From kids’ flare runs to live shows, fireworks and snowshoeing with dingoes, ANGELA SAURINE reveals the best things you can do with kids this snow season
1. Kids’ flare run at Thredbo, NSW
Littlies can light up the slopes with their own twinkling, flashing LED flares during the kids’ flare run held every Thursday night during the winter season at Thredbo, which was named Best Australian Ski Resort for Families in the 2021 Out & About with Kids Readers’ Choice Awards. The event is followed by a fireworks show. If you miss it, there are also fireworks every Saturday night at the resort, which is loved by families for its village vibe. You can also sit around the fire pits toasting marshmallows at night. During the day kids can also join ski lessons at Thredboland, while their parents make the most of the longest runs in Australia and Australia’s only alpine gondola. Thredbo Leisure Centre also has a pool, waterslide, Mission Inflatable, bouldering wall and a trampoline centre to help keep active on blizzardy days.
2. Go snowshoeing with an alpine dingo at Mt Baw Baw, Victoria
Mt Baw Baw, which is the closest ski resort to Melbourne, is now offering the chance to go snowshoeing with an alpine dingo during winter! The opportunity was previously only available from the resort’s Dingo Resource Centre outside the snow season. Just 2.5 hours’ drive from the Victorian capital, Mt Baw Baw has seven lifts spread across 35 hectares. It also offers an in-ground trampoline, Bounce-zone, year-round, and laser tag (must book in advance!)
3. Free night skiing at Smiggin Holes in Perisher, NSW
Perisher in NSW, offers free night skiing for kids on Zoe’s Carpet at Smiggin Holes on Wednesday nights. You can also go night skiing and boarding in Front Valley at Perisher on Tuesday and Saturday evenings from mid-June through to late September, and there’s a fireworks show. Australia’s largest alpine resort, with 1,245 hectares of skiable terrain, Perisher actually consists of four interlinked resorts — Perisher Valley, Smiggin Holes, Blue Cow and Guthega. You can stay on-snow or in the nearby town of Jindabyne.
4. Jump with Olympians at Mt Buller, Victoria
The Mt Buller AirZone is where the Australian Olympic freestyle team practice their spins and jumps, and kids large and small can get their bounce on too. Huge trampolines and an even bigger foam pit are ideal for burning off the last of the ‘sillies’ when kids have energy to spare. A climbing wall and occasional visits from Olympians add to the fun. Gold medal-winning mogul skier Jakara Anthony grew up on Mt Buller and the resort is home to the Australian Winter Olympic Freestyle team, the Flying Kangaroos, so there is a good chance of seeing them train. Legendary aerial skier and resort ambassador Jacqui Cooper often spends time at Buller with her kids, and leads “Jump with Jac” sessions at different times during the season. Families can also go dog sledding, and go night-skiing on Wednesday and Saturday nights throughout July and August.
5. Go tobogganing in Australia’s largest toboggan park at Selwyn Snow Resort, NSW
After suffering extensive damage in the Black Summer bushfires, this family-friendly resort was unable to operate for the 2020 and 2021 snow seasons. It’s reopening bigger and better than ever on June 11, with the biggest toboggan park in Australia! All you need to do is book a tobogganing pass online, as toboggans are provided with every ticket purchase. Selwyn will also have a new centre that will house all guest facilities and services in the one building, an upgraded New Chum Chairlift, two new snow carpets for beginners and more snowmaking. The reopening of the 40-hectare resort is especially good news for first-timers and families on a budget. It’s less daunting than the large resorts, and lift passes are much cheaper. There is no accommodation at the resort, so most people stay in surrounding areas such as Adaminaby, about 50km away, also making it more affordable.
6. See the Harry the Dragon live show at Hotham, Victoria
Sing and dance along with Harry the Dragon as he hits the stage outside The Big D beginners’ and ski school meeting area every Wednesday and Saturday from 3.30pm. Shows last for around 20 minutes – and include glowsticks! Australia’s highest alpine village, Hotham provides a unique family snow holiday destination with 320 hectares of skiable terrain. Day care is also available for kids aged from three months to three years.
7. Frosty’s Chill Out Zone at Charlotte Pass
The only completely on-snow resort in NSW, this small resort is particularly popular with families. It’s easy to see why, with offerings like its kids’ club, Frosty’s Chill Out Zone, located in the grand Kosciuszko Chalet Hotel, where children can take part in activities, games, arts and crafts. Accessible by Oversnow Transport, Charlotte Pass is the highest snow resort in Australia, with five lifts and a dozen hotels and lodges. While most are members’ only, Stillwell Lodge is a commercial lodge with a restaurant and bar, while Southern Alps Lodge and Pygmy Possum Lodge offer self-catering accommodation. Built in 1930, the Kosciuszko Chalet Hotel also has a restaurant, bistro, cocktail lounge and bar, with bingo and trivia nights. The Resort also has a kids’ flare run and night skiing and boarding on Wednesday and Saturday evenings.
8. Feast on donuts at Falls Creek, Victoria
We all know skiing burns calories, so the snow is a great place to indulge in treats, like those on offer from Snonuts Donuts Street Kitchen at Falls Creek! The eatery even has a dedicated platform for kids to stand high on the steps and watch the donuts being made from behind a glass window. Alongside warm cinnamon, iced and jam donuts, Snonuts offers milkshakes (with flavours such as bubblegum, Mars Bar and salted caramel), Nutella crepes, baked spuds and toasties. As well as boasting a charming ski-in, ski-out village, Falls Creek has 450-hectares of skiable terrain. Night skiing operates on Wombat’s Ramble on Wednesday and Saturday nights, and there’s a fireworks show in the Village Bowl on Thursday nights. Another drawcard is Twilight Tuesdays, held on the Village Bowl from 3.30pm to 5.30pm throughout July and August. There are games, music, fire pits and marshmallows to roast, plus Pete the Snow Dragon loves to make an appearance.