Why the Snowy Mountains in NSW are worth the visit
So you are in Australia ( or visiting ) and finally feeling ready to “build a snowman”? Here is our snowy story on the Downunder continent.
Over the years on many occasions, I have been told the snow skiing in Australia is an expensive exercise. That feedback kept me away from giving it a go. Until we arrived in Sydney and I was thinking of something special to do for my super special birthday. The decision was rather spontaneous, therefore one the best so far. I mean, it would be great to fly to NZ for the snow getaway, although that would require more than just a weekend off. As a result, we started researching the local snow destinations.
Google suggested the awesome website to check: www.Visitnsw.com.au. A stack of information for browsing. I started with searching for accommodation. It would take us on average 5,5 hours by car from Sydney to Jindabyne, therefore the late afternoon drive made a sense. The decision was to book a lodge the first time around, therefore our motorhome stayed where it was.
Note to self: book the snow holiday ahead. We left it until the last minute, therefore there was not much of a choice where to stay. On top of that, it was the school holidays weekend. To my surprise ( and a relief ) I managed to secure a nice self – contained cabin in a friendly family holiday park. The price was not any different than anywhere else, totally worth it. Only a few minutes’ drive to Jindabyne, on Showy River with a platypus sighting ( yes, I did see one ). After stopping by at Jindabyne, I rest assured we scored the best deal.
The next question was what to bring.
The list of 10 essentials items we took:
- Snow boots ( I got mine at a reduced price at Aldi – best thing! Got boys’ at Amart Sport $40 each – very comfy )
- Snow pants ( Aldi clearance )
- Insulated waterproof jacket (opt for a shell to allow layers)
- Thermal underwear – merino is the best ( Aldi and BCF reduced )
- Heavy duty bamboo socks – I do not like wool, makes me itch ( Ebay bulk buy )
- Headcover, goggles, mittens, scarves ( dollar shop – they do the job, goggles – Aldi reduced )
- Thermal short sleeve t-shirt plus a vest or a merino/ pullover
- Waterproof camera and phone cover. I purchased ours from eBay for about $3. Fast delivery within Australia. Great for carrying a phone, also to safely store license, cards, and cash. They come with a lanyard which is used to put them around a neck.
- Moisturising cream. I slapped myself all over with a coconut oil through the day. Always keep a travel container in my pocket.
- Plonk ( haha, not essential but hey, it was my 40th! )
For the three night stay, we brought enough simple food to cook after busy days out in the snow ( eggs, bacon, sausages, bread, oats, milk, butter ), water and snacks with us. According to Google, there were not many shops around. We wanted to risk neither running out of food nor paying the triple prices.
We over packed of course but that was done on purpose. I was freaking out about the cold, the snow and everything else in between. It has been 13 years since I last saw the snow. The real snow. I was not sure how the boys, especially Nick would handle it all. As turned out, he was loving the cold and snow much better than the heat and humidity. Something to consider in future?
After the accommodation was sorted, the next point was to decide how we were going to get to the mountains.
There are three options:
- By car. Since we didn’t own an off-roader, a chain must be purchased and placed on the wheels.
- By van. As I mentioned above, our ” home ” stayed home.
- By SkiTube. The choice fell on the SkiTube which looked fast and efficient. Here is the catch. There are no online tickets pre-purchase unless it’s a deal which typically included a chair lift which we didn’t require. No discounts otherwise. OK, that’s fine. Whatever the price will be, will be.
The next question: Which activities to do?
My head was about to explode after reading tons of stuff on what to do in the snow. Instead, we agreed to get there first. To have a look around. To pick and choose. After all, we only had to choose between skiing, snowboarding, or tobogganing.
Well, tobogganing sounded like a lot of fun. Something I did a lot when I was a kid. Did not require the purchasing or hiring helmets, shoes, and sticks. The rental cost was $17 a day, very reasonable. One the day two we paid only $15 because we came around lunch time.
The next decision is: to hire or to buy the gear?
This is a huge expense of a snow holiday. It could get really costly really quick if we chose to buy all the gear. Just have a look at the price for snow skis and we needed three. Typically, seasonal goers rent everything including clothing. I thought to purchase own snow boots, gloves etc was a good idea. Might come handy again. Most probably will. Everything else could be hired.
Here is the sum of what we did in two days
On day one, the early morning frost on the trees and grounds set the exciting buzz in our cozy hub. This was exactly what I hoped for and looked forward to. Running outside in pajamas to capture the amazing moment made the whole trip worthwhile.
Now we were really ready to see the snow. The picturesque drive down the country lane to Jindabyne SkiTube station and the first sighting of snowfall ( more like a snow fluff but geez, so surreal ) on the arrival added an extra oomph to our already elevated spirits.
Inside the station, there are a few serving counters selling tickets. I thought it was a good idea to cover both days in one pass plus an extra added Scientific chairlift ticket to see the mountain peak. Soon enough the train has arrived and carriages filled up pretty quickly. To my little disappointment, once we claimed the hill, the railway went into the tunnel and that was it, no sightseeing from the train! This feeling didn’t stay with me for long though as upon stepping outside the station, my heartbeat stop. REAL SNOW! So much of it! The welcoming buzzing of the snowmaking machine behind the center had us all REALLY pumped up.
Tobogganing was a massive fun for everyone. Going up and down the slopes, and up again did its job. We were tired and super happy. The weather was perfect, plenty of snow to share around, priceless happy kids faces. Sliding, skiing, screaming, climbing, snowboarding people everywhere.
For a nice hot cuppa of chocolate, we jumped on a scenic chairlift that took us to the top. The words cannot describe the awesomeness. The wind going up and descending was strong and frosty, I felt absolutely BESIDE MYSELF with joy. Never in my whole forty years, I would imagine loving to be back in the snow so much. Having lived on a peninsula in the north arctic circle, my dream revolved around moving to the tropics which I achieved. To find myself wanting to go back.. Go figure!
The scenery from upstairs was spectacular. With breath-taking panoramic views of the Kosciuszko mountain range. The mountains with snow on their peaks looked like ice cream cones, the steep slopes were full of crazy skiers slamming down at an unbelievable speed, the chilly winter breeze hit you so hard in the face that it was hard to breathe. WOW, the lifetime of memories.
On the day two, after a nice sleep in, we repeated it all over again with the included Blue Cow visit. Apart from a yummy lunch, I also sucked on an ice cone – something I have not done for 30 years, just to completely embarrass my tweenager.
Now, you must remember I have seen A LOT OF SNOW in my life, witnessed Aurora Borealis every year for 10 years and if I am telling you I was excited then IT WAS EXCITING.
What we loved the most about the Snow Getaway:
- THE ATMOSPHERE. Imagine Christmas in July. You know the exciting butterfly tickle in your tummy that is waiting to explode knowing the best time of year is approaching? It felt like no other world existed, only the endless white grounds and holidayers having fun.
- THE FEELING OF BEING A KID AGAIN. Yes, all childhood memories kick in, you remember how much you enjoyed to play in the snow, how to stand on the ski and the thrills of speeding down the hills on a toboggan slamming on ” the breaks” with cold snow spraying you from under the board and then finally pulling over and falling from too much laughing.
- THE HOT CUP OF CHOCOLATE. Instead of usual coffee, like a child coming inside after a nice frosty play, you grab a cup of chocolate and slurp it laughing about the fun you have just had with your family.
Make sure to Repin this images to your Pinterest and thank you wholeheartedly!