As the ski season ends in North America it’s time to plan those Southern Hemisphere ski trips. Southern Hemisphere countries, including Australia, start their ski season when summer starts in North America. And while Australia may be known for its miles of coastline, the Outback and never ending beaches, it also has some great ski resorts. What’s more, use your ski passes in Australia, too. Perisher, Falls Creek and Mt. Hotham are on the Epic Pass, while Thredbo and Mt. Buller are part of the Ikon Pass. Read on for our list of the top ski resorts in Australia.
The best ski resorts in Australia
Perisher, New South Wales
When people think of the best ski resorts in Australia they likely think of Perisher. Perisher is the largest ski area in Australia with a diverse variety of skiable terrain to keep skiers of all abilities happy. A fun way to access Perisher is via the convenient skitube alpine railway. That keeps you and your car off icy roads to the resort once you get close. Perisher is actually a combination of four villages–Perisher Valley, Smiggin Holes, Guthega, and Blue Cow–and boasts a total ski terrain of approximately five square miles.
The Front Valley slope is lit for night skiing every Tuesday and Saturday. However, note that many long T-bar lifts are still in operation here. Perisher is very family-friendly with off-slope family activities that include sledding and tubing. It’s also known for excellent cross-country skiing, boasting more than 60 miles (100 km) of marked cross-country ski trails. Do you prefer to play in the terrain park? Perisher’s terrain parks are award-winning, bringing people from around the world to hone their skills.
Perisher is in the Kosciuszko National Park, about a five-hour drive from Sydney and seven hours from Melbourne.
Thredbo, New South Wales
While Thredbo is not the largest of the Australia ski resorts, it offers up some challenges with the highest vertical drop in the country and very respectable steeps. In fact the highest lifted point in Australia is at Thredbo. Meanwhile, the three-mile Village Trail is the longest ski run in Australia. Bonus: Beginners will actually find the easy runs at the top of the mountain.
Merritts Gondola, the only gondola in Australia, is a high-speed, eight-person ski lift that takes you from the village to the base of the cruiser area in six minutes. Thredbo has a vibrant village at the base of the mountain with a range of accommodations, restaurants, bars, cafes and shops. After a day on the slopes, treat yourself at Eagle’s Nest, dubbed Australia’s highest restaurant.
Falls Creek, Victoria
Falls Creek is a pedestrian-only, ski-in and ski-out village. Victoria’s largest ski resort, with 450 acres of skiable terrain, Falls Creek is ideal for families thanks to its excellent ski school runs dedicated to kids. Beginners will love the special zone for them called Drovers, with an easy-access chairlift. The Wombat Ramble is great for learners and intermediate skiers and, at 1.7 miles, is one of the longest ski runs in Australia. Advanced skiers and snowboarders head to the Summit region for steep black runs with powder stashes and steep tree runs in The Maze.
Falls Creek has some fun activities for those who want to get off the slopes. Enjoy a single day or multi-day guided backcountry tour with a Falls Creek guide.
Falls Creek is located in northeast Victoria, less than a two-hour drive from Albury-Wodonga or five hours from Melbourne.
Mt. Hotham, Victoria
Mt. Hotham’s village sits on top of the mountain, making it the only upside down mountain in Australia, so that your first run of the day is down to the chairlift. It has a good mix of intermediate, advanced and expert terrain, as well as a separate ski area for beginners. The resort is considered the “Powder Capital of Australia” thanks to storms from the south that can bring lots of dry powder with them. For something unique, take a husky sled dog tour of the backcountry before enjoying après-ski in nearby Dinner Plain.
Hotham Alpine Resort is accessible from Melbourne, taking four and a half hours by car.
Mt. Buller, Victoria
Mt. Buller’s 20 ski lifts make up the largest lift system in Australia. Its runs, spread over 742 acres, range from wide beginner slopes to lots of terrain for advanced skiers. Three terrain parks make for plenty of fun for those who like to play on park features. Mt. Buller’s village is uniquely set at the heart of the mountain with ski-in/ski-out lodging and plenty of bars and restaurants. More than 30 bars and restaurants provide a range of dining with plenty of choices for nightlife.
Mt. Buller is a three-hour drive from Melbourne, making it among the most accessible major ski resorts in Australia.
Charlotte Pass, New South Wales
Charlotte Pass holds the title of Australia’s highest ski resort and oldest ski resort. This ski resort is also one of the most unique, as it’s completely snowbound during the ski season. Visitors leave their car at the Perisher Valley carpark, and make their way to the resort via Charlotte Pass Oversnow Transport vehicles. It makes for a scenic ride through the main range to Charlotte Pass.
Charlotte Pass is a particular draw for beginners and intermediate skiers, while advanced skiers enjoy some of its steep chutes. Though it doesn’t have the terrain and variety of some of Australia’s other ski resorts, Charlotte Pass often has good snow, by Australia standards, since it has the highest base elevation at over 5,500 feet (1,765 meters). A day trip is doable, but we recommend making a night or weekend of it and staying at one of the resort’s hotels, like the Kosciuszko Chalet Hotel.
What is the best ski resort in Australia?
Ultimately this question of the top Australia ski resort is subjective. It’ll come down to what you’re looking for. If you want the closest ski resort to a major city, then Mt. Buller is a great choice, with its location three hours from Melbourne. But if you’re up for the adventure, then Perisher, the largest ski resort in Australia is a great adventure and has it all. You’ll have fun and plenty of options, however, at any of these Australia ski resorts.
Check out more of the best ski resorts in Australia, and reviews, on our website here.
Header image ©Thredbo Resort