Perisher Ski Village, Snowy Mountains, New South Wales © Destination NSW
Australian ski holidays for families
Looking for activities to make your Aussie winter ski trip extra special? There’s plenty more to do on our slopes than a scenic chairlift ride.
By Ashlea Wheeler
There are plenty of places to enjoy snow in Australia – some of the major destinations include the peaks of the Australian Alps like Perisher, Thredbo, Charlotte Pass, Mt Hotham, Falls Creek, Mt Buller, Selwyn, and Mt Baw Baw. Australia's ski resorts receive their fair share of skiers and snowboarders each winter season (June to September), but these sparkling white landscapes offer a much wider range of snow-themed activities. Outside of the Snowy Mountains, you can also find a winter wonderland in Tasmania, where wildlife can be spotted in the snow, or in the Blue Mountains where you can curl up in front of the fire to celebrate Yulefest.
Discover some of our favourite ways to enjoy Australia's snow season with your family.
Scoot around the mountains on a snowmobile
An exciting way to see the best of Australia’s spectacular winter landscapes is via snowmobile. At Falls Creek you can whiz around on a snowmobile tour with one adult driver and one passenger (adult or child) per vehicle. Tours explore the back country of the high plains, which provide magnificent views of the surrounding ranges. If the kids want their very own snowmobile experience, Mt Hotham offers children from five to 14 years old a turn at riding their own kid-sized vehicle. These miniature snowmobiles are guaranteed fun for the 15-minute rides around Snow Stuff Park.
Go on a husky ride
Snuggle up under layers of thick blankets while a team of Siberian huskies pull you through the snow. Howling Huskys dog sled tours at Mt Hotham will take your family through Alpine National Park and kids will love the tour's finale – 15 minutes of cuddles with the friendly team of dogs.
Tours at Mt Baw Baw take you through various back country trails. Older families can opt for the special sunset tour, where you’ll be handed a glass of wine to watch the sun set peacefully over the blanketed white mountain tops. Over at Mt Buller, Australian Sled Dog Tours offer trips which allow you to have a turn at driving the sled with a hands-on introduction to handling a team of huskies.
Get started on the slopes with a toboggan
A toboggan is a small sled used for sliding down slopes, and they are a classic way to enjoy the snow in Australia as a family. Alpine parks with toboggan facilities include Selwyn Snow Resort in New South Wales, Corin Forest in the Australian Capital Territory, and Mt Buller, Mt Baw Baw, and Falls Creek in Victoria. These parks have dedicated slopes in their snowplay areas where you can rent a toboggan for endless fun. What better way to introduce your kids to the slopes?
Spin down the mountain on a tube
Fun for all ages, tubing is one of the most exhilarating winter activities. There are tube parks at Falls Creek, Perisher, and Selwyn where you can purchase single rides or bulk rides, or get timed use of the tubes. Once you have your inflatable donut, get ready to slide, spin, or bounce your way downhill.
Spot snow-dusted wildlife
Winter is a great chance to spot some of Australia’s native wildlife as they roam the land even in these cooler conditions, and the place to do so is at Cradle Mountain in Tasmania. Its snow-capped peaks and snow-frolicking wombats are an impressive sight synonymous with winter in Tasmania. Older families with a taste for adventure can take in the wildlife intimately by lacing up their hiking boots and setting foot on the Overland Track with Tasmanian Expeditions or with TAS Walking Co who offer a six-day walk.
Families with little ones in tow can spot wildlife around Ben Lomond National Park, Tasmania’s premier ski resort and another great spot for sighting Bennett’s wallabies and wombats.
Go on a snowshoeing adventure
Snowshoeing isn’t just for hardcore adventure seekers – this spellbinding activity is possible for all ages and fitness levels, making for an epic day out for older families. Hire snowshoes from ski rental stores then take off to explore the mountains. Mt Hotham has 35 kilometres (22 miles) of trails, many of which provide stunning alpine views. If you’d prefer a guided tour, Mt Buller offer Yeti Snowshoe Tours during the day or at twilight, Falls Creek have the option of doing a Nordic Snowshoe Tour for a perfect introduction to snowshoeing, or Thredbo have Snowshoe Tours that can take you as far as the peak of Mount Kosciusko (Australia's highest mountain).
Play in the snow
Sometimes you don’t need anything but the snow to have some good family fun. At Corin Forest, just outside of Canberra, you can build snowmen, make snow angels, go tobogganing, or challenge your family to a snowball fight at the resort’s Snowplay area. While you’re there, be sure to catch a ride on the 1.2-kilometre (three-quarters of a mile) Alpine Slide for spectacular views of the forest.
Sleep inside a snow-dome tent
Alpine Nature Experience at Mt Hotham offers a wilderness retreat with a difference. After an easy snowshoe through the gum trees you'll arrive at your secluded camping location. Here, you'll be presented with a delicious three-course dinner (including cheese fondue and cake), before spending the night in your family snow-dome tent complete with a wood fire to keep you cosy. Cover yourself in the layers of thick blankets and wake up to the sounds of nature and hopefully the dustings of a fresh snowfall to play in. This is one family evening you won't forget.
Enjoy the alpine festivities
Australia’s colder destinations come alive in winter, with an array of family-friendly festivals taking place over the snow season. Peak Festival at Perisher is the only music festival in the Snowy Mountains, and it kicks off every June at the beginning of ski season. It includes four days of music with some of Australia’s best artists, and tickets include unlimited chairlift rides and one evening of free night skiing.
Other wonderful winter festivals around Australia include Yulefest in the Blue Mountains, DARK MOFO in Hobart, Winter Wonderlights in Sovereign Hill, and Bathurst Winter Festival in Bathurst. While these destinations aren’t guaranteed to get snow, they celebrate the colder months with various winter-themed festivities including special art installations, music and entertainment, and Christmas in July decorations.