Every year (by that I meant those 2 years we've been together), I would plan something out of the norm to surprise or treat Jake for his birthday. The first year I, like every typical high school girlfriend, threw him a surprise birthday party. Last year, I got him 18 birthday presents, each with a note attached containing 18 reasons why I love him (I know, I'm cheesy like that okay). This year, to step up my game, I've decided to buy him a trip to the Snowy Mountains for his 19th birthday!
Here are some of the things we've done during our one day trip there and some tips for you if you are planning to go yourself.
Let The Journey Begin:
We booked the entire trip with a travel agency based in Chinatown called Golden Wattle. It was only a one day snow tour, meaning that we did not spend the night there, making it quite an inexpensive trip.
The One Day Snow Tour details:
Departs from China Town (city) or Hurstville.
|Price includes||Transportation (return trip), Tour guide, Driver's tips (usually AUD$10pp) & National Park entrance fee|
|Price excludes||Travel insurance, Skiing Lessons, Skiing equipments, Sky railway|
We chose to depart from China Town because that's only 20 minutes walk from our house. The bus (picture below) picked us up from the entrance of Holiday Inn Hotel, Darling Harbour at 11:45pm (28.07.2017). The bus was pretty much filled up when we got on because it picked up some other tourists from Hurstville first. What's interesting about the tour was that our driver was also our "tour guide". His name is Ray and he mostly spoke Cantonese throughout the journey so here is where I apologise to Jake for that. However, by speaking I meant he just basically explained where we are and where the bus will be stopping and how long will we be stopping (toilet, food, mini mart, etc). So don't worry, this is not those tour where the tour guide basically dumps a whole book of history of the location to you. (Or in another word, he is not annoying.)
The bus was overall pretty clean but not too comfy to sleep on (which is normal I guess). On the way there, the bus stopped at a petrol station halfway around 4am for toilet break and for us to grab some snacks if we are hungry. There was also an ATM there for us to draw out some money as the Skii Equipment rental shop that we'll be going to only accepts cash. Here, Jake got a bottle of fresh orange juice (AUD$4).
Snow Equipments Hire:
We reached Cooma at about 5am (29.07.2017). It was -5° there during that time and I almost died. This is where the tour guide told us we'll be renting our snow sports equipments from (if we want to). The place is called Express Ski and it's own by a Korean family. They rent out ski pants, ski jacket, helmets, snow boots, snowboard, ski equipments, and toboggan. You can also buy gloves and googles here as they don't rent these out. In my opinion, the place is way overpriced (tour ripped off place probably) as there are many you can find online that rent these equipments for a way cheaper price. So, if you are planning to the mountains yourself, I would recommend you find a cheaper one in the village.
Here are the price breakdown of the things we've spent here (take note that they only accept cash):
|Ski pants||AUD$30pp (Rented)|
|Ski + Ski Boots + Poles||AUD$65pp (Rented)|
Here is where the fun part really is! It took us about another hour and a half to reach the Perisher Blue (the ski resort we went during this trip). On the way there we've passed by the beautiful Jindabyne Dam as the sun begin to rise. The view was spectacular but unfortunately we did not managed to take any good photos as we were moving and the windows were foggy. We finally arrived at the Smiggin Holes Ski Resort (next to the Perisher Ski Resort) at around 7:30am. So from here, we have until 3pm to do whatever we want to do. We were told here that the outside bottom storage compartment of the bus will be opened so we are free to store and take out anything (invaluable) and the snow equipments whenever we want throughout day. This means that we can either store our valuable goods (not that we have many) inside the bus where it'll be locked, or we can rent a locker with the resort ($10-$15 a day).
After we got off the bus, the first thing we did was eat. YES, I WAS BASICALLY FAMISHED during the entire journey. We got some breakfast and coffee at Smiggins Bistro. The line was really long as all the other tourists from all the tour buses arrived at the same time. It took us half an hour to order our food. Lucky for us our food came quite fast and they are freaking delicious. The hot drinks took a little bit longer though. It only came 10-15 mins after we finished the food.
|Bacon and Egg Roll||AUD$9.50|
|Ham, Cheese & Tomatoes Panini||AUD$8.50|
After breakfast, we picked up our ski equipments from the bus and off we went, attempting to ski for the very first time (Jake's second time). Yup, we did not book any classes or whatsoever, thinking that watching a few YouTube ski lessons would suffice. Let's just say it started off with a lot and I mean A LOT of falling on our asses. The only smart thing we did was skipping out on buying the daily lift ticket ($138pp) which saved us a lot of money as we wouldn't know how to use it anyway. We walked all the way to the other side of the ski resort and ski there because it is not as crowded (basically deserted) to avoid hurting anyone else and being embarrassed, and also to have our own privacy.
We managed to self-taught ourselves after 1-2 hours of failed attempts and falling down on our bums. However, climbing up the hill took so much effort and strength as we did not buy the lift ticket.
More Snow Fun:
At about 1pm, we've decided to stop and store the equipments away. We then took the free shuttle bus to Perisher Valley for some lunch.
After having a light snack from Lil' Orbits (AUD$3 for 6 mini cinnamon donuts) and touring around the resort for a bit, we've decided to grab some lunch at the The Man from Snowy River Hotel. We shared a plate of Fish and Chips (AUD$23) as we weren't very hungry (the portion was huge anyway).
At about 2:30pm, we took the free shuttle bus back to the Smiggin Holes. For the last 30 mins of our day there, we spent it on building our very own snowman. Because we did not have much time, we did not managed to go up to the very top of the mountain known as Blue Cow (AUD$47pp) which is accessible with the Skitube. If you are planning to visit, definitely check this place out as I heard they have amazing views.
The bus departed on time at 3pm. We stopped at the ski rental shop to return our hire equipments before leaving the Snowy Mountains. At about 7:30pm, the bus stopped at Maccas in Sutton Forest for an hour to allow us to grab some dinner as we'll only reach the city at 10:30pm (29.07.2017). We had a large Peri Peri McWrap large set that came with a large fries and large Iced Peach Tea (AUD$13.95).
Alas, we're dropped off at the entrance of the Holiday Inn Hotel, Darling Harbour at about 10:30pm. We're basically dead on our bed by the time we got home as we didn't really get much sleep at all.
Overall the day trip tour to the Snowy Mountain is pretty good. The only downside to following a tour is that your schedule will be very packed and rushed. You definitely will not have enough time to do EVERYTHING on a one-day tour. However, if you do not own your own vehicle, it is quite cost effective and one of the easiest way to get there and back. The best time to visit the Snowy Mountains for an ultimate snow experience is during the end of June to the mid of August.
|Total cost of our trip||AUD$481.95|
|Ski Equipments Hire||AUD$240|
The total cost of our trip is to give you a rough idea on how much you'll be spending for two person for the trip (take note that we did not buy the ski pass as mentioned above).
For more information:
Golden Wattle Travel Agency's Website: Here
Perisher Blue's Website: Here