Snow holidays and Australia wouldn’t be two things that come to one’s mind, yet it’s becoming more and more popular! Although if you live in Australia, you’d probably head up to New Zealand or Japan for incredible snow - Australia also delivers when it comes to snow holidays.
I recently went back to Thredbo for a long weekend and really felt like I reconnected a little bit with the mountain spirit. I quite miss it being previously used to go every year when I was in France. However, I’ve decided that I really want to keep trying to go every year now and really practice my snowboarding and exploring new mountainscapes.
And I think you should too! There’s nothing like thinking you are in Australia and that you are in the snow. It’s quite unusual, fun and a good story!
So here are 10 things you need to know about snow holidays in Australia and why you should totally go for it!
1. Yes, it is possible!
OK, this is obvious but I would never have thought five years ago that I would be able to ski or snowboard in Australia. Most people here haven’t experienced the snow at all and actually many don’t know there are mountains and ski fields in Australia.
Yet, with a bit of knowledge, a bit of money and willing it’s definitely possible to go experience the snow in Australia & extremely fun!
If you'd like to read my detailed article about skiing in Thredbo, I also wrote one here from 2015!
2. It can be very very expensive
So let’s be upfront: snow holidays in Australia are VERY expensive. Like so expensive, you’d really think twice if you should really go… Which kind of crushes my heart every single time I’m looking up to go.
BUT don’t despair! If you really plan in advance, you can find good deals on various websites and around the shoulder season too. You also have the option of not staying in the village like Thredbo, but staying in Jindabyne (about 40 minutes away) and paying less for accommodation. But definitely take into account the lift passes, rental, accommodation and food which can be up to a 1000 dollars per person for just 2 to 4 days.
3. It’s perfect for beginners and good for intermediate but don’t expect crazy conditions
Beginners, rejoice! Learning how to ski or snowboard in Australia is really good and not too difficult. The slopes aren’t that hard, the instructors are really really nice and helpful, and it can be crowded but not so much that you can’t learn at all.
I particularly found that snowboarding is really good in Thredbo to learn as the slopes are wide and the instructors I had were really awesome and helpful. I think I did more progress in 2 days of snowboarding than 3 years of it when I was a teen!
4. The season runs from early July till mid to late September
Obviously but for visitors from the Northern Hemisphere, it can be a little nerve-racking to understand the different seasons! First time I went to Thredbo, I never thought in my life I’d be skiing at the end of July - being a typical summer month for me!
Another point to remember, the season is quite short. It shouldn’t snow before July and you’d have to be lucky to still have snow end of September. Yet the conditions can be really amazing in a good year!
5. There are 16 ski resorts in Australia
According to Travel Weekly, the top 5 is:
- Thredbo, NSW (That’s the only one I went to and really enjoyed it both times)
- Perisher, NSW
- Falls Creek, Victoria
- Mount Hotham, Victoria
- Mount Buller, Victoria
If you’d like to see the full list of ski resorts and areas from the Australian Capital Territory to Tasmania, check the Wikipedia page here. Funny how Corin Forest in ACT has only one lift!
6. The après ski can be super fun too!
It doesn’t compare to the French Alps but there are a few things to do - you’ll find the good old Aussie cafe, fun bars and more activities to try if you’re willing to spend a bit more. But to be honest, there’s nothing better than also chilling at your accommodation after a day on the slopes.
7. The closest to Sydney is Thredbo with a 5 to 6-hour drive
If you are currently living in Sydney, Thredbo is probably your closest and best bet to get some snow time. But if you feel like something different, Perisher is about and Charlottes Pass is about.
Otherwise, you can always fly to Melbourne and drive to the Victorian ski resorts too!
8. The snow can be good but don’t expect crazy powder
Following the years, the seasons can be very good in Australia compared to New Zealand but it can also be the other ways. You can expect some decent snow and the snow guns are usually pretty good too.
However, don’t expect insane amounts of powder like you would in Japan or maybe Europe if you’re lucky! The snow can also get quite slushy towards the end of the day and the villages aren’t always covered in snow like they would in other places in the world.
Just don’t set your expectations too high and you will be sweet.
9. You might want to try NZ at some point too...
It’s great to experience the Australian snow but if you are an avid skier or snowboard and want to get more bang for your bucks, you’ll probably want to look over the Tasman to New Zealand! New Zealand is supposed to have amazing ski resorts and also a really cool atmosphere that brings you back a bit more like in Europe.
If you feel even more adventurous, there’s always Japan that’s just a 10-hour plane away.
10. You’ll probably never get as cold as in The Alps or Japan!
That can be a good and bad thing. It’s good because it means you’ll never need that many layers or extra-thick socks or your toes might fall! So you can enjoy mild conditions without feeling frozen. However, it can still get cold so don’t underestimate it!
Just go already!
Still thinking about it? Just start researching, plan a 3-day trip and enjoy! It may be a bit of money but there’s nothing like knowing you’ve skied or snowboard in Australia. It’s a truly unique experience which I’m sure you’ll want to do again!
Have you been skiing or snowboarding in Australia before? Let me know!