The best skiing locations in Australia and Oceania
Oceania is a geographic region including Australasia, Melanesia, Micronesia and Polynesia. Oceania spans across the eastern and western hemispheres, has a land area of 8,525,989 square kilometres and a population of 40 million.
Australia is a sovereign country comprising the mainland of the Australian continent, the island of Tasmania and numerous smaller islands.
It is the largest country in Oceania and the world’s sixth-largest country by total area. Australia’s capital is Canberra and its largest urban area is Sydney.
Skiing in Australia is not one of the first things that come to mind when thinking about Australia. Rather, what comes to mind are the picturesque beaches, the Sydney Opera House, the Great Barrier Reef, the kangaroos and the burning heat of the Outback.
There are very few people who immediately associate Australia with snow, let alone as a place that offers perfect skiing grounds. It may come as a surprise to some, but Australia offers some of the best skiing terrain in the world.
Australia experiences snow during the months of June to October. This means that when the snow season is sparse or finished in other places around the world, it is in full swing in Australia.
The best part about this is that since most skiers are flocking to well-known spots in France, Austria, Germany and more, Australia’s slopes face less traffic. Less traffic makes Australia’s slopes great skiing spots.
This also means that finding accommodation is easier. Australia also offers a large range of activities off of the slopes. This makes it an ideal destination for a family holiday.
New Zealand, on the other hand, is a tiny little island country just off the southern coast of Australia. The snowy peaks are extremely alluring to ski fans everywhere.
Each year, New Zealand attracts a number of local and international skiing aficionados that love the alpine charm that New Zealand has become renowned for.
The best part is that while the ski parks in New Zealand aren’t massive, they are extremely diverse. The skiing opportunities here make New Zealand a popular ski resort for beginners, intermediates and experts as well as families that want to learn to ski.
If you’re considering heading out to Oceania for skiing, we have done all the research for you. The resorts mentioned in this article are a few of the places that you should consider visiting.
These resorts were evaluated based on factors such as terrain, difficulty, vertical drop, and accessibility. We have also included some other factors for you to consider when choosing a resort – accommodation, nightlife and food. We are sure that you will be able to experience some of the best skiing in Australia and Oceania at these resorts!
Skiing in Australia
Skiing in Perisher
Perisher is situated a few hours’ drive from Melbourne and Sydney and is home to the breathtaking Kosciuszko National Park.It is one of the largest ski resorts in Australia, offering skiing terrain of up to 3076 acres.
The ski resort has broken down this terrain into four different areas, all of them easily accessible. 22% of the terrain is perfect for beginners. A further 60% is suited for intermediate skiers and the remaining 18% is suited for experts. The resort has dedicated a further 100km of the terrain to cross-country skiing, for those looking for a heart-pumping workout.
The resorts ski season runs from May to October. With so much diversity, this ski resort is a favourite spot to visit for local and foreign skiers alike.
Besides the obvious skiing attraction, Perisher also has some of the best après ski locations. Lawson’s Bar, Happy Jack’s Tavern and The Man From the Snowy Ridge Hotel are some to choose from. Accommodation will be easy to find, with various chalets, hotels, bed and baths and inns available nearby.
Skiing in Thredbo
Nestled near Mt. Kosciuszko which is the highest peak in Australia, Thredbo is also counted among the best skiing resorts in Australia and Oceania. Situated inside the Kosciuszko National Park, the area is busy all year round.
The resort is suitable for skiers of all abilities. Thredbo’s main ski season runs from June to October.
Thredbo also gains acclaim for having five of the longest runs in Australia. These runs are suited for skiers of all expertise. Despite being low in altitude, Thredbo also houses a ski point coming up to 2036 meters. This allows it to be counted among one of the highest points in Australia.
Thredbo is also famous for its 672m vertical drop, longer than that of Perishers. Thredbo’s terrain offers a wide range of experiences for skiers and snowboarders alike. The terrain includes jumps and rails for those looking for an extra adrenaline rush.
Thredbo provides the best of both worlds for visitors all year round. During the winters, snow lovers, skiers and snow boarders flock to Thredbo to ski. During the summers, the area provides various trails which attract keen hikers, trekkers and nature enthusiasts to Mount Kosciuszko.
Thredbo has an active nightlife and a spectacular après scene. The Lounge Bar, Schuss Bar and The Après Bar are some of the places worth a visit. Accommodation in Thredbo is also easy to come by.
Skiing in Charlotte Pass
Charlotte Pass is located in the Snowy Mountains of New South Wales, Australia. The pass is located in the Kosciuszko National Park where the Kosciuszko Road crosses Kangaroo Ridge. Charlotte Pass is the closest village to Mount Kosciuszko.
During the winter season, Charlotte Pass turns into a winter wonderland with picturesque views of the mountain slopes and the frozen Lake Jindabyne nearby. Charlotte Pass is considered as the highest resort in Australia, reaching a total elevation of 1837m.
The consistent snow it receives makes it a perfect spot for skiing and it attracts skiers from all across the globe. This does, however mean that because it is completely snowbound, the Charlotte Pass is only accessible by Oversnow Transport.
Skiing opportunities here are perfect for everyone with slopes available for beginners, intermediate skiers and experts as well. Beginner skiers will enjoy the Easy Starter. Intermediate skiers will enjoy carving up the Kosi Coaster. Experienced skiers will find adventure on the Sidewinder Guthrie’s Chutes.
Accommodation reasonably priced chalets are easy to find, either at the Kosciuszko Chalet Hotel, or in the Jindabyne area.
Skiing in Mount Hotham
Easily accessible from Melbourne or Sydney by flight, Mount Hotham is renowned for possessing high quality snow.
Mount Hotham covers 320km of terrain, 40km of difficult terrain, 40km of intermediate terrain and 10km of easy and very easy terrain, respectively.
The diverse terrain is an added plus as you can indulge in cross-country skiing with ease here. Stunt skiers have also embraced Mount Hotham as a favorite skiing ground. The open stashes, hits and bowls available here provide the excellent skiing opportunities for them.
Unlike the family-friendly resorts of Falls Creek and Mount Buller, the terrain in Mount Hotham appears steeper and more challenging. With some of the best powder and off-pistes in Australia, Mount Hotham is the perfect ski holiday spot for the daredevils.
Since Mount Hotham is a popular skiing spot, it tends to attract a large number of local and international skiers each year. Mount Hotham’s ski season runs from June to September each year. Accommodation is easy to come by and for nightlife in Mount Hotham, check out The Acro-Ski Lodge or The Bird.
Skiing in Selwyn
Selwyn Snow Resort is a ski resort located in the most northern part of the Snowy Mountains of New South Wales, Australia. The snowfield is located near the town of Adaminaby and is close to Cabramurra, which is the highest town in Australia.
Family owned and family friendly, Selwyn covers 45 hectare of land. Its slopes provide a challenge to a skier of any skill level.
Considered to be the perfect vacation spot for families on the Snowy Mountains, Selwyn not only offers amazing skiing runs, there are also various snow related activities. These include tobogganing, snow tubing and even skiing classes for anyone who wants to learn to ski in Selwyn.
With progressive terrains available, skiing in Selwyn allows one to gradually enhance their skiing skill sets. This is one reason why it is a popular spot for new learners and beginners.
The nearest accommodation is Wolgal Hut, inside the park near the historic town of Kiandra. Kiandra is where Norwegian gold prospectors started skiing in Australia in 1861. They used skis made from wooden fence palings!
Skiing in Mount Buller
Mount Buller, located 236km outside of Melbourne in Howqua Hills is spread out over 35 different hectares and has a ski run for everyone. The ski resort is perfect for families and for winter sport enthusiasts.
The slopes have runs that are suitable for skiers of all expertise and are are blessed with the perfect amount of powdery snow, . The slopes are, however, largely suited for beginners. 24km of the total 80km are for experienced skiers, 36km for intermediate skiers and 20km for beginner skiers.
Mount Buller organizes fun activities every weekend until the season ends. These activities include night skiing sessions. Other snow activities such as dog sledding and tobogganing are also available.
Here are some of the most popular après ski locations at Mt. Buller: The Kooroora at Mount Buller, Arlberg Bistro & Bar and The Drakes Lounge Bar. Accommodations here are plentiful although the resort can become a bit crowded during peak season, June to September each year.
Skiing in Falls Creek
With some of the most diverse skiing terrain, Falls Creek is another popular skiing resort in Australia and Oceania. Falls Creek is situated on the Princes Highway at the Jervis Bay turn off.
The resort spreads across an area of 450 hectares. Falls Creek have 65km of the trails that are suited for cross country skiing. They have 90 runs for skiers.
Falls Creek also offers other runs and trails that are specially meant for snowboarding, tobogganing and sledding. Hiking is another activity offered by Falls Creek and group snow shoe hikes can be organized.
The trails here also count among some of Australia’s first trails for snow bikes and are extremely picturesque. Horse-riding is also offered by Falls Creek, which offers a nice alternative after a long day on the slopes.
Accommodations can range, depending upon your budget with five star hotels and travellers rest houses all available here.
Skiing in New Zealand
Skiing in Coronet Peak
Coronet Peak is situated 16km north of Queenstown. The short 25 minute drive is perfect for those eager to hit the slopes and experience some of the best skiing in Australia and Oceania.
The captivating views of the mountainous region of South Island, the beautiful Lake Wakatipu, The Remarkable’s and Lake Hayes are some of the main reasons why visitors flock to Coronet Peak. Coronet Park has 280-hectare’s of skiable terrain. This terrain is above the tree line and is located between the 1,229 m and 1, 649 m elevation.
However, despite getting much less snow than other peaks in winter, the ski season in Coronet Peak lasts longer than any other ski resort in New Zealand. The ski season here last until the end of September. This long season is thanks to the 211 modern snowmaking machines.
A stand out feature of Coronet Park is their nighttime skiing. Coronet Peak offers some of the best night skiing experiences in South Island every Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday until 9 pm. The floodlit night skiing includes the challenging M1, Shirtfront and Big Easy trails.
The resort’s restaurant is open during the night skiing and offers live entertainment, food, and drinks to the night guests.
Coronet Peak has four restaurants that serves fast food meals, international cuisine and a la carte dinners throughout the day and have sundecks that gives skiers excellent mountain views while enjoying the sunset with a beer or two. Some restaurants to check out in Coronet Park would include Heidi’s Hut, West End Cafe and Loco Cantina.
Skiing in Mount Hutt
Mount Hutt is nestled high in the Southern Alps, 36km away from Methven. The resort has been voted the best ski resort in New Zealand for four years in a row at the World Ski Awards. Popular not only for its large alpine terrain and excellent snow record but also for its Kids 4 Free Campaign that offers free services to children under the age of 10.
Combined with Methven’s Kiwi hospitality and numerous attractions, Mount Hutt ski resort provides an affordable and memorable ski holiday not only to skiers and snowboarders but also to families and children.
Mount Hutt offers daycares, children ski programs and terrain parks for freestylers and snowboarders to guests. You can be sure to experience some of the best skiing in Australia and Oceania at Mount Hutt!
With a peak of 2086 meters, Mount Hutt receives an average of 4m of snow per season. Opening as early as the first week of June, Mount Hutt is also one of the few ski resorts in New Zealand to have a long winter season.
The entire terrain is treeless with an expansive off-piste terrain for expert skiers and freeriders. The resort also features four terrain parks suitable for beginners to advanced snowboarders.
There are limited options for après ski and nightlife at Mount Hutt, with most of the après ski and nightlife found in Methven. Mount Hutt guests can head to Sky High Café for pizza and pasta or visit Huber’s Hut for sumptuous hotpots, coffee and the best burger in Canterbury.
Accommodation is easy to access at Mount Hutt, but it can become difficult to find accommodation during peak season. This is due to the high numbers of guests that visit Mount Hutt at winter time.
Skiing in Whakapapa
Perched high on the north-western slopes of the majestic volcano, Mount Ruapehu, lies the ski fields of Whakapapa. Situated in the World Heritage Tongariro National Park, the Whakapapa ski resort is just a 5-hour drive from Auckland and Wellington. Whakapapa is home to the largest ski field in New Zealand.
The highest peak in the national park reaches 2,797m and the terrain is a massive 550-hectare. Hitting the slopes in Whakapapa is one of the most popular winter activities for “kiwi”-skiers and winter sports enthusiasts.
The Whakapapa ski terrain is perfect for families as well as experienced skiers. The ski season lasts from June to October and receives plenty of snow averaging 4 meters annually.
The ski area is diverse and runs are generally wide-open with countless off-piste opportunities and backcountry access. This offers some of the best skiing experiences in Australia and Oceania.
Whakapapa does not focus on après-ski but on skiing itself. Skiers are, however, still well-supplied with local and international specialties.
The sun terrace of the Knoll Ridge Chalet is a highlight and is situated next to the Knoll Ridge T-Bar. The pub at the Chateau Whakapapa is a great place for winter enthusiasts to let the evening wind down.
Some other resorts to consider in Oceania/New Zealand …
The Remarkable’s ski resort attracts skiers of all levels and expertise. The scenic terrain not only makes skiing great but there are also great opportunities for going trekking in the snow.
The ski runs are perfect as they are wide and perfect for beginners and intermediate level skiers. Experts can also take advantage of the chairlifts to get to higher elevations. The chairlifts allow them to experience the alpine terrain of the mountain range with ease.
Mount Cook is the highest mountain peak in New Zealand. Unpredictable weather conditions can sometimes make skiing at Mount Cook impossible.However, once the weather has cleared and the all clear is received, skiers flock to the slopes again, eager to experience some of the best skiing in Australia and Oceania.
Heliskiing is an exciting activity that is popular at Mount Cook. A helicopter takes skiers up to the right elevation, where they jump off and ski down the slope. Done right, there are no chances of injury and one gets a once-in-a-life-time experience.
Situated near Mt. Cook, Roundhill is a winter wonderland, not only attracting many skiers but also landscape photographers. It’s close proximity to Lake Tekapo adds to its appeal.
Roundhill is the perfect destination for the entire family. This is because the wide ski runs are perfect for beginners and kids to learn skiing.
The terrain at Roundhill has ski curves perfectly suited for intermediate skiers a free-style skiing experience for advanced skiers. Roundhill promises to offer some of the best skiing experiences in Australia and Oceania. Being snow-sure and family friendly, Roundhill is a popular ski-resort but can get a bit crowded during peak season.
Cardrona is a ski-park that has something for everyone. The park also offers some of the best skiing experiences in Australia and Oceania.
The resort has ski runs for beginners, intermediates and experts as well as plenty of activities available for families. These activities include tobogganing and snowboarding, making Cardrona the perfect ski spot for a family vacation in the snow.
For those looking for a challenge, Cardrona also has one of the highest elevation points in New Zealand. The point measures up to 1860 meters in elevation. Cardrona has crafted their terrain parks with the highest attention to detail and in accordance with Olympic standards.
Accommodation is also easy to find in the town of Wanaka, which is located nearby.
Australia and Oceania/New Zealand are home to some of the most picturesque ski resorts in the world.
While we have mentioned some of the best and snow sure resorts in Australia and Oceania, it should be noted that snowfall in Australia and Oceania is notoriously unreliable at times.
Snowfall can be a hit and miss which means that some resorts might be closed during parts of the snow season. For the best skiing in Australia and Oceania, it is a good idea to take the weather reports into consideration before making any plans.