When many think of Australia, skiing isn’t typically what comes to mind. However, in Perisher, when the winter chill sets in, the snowy mountains come alive with snowy white fields, stoked riders and a buzzing après scene. Safe to say, Australia loves its skiing, and when it comes to the best places to go skiing in Australia, Perisher is a top contender.
Perisher is located in the Snowy Mountains region of New South Wales and features a sprawling 1245 hectares of skiable terrain, seven mountain peaks, and 47 lifts (wow!). The Perisher ski season runs from June to October and enjoys a temperate average of -3.7°C. Best of all, it has a 70% average of beautiful sunny weather days (did someone say hell yes?). So this is the perfect place to pack your light layers and dark goggle lenses and enjoy crisp powdery mornings and playful slush-central afternoons.
Not a skier and wondering what to do in Perisher? No problem! In this guide to skiing in Perisher, I’ll cover what to do in Perisher when you’re not on the slopes, as well as the best places to eat, things to do, where to stay in perisher as well as where to stay close by if you’re on a budget. Let’s jump into this guide to skiing in Perisher!
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A complete guide to skiing in Perisher
Getting to Perisher
Perisher is located in the southeast corner of New South Wales in Kosciuszko National Park. Around 2 hours and 40 minutes drive from Canberra and 5 hours and 30 minutes from Sydney. Whether you choose to drive or take the bus to the slopes, you will pass through Jindabyne on your way to Perisher. From here, you can opt to drive all the way and stay in accommodation on the mountain. Alternatively, you can stay in Jindabyne and bus, drive or take the tube up to the base of the mountain each day.
While Perisher Mountain is described as one mountain, it is actually broken up into four terrain areas: Perisher Valley, Blue Cow, Smiggens Hole and Guthega. Once you are in Perisher, each area is accessible via ski lifts and the Ski Tube. Frankly, this is part of what makes this one of the best places to go skiing in Australia.
Let’s explore a few of the top ways to get to Perisher:
Driving from Jindabyne takes around 30 minutes, and there is a large car park at the base of the Perisher Valley where you can park for the day. However, the car park fills up fast, and if choose to drive, you may encounter snowy weather and icy sections along the way. As such, you will need to carry chains and know how to fit them if required. If you are driving up to Perisher, you will also need a National Park Pass for your vehicle. These cost around $29 per day or $190 AUD for an annual pass. This can be a great option if you have a larger group and like the convenience of driving.
If you don’t have a car, there are plenty of bus options to take you from Sydney or Canberra to Jindabyne. Greyhound offers direct, daily buses ranging in price between $50- $90 AUD. You can also bring your skis or board for free! There are also options to go to the Ski Tube direct if your accommodation is on Perisher Mountain.
If you are staying in Jindabyne, there is also a NSW transport bus service that runs between the town and Perisher Mountain every 30 minutes from 6 am to 6 pm. This is a great option if you don’t have a car and want a lift to the Ski Tube daily while staying in Jindabyne (prices vary, so be sure to check the website).
Another option to get up the mountain is to ride the Ski Tube up to Perisher. The tube is located at Bullocks Flat, just 20 minutes from Jindabyne, on the way to the National Park.
This is a great option if you don’t feel comfortable driving in snowy conditions. If you buy a season pass and plan to ski for more than five days, you can also access a discounted ski tube pass for just $169 AUD for the season, which works out cheaper than buying five-day passes.
Budgeting for Perisher
Ski resorts, in general, are not cheap. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t ways to budget for your trip. If you are looking for what to do in Perisher on a budget and where to stay, we have you covered.
Ways to save money during your skiing holiday:
- Pack a backpack with water and lunch on the hill
- Book accommodation in advance
- Stay in Jindabyne, Berridale or Cooma instead of up in Perisher
- Bring your own gear if possible
Here are some typical prices* in Perisher:
- Ski day pass: $196 AUD
- Ski tube day pass: $40-50 AUD
- Hot Chocolate: $8 AUD
- Lunch at a mountain bistro: $25-35 AUD
- Night of accommodation: $75-$600 AUD+ per night (depending on location)
*These prices are correct at the time of writing this guide to skiing in Perisher in September 2022. Prices do change each year, so be sure to check the Perisher website for updated prices).
Thinking about backpacking the East Coast? Check out these posts:
Where to get tickets in Perisher
Growing up skiing in Australia, ski passes were an annoying sticker/wire combo that would occasionally hit you in the face if you chose the wrong zipper to attach it to. Those (thank god) are a thing of the past, and getting ski passes has never been easier. In 2015 Perisher joined the Vail resort collective, and with it came the introduction of the Epic Pass.
As a day pass alone costs around $190 AUD, a season pass (around $899 AUD) is a great option if you plan a longer holiday over four days. This pass also gives you season-long access to other top Australian resorts, such as Falls Creek and Hotham, and bonus access to top international destinations such as Whistler Blackcomb in Canada, Hakuba Valley in Japan and more!
Where to stay in Perisher
Trying to decide where to stay for your upcoming Perisher adventure? These are the four best places to stay in Perisher (and nearby if you’re on a budget):
Perisher Valley offers stunning ski-in and ski-out accommodation options. These typically range between $395 AUD and $690 AUD per night for a twin/quad room with a private bathroom and can include breakfast/dinner depending on where you stay. The perks of this price tag? These are typically less than 150 metres from the ski lifts. This means first lift access and no need to drive or tube to the hill every morning.
Jindabyne is the town just before the entrance to the National Park and a great option for budget-friendly accommodation. You can expect a range of motel and lodge-style accommodations here ranging between $130 – $300 AUD per night for a twin bedroom with a private bathroom.
Berridale and Cooma
Berridale and Cooma are two other options for accommodation for anyone travelling the snow on a tight budget. Berridale is a further 20-minute drive outside Jindabyne, and Cooma is 40 minutes drive from Jindabyne. Here you can find a single hotel room with a shared toilet and shower for $60 AUD or a standard twin room with a private bathroom for $100 AUD per night.
Places to eat and drink whilst skiing in Perisher
No guide to skiing in Perisher would be complete without a few ideas on the best places to dine and drink. Whether you are looking for places to eat and drink on the hill or in Jindabyne, these are our top picks of what to do in Perisher to satiate your tastebuds:
Blue Cow Bistro
Blue Cow Bistro is a cafeteria-style dining area in Blue Cow that has a range of cuisines, from hearty curries to burgers and more. This open-plan seating area is great for grabbing a bite to eat but also has a great patio seating area where budget-conscious travellers can enjoy their packed lunch, top up water and enjoy a bathroom break before hitting the slopes again.
Lil Orbits Doughnuts
Tell me something more satisfying than a warm cinnamon doughnut after a chilly day on the slope.. I’ll wait. Until then, test the theory for yourself with a stop at Lil’ Orbits Doughnuts in Perisher. Located on the Perisher Valley-Bullock’s flat platform, for $7 AUD you can get a bag of goodies while you wait for the train.
Jindabyne Brewing offers a relaxed place to celebrate and unwind after a big day on the slopes. Settle in for the evening with a range of in-house brewed beers and a menu filled with both ‘small’ and ‘large’ bites.
Other must-do Perisher activities
While Perisher is one of the best places to go skiing in Australia, it is also filled with plenty of other great activities. In our opinion, a guide to skiing in Perisher wouldn’t be complete without giving a few ideas of other top things of what to do in Perisher if you don’t ski, or simply to keep yourself entertained on a rest day.
Enjoy après at Sundeck
Sundeck is Perisher’s oldest pub and Australia’s highest hotel. Soak up the ambience of this hotel with an après drink with stunning views overlooking the valley.
Go night skiing
Every Tuesday and Saturday night, Perisher keeps the lights on from 6-9 pm for their Night Skiing and Boarding. Guests are encouraged to flaunt their most retro, neon attire for some extra fun!
Want to experience the beauty of the slopes without having to learn a new skill? Snowshoeing is a great way to experience the snowy mountain region on foot. There are plenty of great snowshoeing tours that will guide you safely through this alpine snow gum wonderland!
Make your inner child happy with a race down the hill at Perisher’s dedicated toboggan slope area. While this is designed for kids, don’t let that stop you from getting out there and having a bit of sliding fun!
Go on a Yarrangobilly Cave Thermal Pool Walk
Located in northern Kosciuszko National Park, this spring-fed natural pool is a temperate 27°C year-round. This short 1.4 km return track is the perfect rest day activity. Pack a towel, swimmers and a picnic for a natural, wild spa day in the
Tips on how to have a great experience
If you’re new to skiing and boarding, Perisher is one of the best places to go skiing in Australia. With 22% of the terrain being beginner friendly and another 60% being intermediate, there is plenty of options for new riders. That being said, there are a few considerations here are a few final tips of what to do in Perisher to ensure you have an incredible time.
- Check the weather each morning to ensure you wear the right gear/layers
- If you’re new to skiing/boarding, take a lesson to learn the basics (your body will thank you for it)
- If you are travelling on a budget, plan for at least one après or activity outside skiing. These experiences really are part of what makes Perisher great
Overall, Perisher is a must-do for anyone in Australia looking to get their skiing fix, enjoy après and experience the beauty of the Snowy Mountains region. With so much to see and do, this is definitely one of the best places to go skiing in Australia, as well as a great place to visit for travellers looking for some Australian winter fun!
Are there any other ideas of what to do in Perisher or the best places to stay in Perisher that we missed? Anything that you would add to this complete guide to skiing in Perisher?
Interested in checking out some of the other best places to go skiing in Australia? Check out our guide to the best things to do in Bright. This is the closest town to two top resorts: Hotham and Falls Creek, and has plenty of great things to do. Looking for more advanced terrain? Hotham is one of the best places to go skiing in Australia for steep challenging terrain. While Falls Creek, on the other hand, offers a small offering of beginner/intermediate slopes.
Ps. Before booking your trip, be sure to check the Perisher and transport websites for the most recent information to see if anything has changed. This information is correct at the time of writing this guide to skiing in Perisher in September 2022.
As always, happy adventuring!
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