Not many people would think of Australia as a place to go for skiing, especially when one of the world’s most infamous deserts is located on the continent. Australia is a diverse environment, ranging from acrid climates to frostbitten ones. That’s where you will found the Snowy Mountains in New South Wales. Travelers who love the outdoors, along with fresh powder, festivals and history, will fall in love with Perisher Valley and the Snowy Mountains.
About the Mountains
Also known as “The Snowies,” this mountain range contains the highest peaks in Australia, including Mount Kosciuszko. Every winter, these mountains received a bounty of snowfall that does not melt until well into the warmest days of Spring. Because of this, all four of Australia’s ski resorts are found here.
For around 20,000 years, Aboriginals dwelled up in The Snowies. Europeans first stepped into the area around 1835. Around the same time, cattle drivers began to build huts throughout that have been preserved by the National Parks and Wildlife Service and the Kosciuszko Huts Association.
The Snowy Mountains became part of the Kosciuszko National Park in 1967.
About Perisher Valley
Skiing originated in Australia during the time of the Kiandra gold rush of the 1860s. Miners started the Kiandra Snow Shoe Club (now renamed Kiandra Pioneer Ski Club), the longest running ski club in the entire world. Though the gold rush did not last long, the region had caught the ski-bug.
Perisher Valley lies at the foot of Mount Perisher and houses the largest ski resort in Australia. Other sections are Guthega (ski village and site of an electric dam), Blue Cow (another ski resort that is only accessible via the Skitube underground railway) and Smiggin Holes (a part of the Perisher ski resort that is used only during the winter months).
Because the region rapidly grew in popularity, attractions soon opened for year-round enjoyment. The Snowy Mountains are not just great for skiing and snowboarding but for other outdoor activities and adventurous pursuits!
The area around Perisher Valley and The Snowies is lush with things to do and places to see. You will never have a dull moment here. Some places to go throughout the year are as follows:
Perisher Ski Resort – 47 lifts, 236 snow-making guns, a Snowsports School, programs from children and adolescents, night skiing and snowboarding, snow-tubing, tours, fireworks, Australia’s only halfpipe, and a breadth of award-winning restaurants, bars and cafes found in Perisher Village. Your stay even comes with the aptly named “EpicPromise.”
Official Website: https://www.perisher.com.au
Charlotte Pass – Extremely close to Perisher Ski Resort, Charlotte Pass is another location for tasting the freshest snow in Australia. There are a variety of trails for skiers and snowboarders of every level as well as plenty of accommodation options.
Official Website: http://www.charlottepass.com.au
This takes place at Perisher Ski Resort that kicks off the ski season. From June 10th-13th, the 4 days are spent listening to music and having fun in the snow. Australian and international artists take to a huge set up of not just one but ten stages around the resort. Some of these shows are within small lodges or headline acts on the main stage. No matter your musical tastes, there will be at least one show for you.
Check out the official website (http://peakfestival.com.au/) for information on the next Peak Music Festival. Preparations have already begun to make it bigger than this year’s celebrations!
Getting to the Snowy Mountains and Perisher Valley is easier than it was in the 1800s. From Sydney, the drive takes around five to six hours, depending on weather and traffic conditions. Coming from Melbourne takes around six hours. Driving through the National Park comes with a requirement—you need chains for your vehicle’s tires.
The other way to get to the Snowy Mountains is by airplane. The service is very new, having just commenced in 2016. You can use the Regional Express (REX) at Sydney Airport and get direct access to Cooma Airport outside of the mountain range. You can also get connections through Jindabyne and Bullocks Flat Terminal via Alpine Resort Shuttle services. That surely simplifies the transportation issue.
Canberra Airport is also open for service. Inside of a five to six hour drive, you can be at Perisher Valley enjoying the fresh powder in around two hours.