Driving to Thredbo NSW

Driving to Thredbo NSW

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Where is Thredbo NSW?

Thredbo Ski Resort in New South Wales sits on the southern slopes of the Ramshead Range of the Snowy Mountains in the Kosciuszko National Park. The top T-bar of Thredbo Resort (2,037m) is not far from Mount Kosciuszko, the highest point (2,228m) in Australia (excluding Mawson’s Peak on Heard Island and the mountains in the Australian Antarctic Territory). Thredbo is only about 20km from the border with Victoria.

The Thredbo Village sits just off the Alpine Way. Road distances to Thredbo Village:
  • Lake Crackenback Resort is 16.5km to the northeast of Thredbo
  • The tourist town of Jindabyne is 37km northeast of Thredbo
  • The little town of Khancoban is 78km northwest
  • Cooma is 98km to the northeast
  • Sydney is 496km northeast
  • Canberra is 211km northeast
  • Melbourne is 550km southwest

Driving to Thredbo from Sydney or Canberra

Thredbo NSW is about a 6 hour drive from Sydney and 2.5 hours from Canberra depending on traffic. Just past Jindabyne, take the left turn-off to the Alpine Way (also sign posted to the SkiTube). The drive to Thredbo from this side is pretty easy compared to the Victoria ski resorts, and particularly easy relative to the gnarly roads of most of the New Zealand ski fields. It’s a wide road, not particularly windy, and is not at high elevation so much of the time it’s not snow covered. Naturally, the road can by icy and care still needs to be taken. Dangers include when speedsters get frustrated with slow pokes that are new to driving in the mountains, and avoiding wildlife can also make the drive to Thredbo challenging. On days when there is heavy snow, the trip can be very slow going.

Driving from Melbourne

Thredbo Resort cites that it’s only a 6 hour drive from Melbourne to Thredbo, but that may be a bit ambitious. There are a few routes from Melbourne to Thredbo. The first is to head up the Hume Highway to Wodonga and then drive to Khancoban to meet up with the Alpine Way. The 78km drive from Khancoban to Thredbo is incredibly picturesque but it may take a while as it’s a windy road. The Khancoban side of the Alpine Way is much more challenging than the Jindabyne side, because it’s narrower, has no lines on the road (yet there are some orange poles to mark the side of the road) and is more likely to be snow covered. Dead Horse Gap is about 7km from Thredbo and this pass is at 1,580 metres elevation, so much higher than Thredbo Village. At least the road is mostly protected from the wind. Occasionally the road closes on the Khancoban side when there are major storms. Try to drive this road during daylight so you don’t miss out on the scenery, but also due to the challenges of evening driving considering the lack of reflective markers and wildlife issues.

Google maps will likely tell you that the quickest drive from Melbourne to Thredbo is via Buchan and Barry Way, which has huge sections that are unpaved. It may be the most direct drive to go via Barry Way, but a more testing trip. A longer but easier trip is to continue up to Cann River and onto Bombala then Jindabyne.

Are Chains Required to Drive to Thredbo?

It’s not that often that there is snow on the approach to the Thredbo Village, particularly from the Jindabyne side of the Alpine Way. During winter it is required that 2WDs carry tyre chains once in the Kosciuszko National Park (but not to travel to Lake Crackenback Resort which is outside the national park) and fit these in snowy conditions as required in the designated chain bays on the side of the road. 4WD vehicles are not legally required to have chains in the car, but it is recommended, especially when mega snowstorms are imminent. Tyre chains can be hired in nearby towns such as Jindabyne, Cooma and Khancoban.

See the driving to NSW ski fields page for more information on chains and general driving in snow tips.

National Park Fees

National park fees need to be paid, which are not too hefty compared with the resort entry fees required at the Victorian ski resorts. Day and multiday park entry passes can be purchased at the NPWS vehicle entry station on the Jindabyne side of the park, or you can purchase online.

Parking at Thredbo

There are no parking costs per se at Thredbo, just the National Park fees.

The day parking area is well sign posted as you enter Thredbo and is near Friday Flat, which is home to the beginners’ area and the Gunbarrel chair lift. If you arrive late, it can be a decent walk to get to the slopes. One plus for day parking is that tobogganing is not permitted at Thredbo and there isn’t much potential for snow play, so it keeps the number of day visitors at bay. Nevertheless, there are some days on peak weekends or big powder days where the car park reaches capacity and they close the road, with no back-up strategies such as shuttle buses or refunds on purchased services.

Unlike the inconveniences associated with staying at Perisher and dealing with the SkiTube and then oversnow transport, at Thredbo, access is relatively easy for those staying overnight. Overnight parking is available between the Friday Flat base and the Valley Terminal (the base area that’s home to the gondola and the Kos chair lift). Some of the Thredbo accommodation also has limited overnight parking.

Flying

Snowy Mountain Airport is located near Cooma, 80km from Thredbo, and a drive that takes about one hour. If you don’t have your own private jet, there are flights a few times a week from Brisbane, whilst commercial flights between Sydney and Cooma seem to go in and out of fashion depending on the season.

Canberra Airport is another option which is 210km northeast of Thredbo, and you can drive or get a shuttle from there.

Shuttle / Bus to Thredbo

There are bus companies that offer packages on certain days from Canberra or Sydney to Thredbo.

And if budget is of no concern, there are a few companies that do private shuttles to Thredbo from Sydney or Canberra (including the airport).

Getting between Jindabyne and Thredbo

If you don’t want to drive to Thredbo from Jindabyne, Snowy Mountain Bus Service operates on Fridays to Sundays every 30 minutes during peak time. The bus has to be pre-booked and the fee includes the national park tariff.

There are also various private shuttles to Thredbo from Jindabyne, where on-demand door-to-door transport is provided.

Getting Around Thredbo

The main Thredbo Village sits on a hill on the opposite side of the Thredbo River from the ski slopes. Walking around the village will involve plenty of ascents and descents so make sure you’re fit. The paths are all paved and not snow covered most of the time, so if you really want to wear your pretty stilettos you probably could.

Getting to the Valley Terminal of the Thredbo ski resort (where there is the gondola + 2 chair lifts) requires a bit of a walk and descending and ascending plenty of stairs. Think of it as a warm up to skiing or snowboarding. Getting back up to your accommodation can really burn the legs if you’ve already toasted them on the slopes.

There are shuttle buses that make frequent loops around Banjo Drive, Diggins Terrace and Bobuck Lane (the upper roads of the village) down to Friday Drive adjacent to the river. All the bus routes also travel to Friday Flat (beginners’ area, kids ski school & close to the Woodridge accommodation zone), otherwise it’s a 1km walk between Thredbo Village and Friday Flat. Beginners could also travel to Friday Flat by taking the gondola to the mid-station and then skiing down to the base of Friday Flat.

Other Ski Resorts Nearby

Perisher is nearby and to the northeast of Thredbo, although it’s 62km by road to get there, or it’s a 16km drive from Thredbo to Bullocks Flat where the SkiTube (train) departs to travel to Perisher.

Charlotte Pass Ski Resort is even closer and back in the 60s there were a couple of chair lifts that connected the Alpine Way near Thredbo to Charlotte Pass via Mt Stillwell. The road to Charlotte Pass is closed in winter and you have to get there via oversnow transport from Perisher Valley.

Selwyn Snowfields is 2.5 to 3 hours drive away.

Falls Creek in Victoria isn’t that far away as the currawong flies, but it’s a 4 hour plus drive to get there. And the same for Hotham, which is a little further to the southwest.
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