The go-to snow resort in the New South Wales Snowy Mountains, Skiers and Snowboarders from all over Australia flock to Perisher each and every winter to get their annual snow fix.
Part of the appeal of Perisher is that it is one of Australia’s largest snow resorts, with over 1,245 hectares of skiable area between the four interlinked sections Perisher Valley, Blue Cow, Guthega and Smiggins Holes. All feature a variety of terrain to cater for every level of ability.
Each year I try to dust off my snowboard and head down to Perisher for at least a couple of days to get my own annual snow fix in so here is my advice if you are planning on heading to Perisher for the first time or at least the first time in a while.
Where Is Perisher?
Perisher is located in the picturesque Snowy Mountains of New South Wales, Australia, in the Kosciuszko National Park.
From Sydney, Perisher is about a 6-hour drive depending on the traffic, which can build up on Friday afternoons evenings as people flock from the city to the mountain for a weekend getaway over the winter. Particularly on the Monaro Highway section.
From Canberra, it will take you about two and a half hours to drive to Perisher, and from the nearest town, Jindabyne, the resort is 30 minutes drive away along Kosciuszko Road.
Just keep in mind that if you are planning on driving all the way up to the resort, parking is limited, so if you get there later in the day, you might need to park further down the mountain (don’t stress too much the resort does offer busses to link all the parking areas).
You will also need to carry snow chains if you don’t drive a 4WD or AWD car (in fact, it might be a good idea to have them regardless). Additionally, you will need to purchase a National Park pass to drive into the Kosciuszko National Park.
Where To Stay When Going To Perisher?
You’ve got a couple of options for where to stay when going to Perisher. You can either choose to stay on the snow within the resort itself at The Perisher Valley Hotel or back down in Jindabyne.
Just keep in mind that rooms in the resort are quite limited, so they are obviously very expensive. But you do have the advantage of not having to drive up the mountain early to get first lifts.
Alternatively, staying in Jindabyne is a very popular option, especially if you aren’t going to the Snowy Mountains to spend your time exclusively at Perisher.
Here are a couple of my recommendations for places to stay in and around Jindabyne.
- Banjo Paterson Inn – Recently refurbished, this is a really good option if you are travelling with a small group of friends. The pub downstairs is massively convenient after a full day on the slopes.
- Lake Jindabyne Hotel – A solid alternative if Banjo’s is booked out; it hasn’t been refurbished (yet) but offers similar convenience.
- Discovery Parks – Jindabyne – A better option if you are travelling as a family and looking for something a little more self-contained.
- Panorama Jindabyne – Offers more of your typical hotel experience, better suited for a more quiet, relaxing trip.
- Lake Crackenback Resort & Spa – The ultimate luxury experience in the NSW Snowy Mountains. Nothing else needs to be said.
How To Get To And From Perisher?
You have three options to get to and from Perisher, two of which involve driving.
As I mentioned earlier, you can drive all the way up to the resort. But that does require a National Park pass, snow chains, and parking is limited.
The Skitube is a very good alternative. Located in Bullocks Flat along the Alpine Way, the Skitube is a cog railway service connecting the traditional alpine snow line below to the Perisher resort.
This allows you to access Perisher without having to drive on potentially snow-covered/icy roads and not have to worry about fitting snow chains.
The car park at Bullocks Flat is also considerably bigger than the one at the top of the mountain, so you will have a better chance of securing a good spot, but it still does fill up over the weekends during peak snow season.
Lastly, bus services have recently been added to link Jindabyne with Perisher.
Where Do You Get Snow Gear For Perisher?
Perisher has its own snow gear shops and rentals on-site, located underneath the main resort building (not to be confused with the Skitube terminal). If you are staying onsite at Perisher, this could be a very good option for you.
That said, if you are staying in Jindabyne, you can save a bit of money on the rental prices and probably end up with slightly better gear. There are a couple of snow gear stores around the town, but I would suggest either ESS Boardstore or Larry Adler for the best service and friendly advice.
Does Perisher Offer Ski or Snowboard Lessons?
If you’ve never skied or snowboarded before, then I’d strongly recommend you get lessons.
The good thing about a trip to Perisher is that you can organise your ski or snowboard lessons right there at the resort.
Perisher (and Smiggins) offer some of the gentlest slopes of all of the Australian snowfields, and that can really help when you are learning to ski, not so much for snowboarding, though.
No matter what level you think you are at, you’ll find an appropriate lesson at Perisher. The best part about learning to ski or snowboard in Australia is that there are people of all ages visiting the snow for the first time, so you won’t feel out of place.
What To Do In The Evenings At Perisher?
If you feel like you haven’t had enough time on the slopes during the day, Perisher offers night skiing and snowboarding on Tuesday and Saturday nights so you can get those extra runs in under lights.
It’s only Front Valley that is open, but it’s a very different experience than during the day, and the crowds are typically less, which is always handy during the peak of the snow season.
However, after a big day of snowboarding or skiing at Perisher, most people tend to find that there is nothing better than chilling out and sharing stories of your best runs or showcasing your bumps and bruises.
If you are staying on snow in the Perisher resort, there are a handful of restaurants and bars that you can enjoy throughout the resort. Snow Gums Restaurant at the Perisher Valley Hotel is the premier option. While JAX Bar and The Man From Snowy River Hotel are also very good options after the lifts stop for the day.
While down at Jindabyne, you are spoilt for choice; my quick picks are the Banjo Patterson Inn or Lake Jindabyne Hotel. But for a full recommendations, check out this post.
Spending Time in Snowy Mountains Before or After?
I know that the number one reason for heading to Perisher is to spend time in the snow. However, if you are planning on spending a week in the snow, you give yourself a day somewhere in the middle to rest up and recover, especially if you are learning to ski or snowboard.
Not only will it make a big difference to how quickly you learn, but there is so much to see and do in the region. It would be a shame to miss it.
I’ve detailed everything that the Snowy Mountains region has to offer in this post.
The best thing about Perisher is the amount of snow coverage it gets. Being at a higher elevation in the mountains, the whole resort tends to benefit from early snowfalls and artificial snow production earlier in the season (June) over some of the other resorts.
For those experienced snowboarders and skiers, the expanse of the resort and the variety of runs will allow you to get away from the crowds and the learners.
My best suggestion for a busy day at Perisher is to head directly up the Skitube (either from Bullocks Flat or Perisher Valley) to Blue Cow. You’ll be able to get some early runs in before the crowd builds up, and once they do head over to Guthega.
If you are heading to the snow for the first time and not sure if you should learn to ski or snowboard, let me help you out.
Learning to ski is easier. You can learn the basics of skiing in as little as a day, and you’ll be able to get down most slopes, albeit slowly. However, if you decide you want to pursue skiing more regularly, then you need to relearn everything slightly differently so that you can really make the most of your skis on any terrain.
Learning to snowboard is a little more difficult. It’ll take you about three days to get comfortable on a snowboard. But once you’ve learnt, there is nothing else left to learn. The rest is just confidence in using the skills you’ve developed on any terrain.
For more information about Perisher, visit the resort’s website.
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