Discovery Parks Jindabyne review: Budget snow accommodation
Discovery Parks Jindabyne offers good bang for your buck with warm, comfortable and spacious cabins in a handy location.
Discovery Parks Jindabyne
- Where: 6532 Kosciuszko Rd, Jindabyne NSW 2627
- When: July 2022
- Room type: Deluxe 2-bedroom cabin
- Guests: 2 adults and 3 kids
- Cost: $2,400 for 5 nights
- Hotel star rating: N/A
- Book: Discovery Parks Jindabyne
My review, in short
- My star rating: ★★★★
- Cost: All snow accommodation is expensive, but if you stay mid-week and have a G'day Parks membership, this is about as good as you get.
- Location: Being on the snow side of Jindabyne is handy, and it's right by the lake, but out of the central hub.
- Layout: Not enough cabins have water views, and the roads snake around a lot, but there are good-sized parking spots.
- Facilities: There's an excellent amenities block for campers and caravans, including a jumping pillow, park, fishing, boat hire, BBQs and tennis courts.
- The room: It's very warm, modern and clean with plenty of space for drying ski gear. The bedrooms are a bit small, but they're comfy.
- Check-in/out process: It couldn't have been easier.
In July 2022, I took my family of 5 down to the New South Wales Snowy Mountains. It sounds like a simple enough adventure, but it's a serious investment. Nowhere is cheap, but some places are cheaper than others. After failing to find anywhere in the realm of affordability in Thredbo itself, I began to look into Jindabyne.
It was still pretty expensive.
The Discovery Parks cabins were one of the more reasonable options – especially after the G'day Parks membership is applied. But is a cabin at a caravan park suitable for a family trip to the snow? Is it warm enough? Big enough? Quiet? What about caravans and camping?
Jindabyne is a very seasonal holiday destination for obvious reasons. It also goes "double peak" during school holiday periods. As such, prices fluctuate dramatically.
I travelled in peak season, but a week after schools had gone back.
It was around $2,400 for 5 nights for the 5-bed deluxe cabin, with the G'day Parks membership applied and a multi-night midweek discount. (If that sounds like a lot, note that similar stays were going for over $7,000 in Thredbo.)
The cabins range from $260 to $650 a night when booked as a 5-day week during peak season. And from $390 to $940 a night during peak weekends.
If you're all about getting up the mountains, be that Thredbo, Perisher or Charlotte Pass, the location is great. It's on the outskirts of Jindabyne, right where the road splits to the various snow villages.
We went to Thredbo each day and the 20- to 30-minute drive to and from the mountain was easy to deal with. We had no problems making it to the kids' ski lessons by 8.30am.
Despite being surrounded on 3 sides by the main road, I was happy with the noise. Yes, when you are outside during the day, there is constant white noise. But at night, in your cabin, I was never impacted by any road noise. And I'm the kind of bloke who does notice road noise.
Being right on the lake is beautiful – especially if you want to go for a fish or hire a boat.
If you're the type of family who is keen to be out every night on the town, you might find the distance from the Jindabyne centre a problem. There is a walking/bike track along the foreshore, but it's too far for late at night.
This didn't bother us. And there is a café, restaurant and servo next to the park for bits and pieces.
Resting in a natural amphitheatre, looking down towards Lake Jindabyne, Discovery Parks Jindabyne has an unusual site map.
It's quite a convoluted layout, with terraced streets that wind and wrap around each other like a pile of snakes.
I like the centralised amenities block, the quick access to the shops out front and the wide parking spots that make it easy to get all your ski and snowboard gear in and out.
Where I think it lets itself down is by how few of the cabins have any outlook of note. There are a few that do, but given the Discovery Parks Jindabyne site is right against one of the world's most beautiful lakes, it's surprising more cabins aren't gifted a view.
If you're staying in a tent or caravan, you're in luck. Down by the lake, these get you the best outlook of the lot.
Some deluxe, powered caravan sites even come with a wooden table and chairs and fairy lights.
A nice touch, especially if you and some friends can book a few in a row.
Be warned, however, that as of July 2022, there was still some work being done to the foreshore and roads in recovery from the devastating floods earlier in the year.
As Discovery Parks go, Jindabyne is reasonably light on facilities. The fact that destinations like Thredbo are becoming just as popular in summer as they are in winter means the lack of a pool and big outdoor facilities (there's a small park and an even smaller jumping pillow) could be considered unfortunate.
But for those warmer months, it does have a jetty, a boat hire and a full-size tennis court.
Taking a winter focus, I think it has done a really good job with the amenities block.
For those in caravans, tents or the very small cabins, it provides a big space to escape the cold and socialise or relax. A dry room, big toilets and snowboard/ski repair area dominate the downstairs.
Upstairs there's an indoor fire pit, huge camp kitchen, massive laundry and a TV room. Sadly, there's no internet across the site, but I had no problems getting 4G.
And while there were spas in the amenities block in the past – which would have been amazing – they were being renovated and there was no indication of when they would be back.
We stayed in the deluxe 2-bedroom cabin, which had a bit of a view of the lake. These cabins sleep up to 6 and some have gas fireplaces. Others even have a spa bath. The smallest cabins just have 2 bunk beds and a door.
Our cabin has a large, open-plan living space that is one of the biggest I've come across with Discovery Parks. It feels new.
The furniture is in great condition. There are USB ports alongside the power points, the TV had both USB and HDMI ports and the kitchen was well-equipped, including a full-size fridge.
Coffee, tea, hot chocolate and cookies were also supplied.
Best of all, the large amount of space meant there was plenty of room to hang out all our wet snow gear at the end of a day on the mountains. The fantastic – and quiet – air-con was enough to dry everything overnight, helped by great insulation. I was worried about the warmth of the cabin before I stayed at Discovery Parks Jindabyne, but I need not have been.
I also appreciated the large kitchen table and balcony, which helped our family spread out.
My only real disappointments were the noise created by the heat pump whenever the hot water was turned on.
And the lack of hanging hooks and additional clothing racks to hang up wet gear.
I was surprised to find that these particular cabins have a shared wall with another cabin. This is unusual for Discovery Parks. Other than occasional knocks and steps, I could not hear anything from our neighbours and I suspect that was good luck. But I'm sure they could hear our family arguments and energetic kids, so I doubt they would feel the same way.
While the front half of the cabin is dominated by the kitchen and living space, the back half consists of 3 rooms. The bathroom is medium-sized, with a shower that offers good pressure and a head on a swivel arm that allows for tall people to get under it. Basic conditioner, shampoo and soap are provided.
The kids' room was quite cramped, with 2 bunks.
As this was the 5-bedder, one of the bottom bunks had been converted into a cube shelf, which was quite handy for storing gear. Being cramped kind of worked to the room's advantage in winter, keeping it warm.
The parent's room isn't small, but it's not far off. There is a wardrobe, but it doesn't open fully due to it hitting the bed, so it's only partially useful. There wasn't much room for baggage either – and forget about a cot.
There is a second TV here, which helps when you need to get the kids out of your hair.
The bed and pillows were comfortable, but if you like a firm bed, you might find it doesn't meet your standards. But let's face facts: it's not the Hilton and it isn't trying to be.
We slept well, protected from the cold and the noise outside.
If you need to find ways to take your kids skiing on a budget, I can recommend Discovery Parks Jindabyne. Our cabin was in good nick, well insulated, comfortable, clean and the air-con worked a treat.
The convoluted layout doesn't make the most of the lake position, but in winter you don't spend too much time outside anyway. And while it's not centrally located within the town, the drive from the slopes was a breeze. We had a great time.
Chris Stead stayed at Discovery Parks Jindabyne as a guest.