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The Best Ski Resorts in Australia

25th January 2016

Sure, the sun is still shining and the weather is warm. But it’s time to start thinking ahead and planning those wintertime adventures!

Once the snow starts to fall on Australia’s southern peaks, the ski slopes kick into full gear.

Here’s a rundown of your best bets for a local ski holiday this year – whether for a week or just a snappy action-packed weekend.

Beginner or experienced, young or old, skiing is fun for everyone. Beginner or experienced, young or old, skiing is fun for everyone.

Thredbo

6.5 hours from Sydney; Kosciusko National Park, NSW.

Thredbo is hailed for its off-piste action and, when the mountain is completely enveloped in snow, some of its 92 runs are indeed the longest ski runs in Australia. For first-timers, around 16 per cent of the terrain is suitable for beginners. For everyone, the Apres-ski action is standout.

With the charming village set in the valley of the Thredbo River, it is well-known for its fun atmosphere. On top of the 11 ski-in ski-out restaurants on the mountain itself, the village offers plenty of shops, cafes and bars to warm up over a hot chocolate – or whisky – once the skis are stacked up for the evening.

Our favourites include the Piano Bar at the Thredbo Alpine Hotel for its roaring fire and classic tunes, the intimate Denman Hotel Apres Bar for high tea and cocktails, and the top-notch meals being churned out at Credo.

Perisher

6.5 hours from Sydney; Kosciusko National Park, NSW.

Along with Thredbo, which is just around the corner, Perisher is one of the most popular ski resorts in Australia. It also claims the crown as the largest in the entire Southern Hemisphere!

Offering the most expansive terrain and the most lifts in the country, there’s a wide variety of slopes to suit every level here, from large beginner sections to steep, challenging runs for advanced skiers.

Perisher is the largest ski resort in the Southern Hemisphere. Perisher is the largest ski resort in the Southern Hemisphere.

Perisher doesn’t have quite the same village atmosphere as Perisher though, as it’s more spread out and is made up of four different resorts with their own restaurants and bars – Blue Cow, Perisher Valley, Smiggin Holes and Guthega. If you’re all about the on-snow action though, you’ll be in your element. There are 133 runs to keep you busy.

As a bonus, Perisher offers a new ‘Epic Australia Pass’, which includes access to Aussie slopes as well as nine USA resorts in time for the American ski season.

Charlotte Pass

6.5 hours from Sydney; Kosciusko National Park, NSW.

While there are only 24 runs at Charlotte Pass, this is a fabulously unique spot as it’s completely ski-in ski-out (thankfully ski cats make the over snow journey easy to do with luggage, running from Perisher).

Once you’ve settled in, you can literally ski out of your front door each day. As the highest resort in the country, Charlotte Pass is also snowbound for most of the ski season and its remote location means there are less crowds – which is great for beginners – and the wide runs typically have less trees to navigate.

It’s easy to enjoy the relaxing and intimate atmosphere in this scenic setting.


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Mt Hotham

4.5 hours from Melbourne; Australian Alps National Park, VIC.

Mt Hotham has a reputation for steep verticals and challenging terrain accompanied by great shoulder season snow cover. There are 13 lifts and of the 66 runs, an impressive 40 per cent come with an advanced-level grading.

The purpose-built ski resort village is unique as it’s located on the top of the mountain instead of at the bottom – so your first ski of the day will be the trip down the hill to the lifts.

Mt Hotham Village after fresh snow on a clear winter's day. Mt Hotham Village after fresh snow on a clear winter's day.

While there is also off mountain accommodation, the on mountain accommodation is superb and there’s a free shuttle bus to transport skiers from their accommodation to the top of the ridge. An impressive 18 bars and restaurants make the village an even better option.

As the second highest resort in Australia, Mt Hotham is a wonderful spot to catch the snow falling from the clouds around you.

Mt Buller

3 hours from Melbourne; Alpine National Park, VIC.

With 22 lifts and 41 runs, Mt Buller is a favourite ski getaway for Victorians and a sure favourite for weekenders and even day-trippers from Melbourne, being just a three hour drive away.

This does mean it can get very busy on Saturdays and Sundays, but the convenient location and state-of-the-art ski lift facilities – which mitigate crowds with the capability to move 40,000 people per hour – make it nonetheless an impeccable ski getaway.

With mountain-wide wireless internet too, Mt Buller has won many fans with its high-tech offerings.

Like a bit of luxury? Don’t miss the Grand Mercure Mt Buller Chalet, widely regarded as Australia’s finest alpine hotel, complete with a 4.5-star rating in the heart of the village.

Of the other accommodation, some is ski in ski out while others can make use of frequent shuttle buses day and night.

Falls Creek

5 hours from Melbourne; Alpine National Park, VIC.

Falls Creek is Victoria’s largest alpine resort. It is also considered by many to be the prettiest, with a great village atmosphere and many restaurants, bars and cafes to relax in between time on the slopes.

First-time skiers will be happy to know that they won’t be left to navigate the bottom of the slopes either; there’s a great range of novice and intermediate terrain spanning the mountain.

Freshly groomed cross country ski tracks at Falls Creek. Freshly groomed cross country ski tracks at Falls Creek.

A purely ski in ski out resort, over snow transport can be arranged onto the mountain and once you’re there, free shuttle buses make it easy to get around.

Falls Creek also touts a superb range of cross country skiing and is the official training base for the Australian national cross-country team. In August, cross country marathon skiers descend on the mountain from all over the world for the 42-kilometre Kangaroo Hoppet, the largest snow sport event in the Southern Hemisphere.


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