Jindabyne is a small town of 4500 inhabitants in New South Wales, Australia. It is situated about 500 km away from Sydney and Melbourne, and about 180 km and a 2 Â½ Â hour drive away from Australiaâ€™s capital Canberra. It lies at the edge of the Kosciuszko National Park, on Lake Jindabyne, surrounded by mountains that are famous for its skiing in the wintertime.
Yep, you heard right, skiing and wintertime In Australia. Many people think, Australia is only sunny and hot all year round. This is a very common myth. In Australia there can actually be some nasty weather that will peak into beautiful snowfall in the months between June and October. Not as much as you can see in Austria, Switzerland or America, nowhere near to tell the truth, but it is a decent amount. There is skiing in New South Wales and Victoria, and it all takes place in the Snowy Mountains that form the southern tip of the Great Dividing Range, that stretches all along Australias East Coast.
The highest mountain of Australia ,Mt. Kosciuszko (2228m), lies in the middle of the National Park. Jindabyne can be seen as the starting point or the center for winter sports on the Sydney-side.
The main ski resorts near Jindabyne are Thredbo and Perisher and they are both within a 30-minute drive. They lie in the National Park and you need a National Park ticket for the car and snow chains, especially Â if you do not drive a 4x4. There is no public transport into the National Park, so if you travelling by bus, you will need to stay somewhere close to the slopes. There is accommodation everywhere in and outside the park. Some visitors like to be close to the lifts and stay in the ski resorts, but lots of visitors choose Jindabyne as their base because it is a bit cheaper and there are more bars, restaurants and a bigger supermarket to make the stay convenient. You will get a better winter-feeling in Thredbo or Perisher, or along the road towards the resorts, though.
The slopes are packed all season long, and thanks to some substantial snowmaking there is always enough to practice on. You will meet mostly locals and tourists from Sydney and Canberra, but there is the eventual traveler from overseas, especially Asia, that spends a couple of days in the cold. The â€œSnowiesâ€ are also a popular destinations for backpackers. They spend part of their Â â€œWorking Holiday Visaâ€œ and a winter season there to work in bars, restaurants or lodges and spend their days off skiing.
The first lifts were constructed in the 1970s and lots of Europeans have come to live there since. ThatÂ´s why you will find an Austrian Schnapps distillery where you can taste original Australian Obstler and lots of typical Bavarian or Austrian AprÃ©s-Ski-style bars and restaurants all around the place. The only difference will be that you wonÂ´t ski between pine trees but Eucalyptus trees and you have to beware of Kangaroos on the way back to your hotel or hostel.
If you look at Australia on the map, you always keep forgetting how big the place really is. No wonder that it fits almost every possible bit of nature in it. If you bring some time with you in your travels, you should head down into the â€œSnowiesâ€, maybe on your way from Melbourne to Sydney. Even if you miss out on the winter, you can be sure that there is lots of bushwalking, hiking, camping or mountain biking to do during the summer!