Okay, so we don’t get the blanketing, heavy snow and soft, fluffy powder that the snowfields of Canada, Japan and France are accustomed to. But that doesn’t mean we don’t have some pretty damn good ski resorts in Australia – and they just so happen to be located a short road trip from Sydney, Canberra and Melbourne!
Whether you’re a total skiing novice or an experienced shredder, you’ll find the perfect ski resort for you right here with our handy guide.
Not only is Perisher the largest ski resort in Australia, it’s also the biggest in the entire Southern Hemisphere! That means loads of ground to cover for pros and plenty of space for beginners to start learning the ropes – we’re talking 1,245 hectares of skiable space and 47 lifts.
Nestled in the spectacular Kosciuszko National Park, Perisher is about a six-and-a-half-hour drive from Sydney, a three-hour drive from Canberra and a seven-and-a-half-hour drive from Melbourne. Not exactly ideal for a quick weekend away, but well worth it for a winter mini-break.
Perisher is open from early June through to early October, and two-day lift passes start from $226 for adults and $126 for children, though you can save up to 30% by purchasing your tickets early. Need to brush up on your skills? Lessons can be added to your lift pass from $55.
Most visitors to Perisher (and Thredbo, for that matter) choose to stay in Jindabyne, the small, lakeside town about 30 minutes from the ski fields. Accommodation there isn’t the cheapest, but if you book far enough in advance – or are willing to sacrifice a few creature comforts – you may be able to nab a great deal.
You’ll also find plenty of ski hire outlets in Jindabyne, which offer far more affordable prices than those at the resorts themselves. In fact, if you head over to Scoopon right now, you can save up to 51% off all your snow gear, like skis, snowboards, clothing, helmets and more.
Oh, and while you’re at Perisher, be sure to take advantage of the killer events on offer. With the annual Peak Music Festival and BrewSki craft beer and cider festival on the agenda, you’ll have just as much of a blast off the slopes as you do on!
Though smaller than the neighbouring resort of Perisher, Thredbo is still one of the most popular ski resorts in Australia. Located a half-hour drive from Jindabyne, Thredbo boasts 480 hectares of skiable space and more than 50 runs, some of which are the longest in the country.
The Thredbo season starts and ends around the same time at Perisher, so there’s plenty of time to enjoy both. Two-day lift passes start from $189 (with an early bird discount) for adults and $109 for children, with add-on group lessons from $75.
In between those Shaun White-esque feats of snow athleticism, you can kick back in style with an impressive slew of apres-ski events. Think champagne long lunches, Saturday night gigs, parties and more. Where do we sign up?
Mount Buller, Victoria
Across the border in Victoria lies the winter paradise that is Mount Buller, situated in the Alpine National Park. Conveniently located just over three hours from Melbourne, a weekend ski sesh is perfectly doable!
Mt Buller is home to 300 hectares of skiable area with runs to suit all experience levels, plus 22 lifts, making it the largest lift network in the state.
Victorian skiers and snowboarders have it a lot cheaper than their New South Wales counterparts, with two-day adult lift passes starting from $132 and from $74 for kiddies. The season runs from early June to late October, so you’ve got loads of time for return visits, too!
While this resort town does have some accommodation options, you’ll be lucky to find something for less than $300 per night. Instead, head to the foothill town of Mansfield (a 50-minute drive to the resort) or Merrijig, which is halfway between Mansfield and Mount Buller.
Want to save on your snow accommodation? Over at Scoopon, we’ve got two nights at Merrijig Motor Inn from $199 for two people and $319 for four! Your package also includes discount vouchers for both gear hire and breakfast at the onsite bistro.
Falls Creek, Victoria
At around four and a half hours from Melbourne, Falls Creek is a little further than Mt Buller, but when you get there, you’ll find a huge 450-hectare skiing area with 92 runs and 14 lifts.
A favourite of intermediate skiers and snowboarders, Falls Creek two-day lift passes start from $181 for adults and $101 for children, including a 30% early bird discount. Plus, you can add a lesson from as little as $71 to perfect those shredding skills!
As is the theme among ski resorts in Australia, staying in the Falls Creek resort itself isn’t cheap. Luckily, the nearby towns of Porepunka, Bright and Mount Beauty offer affordable accommodation as little as 40 minutes from the resort.
While you’re there, be sure to catch The Night Show, which runs every week for eight weeks, starting from the first Thursday night in July. You’ll get to see all the resorts’ talented instructors and crew hit the slopes in an awesome display of athleticism, followed by some fireworks!
Mount Hotham, Victoria
With 40% of its 72 runs dedicated to intermediate skiers and snowboarders and another 40% for advanced, Mount Hotham is perfect for those who want to get away from the rest of us pesky, slow beginners.
Boasting some of the country’s most challenging terrain, Mount Hotham is also home to Mary’s Slide, the steepest double black diamond run in Australia.
Mount Hotham has the same pricing structure as its sister resort, Falls Creek, with lift tickets starting from $181 for adults and $101 for children, including a 30% pre-booking discount, and lessons from $71.
As with Falls Creek, Mount Hotham offers few budget-friendly accommodation options at the foot of the mountain. Instead, your best bet is any town along the Great Alpine Rd – Bright and Harrietville to name a couple.
Keep in mind that Mount Hotham is the venue of choice for many Aussie snow sports competitions, so be on the lookout for some shredding inspo on the slopes!
We hope you’ve gotten a good feel for the most popular ski resorts in Australia. If you’re keen to plan your own snow trip, be sure to hit up Scoopon regularly – you never know when discount gear hire or the perfect accommodation package might pop up!
Read more: The Best Road Trip from Your Capital City