Snow down under Snow down under

Here’s your handbook to Australia’s key mountains to help you create some beautiful memories for your whole family.

You don’t have to fly to Canada or Japan to experience the joy of snow skiing and boarding – Australia offers conditions that rival the best mountains in the world. “Skiing in Australia is just fantastic. When it’s ‘on’, it’s as good as anywhere in the world,” says Phil Osborn, Director of Snow Travel Expo. “It’s such a fun thing for families to do together. You can pack the car and go, and you don’t have to worry about airports and passports and all of those things that come with international travel.”

Here’s a round-up of the most popular snow spots to help you find the best mountain for making memories.

People skiing on mountain in distance
Sunset over snowy mountains
Ski goggles

For fun for little ones:

Lake Mountain, Baw Baw and Selwyn

If you’ve got a young family then a day tobogganing offers unrivalled fun. Lake Mountain is the closest mountain to Melbourne and gives families the chance to build a snowman or try skiing. For the adventurous family members among you, there’s more than 35km of well-signposted cross-country trails to explore.

Less than two-and-a-half hours from Melbourne, you’ll find another popular family mountain in Baw Baw that boasts 25 ski and snowboard runs and fun snow play areas.

In NSW, Selwyn is open again in June after rebuilding following bushfires. There will be an upgraded chairlift, the new Selwyn Centre for gear hire, food and drink, as well as two new dedicated ‘snow carpets’ for practising turns.

“These are feeder mountains and great places to do some lessons and snow play,” Phil says.


For easy access from Melbourne:

Mount Buller

Whether you’re a Melburnian or need to fly in from another city, Mount Buller is called “Melbourne’s mountain” because you can go there and back in a (big) day. “The big hurdle for skiing for a lot of people is the cost, but with somewhere like Buller, you can do a day trip or stay in the regions surrounding it,” Phil says. “There are also some great deals for lift ticket prices and lessons at the beginning or end of the season. It’s worth doing some research because you don’t have to spend a fortune.”


For entertainment:


If you fancy an awesome day on the slopes and a party atmosphere at night, then head to Thredbo. “Thredbo has an amazing village attached to it with a really great vibe,” Phil says. “There’s great skiing terrain for all levels of skiers and snowboarders. If you stay on the mountain, there’s restaurants and cafes with lots of live music and fireworks. It’s a really lively place year-round.”

Ski lifts over snowy valley
Perisher tree and boulder in snow
Snow covered field
Ski sticks

For ski run choice:


With the largest resort terrain in Australasia, you can sample almost 3000 acres of snow-covered terrain at Perisher in the Snowy Mountains. Stay in nearby Jindabyne or get the Ski Tube from the luxurious Lake Crackenback Resort. Home-base to many Olympic skiers and boarders, there’s also a good chance you’ll see some jaw-dropping snow skills. “Being the biggest ski resort in Australia, there’s plenty of room at Perisher,” Phil says.


For the full snow experience:

Falls Creek

If you’ve ever dreamed of waking to snowflakes falling outside the window, then make a special trip to Falls Creek. As a pedestrian-only ski village, make sure you pack your Après-ski boots to walk to your restaurant dinner. “Everyone stays on the snow and the village is full of snow cats driving around,” Phil says. “It’s so pretty and fabulous for families. It’s a good entry level mountain.”


To sleep above the clouds:

Mount Hotham

Unlike other ski villages that are usually at the base of a mountain, Mount Hotham perches on top. “You stay at the top of the mountain and start by skiing straight down,” Phil says. “Hotham caters for beginners, but it’s more of an intermediate to advanced mountain with less entry level terrain than neighbouring Falls Creek.”


Stay stoked at the snow

The key to a great day at the snow is to be well-prepared and comfortable. Here are Phil’s tips for ensuring the whole family smiles on the slopes.


1. Get a lesson

“There are important steps for learning, so rather than accidentally injuring yourself, get a lesson. And if it’s been a while since you’ve been on the snow, especially after COVID cancellations, have a refresher lesson,” Phil says. “In three days, you can safely pick up skiing and snowboarding with a trained teacher.”

2. Get good gear

“Make sure the whole family has well-fitting waterproof gear because there’s nothing worse than being wet and cold – especially for kids,” Phil says.

3. BYO food

“If you’re going for a longer trip, then making your own food can be a great way to keep fuelled and keep costs down,” Phil says. “But if you’re just at the snow for a fun weekend, then you might like to splurge at some of the great alpine restaurants.”


Originally published in The Costco Connection, May/Jun 2022. Pick up the latest copy at your local warehouse or read it online.