Where Is The Best Skiing in Australia for Beginners?

best beginner skiing in australia

Skiing is probably not the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Australia, but alas, I can assure you, we do indeed have mountains and those mountains have snow!

In fact, whilst it may not have the majestic appeal of the European Alps or North America’s Rocky mountains, Australia’s relatively mellow terrain makes it the perfect place to learn to ski or ride.

Once you’ve made the decision to go to the snow, now you need to know where… Below are my top 6 Australian resorts for beginners.

1. Mount Buller, Victoria (Top Pick)

Terrain:

  • Beginner: 20%
  • Intermediate: 45%
  • Advanced: 35%

Whether you want to test the waters with a day trip, or spend a weekend above the clouds, Mt Buller is your most accessible mountain. Just a 3 hour drive from Melbourne, it is the closest major resort to an International airport. The alpine town also offers 7,000 on mountain beds, making it simple to find ski in/ski out accommodation.

Since all the action is located in the same place, at 1,600m above the sea, the atmosphere is hard to beat. Off snow, the village offers a variety of cafes, restaurants, bars and even a spa, to complete your first time mountain experience.

For the kids (or young at heart), you’ll find plenty to do with 2 toboggan/snow play parks, Australia’s highest cinema, Mt Buller air zone and more.

With it’s beginner friendly terrain, most affordable beginner lift and lesson deal, and it’s abundance of on mountain accommodation, Mt Buller takes the cake for being the best resort for Beginners in Australia.

Website: http://www.mtbuller.com.au/Winter/

First timer lesson and ticket price: Free 2 hour, group discovery lesson with any lift ticket purchased.

Beginners discovery pass, Adults- $92, Teens (15-18)- $52. Available 4x daily during peak season.

Accommodation: With over 7,000 on mountain beds, at Mt Buller you can stay in Australia’s largest alpine town at 1,600m elevation.

Closest city: Melbourne

Getting there: https://goo.gl/maps/ygTQVcasAgSEQTcU6

Mt Buller is located just a 3 hour drive from Melbourne, making it a great option for day tripping, or if you’re coming from afar, an easy commute directly from the international airport

Public transport options: Over 10 different coach providers arrive at Mt Buller daily during the snow season. Hop on a bus from either downtown Melbourne city, or directly at Tullamarine airport.

 

mount buller best skiing in australia for beginners

2. Thredbo, New South Wales

Terrain:

  • Beginner: 16%
  • Intermediate: 67%
  • Advanced: 17%

Coming in second is Thredbo. For those wanting to stay longer than a few days, Thredbo has ample terrain for progression from the beginner slopes, to harder greens and even onto blues!

Thredbo’s affordable lesson and lift packages are a perfect introduction to the snow. It’s specifically built, beginner area boasts multiple gentle slopes with a slop-running quad to help first timers easily learn the alpine ways.

With enough options of either the après-ski town of Jindabyne or the novelty of on mountain accommodation, you can easily find your perfect first mountain experience. 

Website: https://www.thredbo.com.au/

First timer lesson and ticket price: Adult beginner lift and lesson bundle at Thredbo is $99 including a 2 hour group lesson and a beginner area pass.

Accommodation: As Thredbo is also in close proximity to the large town of Jindabyne, most people choose to stay here with it’s happening night life and lower prices. Although significantly more pricy than Jindabyne, Thredbo’s on mountain village also offers more options close to the slopes than is neighbor Perisher.

Closest City: Canberra

Getting there: https://goo.gl/maps/dSY9DMbUDtYS49bC6

In around 6 hours of driving from either Melbourne or Sydney you will reach Thredbo Mountain Resort, or just 2.5 hours if coming from Canberra. You can also fly to the regional snowy mountain airport of Cooma with Rex. From here, it is just a 1 hour and 15 min drive to the mountain.

Public Transport Options:

Coaches leave Canberra and Sydney daily with a variety of companies throughout the winter season. Transfers to Jindabyne from the Snowy Mountain Airport also available.

3. Mt Hotham, Victoria

Terrain:

  • Beginner: 20%
  • Intermediate: 40%
  • Advanced: 25%

 Known as Australia’s upside down mountain, head to Mt Hotham for something completely different. Unlike most snow resorts, Mt Hotham’s village is actually located at the top of the mountain!

Up here you will find over 20 café, bars, restaurants and an epic view over the slopes (often even above the clouds).

Because of its high altitude and inland location, Mt Hotham usually enjoys a high amount snow throughout the season. If you want to experience ‘Australian powder’ at it’s finest, Mt Hotham is the place to go.

Also boasting Australia’s steepest run, watching the experts navigate the advanced terrain will surly leave you feeling inspired.

Website: https://www.mthotham.com.au/

 First timer lesson and ticket price: 2.5 hour beginner group lesson with beginner lift pass, Adults-$108. Choice of 2 times daily.

Accommodation: Although there are scattered accommodation options on top of the mountain located close to the lifts, the majority of beds are found 10 Km up the road in Dinner Plain.

Closest city: Melbourne

Getting there: https://goo.gl/maps/f1WYehTf8vv2426L7

You will find Mt Hotham after a scenic 4.5 hour drive from Melbourne on the Great Alpine Rd through the stunning Australian Alps. If coming from Sydney, expect the trip to be roughly 8 hours. Weekend transfers from Albury airport are also available Thursdays-Sundays.

Public Transport Options:

HothumBus Express run direct services from Melbourne, Sydney and Adelaide throughout the season.

 

4. Falls Creek, Victoria

Terrain:

  • Beginner: 17%
  • Intermediate: 60%
  • Advanced: 23%

 Geared towards intermediate riders, Falls Creek may be best as a second or third trip resort. That being said, there’s still plenty of gentle terrain to be found here.

The charm of this friendly little mountain village says something about this place. Taking on snow transportation to get from your car to your accommodation, begins your adventure before you even get on the slopes.

With 92 runs in total, plus it’s secluded location, Falls Creek is where to come if you want to get away from the crowds often found at more accessible resorts such as Mt Buller.

Website: https://www.fallscreek.com.au/

First timer lesson and ticket price: 1 hour 50 min group classes plus beginner area lift ticket, adult-$159. Classes run twice a day.

Accommodation: On mountain accommodation is available in Falls Creek’s small , car-free, ski-in/ski-out village

Closest City: Melbourne

Getting there: https://goo.gl/maps/PmUQty1AYeetV3JW8

Just 4.5 hours drive from Melbourne or around 7.5 hours from Sydney, Falls creek is another option for a longer trip. Alternatively, being the closest alpine resort to Albury, this regional airport can be reached in less than 2 hours.

Public Transport Options:

Most coaches to Falls Creek depart from Melbourne, however, there are also bus options available from Sydney, Adelaide and Albury.

5. Perisher, New South Wales

Terrain:

  • Beginner: 22%
  • Intermediate: 60%
  • Advanced: 18%

With 4 different areas, all creatively linked by trails and train, you’re never going to run out of space at Perisher. Firework displays and special events make this mountain an exciting place to be in winter.

Although the largest resort in Aus has an abundance of terrain and facilities, it only comes in 5th as it is more geared to the experienced skier. Larger mountains can be confusing to anyone and you want your first time experience to be as simple as possible.

Another thing to take into account is that there is no real alpine village here. Although there is still plenty to do on the hill during the day, and Jindabyne boasts some epic parties, there’s nothing better than waking up and rolling out of bed, straight onto the slopes.

Website: https://www.perisher.com.au

First timer lesson and ticket price: Lift and 2 hour group lesson bundle. Adult- $161. (No discount for first timers like in other resorts.)

Accommodation: The majority of accommodation is located in the off mountain town of Jindabyne, just a 30min drive from the slopes.

Closest City: Canberra

Getting there: https://goo.gl/maps/fJz3Ph1Cv2onm6UKA

Located between the major international airports of Syndey and Melbourne, allow around 6 hours to drive from either city. If you’re coming from our lesser-known national capital, Canberra, the drive can be just 2.5 hours.

Public transport options: With only a handful of buses departing Sydney, your best option is to take a short flight to Canberra, where you can easily pre-book a snowy mountain transfer. Alternately, fly directly from Sydney to Cooma, the airport of the Snowy Mountains with REX, just over an hour’s drive from Perisher.

6. Mt Baw Baw

Terrain:

  • Beginner: 70%
  • Intermediate: 30%
  • Advanced: 0%

Although a much smaller “resort” than the others I will talk about here, I thought Mt Baw Baw deserved a mention due to its location and its low key, relaxed nature. If you simply want a taster of the snow and you don’t feel quite ready for full on mountain life, a day trip to Mt Baw Baw is for you.

After tackling the gentle slopes with a ski lesson, head to the Toboggan Park, go snowshoeing or even participate in a Japanese snow fight, just some of the options for anyone wanting to experience the snow for the first time. For the animal lovers out there, don’t forget to experience the Dingo Resource center and Husky experience!

Website: https://mountbawbaw.com.au/

First timer lesson and ticket price: 2 hour group lesson and lift pass, Adults-$125, various times daily depending on demand.

Accommodation: Although best suited to day trips, there is a range of accommodation options available in and around Mt Baw Baw to suit a wide range of budgets.

Closest City: Melbourne

Getting there: https://goo.gl/maps/B74iXcGmq4GM7dCv8

Just a 2.5 hour drive from Melbourne, it is the idea location for a quick day away.

Public transport options: Direct buses run from Melbourne city, Melbourne airport and Gippsland via a number of different companies. If you would prefer, there is also the option of taking a comfortable V-line train service to Moe station, from here you can pre-arrange transport to the mountain.

 

Which Months Are The Ski Season In Australia?

Australia’s Ski season usually runs from early June to early October, weather depending. The last few years we have been seeing a dramatic change, with snow coming in hard, earlier than expected and continuing on until late in the year.

No matter which resort you choose, if you are a beginner, the best time to take on this new challenge is in the low season- the beginning or end of winter.

The reason for this is the low prices and lack of people. Sure, there is normally not as much snow as during the peak of the winter, but honestly, if you are just beginning, this doesn’t make much difference. Take advantage of the space on piste as you make your first wide turns, and save some money for your well-deserved beer with the off-peak prices.

 

Related content: 7 Epic Ski Resorts With Ridiculously Convenient Public K-12 Schools

Where Is The Best Skiing in Australia for Beginners?

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