Dashing through the snow, on a husky-led open sleigh… what better way to enjoy your mid-year break?
Who’s ready to escape the heat this June to August? Forget Instagram stories of friends holidaying on the beach. While the sun beats down on us in the middle of the year, it’s snow time Down South. That means plenty of skiing, sledding and snowball fights in Australia.
Here’s the low-down on where you can find the top winter activities in the country:
Always dreamt of playing in the snow? Good news, first-time skiers and snowboarders! Mount Buller offers three terrain parks for different skill levels so you can hit the slopes without worrying about rough tumbles. Winter sports enthusiasts can head to steeper slopes or try cross-country skiing for a great workout, spectacular views and a thrilling time. Ever heard of skiing under the stars? Every Wednesday and Saturday from mid-July to September, you can ski down a well-lit trail just as the sun dips, from 7–10pm, and feel like you’re soaring through the night sky.
Just a three-hour drive from Melbourne, Mount Buller has plenty of accommodation ranging from hotels to lodge-style residences. Take your pick based on the number of people travelling with you.
Alternatively, test out your snow legs at Thredbo in the Snowy Mountains, which offers four terrain parks, ranging from gentle slopes for beginners to drops and obstacles for seasoned skiers and adrenalin junkies. The alpine resort, a three-hour drive from Canberra or six-hour drive from Sydney, also lets you ski by night. Pop back to the resort and refuel before taking off into the twilight on Saturdays.
For a full-fledged wintery experience, Perisher Valley (commonly called Perisher) is the place to be. With temperatures dipping to as low as -5 degrees during peak ski-season (July to September), Australia’s largest alpine resort is perfect for those who want to zip down a ski run surrounded by thick sheets of snow. Also set in the Snowy Mountains, it’s about a three-hour drive from Canberra or six-hour drive from Sydney. The resort provides box and rail features for novices learning the basics of skiing and snowboarding. Among Perisher’s accommodation options are townhouses with views of the Snowy Mountains and chalets located footsteps away from a shopping centre.
Thrill seekers who prefer to get in on some heart-racing winter action should visit Mount Hotham, home to one of Australia’s highest alpine villages. Around a 4.5-hour drive from Melbourne, this resort offers one of the highest ski slopes with majestic views of its surroundings. With more than 7,000 beds across Hotham and Dinner Plain, it offers a range of apartments, chalets, lodges and motels within the resort.
Looking to get whisked away into a winter wonderland? Hop on a husky-led dog sled around Mount Buller’s snowfields or speed down powdery slopes on a toboggan or rubber tube. All you need to do is sit and hold tight! Families visiting Hotham will not be disappointed either. Located near its snow play area is a toboggan slope that is suitable for kids of all ages. For more speed and spirit, join a pack of huskies on a Howling Husky Sled Dog Tour.
Don’t let your snowy adventure end there. Take off for Falls Creek, Victoria’s largest alpine resort, which is a 4.5-hour drive from Melbourne. Family members can get competitive over a game of snow bocce (a ball game similar to lawn bowling), go on snowmobile tours or enjoy tobogganing down two slopes for free. Or spin, bounce and whizz your way downhill on a snow tube in Falls Creek’s Snow Tubing park.
Take to the skies on an exhilarating helicopter ride and enjoy a bird’s eye view of the white plains between Mount Hotham and Falls Creek. These two resorts are just six minutes apart via a scenic helicopter ride so you can enjoy the best of two snowfields in one day!
For those into heart-pumping and fast-paced action, propel down specially groomed lanes on snow tubes or toboggans at the Thredbo Snow Play Park or the tube park at Perisher. The great thing about Perisher’s tube park is its purpose-built lift, which carries snow tubers back to the top so they don’t have to keep climbing up the hill!
An activity that will keep kids delightfully occupied is Mount Buller’s Gnome Roam — a guided tour around the mountain village, which sends kids on a hunt for resident gnomes.
Love to play in snow? Then Hotham’s snow play area and the Thredbo Snow Play Park will be a dream come true. Covered in thick sheets of soft, white snow, it’s the ideal place to hold a snowman-building contest or form snow angels alongside family members and friends.
Hotham’s snow play area can be accessed free of charge and is in a sheltered location at Possum Flat. Meanwhile, the Thredbo Snow Play Park is located at the base station area of the Thredbo village. Remember to bundle up in waterproof jackets to keep warm when visiting these play parks!
If you have time to spare, take a helicopter flight out from Mount Hotham to Falls Creek where you can say hello to Falls Creek’s fun-loving snow mascot, Pete the Snow Dragon, which is known to pop up at snow clubs and parks around the resort during the winter season, too!