Skiing Australia may not match world-class conditions, but there are snow resorts in Victoria and NSW. Melbourne is only 3 hours away form the snow and many Australians enjoy winter sports.
The Victorian Alps and Snowy Mountains lie across the border of Victoria and NSW. The ski season is from June to early September, snow conditions permitting.
Victoria has three large resorts and NSW two, with additional cross country ski terrains.
If you like skiing, Melbourne is located only 3 hours from the nearest ski resort, Mt Buller, which makes it accessible for a day of skiing or snowboarding at minimum cost. You have the opportunity to take a convenient Mt Buller Ski Tour from Melbourne.
I have to confess, as a German, that I first found the snow and skiing Australia amusing. There are serious snow fields with excellent slopes and lifts, lots of people with all the gear, and here we are skiing around on a mountain where the snow is soft at the end of the run.
Snow quality is not quite up to northern hemisphere standards. But here is my next confession. We love it and won’t miss the snow for anything. It is a lot of fun and easy to get to.
The snow is occasionally subject to temperatures creeping above the zero degree mark. You can get iced over conditions or soft snow – and really great snow at other times. All resorts top up the gradual loss with snow making, which is very successful but still can change the melting point of water.
It can be very cold in windy conditions, but you also have days where you don’t have to wear more than a couple of thin layers under your jacket – it all depends.
Because of the variability of snow conditions it pays to be flexible, especially at either end of the season to guarantee that there is sufficient snow. You can check snow conditions here . July and August are generally safe times to go.
Mt Buller is the most frequented Victorian ski resort. It has a lot of accommodation, but many skiers and snowboarders take daytrips or a convenient Mt Buller Ski Tour from Melbourne.>
It’s a three hour drive and if you are keen you leave home about 5:30am and get back by 8:30pm.
Its highest lift is at 1780m and the village is at an elevation of 1375m.
There is a network of 26 lifts with a capacity to carry 40,000 skiers at one time, and around 80km of groomed trails - 25% beginners, 45% intermediate and 30% advanced.
During school holidays and on weekends it can get busy, so if you can go skiing midweek, that is usually better.
The runs at Mt Buller are some of the best in Australia. You can also climb the summit – a few hundred meters above the highest lift – and ski the powder from there.
At Mt Buller you start your runs from the village. The Bourke Street lift then takes you to the other areas – the north and south slopes. It is a good idea to get away from Bourke St and explore the terrain.
The south slopes stay cold longer and you sometimes get better snow there, but at other times they can be iced over and hard work, it really all depends on the day.
Mt Hotham is 4-5 hours drive from Melbourne, and lies a little higher than Mt Buller. Its highest lift point is 1845m, the base 1450m. It is located along the Great Alpine Road, which can at times be hazardous for driving. So you need to take your time.
The resort is smaller and less frequented, but very beautiful.
It has the highest annual snowfall on record of any Victorian resort.
Mt Hotham has a network of 13 lifts and runs for all types of skiers and snowboarders – 20% beginners, 40% intermediate and 40% advanced. It has some of Australia’s most difficult runs.
There are also 35km of cross country trails.
Falls Creek is a large ski resort also about 4-5 hours drive from Melbourne. Its highest lift is 1780m, the village at 1500m.
It is Australia’s largest ski resort by area, has 14 lifts. It is a fantastic resort, with a lot of different types of accommodation, restaurants, bars and night clubs.
The longest advanced run at Falls Creek is 3.3km. The terrain is mixed with 17% beginners, 60% intermediate and 23% advanced.
There are also 21 cross country trails crossing the beautiful alpine landscape.
Mt Baw Baw is a small and friendly resort and the one to go to with small kids or learning to ski or snowboard. It is also great for tobogganing.
It is a beautiful drive to Mt Baw Baw is beautiful through winding mountain roads.
The resort is lower than the major ski areas and the season slightly shorter. So check your snow report.
Mount Stirling is the largest of the cross country and snow camping areas. It is located next to Mount Buller and has 35km of groomed trails and anther 33km of ungroomed trails.
Lake Mountain is the closest ski resort to Melbourne and less than a two hour drive. It’s great for a day with the kids, snowplay, tobogganing, cross country skiing or snow walking
It also has over 37km of cross country trails.
Thredbo is a ski resort in the Snowy Mountains, the NSW end of the Australian Alps.
It is a large ski resort with long runs and with an actual town, lodges, and nightlife in the valley.
However, as the town is located at only 1365m it tends to suffer from unfavourable snow conditions at the lower end of the runs.
There are 50 ski runs with the longest 5.9km long.
Perisher Blue is another NSW ski resort. We love it as you have the opportunity to travel from one mountain to another without going over the same terrain again.
It is our favourite resort in NSW. Its area is large with lots of lifts to take your around.
There is also Charlotte Pass . It is, at a height of 1964m, the oldest and highest ski resort in Australia. It has 5 lifts and is also popular with cross country skiers.
Here are some organised ski trips you can take advantage of. Each promise action packed days in the snow, real skiing Australia fun, and have excellent reviews. They will save you the bother of driving yourself. Thredbo or Perisher Blue Weekend Snow Trip from Sydney or Canberra.
There is also a 3-Day Thredbo or Perisher Blue Midweek Madness Snow Adventure,
and for the really serious a 6-Day Thredbo or Perisher Blue Snow Adventure from Sydney.
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