PERISHER, Australia (Reuters Life!) - Holidaymakers tend to head to the beach when they venture to Australia but the “land down under” also boasts an active ski season that runs from June until early October at the country’s eight ski resorts.
Got 48 hours to spend at Australia’s Snowy Mountains? Reuters correspondents with local knowledge give skiers and snowboarders tips on how to get the most from a weekend trip to the New South Wales resorts of Perisher, Thredbo, Charlotte Pass and Selwyn:
Friday Evening: Traveling to Perisher, the biggest Australian alpine destination, takes about six hours to drive from Sydney or about 2.5 hours from Canberra. Various bus companies also provide coach services to the snow.
Visitors can stay on the snow at Perisher but can’t park in the resort overnight so have to park at the nearby Skitube car park at Bullocks Flat and take the train up to the resort which is at 1,720 meters.
Alternatively visitors can stay down the mountain at nearby Jindabyne which is a 30 minutes drive to the resort or just 15 minutes from the Skitube. Accommodation at Jindabyne tends to be cheaper than staying at the resort.
Check out Australia’s different resorts at Snow Australia’s new website wwww.snow-australia.com which has snow cams broadcasting live to give people the real-time conditions at each resort.
Dinner and bed, ready for two serious days on the snow.
Saturday 7.30 a.m. - Eat a good breakfast before heading to the Perisher Center where visitors can hire all the equipment and even clothing needed for a couple of days on the snow.
9.30 a.m. - It’s the morning lesson time for beginners or less experienced skiers or boarders who want to build up their skills. The 2.5-hour lessons are led by instructors from all over the world. Alternatively sign up for the 12.30 p.m. group lesson or a private lesson. Lift passes for the day cost from $102 for adults and $56 for children.
12.30 a.m. - A well-deserved lunch at Mid Perisher Center at the top of the Forester Quad Express life. If the sun is out, enjoy your hot chocolate and meal out on the verandah.
2.00 p.m. - Continue to ski or board, utilizing some of the resort’s 48 lifts, or, if skiing is not your thing, head to tube Town, an area on the snow of groomed lanes where you can speed down the slopes on an inflated snow tube.
5.00 p.m. - Take the Skitube back down to Bullocks Flat and your accommodation, be it in Jindabyne or at the nearby Lake Crackenback Resort. The area has a list of restaurants for visitors, offering everything from pizzas to gourmet meals depending on your budget -- and energy levels.
7.30 a.m. - Early breakfast again ready for another day on the ski, this time trying your luck at Thredbo, a 36 kms drive from Jindabyne into the national park which has a $27 entry fee. Thredbo has 14 lifts with its longest run measuring 5.9 kms.
9.30 a.m. - Lessons are available at 9.30 a.m., 11.30 a.m., and 2.00 p.m. with high intensity programs for those who really want to get the most out of the day. Lift passes for the day cost from $99 for adults and $55 for children.
Don’t fancy skiing? Try the Thredbo Leisure Centre’s swimming pool, waterslide, spa or gym.
12.30 p.m. - Grab a quick lunch at Black Sallees at the top of the Snowgums Chairlift, nestled amongst the gum trees. If the sun is out, brave the sun deck to take in the valley views, before getting back onto the slopes for the final few hours.
5.00 p.m. - After a good day on the snow, back in the car for the drive home. A good place to stop off for a quick dinner on the way back is Cooma, which has a range of restaurants including the popular Cooma Thai Restaurant Khai Dee in Sharp Street.
Reporting by Belinda Goldsmith, Editing by Tim Pearce