Jindabyne is the gateway to the snowfields of the southern Kosciuszko National Park – Perisher, Charlotte’s Pass, Blue Cow, Smiggin Holes, Guthega and Thredbo.
We arrived in Jindabyne the week before the official opening of the 2011 ski season. In previous years we had passed through Jindabyne on the way to the snowfields without giving it much thought. However, after staying a few days we discovered that it is a very pleasant town.
At this time of year there is an influx of young people looking for jobs for the ski season. Everyone we come across is incredibly friendly, enthusiastic and helpful.
We have chosen to stay at Ski Inn Motel at 9 Nettin Circuit, Jindabyne mainly based on price. It has very comfortable accommodation which includes a cooked breakfast. A large living room has a dining area, sofas, pool table, small games room, tea and coffee making facilities. The best thing about Ski Inn is the view. Ski Inn is located on the slopes of Jindabyne and the communal living/dining room has a spectacular view over the lake and surrounds.
Ski Inn Motel, Jindabyne
For people travelling on a tight budget, or looking for a job in either Jindabyne, Perisher or Thredbo, a good cheap place to stay until you have more permanent accommodation is the Jindabyne backpackers at 7-8 Gippsland Street, Jindabyne. There are single, double or dormitory rooms with up to seven other people. Rooms are clean and most importantly, warm! There are a number of common living rooms and kitchens. Linen is provided. It is centrally located within walking distance of shops, restaurants and pubs.
Eating Out in Jindabyne
For a small town, Jindabyne has a large number of restaurants and cafes. For lunch we can recommend the homemade hamburgers at the ‘hole in the wall’ cafe – Serge’s Cafe at the Snowy Mountains Plaza (the older set of shops in Jindabyne). We enjoyed our burgers sitting at outdoor tables in the sun overlooking the lake. We also liked Eboshi Japanese restaurant (shop 1, 3 Gippsland St – next to the backpackers).
For dinner we recommend Mario’s Mineshaft restaurant for pasta and wood-fired pizzas. Mario says he serves simple Italian food like he had as a boy in Italy. We loved the big fireplace in the middle of the restaurant. For entree the Caesar salad and tomato/garlic bruschetta are very good. Desserts are delicious. Mineshaft is at 2 Snowy River Avenue, Jindabyne, telephone 6456 2727 and is open 7 days from 5pm. Takeaway is also available.
We also had dinner at the Bowling Club Bistro which was good value for money and the food was good. We enjoyed sirloin steak and ribs with a salad bar and vegetables to choose from. One of the staff told us they are about to improve the menu.
Getting to the Snow
Front Valley, Perisher
Public transport in Jindabyne is non-existent so if you are hoping to get up to Perisher each day, it would be ideal to have your own car.
There is no public shuttle service between Jindabyne and the Ski Tube. There are a couple of private operators that do the trip but require bookings in advance and a minimum number of passengers so if you are on your own, trying to get to and from the Ski Tube, you probably wouldn’t rely on those services.
However, Jindabyne seems to be a great place for networking and people seem to have no trouble car-pooling to and from the Ski Tube – especially if you are working in the snowfields.
Driving time from Jindabyne to Bullocks Flat and the Ski Tube is about 20 minutes. It is a pretty drive and the road is well maintained but winding in places. Free day and overnight parking is available at Bullocks Flat. The trip from Bullocks Flat up to Perisher on the Ski Tube takes about 10 minutes and another 7 minutes to Blue Cow. We found the Ski Tube to be expensive – $50 for a day return ticket or $33 with a valid lift ticket. However there is also a season pass and an open return (1 return trip valid within 14 days of purchase).
A short drive beyond Bullocks Flat, on the Alpine Way, is Thredbo. (Just beyond the Ski Tube is the entry to Kosciusko National Park where you will have to pay an entry fee.) At the time of our visit there is very little snow coverage at Thredbo.
We took the chairlift up to Eagles Nest and also Merritts. On a clear, calm and sunny day this is a beautiful experience. At both Eagles Nest and Merritts there is a restaurant. Eagles Nest is the highest point and there are wonderful views. At Merritts there are quite a few people skiing and it is a pretty setting.
Cross-country course at Perisher
Another pleasant drive is from Jindabyne to Perisher on Kosciusko Road. It takes about 30 minutes in good weather (33kms). You will also require a National Parks pass.
It is a beautiful drive and two kilometres out from Perisher is Smiggin Holes. Smiggin is a very small village and there is a shuttle bus between there and Perisher.
Daytime parking is available at Perisher but no over-night parking is allowed during winter.
Perisher is the largest ski resort in the southern hemisphere. It comprises 1,245 hectares of ski fields including Perisher Valley, Smiggin Holes, Guthega and Blue Cow. There are a maximum of 48 lifts operating and all levels of ability are catered for.
Driving in Winter
When driving in this area during winter, the RTA recommends that all vehicles carry chains. It is compulsory that all two-wheel-drive vehicles carry chains from the NSW June long weekend until the NSW October long weekend in certain Kosciuszko NP areas (for example on the Alpine Way between Thredbo and Tom Groggin and on the Kosciuszko Road from the park boundary).
Jindabyne is a good place to base yourself if you have a car and are prepared to either drive or take the Ski Tube up to the Perisher snowfields each day. You may find cheaper accommodation in Jindabyne than you will staying on the snowfields however we were astounded at the high winter rates being charged by some accommodation properties in Jindabyne.