Perisher vs Thredbo: Australia’s Best Ski Resort
While Australia is renowned for its beautiful beaches and hot summers, it may surprise you that in winter, it snows in abundance. In fact, it snows enough to have 16 ski resorts across New South Wales, Victoria, and Tasmania.
If you’re wondering where to ski in Australia, a good place to start is New South Wales, with two of the largest ski resorts being Perisher and Thredbo. Both resorts are within a short distance of one another and are a five-hour drive from Sydney or two hours from Canberra. A trip to the snow in Australian Winter is a highlight for anyone who loves skiing or snowboarding. So, if you’re trying to decide between Perisher or Thredbo this guide will help you make an informed decision for the perfect ski holiday.
Which Ski Resort is the Largest?
Both Perisher and Thredbo are located in the Snowy Mountains and are part of Kosciuszko National Park, which is a unique alpine landscape filled with rivers, mountains, ski fields, caves, and glacial lakes.
As we take a closer look at the size of each, Perisher is the largest of the two with 3,080 acres of skiable area and 65 kilometres of slopes. Perisher is known as Australia’s largest ski resort and boasts 4 different skiable areas, Perisher Valley, Smiggin Holes, Guthega, and Blue Cow.
Thredbo on the other hand sits on less than half the acreage of Perisher, 1,186 acres to be exact and a total slope length of 52 kilometres. One thing Thredbo does have is a higher vertical drop of 672m and longer runs, but Perisher offers more than double the amount of runs and lifts of Thredbo.
If we are looking at the longest run for both resorts, it is Thredbo with a monster win. the largest uninterrupted slope is 5.9km long – which almost doubles Perisher’s longest slope of 3km. Thredbo is also home to the biggest slope in Australia, known as the Crackenback, which is a part of this 5.9km stretch of Australian pow.
When comparing verticals, Thredbo once again has the highest vertical of 672m to Perisher’s 355m. However, higher verticals don’t necessarily equate to more runs, as Perisher does dominate that category as shown in the graph above. If you’re looking for a healthy balance of runs to length, then Perisher is your way to go, with a lot more exploration through a variety of runs. If you are after a more seamless and consistent set of runs with not too much variation but good flow, Thredbo would be your best choice.
|Number of ski lifts
|Number of tails
|Lift pass (Adult 1 day)
|Yes, Tuesdays and Saturdays
|Yes, Thursdays (Kids only) and Saturdays
|Ski in ski out
Thredbo or Perisher for Beginners?
Both Perisher and Thredbo have a great range of terrain from beginner to advanced runs although, Perisher does have a large amount of space dedicated to beginners, this means there is a huge amount of very gentle terrain to explore while you learn without getting bored. The progression from beginner to intermediate is also a little smoother and enjoyable.
Thredbo or Perisher for Families?
Although both resorts have facilities perfect for families, Perisher has much more for your kids to do. There is a large amount of space dedicated to beginners with 8 different magic carpets.
Kids will love the fact there are two Rider X courses, five terrain parks (including one under lights) which is more than any other alpine resort found in Australia.
There is also an opportunity for the kids to try ice skating, tobogganing, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing and tubing. Every parent knows that it is hard to get ski-loving kids off the snow at the end of each day, but Perisher, every Tuesday evening there’s night skiing on Front Valley.
Aside from great facilities to keep the kids occupied. Perisher also offers a wonderful babysitting service which is a great option if you want some child-free time to enjoy all that the resort has to offer.
Which Resort is Best for Snowboarding?
For the pure snowboarders, both Perisher and Thredbo offer a huge range of wide slopes and a hefty amount of terrain parks with enough jumps, rails and boxes to really sink your teeth into. At Thredbo, the most confident boarders will kick off on the Boost Mobile Snow Park, with a great balance of street and snow. For those with a desire to see the skies, you will have to move onto the Monster Energy park and half-pipe – but be warned this park is not for the inexperienced.
Which Resort is Best for Off-Piste Riding?
For those looking to go off-piste and maybe like to explore more adventurous, ungroomed runs with the skis you can’t go past Perisher. The sheer size and level of exploration around Perisher invites the adrenaline junkies to have a proper go at the snow between the runs. Gorgeous treelines and narrow passageways across the mountain really make you feel like you’re finding the best-kept secret runs on Perisher.
Which Resort is Best for Cross Country Skiing?
Both sets of mountains also offer a good range of cross-country options, with Perisher’s sheer volume of snow and variety giving cross-country skiers a greater opportunity to explore and take in the surroundings. There are options on both mountains to lengthen your cross-country skiing across days, but this does require extensive planning, equipment and experience.
Which Mountain Captures the Après Vibe?
BOTH! Keep in mind though, that they each have different strengths. Thredbo doesn’t shy away from trying to find the après vibe with the aptly named Apres Bar. But it is Thredbo’s combination of fast runs and lively dining options does make for an incredible atmosphere unlike anywhere in the world.
Perisher steps it up a notch with numerous skiing options for boarders and skiers alike and offers classy dining options that encourage a nice glass of red after a long day on the slopes. Perisher’s fine dining option at the White Spider does offer something unique on the slopes unlike anywhere else in Australia.
Both mountains offer a range of after-ski activities as discussed, really doubling down on their own unique flair. Whatever type of skier or snowboarder you are, both mountains do maintain an incredible post-session experience to make your stay on the mountain worthwhile.
Where to Stay in Perisher and Thredbo
There is an abundance of accommodation in both Thredbo and Perisher. The largest range of properties can be found in Perisher Valley, Guthega and Smiggin Holes. You can choose from lodges, hotels and self-contained apartments that suit every budget.
There is some beautiful on-mountain accommodation which is perfect for those who wish not to travel to and from the ski resorts each day, our on-snow Perisher accommodation is a great place to wake up on the snow, with a popular apres ski scene and fine chalet dining restaurant. The Stables resort is another pick of the bunch with great value for families and groups.
Where to Eat in Perisher and Thredbo
Perisher and Thredbo both have fantastic dining options available for all ages and appetites. With 33 places at both resorts to relax, sip and dine, including cosy restaurants, bars, and cafes. As you explore below, you may be swayed towards Perisher for its different types of cuisine across four resort areas, and in a range of unique locations.
White Spider Restaurant and Bar
White Spider Restaurant and Bar is everything you have ever wanted in an après-ski bar and fine chalet dining. Enjoy some fine food, accompanied by fabulous wine, cocktails or pints in a uniquely sublime atmosphere.
High Ground Coffee Bar
High Ground Coffee Bar is a cosy caffeine pit stop in prime position below the Manor Hotel. The entrance is just steps away from the eight-seater chairlift on Perisher’s Front Valley.
Guthega Inn is renowned for their hearty lunches and jaw dropping views of Perisher. Take a seat outside and enjoy the view that looks over the main range of the Snowy Mountains. Then choose from their lengthy menu and a well earned beverage.
Frostbit Kiosk is a great place to grab a quick break. Serving delicious burgers, hot chocolates and the best part is, you can ski in to pick up your order, and since it’s all outdoors, you can sit back and enjoy the scenery.
The Apres Bar
The Apres Bar has become a Thredbo favourite. In true après spirit it serves ice cold beer, classic cocktails, spirits and schnapps.
The Terrace at the Denman
The Terrace and the Denman is known as Thredbo’s slickest restaurant, the restaurant is fully licensed and serves the best contemporary French and European dishes. The restaurant has stunning views of the mountain which can be enjoyed by peering through their top to bottom glass windows.
Verdict: We love Perisher!
Both resorts have their perks, however, we give the top spot to Perisher. When it comes to skiing and snowboarding, Perisher has almost three times the number of runs available and skiable terrain. It is fantastic for families, and much more affordable than Thredbo. Where will you ski this year?