made up of four areas – Perisher Valley, Blue Cow, Smiggin Holes and Guthega. Each have their own appeal for various levels of expertise; Blue Cow is great for intermediate skiers and snowboarders whereas Smiggins is a great spot to learn and develop your confidence on the gentle slopes.
Perisher has the highest terrain, the greatest number of lifts, and the most reliable snow in Australia. In the village, there’s an abundance of cafés, retail outlets and restaurants. You can also grab a quick bite to eat on the snow from one of the kiosks located at each of the four mountain bases. There is everything from barbecue to à la carte dining – complete with picturesque views.
Thredbo Alpine Resort, NSW
This mountain has something for all ages. Beginners will love the purpose-built area designed to master skills in a safe environment. Intermediate skiers and snowboarders will enjoy the longest runs Australia has to offer. Those at the top of their game will love the thrill of on- and off-piste challenges, powder bowls and advanced natural features of the mountain.
Another treat for all ages, night skiing is one of the best events to take part in, or even just watch. Adults can take on the Supertrail with flaming flares on Saturday nights. On Thursdays, the kids-only flare run sees the little tuckers cruising down Friday Flat with a spectacular fireworks display at the end.
Thedbo is also home to Australia’s highest restaurant, with an altitude of 1937 metres! Eagles Nest is at the top of the Kosciuszko Express Chair Lift with exceptional views of the Snowy Mountains.
Falls Creek Alpine Resort, VIC
This place has so much more to offer than your typical ski resort. Not only can you ski and snowboard, you can try fatbiking, snowtubing and tobogganing, or enjoy a scenic helicopter or ski lift tour. Falls Creek is an excellent choice for cross country skiers with more than 65km of groomed trails in peak season, ad 90 downhill runs for snow bunnies with a need for speed.
Every Thursday in July and August is a Night Show and Fireworks Extravaganza, where Falls Creek village comes alive with performances from synchronised skiers and snowboarders.
Read our full review of Falls Creek here.
Hotham Alpine Resort, VIC
A 4.5-hour drive from the heart of Melbourne, Hotham rests amongst the Victorian Alps of the Great Dividing Range. It is the only resort in the Southern Hemisphere where the village is located on top of the mountain. The season runs from mid-June to late September and is even sometimes extended to October on a good year. The ski area covers around 320 hectares with 13 lifts connecting the runs.
If you’re up for a truly unique eco-adventure, try the Alpine Nature Experience. Snowshoe to a secluded spot and enjoy a gourmet meal, with the opportunity to stay overnight in a luxury snow dome.
Mount Buller Ski Resort, VIC
Just three hours from Melbourne, Mt Buller has three terrain parks – each suitable for different skill levels. Spread over more than 300 hectares, the runs begin as wide open slopes on Bourke St and Burnt Hut Spur, and rise dramatically in difficulty when you reach the challenging black runs such as the infamous Chamois.
Unfortunately, tobogganing is off the cards for this season but there’s still plenty of fun to be had on and off the slopes. In the village there are more than 30 restaurants, cafés and bars; a spa; cinema, and fitness centre. Cattleman’s Rail Jam is also held in the village, where Australia’s best snowboarders compete in the longest-running rail event.
Mount Baw Baw Ski Resort, VIC
It takes two-and-a-half hours to drive from Melbourne to Mt Baw Baw, making this the closest ski resort to an international airport. It’s small but mighty, fitting lots of activities into 35 hectares of downhill terrain. The intimate village feel makes it a safe space to ski for the first time or the ideal spot to further hone your skills.
Mt Baw Baw offers packages for couple and families to get the most value out of their ski trip. The Mid-Week Family Escape includes 2 nights accommodation, lessons, equipment rental and lift passes, whereas the Weekend Couples Retreat offers a romantic 2-night stay at Altitude Apartment, lift passes, a meal at Village Central Restaurant and a bottle of wine.
Be sure to pre-book your pass this year as Mt Baw Baw is currently sold out to 7 July.
Ben Lomond Snow Sports, TAS
Who says Victoria and New South Wales get to have all the fun? Tasmania is home to one of Australia’s best ski resorts for beginners. This one-stop family-run business offers the basics – skiing, snowboarding and tobogganing. They’re best known for the Ben Lomond Snow Sports Ski School, which is where you want to be if you’re just learning to ski or snowboard. All their group lessons are geared towards beginners, so don’t be scared to fall over.
For the 2020 season, Ben Lomond will be opening from Thursday to Sunday.
If you’re heading to one of Australia’s ski resorts this winter, be sure to adhere to the social distancing guidelines, which will vary between resorts and states. A little patience will go a long way so informed, stay safe and enjoy the snow.