We asked mum of two and one of Australia’s most respected travel writers, Jennifer Ennion, to share her inside tips about where to ski around Australia with kids. She says that there’s a snow holiday for every family.
Where to ski in NSW with kids
It’s the largest ski resort in Australia, with four areas catering to all levels, from first-time skiers to those who love terrain parks and expert riders. Perisher regulars often rave about the intermediate and advanced runs at Blue Cow and off Mt Perisher (2054m), but I think one of the resort’s biggest selling points is Smiggin Holes (often referred to as Smiggs).
Although there is plenty of mellow terrain across the mountain, pocket-sized Smiggs caters perfectly to families. Whether your little ones are going into lessons, learning to ride a T-bar or want to duck through trees with mum and dad, this corner of Perisher is ideal for all ages.
Read more: NSW ski season post-COVID
The best ski resort in Australia for an overall alpine experience, Thredbo has plenty to offer. The resort has a great range of restaurants, from high-end The Denman Hotel to on-snow European-inspired Merritts Mountain House (think bratwurst and gluhwein) and slope-side soup at Avalanche Café. Let’s put it this way: If the snow gods don’t deliver or the wind picks up, there’s no need to stay cooped up in your condo.
Along with the thriving hospitality scene, there is also a handful of retail stores, a good mix of accommodation – from old-school ski lodges to modern hotels – and a leisure centre with a pool. As for the mountain, there’s nice vertical in Thredbo with plenty of challenges for intermediates and advanced skiers.
Teens love Thredbo. Check out what they have to say in this quick clip.
3. Charlotte Pass
The highest alpine village in Australia, families are attracted to Charlotte Pass for its secluded and safe snow experience. The adventure starts with the journey there, as you’ll need to park at Perisher and bundle the kids into over-snow transport for the trip into the resort.
The smattering of lodges – with European-styled Kosciuszko Chalet Hotel the dominant landmark – is surrounded by a blanket of white and it’s easy to feel like you’re holidaying in a snow globe. So, if you’re after a magical experience that will wow the whole family, Charlottes is it.
Where to ski in Victoria with kids
With a village situated on top of the mountain, skiers and snowboarders have plenty of fun as they race down Hotham’s gullies to first lifts. Ridges, trees, wide open runs and tight bends, mellow lines and easily accessible side and backcountry make Hotham a fantastic Down Under ski experience, especially for older families with more seasons under their belts.
Given that 40 percent of terrain is considered advanced, we’re rating Hotham the best ski resort in Australia for serious riders. That said, there is an area dedicated to beginners (Big D Express), plus the small village of Dinner Plain, with its own beginner ski slope, 15 minutes down the road.
2. Falls Creek
You can really lap up mountain life when you stay in Falls Creek, where ski runs snake past chalets. There’s no better ski resort in Australia for a ski-in ski-out experience, and you’ll love the mix of terrain across the 90 runs.
Kids will enjoy the wide, cruisy green trails, while there are some nice, fast blues and challenging blacks. Falls also has great terrain parks, for everyone from primary school-aged children to seasoned skiers and boarders.
There is also a good range of family friendly accommodation, from cosy lodges to apartments and luxury hotels.
The Lustig family tried skiing for the first time at Falls Creek. Here’s what they thought.
3. Mt Buller
Only 248km from Melbourne, it’s no surprise Mt Buller is the most metropolitan ski resort in Australia. If you love the snow but still want top-notch cuisine and an après experience, Buller is the place to holiday.
For a delicious on-hill lunch with the kids, head to Tirol Café for pasta or burgers. Be sure to beat the midday crowd though.
Another thing to love about Buller is how easy it is to get around the small pedestrian village, with all the main facilities in a huddle at the resort’s base and a free shuttle that loops around the accommodation.
4. Mt Baw Baw
This little 35-hectare resort often gets overshadowed by its bigger neighbours. But Baw Baw makes for a top micro-adventure with mates. Join up with another family and let the kids race down the mostly beginner and intermediate runs.
If you don’t want to ski downhill, no worries. There is more than 10 kilometres of cross-country ski trails, too, as well as snowshoeing and dog-sledding. A big plus this season is that tobogganing is going ahead (it’s cancelled at other resorts) and the recently renovated Baw Baw park has a magic carpet, helping our smallest family members save energy.
Skiing in the ACT
If you or your children have never seen snow before, Corin Forest, 50 minutes south of Canberra, makes for a fantastic introduction. It’s easy to reach, affordable and when it comes to snow play close to a city, you can’t beat it.
As a result of COVID-19 there will be number limits for the snow play sessions due to social distancing rules. And toboggans will be sanitised, giving parents peace of mind.
The Mitchell family from Canberra went to Corin Forest to play in the snow. You can watch their experience here.
Where to ski in Tasmania
The apple isle gets its fair share of snow too, and few people realise there’s skiing and snowboarding there. Ben Lomond is budget-friendly and easy to get to thanks to regular “shuffle” buses (Troop Carriers). There is takeaway food and drink options, as well as a retail shop for when (and it will happen) someone loses a glove.
We rate Ben Lomond for keeping it simple for parents.
COVID-19 changes to ski resorts that you need to know about
- You’ll need to pre-book lift tickets as there will be a limited number on sale to meet physical distancing rules due to COVID-19.
- Only once you’ve secured lift tickets should you book accommodation in case dates don’t match up.
- You will need to keep 1.5 metres between you and other skiers in lift queues.
- There will be less people on chairlifts, e.g. two people per quad.
- There will be no sharing of T-bars unless you are skiing with family members or people you live with.
- Most resorts are only offering private ski lessons and children’s ski schools are on hold for now.
- There is limited or no snow play allowed in national parks.
- Resort entry is dependent on pre-purchased lift passes and the registration of vehicles (and passengers).