Snow always makes me happy. Whenever I am sad, I think of snow. As part of my yearly routine in Australia, I always go to the snow at least once a year. On my first year in Australia when I lived in Melbourne, I visited Mount Buller in Victoria and from the past few years after shifting to Sydney, I have visited Mount Perisher in the Snowy Mountains of New South Wales (NSW).
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About Snowy Mountains
The Snowy Mountains is the highest mountain range in Australia. It contains Australia’s tallest mountain Mount Kosciuszko, which stands at a height of 2228 metres. They are part of Australian Alps and Great Diving Range.
During winter season, there are many things that you can do in Sydney. Read Things to do in Sydney Winters.
The Snowy Mountains is a collection of four villages:
- Perisher Valley.
- Smiggin Holes.
- Blue Cow.
The Snowy Mountains are the best place in NSW to see snow during the winter season which is between the months of June and August. But be prepared for temperatures as low as -5 degrees centigrade. You need to wear appropriate clothing to sustain this temperature.
Note that on the way to the Snowy Mountains, there are ski shops at Jindabyne where you can hire required equipment, including the jackets.
Jindabyne is a village near the Snowy Mountains and it overlooks the Lake Jindabyne. Located on the edge of the Snowy Mountains, this village is generally the accommodation base (budgeted) for Thredbo and Perisher villages. It is way cheaper to stay at Jindabyne as compared to Thredbo during the ski season.
Did you know that Jindabyne does not usually get snow even though it is near the Snowy Mountains?
How to get to Jindabyne?
The distance between Jindabyne and Sydney Central Business District (CBD) is about 460 kilometres. By car, the drive takes around 5 hours 30 minutes.
- The road has toll roads.
Along the way to Snowy Mountains, you can see the fun big things, read 11 big things to see in NSW.
By public transport
The best way to reach Jindabyne from Sydney is by taking either a train or a bus to Canberra and then taking a bus to Jindabyne. The buses travel via Canberra and the journey takes about 6 to 7 hours.
By private buses
The Greyhound buses leave from Sydney to Jindabyne. These buses too go via Canberra and the journey is more than 7 hours.
Places to stay at Jindabyne
As mentioned above, it is affordable to stay in Jindabyne than Thredbo ski resort. Even though I say that it is affordable when compared to Thredbo, be prepared to pay higher prices for the stay in Jindabyne during the ski season as there is a lot of demand for these places.
Some of the places that I can recommend are:
- Alpine Drovers Rest – Located around 11 kilometres from the city centre, the Alpine Drovers Rest is a 5 star property with cosy and comfortable rooms.
- Rydges Horizons Snowy Mountains – Located along the Lake Jindabyne, Rydges Horizons Snowy Mountains is just around 300 to 350 metres from the city centre. These apartments at the property have great views of the lake and the mounatins.
Part of the Snowy Mountains, Thredbo is an alpine village and a ski resort. Built in the valley of Thredbo River, the village is in the Kosciuszko National Park. Very popular during the ski season, Thredbo has the longest ski tracks. The village of Thredbo has shops, restaurants and great accommodation options.
How to get to Thredbo?
Thredbo is just 36 kilometres from Jindabyne. When you are visiting the Snowy Mountains, it is mandatory for 2 wheel drives (cars) to carry chains during the ski season (between the months of June and October).
- All the vehicles have to purchase Kosciuszko National Park pass. They can be purchased at the entrance of the park.
By public transport
Again getting to Thredbo via public transport can be a bit tricky. The best way is to take either a bus or a train from Sydney to Canberra and then taking a bus to Thredbo.
By private buses
Greyhound buses travel between Thredbo and Sydney via Canberra. These buses are really comfortable and the journey takes a little more than 7 hours.
Places to stay in Thredbo
Thredbo is a ski resort and there are different types of accommodation options. A few of the accommodation options are:
- Thredbo Alpine Hotel – One of the best hotels to stay in Thredbo is the Thredbo Alpine Hotel. It is just a couple of minutes away from the chair lift and has an in-house restaurant and bar.
- Boali Lodge – Located just 150 metres from the city centre and 2 minutes from the chair lift, Boali Lodge is a very convenient and comfortable stay in Thredbo.
With large number of chair lifts and ski tracks, Perisher is another alpine ski resort located in the Perisher Valley. Named after Captain John Perisher, the Perisher Valley is the more popular and visited than Thredbo. There are plenty of cafes and restaurants, a supermarket and stay options. Perisher ski resort is the largest ski resort in the Southern Hemisphere.
Note that Thredbo has more accommodation options when compared to Perisher.
How to get to Perisher?
The Perisher Valley is around 33 kilometres from Jindabyne and the journey by road takes just around 30 minutes. If you are traveling during the ski season, make sure you have the chains for your cars, especially the two wheel drives.
By public transport
From Jindabyne, there are shuttles that run to Perisher. Costing around AUD 25 per person, these shuttle buses are a great way to travel to Perisher from Jindabyne. These are operated by Snowy Mountains Shuttle.
Places to stay in Perisher
Perisher village also has many places where you can stay. These accommodations range from budgeted to family travelers. A few of the options to stay in Perisher are:
- Perisher Manor Hotel – Located close to the Perisher Valley chair lifts and about 150 metres from the town centre, Perisher Manor Hotel has very comfortable rooms.
- Boonoona Ski Lodge – Another great option to stay is Boonoona Ski Lodge which is also very close to the town centre. This is perfect for large families or budgeted travelers.
- The River Inn – Perfect for a bigger family, The River Inn has villas with double rooms. The stay was very close to the restaurants in the village.
About Mount Perisher
With an altitude of 2054 metres, Mount Perisher is located in the Snowy Mountains and Perisher Valley is a valley below the Mount Perisher.
Free shuttles between Thredbo and Perisher
There are free shuttles within the villages of Thredbo and Perisher. You can take your skiing/ snowboarding gears and travel between the places inside the villages easily.
- But there are no easy way to travel between the two villages, Thredbo and Perisher. And the only and best option is to drive between them.
Things to do at Snowy Mountains during winters
Skiing and Snow boarding
Perisher is better for skiing as it has more number of ski runs and better skiable terrain. But Thredbo is much better for beginners who wish to learn skiing and snow boarding.
- You need chair lift pass for skiing and snow boarding and it needs to be purchased. The lift pass starts from AUD 162 for one day.
- Make sure to buy the passes well in advance as they get sold out.
- Be ware that the ski resorts are extremely busy during the ski season.
I took multiple skiing lessons as part of my day and weekend travel packages. In spite of taking these lessons, I am still a beginner as I found it extremely hard to balance. I definitely suggest staying at the resorts and taking multiple days lessons.
Jindabyne has plenty of things to do. It is a very picturesque town that is along the Lake Jindabyne which is stunning. Other than spending time at the lake, you can see:
- Jindabyne Dam.
- Town Centre.
- Jindabyne Brewing.
Things to do in Snowy Mountains during summer
- Thredbo – Even though the ski resorts are closed during summer season, there are still plenty of things to do in Thredbo during summer. One of the top things is to hike to the summit of Mount Kosciuszko.
- Jindabyne – The Lake Jindabyne is an extremely beautiful place to visit during the summer season.
- The Kosciuszko national park is also home to many small huts that have cultural and heritage significance. One of the popular things to do during the summer is to hike between the huts.
One day trips (bus tours) from Sydney
I have taken many one day bus tours to the Snowy Mountains from Sydney. I have booked most of these tours through Viator. These buses usually leave for Perisher from Haymarket in Sydney.
All tour agencies follow the below itinerary for their one day tours from Sydney:
- Trip starts on a Friday night at around 11:45 PM.
- On the way, there is a stop over to hire skiing gear.
- Reach Perisher in the morning.
- Enjoy the entire day at Perisher.
- Leave Perisher at around 3 PM.
- Reach Sydney at midnight or a bit later.
Weekend packages with skiing lessons
Staying in the snow is always fun and there are so many things to do at Snowy Mountains. I have been on weekend packages a few times. On my first trip, I went with Oz Snow Adventures and on the second trip, I went was with Ski Kaos.
Review of Oz Snow Adventures
My first trip was with Oz Snow Adventures. The agency was pretty good as we had got a big bus and the entire trip was organised very well. The trip cost us AUD 500 per person and we stayed in Jindabyne for 2 nights. We had to travel both days between Jindabyne and Perisher which was organised by the tour agency.
Review of Ski Kaos
Ski Kaos is a Sydney based tour agency. Unfortunately, my friends and I did not have a great time with them. The bus that picked us up from Central train station was very small for the number of people they had and the amount of money they had collected from each one of us. We were asked to sit in the small bus with our backpacks, ski boots, ski jackets and pants. It was difficult to even sit and we had to keep all the stuff on top of our laps.
When we reached the resort, our skiing equipment had fallen somewhere and we didn’t get them till next day. We had to go to the location they said and had to pick them up. On Sunday morning, they asked us to get our luggage and the ski gear, and we were not picked up at our resort.
The driver was rude and did not help us load the luggage into the trailer. He was panicking throughout and did not know how to give us instructions properly. He also drove in the snow without putting on the chains and had blocked the traffic for 15 minutes. Even during our booking process, there was absolutely no guidance in whatsoever except for few messages. The messages were not same as that of the itinerary which caused confusion.
As part of this trip, we stayed at River Inn in Thredbo and for this entire trip for 2 days with skiing lessons, it cost us AUD 850 per person. We had paid extra for the gear hire.
Is it safe for solo female travelers?
Absolutely yes! I have been to the Snowy Mountains many times and most of the times it has been solo. I have never had any issues whatsoever. I definitely recommend the Snowy Mountains as a solo traveler’s destination.
I loved visiting the Snowy Mountains during the winters and seeing the mountains covered in snow. I would say for sure that being in the snow and playing with the snow is surely a very happy feeling.
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