Snowy Mountains Holidays
The construction of the Snowy Mountains Hydro-electric Scheme during the 1950's helped to open up this mountainous area, which is now the primary centre for Australia's winter sports and recreation..
The Snowy Mountains is also a magnet to visitors all year round with a combination of accessible mountains, alpine trails, forests, lakes, streams and dams.
In winter, skiers flock to the cosy, modern snow resorts that are about a 6 hour drive from Sydney and approximately 4 hours from Melbourne. When the snow melts it is time for bushwalking, fishing, horse-riding, cycling, water-skiing and boating.
All the ski resorts of the Snowy Mountains lie within the Kosciuszko National Park, the largest national park in New South Wales, and includes Mount Kosciuszko (2228 m), the highest mountain in Australia.
The major ski areas are: Thredbo, Perisher, Smiggin Holes, Mount Blue Cow, Guthega and Charlotte Pass, all in the southern part of the park, plus Mount Selwyn in the northern part of the park. A year-round park-user fee is levied on the Alpine Way and, during winter only, on the Kosciuszko Road at Mount Selwyn.
The resorts are easily accessible and the major centres have first-class amenities such as motels, hotels, restaurants, lodges, apres_ski entertainment, chairlifts, ski-tows and expert instruction. The snow sports season officially begins on the long weekend in June and continues until the October long weekend. Some of the heaviest snow falls occur later in the season during late July and August.
Thredbo: Located at the foot of the Crackenback Range and approximately 100 kilometres from Cooma. Thredbo has facilities for skiers at all levels, including ski hire and instruction. The chairlift to the summit of Mount Crackenback operates throughout the year. The village has a wide range of amenities, restaurants, cultural entertainment and outdoor recreation for every season.
Charlotte Pass: Located 104 kilometres from Cooma and 8 kilometres from the summit of Mount Kosciuszko. A convenient base for ski tours to some of Australia's highest peaks and most spectacular ski runs.
Perisher: One of the highest and most popular ski resorts in the area and located 94 kilometres from Cooma. The resort has all the facilities of a small town. It caters for both downhill and cross-country skiers with a Nordic centre catering especially for cross-country skiers. Ski hire and instruction are available.
Smiggin Holes: Linked to Perisher by ski-lifts and a shuttle bus service. This resort is essentially for novices and intermediate skiers. Ski hire and instruction are available.
Mount Blue Cow: Can be reached by the Skitube underground railway which runs from Bullock Flat Terminal (20 kilometres from Jindabyne) up to Perisher and on to Mount Blue Cow, or by road from Guthega, or from Perisher by the 'lnterceptor' quad chairlift. There is limited overnight accommodation at Guthega but no overnight accommodation at Mount Blue Cow. Ski hire and instruction are available at Mount Blue Cow and Guthega.
A wide variety of accommodation is available at Perisher and Smiggin Holes. However, overnight parking is limited and overnight visitors are advised to use Skitube from Builocks Flat on the AIpine Way. Perisher, Smiggin Holes, Mount Blue cow and Guthega resorts have now merged to become Perisher Blue Ski Resort.
Mount Selwyn, now named as Selwyn Snowfields, at the northern end of Kosciuszko National park, is one of the main centres for cross-country skiing. It is suitable for beginners, families and school groups. There is no overnight accommodation so visitors need to stay in nearby towns including Adaminaby. Ski hire and instruction are available.