By Freya Ensbey.
Australia is a land of contrasting landscapes, being the custodian of four of the world’s largest deserts, an island completely surrounded by oceans and coastline and a temperamental environment which can reach soaring temperatures of 50.7° in some places and sub zeros of -8.0°.
Just as well known for its golden beaches, vast open spaces and warm sunny days, Australia is also home to many world class snowy playgrounds. This ski season, why not explore our own backyard before making the expensive trek overseas, with this guide to our country’s best snow-cations.
Perched atop Mount Kosciuszko in the Snowy Mountains region of South-Eastern Australia is Thredbo Ski Resort, this year celebrating their 60th year in operation. Founder Tony Sponar visited the area in 1955 and had the vision to transform the mountain into a ski hill. Coming from Anton Resort in Austria as a ski instructor, Sponar saw the potential for Thredbo to become the Australian equivalent with good vertical terrain and buzzing ski village atmosphere, erecting the first chair lifts and lodges the very next year and opening to the public.
Fast forward and Thredbo has become Australia’s number one ski destination and resort, gaining a world-class name for itself and winning several awards including the SIA Best Australian Ski Resort for 2016 and Out and About’s 2016 Best Ski Resort for Families. Accommodation in Thredbo offers stunning mountain views, convenience and comfort, from lodges and hotels to on-snow chalets, luxurious apartments and self-contained units.
For a family friendly stay, The Thredbo Alpine Hotel is located in the heart of Thredbo Village, just metres from the base of the Kosciuszko Express Chairlift. This is a historic property with an alluring sense of alpine culture, including restaurants, bars, a spa, sauna, outdoor pool (heated from July through to September) and guest laundry. With something for everyone and only a stone’s throw from all of the action, the Thredbo Alpine Hotel is the perfect place for your next family mountain escape. Holidaying as a family will also save money with lift passes, with every 3 or 5 day adult pass purchased, a child under 18 gets a 3 or 5 day lift pass for free! This deal is valid from the dates of June 9th – June 29th and from September 3rd to the end of the season.
Also located on Mount Kosciuszko, Perisher ski resort is not only Australia’s largest ski resort, but the largest snow operation in the southern hemisphere, combining the resources and facilities of Perisher Valley, Smiggin Holes, Mount Blue Cow, Guthega, The Station and the Skitube alpine railway, equipping it with the highest terrain, the greatest number of lifts and some of the most reliable snowfall in Australia.
Perisher offers a number of accommodation options for any size of family, group of friends, couples or those traveling alone, offering lodges, hotels and self-contained apartments. Use the easily accessible website to simply put in your preferred travel dates and browse your accommodation options.
While staying on the mountain, make the most of Perisher Village and its welcoming family atmosphere located in the Perisher Centre on Front Valley. Find coffee shops and cafés to keep you warm with endless cups of hot chocolate, along with retail outlets for any last-minute Winter shopping needs. With a great après ski environment, relax in one of the many restaurants with a glass of warming red, while those who find it hard to stop, can grab a quick bite to eat on the snow at one of the convenient kiosks located at each of the four mountain bases, all set with breathtaking picturesque views of the snow-capped mountains beyond.
Located in the Shire of Mansfield in the Alpine region of Victoria, Mt Buller is a scenic 200 km drive east from Melbourne. Offering over 300 hectares of skiable terrain and 22 chairlifts, the mountain offers activities for beginners and children right through to the black runs designed for the avid adrenaline seeking advanced skiers. The resort also features three Terrain Parks designed for all skill levels, for those who want to try a few new tricks, while the little ones can enjoy the two toboggan parks, complete with their own snowmaking machines to keep them entertained for hours.
After a day on the slopes, make sure you take a well-deserved break and visit the Breathtaker on High Alpine Spa Retreat, offering Australia’s highest day spa and a range of activities from a cinema, to retail therapy and rock climbing. Finish your busy day at one of the many renowned restaurants in the village and refuel with a sumptuous meal before making most of the bustling bars and night life.
For a truly memorable experience, book into the Mt Buller Apartments and choose from a selection of self-contained apartments form 1-5 bedrooms. Perhaps treat yourself to a stay at the ski in ski out Luxury Penthouse Suite styled with boutique furnishings, stacked stone timber fireplaces, timber clad ceilings and antelope horn chandeliers, offering a true ski chalet environment to retreat to each day after a day on the slopes.
For those snow bunnies who come alive in the cooler months, why not celebrate what our country has to offer in dining options during the snow season and click through to Warm to Winter to browse our dining suggestions across the country.