As well as being awesome in its own right, Canberra has the added blessing of being within a short drive of the Snowy Mountains so if you have itchy feet this winter, a weekend trip to the high country is within easy reach. The three main New South Wales ski resorts each have something unique to offer no matter what your budget or how much time you have and all are within a couple of hours of Canberra.
Perisher is the biggest of the resorts and arguably the best for serious skiers. Located within the Kosciusko National Park, it can be reached by car or ski tube. The resort has plenty of runs and connects to the pretty village of Guthega. There are areas to suit all abilities as well as a toboggan area for kids. Perisher offers a range of on-snow accommodation and has pubs, restaurants and cafes to keep the mountain munchies at bay. The main criticism of Perisher is that the look of the valley isn't as pretty as Thredbo but cosy up inside one of the bars and the atmosphere will make up for it! The pick of places to eat at Perisher is Aldo's where the pizza is impeccable, the beers are icy cold and the view is postcard perfect.
Thredbo is a pretty village clinging to the side of a steep hill. Home to the longest ski run in Australia, it has some beautiful lodges offering accommodation on or near the snow to choose from. As well as skiing and boarding, Thredbo offers boutique shops, cafes and restaurants, an indoor swimming centre and even a sled track. The most unique dining experience here is the Eagle's Nest which is the highest restaurant in Australia. You can find it perched at the top of the Kosciuszko Express chairlift and you try it, you are guaranteed amazing views looking out over the slopes back toward Thredbo Village.
Thredbo village is picturesque with beautiful architecture blending into the alpine setting. As well as skiing and boarding, there are some beautiful walks through the village. And if you don't ski but want to experience the snow, you can hire a set of snowshoes and follow the marked trail for some mountain tranquillity. If you aren't too confident but still want to explore, you can even hire a guide and arrange a winter picnic amongst the snow gums.
Last but not least, Selwyn Snow Resort offer the most family and beginner friendly option. Selwyn is located just off the Snowy Mountains Highway – keep a lookout for the turnoff to Selwyn just south of Cooma. The gentler terrain and much lower prices make this the perfect place if you are just finding your ski legs. Selwyn also offers tobogganing, snow tubing and snow play.
There is no accommodation at Selwyn and the food is limited to a dining hall serving basics like burgers and chips. Despite that, Selwyn offers great value for money, especially if you only want to do a day trip. Keep in mind that the lower altitude means Selwyn may not have a good cover of snow all season but it does have snow making facilities to extend the snow days.
The New South Wales ski season officially kicks off on the Queens Birthday long weekend and decent snow usually follows not long after so if you feel the need to speed down some powdery slopes, hit the Monaro Highway, head south and have a great winter weekend.