Perisher, Australia: 9 Tips for the Best Ski Trip Down Under
Sunny beaches, the scorching Outback, tropical rainforests. These are the images most people associate with Australia, and, with 36,000 kilometers (22,000 miles) of coastline, about 70% of the country classified as the Outback, and 900,000 hectares (over two million acres) of tropical rainforest, they wouldn’t be wrong. Australia may be one of the last places many would think of for a ski trip, but, believe it or not, the country is home to dozens of ski resorts.
One of Australia’s most popular ski resorts — and the Southern Hemisphere’s largest — is Perisher, located in the Snowy Mountains, roughly equidistant from Sydney and Melbourne. A Perisher getaway is a fantastic way to spice up a long winter, and if you’re looking to optimize your visit and save a few bucks, read on.
Save on accommodation by staying in a nearby town.
If you have a car, look for lodging a bit farther from the ski fields, as closer accommodation is expensive and fills up quickly. On my visit two years ago, we stayed in a house in Kilkite that we found on Gumtree and paid only $25 per person per night for a large, comfortable, clean house that was an easy commute to Perisher.
Book your lift tickets in advance.
Lift tickets are never cheap, but purchasing yours from the Perisher website seven or more days in advance will save you up to 25% on the overall price.
Consider lessons packages.
If you’re thinking of brushing up your ski or snowboard skills, adding a lesson to your lift tickets and equipment rental package won’t cost you significantly more.
Rent your gear away from the slopes.
Consider renting your gear from a shop in Jindabyne or a nearby town rather than at Perisher Ski Resort itself. You’ll save money and avoid the long lines while getting the same quality of equipment. Or, if you think you’ll be back a few times and are looking to buy, you can learn more here.
Take the Skitube.
The Skitube is a train that takes visitors from the base of the mountain to the lifts. It’s a bit pricey, but it’s worth it, as it’s difficult to find parking right at the lifts, and driving to the lifts requires a national park pass plus snow chain rentals.
Temperatures can vary quite a bit between the slopes and the surrounding towns as well as on the slopes themselves. Even in the middle of winter, I found myself peeling off my jackets during a hike downhill from the ski area. Dress warmly for the snow, but you’ll be glad to have layers you can remove.
Watch out for the wildlife.
The roads around Perisher are teeming with animals. Kangaroos will spring out of seemingly nowhere, wombats may seem small but are sturdy and heavy, and both can do significant damage to your car. So stay alert!
Knackered from skiing or snowboarding? Go for a sled!
Perisher has a designated sledding area and offers winter clothes and toboggan rentals from their ski hire shop. If you don’t feel like marching up the hill again and again, you can even take advantage of their tow line for a few dollars.
Hiking? Ask the visitor center about open roads and trails.
Although most head to Perisher for its slopes, it’s also a great spot for winter hiking. However, conditions vary throughout the year, and some roads and hiking trails close for inclement weather. Make sure to stop by the Perisher Visitor Office for information on what’s accessible as well as if you’ll need to bring snow chains or purchase a national park pass.
Whether you’re skiing, snowboarding, sledding, hiking, or just admiring the views, Perisher is an unforgettable Australian escape. Stay warm, and enjoy this winter wonderland!