If you are looking for the best skiing and snowboarding in NSW - Perisher tops the list.
If you are a skiier or boarder lucky enough to get a decent snowfall (which you have a very good chance of), then you will be in heaven (albeit a very cold one!)
The above website contains the Perisher statistics - with 50 lifts, countless runs - half-pipes, endless (almost) terrain parks, beautiful views and prime elevation making it most likely to get the best snowfalls - how could you go wrong?
Perisher Runs Consist of:
When you get tired there are a quite a few places you can rest and get warm.
The main lodge has a food court and some snow gear / souveneir shops, chemist, coffee etc. There is also a bar where you can get yourself a half-decent meal and a couple of beers.
Expect to pay Resort prices (ie a little on the expensive side) for average food and service.
You can organise accomodation on the mountain, or stay a little further away - many (but not all) places have a free shuttle service to and from the snowfields.
The closer you stay the more expensive it is, but don't expect luxury for your money - and if you do get luxury - be pleasantly suprised.
People came from all over Australia and what had once been isolated grazing country became a boom town. Several thousand endured the winter snows and freezing temperatures. They were ill-prepared and many were forced to see out the winter in canvas tents. However the rewards were extraordinary. The Sydney Morning Herald of 25 February 1860 reported: 'One party before dinner got 176 oz (4981 grams) and another got one lump weighing 19 lb (8603 grams).'
Yet, by March 1861 the Sydney Morning Herald was reporting 'Great exodus from Kiandra...nearly all gone to Lambing Flat'.
The gold escort removed 67 687 ozs (19 155 kg) in 1860 and 16 567 ozs (4688 kg) in 1861. The official total production was 172 000 ozs (48 676 kg). The gold was mostly alluvial though large nuggets up to 28 pounds (12 678 gm) in weight were found.
Mining continued on a small scale until about 1905 but most of this was done by sluicing and dredging.
What is left of Kiandra is located on the Snowy Mountains Highway no more than 300 metres from the turnoff to Mt Selwyn and Cabramurra. All that is now left of the old township is the courthouse and some ruins.
Over the years Kiandra has developed a remarkable skiing history and certainly by the 1870s there were competitions and a ski club had been established in the area. These competitions and the club were the first in the world. One thing is certain - Kiandra, the highest town in Australia until the establishment of Cabramurra, was the first Australian town where skiing was practised.
It is also the first town where skiing really originated in Australia and the first formative steps were taken to introduce a previously unknown sport into the psyche of Australia.
Certainly it is known that the residents of Kiandra were skiing in 1861 and had formed a ski club. What is certain is that the first international ski tournament took place here in July 1906 wih America winning, Australia second and England third.
Nearby these days is Mt. Selwyn, a decidedly beginners-and-families ski area with around four rope tows when I last visited.
Of the fifty rope tows, pomas, T-bars and chairs (not a cable car in sight) that your $96 per day (ouch) ticket gives you access to at Perisher-Blue Cow, you can expect a vast array of runs. There's a few beginners' areas, heaps of intermediate and some black runs.
Where I am standing here at Blue Cow is the best place for black runs though the steepest, though short, legendary black run is Olympic which is adjacent to Mount Perisher.
Most runs aren't long in the northern hemisphere sense but if you're skiing Mt. Perisher top-to-bottom enough then your legs will get tired.
Blue Cow has more terrain through the trees for its black runs while Guthega has several listed black runs but, for my money, there are only two that qualify, Parachute and Mother-In-Law. Others like Schnaxl and The Screw are more good intermediate.
While skiing, for me at least, there's more things than zooming down the slopes.
There's the plethora of different styles of vehicles when you get there and somewhere beneath it all some little stream is slowy thawing as it makes its way down the mountains ultimately to the sea.
There's clever advertising banners (pic 2) plastered all over the chairlift poles but for pure nature the snowgums are hard to beat.
This is a town that time almost forgot. Gold was its reason for being and, like so many of its ilk, when the mineral was in short supply, the town died, slowly crumbling into a forgotten ruin astride the Snowy Mountains Highway.
It is one of the historical tragedies of the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service that many of the old buildings were burnt or bulldozed by the service in an act of unbelieveable historical vandalism.
One can but assume preoccupation with nature was foremost in their minds.
Under the control of the National Parks and Wildlife though, some attempts at stopping the rot have taken place. There are plaques indicating key sites and illustrating the remnants, but it's no substitute for the real thing.
The forlorn graveyard still has some poignant reminders of that bygone era and you can wander around it at your leisure.
Today Kiandra is literally one old house, a Court House, which is used to store equipment and some ruins scattered here and there. It was a true gold rush town in 1859-60, which at its height it attracted over 10,000 people and saw the construction of banks, hotels and the usual services.
Yet, in less than a year, most of the gold was gone and the population slumped to under 300. A hundred years later it was a ghost town standing forlornly on plains which, even in summertime, look decidedly forgotten, glaciated and figuratively cold.
Kiandra (it was originally called Giandara or Giandarra Plain - the term may have meant 'sharp stone' in the language of the local Aborigines) is sited at 1400 metres and was, pre-Cabramurra, the highest township in Australia.
The rush broke out after payable gold was discovered by David and James Pollock (two men who had been bringing their cattle to graze on the summer pastures in the area for some years) in what became known as Pollock's Gully in November 1859.
I'd just returned from skiing and it had been fairly intense. I was supposed to drive away and head for Jindabyne but, since I was in the motorhome and feeling hungry I thought, what the heck, why not cook some food. Which is what I did.
Thus sated I started looking at the view and couldn't help but notice that sunset was fast approaching. I decided to wait and run off a few shots.
These are the results of that exercise, except the last one which I actually took when I arrived in the morning.
We went horseback riding for an hour and half ($50AUD) through the snow...and it was a great experience. The horses were well tamed, and the scenery was incredible.
It seemed quite cheeky to horseback in the snowy mountains...but it's okay to be a cheeky tourist every now and again. *smile* It was definitely the highlight of the trip.
This was a FUN experience. It's right on Alpine Way close to Thredbo. It's a little cottage with a couple from austria. The schnapps were excellent...and the experience was fabulous. Definitely check it out if you get a chance. We left with 4 bottles!
There was not enough snow when we went to the Snowy Mountains...but thought Thredbo was much more classy than Perisher. We heard when the snow is on...perisher has better skiing...but thredbo definitely had more to do.
We still took the lift up to the top...and ate at Eagles nest which was a great place to hang...and the food is good.
I sure don?t know what is so "little" about this river, they sure can?t mean the Gorge.
The Little River Falls are 30 m deep. You reach them after a short 400m walk.
you can have a look at it in the second picture here. The foto does not do it merit, because there is nothing around to compare the size.
Little River Gorge (here from a viewpoint) is quite impressive, too.
Australia's snow fields are a great place to visit in the summer time. Chalets are cheaper prior to christmas, and great walks 'on the mountain top'. Wildflowers abound in Spring. A must for hikers and keen walkers. Annual mountain bike events are held at Thredbo.
The artificial Lake Jindabyne was created many years ago. The lake is part of the Snowy Mountains Hydro Electric Scheme. If you want to know more about that there is a visitor's information centre in Cooma. The town of Jindabyne is set right next to the lake and is quite small. There are amany activities you can do here both in winter and summertime. Winter skiing and snowboarding are the most popular attraction (oviously) and in summetime you can ride a horse or a mountain bike, and you can even go scuba diving to see the old town of Jindabyne that was completely swallowed by the lake.
Take your torch, spare batteries and a few mates and go out looking for wombats. This animal sleeps during the day and becomes active at night. The walk can start in the village of Thredbo and you can follow the track along the river. You can also walk around the golf course. We weren't very lucky however, since we didn't spot any wombats. We did find their holes and their sh!t, but not the animals themself. The walk was very nice though.
On what seemed to be a fine day we took the chairlift up to the start of the track to the top of Mt. Kosciuszko, the highest mountain of Australia. Up in the mountains the wind was blowing very hard though, so we could hardly make it to the lookout platform! We snapped a picture of the mountain there, ate some sandwiches behind some rocks wher we had ome shelter and decided to go back, because the wind was simply blowing too hard for us to breathe normally. A shame though, because I really wanted to make it to the top. Perhaps a tip before you head out, ask at your accommodation about the conditions up in the mountains.
I could just have easily titled this page "The Town that the Snowy Mountains Hydro-Electricity Scheme built". Such is the reason for its being.
At 1465 m above sea level it's more like a village than a town but, if you're there, it's a long way to any comparable civilization. Cooma, for instance, is over 100 kilometres away. During the 1950's it came into existence as a construction camp which was known variously as Ghent's Camp (after the SMA worker who surveyed it) and Saddle Camp before Cabramurra (supposedly the name of an Aboriginal camp on the Eucumbene River) was finally settled upon.
The fabulous scheme that turned rivers backwards and provided massive amounts of electricity called the Snowy Mountains Scheme is the reason for its being there. There are probably no more than a handful of workers in the town who are not, either directly or indirectly, employed by the Snowy Mountains Authority. Even the Post Mistress is the wife of one of the SMA workers. It is not uncommon for the person running the General Store to live at nearby Adaminiby and commute to work every day. It's actually new Adaminiby as the old one is now under the water of one of the dams.
Cabramurra came into existence as a basic construction town during the years the scheme was being formulated. In those days the accommodation was simple but today the town is a model construction settlement with new brick houses (all of which boast roofs designed to ensure that the snow doesn't settle), neat little streets, undercover shopping and amenities designed to keep the workers happy. It might be a nice place to live in but if a worker gets a passion for the place he cannot stay after retirement. It's unlikely that would happen as its isolation has little attraction to most.
The SMA holds total sway over the village and it is surrounded by the Kosciusko National Park.
The day we arrived there were just a few flurries of snow as we drove the last few kilometres. By the time we tried to leave an hour later, it was chain time!