As Australia's largest ski resort, Perisher offers over 1,200 hectares of skiable terrain across its four resorts: Perisher Valley, Blue Cow, Smiggin Holes and Guthega.
Located in the Snowy Mountains, its slopes are dressed in white from June to October – just waiting for skiers, snowboarders and tobogganers to push up its powder.
During summer, the region becomes a mecca for hiking, biking and horse riding.
Where is Perisher?
Perisher is on the New South Wales side of the Snowy Mountains. It's around a 2.5-hour drive southwest of Canberra and almost 5.5 hours from Sydney. Perisher itself has a small village at the base of the mountain with a handful of hotels, restaurants, a food court and hire facilities.
Staying at Perisher itself offers convenience to get to the slopes but is quite pricey. A popular alternative is to stay in the nearby town of Jindabyne. It's 33.8km from Perisher and has a wide range of accommodation, including camping, and facilities such as restaurants, a supermarket and hire stores.
How do I get to Perisher?
Driving is the easiest way to get to Perisher. Perisher Valley, Smiggin Holes and Guthega each have their own car parks, which are free for use during the day.
During peak season, Perisher Valley's car park can get full. In these cases, you'll be directed to park in an overflow area or to park at Smiggin Holes' car park where you can take the free shuttle to Perisher Valley.
Those staying at the resort may have on-site parking attached to their accommodation.
In the winter months, traffic in the area tends to be slow as roads can become icy. Anyone driving into Perisher at this time must carry snow chains. Those who don't may be turned back depending on the weather forecast.
The only exception is if you're driving a 4WD or AWD. By law, you're not required to carry chains; however, it's still recommended that you bring them due to the high level of road incidents in Kosciuszko National Park.
There is a national park fee of $29 per day per vehicle.
Those who'd prefer not to drive can book a spot on a coach service. Murrays Coaches offers a Snow Express service from Sydney and Canberra. This operates in the peak months from July and August on Fridays and Saturdays.
Snow Connect and Port Stephens Coaches also offer transfers from Sydney to Perisher.
Flights are another option. Rex Regional Express has direct services between Sydney and Cooma. From here, airport transfers are available to Perisher Valley, Smiggin Holes, Guthega and Jindabyne with Snowlink Shuttle and Snow Connect.
Shuttles are available from Canberra with Alpine Charters, Snow Connect, Murrays and Snoexpress Services.
How do I get around once I'm in Perisher?
If you're staying in Perisher Valley, you can get around easily on foot. The village is small with the hotels, ski lift and restaurants within metres from one another.
A free shuttle runs between Perisher Valley and Smiggin Holes. It arrives every 15 minutes from 7.30am to 6pm daily.
To get to Blue Cow, you can take the Skitube, which is an alpine train that travels between Bullocks Flat and Perisher Valley via Blue Cow. Prices vary depending on when you travel and how many days you wish to use the tube.
Those staying in Jindabyne have three main options. You can drive to Perisher Valley, drive to Bullocks Flat and connect with the Skitube or you can take a private shuttle.
Shuttle services that offer door-to-door service are Snowy Mountains Shuttles, Snowlink Shuttles and Snow Connect.
Organise your game plan to make the most of your time on the slopes by sussing out the runs, lift pass options, equipment hire facilities and ski schools around Perisher early.
What you need to know about the resort
- Number of chair lifts: 47
- Number of runs: 119
- Number of magic carpets: 5
Everything you need to know to hit the slopes at Perisher
- Ski season dates: June - October. (Opening on 24 June 2020)
- Snow report: Check the daily Snow Report for the most up-to-date details on snowfalls and conditions
- Trail breakdown: 22% beginner, 60% intermediate and 18% advanced
- Number of terrain parks: 5
- Longest run: 3km
- Skiable terrain: 1,245 hectares
Perisher trail maps:
Lift pass prices
This snow season, you must pre-purchase your ski lift passes online.
Epic Passes, which are season passes, are on sale until 5 July. All other passes will be released throughout the season.
At the time of writing, passes are sold out until 10 July. Reservations for 11-12 July 2020 will open soon. For more details, visit the Perisher online store.
For an idea of lift pass prices, these were correct as at 16 June:
Group ski and snowboard lessons commence on 6 July.
At Perisher Valley, you can book 2-hour lessons for adults and half-day lessons for kids 6-14. Half-day lessons for kids 6-14 will also be available at Smiggin Holes.
Limited private lessons can be booked as two-hour, three-hour and full-day sessions.
Lessons include ski lift passes and can be packaged with rentals.
Due to COVID-19, lessons must be pre-booked. For more details, visit the Perisher online store.
As at 16 June, private lesson prices are as follows:
|Lesson type||Lesson Price|
|Private Morning (2 hours)||From $317 (up to six people)|
|Private Afternoon (2 hours)||From $249 (up to six people)|
|Private Morning (3 hours)||From $475 (up to six people)|
|Private Afternoon (3 hours)||From $395 (up to six people)|
There are snow sports rental stores in Perisher Valley, Smiggin Holes and Bullocks Flats. Pre-booking your rental will secure your equipment and rental, which can sell out during peak season. Pre-booking can sometimes be cheaper than purchasing when you arrive.
Rental at the resorts is often expensive. To keep costs down, there are rental stores in nearby villages, including Jindabyne. A popular store is Monster Depot Ski Hire, which often has deals on Groupon that can save you up to 4%.
Importance of insurance
While health insurance may cover you for any accidents you have on your trip, ski travel insurance covers damage or loss of your belongings, such as your skis, even if they are rented. It can also take care of services such as airlifting and ambulance fees which health insurance may not.
What can I do if I'm not skiing or snowboarding?
Winter is peak season at Perisher for a reason, and snow sports are the prime reason people head to the region. If you're here over winter and don't wish to hit the slopes, you can toboggan on the baby hills at the bottom or snowshoe around the area.
What's there to do in Perisher during the summer?
Perisher is open year-round, and in the warmer months, it is a popular place for hiking, mountain biking, horse riding and fishing.