I get many questions about the area, from non skiers – so to allow you to plan a winter holiday,as a non skier, a few pointers.
Jindabyne is the base service town ( pop 3,500 summer – 20,000 odd peak winter) for the ski resorts of
Thredbo and Perisher. Perisher consists of the ski areas known a Smiggin Holes ,Guthega and Blue Cow.
( Blue Cow and Guthega were once stand alone resorts that adjoined Perisher.They now form part of major ski area offering some 50 lifts.).
Jindabyne is also the primary administration base for the Kosciusko National Park. The National Parks building, which sits between the two shopping centres, has an excellent Tourist Information Office.
Jindabyne offers two shopping centres, close ( 450 metres )to each other , a very bog Woolies, a big BWS section, a brand new state of the art medical centre ( opened 19/5/2014), a chemist, a number of physiotherapists, a number of masseuse’s, a number of hairdressers, some great coffee shops – Eg CBD, The Red Door, Serges, Bananas & Lifestyle.There are 3 to 4 ladies clothing shops – non ski clothing – and then the ski shops, 10 + off them + 2 cross country ski shops.There are a lot of restaurants in Jindabyne- Indian,Chinese, Thai, A club Bistro, the legendary Brumby Bar , Two hotel bistros,and a few contempary style restaurants –
and a great gym for those in need!.
The liscenced premises– The Lake Jindabyne Hotel, The Banjo Patterson Inn, and the Jindabyne Bowling and Sports club.The Brumby Bar also often offers late night entertainment. Most restaurants are also liscenced.
Driving time from The Point to Jindabyne, its a 7 minute drive, then another 3o-35 minutes to Either Perisher Valley or Thredbo.The Point is before Jindabyne, if you are driving from Canberra.
S0 its winter and all you want to do is see and snow play.How do i go about it.
#1 When is the best time to see snow ? With mother nature there are no guarantees. Mid to late June,when the rates are a lot more affordable, the main beginners areas of Thredbo & front valley at Perisher should have a lot of man made snow- an amazing effort and it pretty well guarantees skiing for beginners , or for experienced skiers to “get their legs”.( given the right temperatures, the resorts generally start making snow late May- a week or two before the opening weekend (that being the Queens Birthday Long weekeend.)
Early September is also a good time. Again, rates are less than the peak period of July & August, and there is usually snow around to play in. There is a big difference between snow to play in and snow to ski on.Even when the mountain looks covered in snow, the skiing can be of a poor quality-it could be very icy, or even very soft n slushy. So if you talking to an experienced skier and that person says the snow is poor, it does not mean you cant have a great snow play time.
# 2- Getting to the Snow –If driving to Perisher Valley by law, for 2 wheeel drive vehicles, you must carry snow chains,easily hired in Jindabyne. Note chains are only fitted when the the conditions are such that they are needed and you are instructed.If so, this is normally about 15 klms from the the resort of Perisher. In 30 years of living in Jidnabyne, I can recall only two or three times that chains have been needed in Jindabyne . Jindabyne does get snow, but the snow does not stay on the roads for that long. You do not have to fit them if the road is clear of snow. You may well have a full week and never have to fit them. If you do not wish to drive you can take whats called the ski tube, for which you don’t need chains – just a few bob for tickets !! It is a train that runs through the mountain, from Bullocks Flat, to Perisher to Blue Cow.
At Perisher there is a large ski centre to allow you to get out of the cold and watch the kids, or big kids play in the snow. or go and have a go on the Perisher purpose built tobaggan slope. There is an area at Smiggin’ Hole where people can Tobaggan for free – BUT, tobagganing, whilst fun ,can be dangerous- NO JUMPS with tobaggans. (Landing flat on your bottom from a jump can damage your spine.) From the Perisher Centre you can also watch people skiing- right in front of you.The Perisher Centre has a couple of bars, food outlets, a great jeweller ,Rod Bear,a chemist, ski shop and if you wish fine dining at the Perisher Valley Hotel
You can also take a chair lift to the Mid Station restaurant. This is a large dining facility half way up the mountain -worth a trip.
Thredbo – not as big a resort as Perisher, but Thredbo is what many may image an Alpine Village to look like – narrow streets, river running along the valley floor, the ski fields one side of the river, all the accommodation, restaurants bars etc on the other side. Thredbo ,when its as they say top to bottom with snow, offers the longest ski run run in Australia .
But we are not considering skiing here- its what to do if you don’t ski –
# 1 In Thredbo #1 is to take the chair lift to the top- the Kosciusko Express travels 1.86 klms up the mountain.It starts at an altitude of 1325 mtrs and finished at 1925 mtrs above sea level. At the top you can watch people skiing, there is a cafe/rest/bar for that goulash with german beer ( or VB /Tooheys !) Note as with anywhere in the mountains rug up – hands and head first- generally a pair of jeans, with tights under if you feel the cold, a long sleeve shirt, a jumper then a jacket . A beanie is a must. Gloves are handy too !!!
This is also the point from which to walk to Mt Kosciusko, if the snow allows.
How about Snow Shoeing as an adventure- if you can walk you can snow shoe- this gets you really into the vibe of an Alpine Adventure.
A good outing, if your around on a Saturday night is to come the Thredbo to watch the fire works and the flare run.This starts just after sunset, and is a spectacular site.What is it – a bunch of skiers instructors and public ,ski top to bottom in a line with red flares , “flaring”.
Thredbo also has a wonderful indoor 50 metre heated pool, The Thredbo Leisure centre with kids inflatable to jump and play off -called the misssion inflatable and torpedo topple -alsohas a squash court, a gym – a great way to spend the afternoon , or just do laps
Ok ,then maybe horse riding, at Penderlea – on the way to Thredbo.
But a non mountain must experience is the Wild Brumby Scnapps Distillary and restaurant.The award winning Wildbrumby Schnapps Distillery Door and Café is open all year round. Situated between Jindabyne and Thredbo in Australia’s Snowy Mountains, the relaxing distillery and café are surrounded by an expansive sculpture garden. Sit in the cosy interior beside the schnapps still or outside on the sunny deck.
So hopefully you are now a bit clearer about some of the hows and why for non skiers during winter. Chair lift rides,tobagganing, just throwing snow balls, fire works, dining, fishing, horse riding,Schnapps tasting – all during the Ski Season with The Point as your base.