With four resort areas – Blue Cow, Smiggins Holes, Guthega and Perisher Valley – and no less than 47 lifts servicing over 1,200 hectares of skiable terrain, Perisher in Kosciuszko National Park is by far Australia’s largest ski resort. But if you’re not into skiing or snowboarding, there’s plenty else here to see and do. In winter, snow tube at Tube Town, ride a scenic chair lift or settle into one of its many resort bars and restaurants with a mulled wine and a fine-dining meal in front of an open fireplace. In summer, when the snow melts, mountain bike to Mount Kosciuszko Summit, take a guided, more leisurely ride to learn about local wildlife or simply go for a stroll, stopping to breathe in the fresh mountain air. In Perisher, there truly is something to do for everyone, no matter what time of the year.
Perisher is a five- to six-hour drive from Sydney and around a six-hour drive from Melbourne. If you’re driving, keep in mind that you may come across challenging wintertime driving conditions and that heavy construction vehicles and freight trucks are common on the area’s roads. In Kosciuszko National Park, it’s also compulsory for 2WD vehicles to have properly fitted chains should they need to be used.
National Parks and Wildlife Service does not allow overnight parking in Perisher, so you’ll need to ensure that your accommodation has on-site parking included in the room rate or available at an additional cost. Alternatively, if you aren’t staying at on-snow accommodation, you can park for free at Bullocks Flat Ski Terminal and then take the Skitube to Perisher Valley or on to Blue Cow. The full timetable can be found here.
Perisher is a ski resort so it makes sense that it truly comes alive during the snow season, which typically runs from mid-to-end of July until the start of October. However, should you choose to visit in summer, you’ll be surprised at how much still there is to do, including mountain biking (choose from trails in Alpine areas, Thredbo and Perisher), picnicking or fishing, or walking one of the area’s many paths, admiring snow gums, wildflowers and rock formations.
Like most other ski resorts in Australia, Perisher is spread out horizontally, with expert-level slopes not as steep as compared to others at resorts around the world. While Thredbo does have a higher drop, Perisher, with its seven mountain peaks and 119 runs, is often preferred for its wide-ranging slopes that suit every level.
To check the snow forecast at Perisher before your trip, visit its automatically updated snow report, which also shows live images from the slopes.
Neon Night Skiing and Boarding is on from 6-9 pm Tuesdays and Saturday nights, with guests encouraged to dress in their brightest fluro and the sky alight with fireworks at 7:20 pm.
If you’re not into skiing or snowboarding and you’re here in winter, you won’t find it hard to find things to do. Take a high-speed ride on an inflatable tube at Tube Town; explore the Snowy Mountains via cross-country ski; or join a snowshoe tour, which requires no prior experience and will see you learning all about the mountain’s unique flora and fauna.
In summer, rent or bring your own mountain bike so you can cycle trails features sweeping summit views, glacial lakes and stunning wildflowers. With paths ranging from leisurely, to cross-country and adrenaline, there’s something for every level of rider. Don’t want to pedal? Lace-up your hiking boots and walk the trails instead.
Perisher is well-equipped for kids. Sign them up for a ski lesson, watch them tobogganing or join them on a snow tube run. Cap off the day with fireworks, every Tuesday and Saturday at 7:20 pm at Front Valley and on Wednesdays at 8 pm at Zoe’s Ski Carpet at Smiggin Holes.
For on-snow accommodation in Perisher, look no further than family-owned Perisher Manor, adjacent to the lift the Village 8 Express; Perisher Valley Hotel, also steps from the Village 8; and The Man From Snowy River Hotel, located just across from the Skitube Terminal.
If convenience isn’t a priority for you, consider staying instead in the village of Jindabyne, 21 kilometres from Perisher. Not only does accommodation here generally tends to be more affordable than that available on-snow, but the area is also known for its lively nightlife. The Station, Lake Jindabyne Hotel and Banjo Paterson Inn Jindabyne are popular places to stay.
While all on-snow accommodation in Perisher tends to fall into the luxury category (with rates to match), three of note are The Stables Resort, which boasts 33 apartments and cosy restaurant Stallions Restaurant Bar; Marritz Hotel Perisher and Salzburg Apartments, both inspired by the ski accommodation in Europe; and Chalet Sonnenhof, which features ski-in/ski-out access and a three-course dinner included in its room rate.
For more of an escape, book into Lake Crackenback Resort & Spa or lodge Altitude 1260, both on the banks of serene Lake Crackenback. Heidi’s Chalet, which has several self-contained apartments (including Apt 3 and Mountain View Chalet), is ideally positioned across Smiggins Holes ski lifts and is metres away from the Perisher Resort shuttle bus.
It goes without saying that camping in Perisher should ideally only be undertaken during the warmer months, as the average temperature in winter can drop to -3 degrees Celcius. That said, Perisher does have plenty of campsites for when the snow does melt. Kosciuszko Tourist Park, Island Bend campground and Thredbo Diggings Campground are all nearby.
Most of the on-snow hotels and resorts have their own restaurants and bars also open to the public. These include Stallions Restaurant (in The Stables), Marritz (in the Marritz Hotel), Snow Gums Restaurant (in Perisher Valley Hotel), Base 1720 Bar & Restaurant (in Perisher Manor) and The White Spider Restaurant (in Eiger Chalet).
In Perisher Village, also known as Perisher Centre, you’ll find a supermarket, Brunelli’s Café, YAMA Noodle Bar, Kebabz and JAX Bar & Café. Aldo’s Café & Pizzeria and Li’l Orbits Doughnuts are located within Perisher Skitube Terminal.
While you can buy individual lift passes to ski or snowboard in Perisher, if you’re also wanting to rent equipment, take private or group lessons or purchase any Skitube trips, it’s best to buy in a bundle. Buy your package seven or more days in advance and save up to 30 per cent. Epic Australia Pass includes access to Perisher, as well as to Australia’s other ski resorts Falls Creek and Hotham, while Epic Pass offers access to a slew of other resorts around the world.
During the warmer months, book one of K7 Adventure’s many mountain bike tours (suitable for all levels) or, if you’re into hiking, a seven-day Snowy Mountains and Mount Kosciuszko Walk with Aus Walk. Dirt Skills and Frills also offers women-only mountain bike retreats.
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