Try Australia’s Ben Lomond for some fun in the snow
Ben Lomond is a well-known skiing resort Down Under but as we tend to associate Australia with great beaches and long days of sunshine then it will come as something of a surprise for some that Australia gets any snow at all. This particular resort is a fairly small resort and it has been developed with the family in mind.
It can be found in Tasmania, in the National Park which bears the same name. With a variety of different runs there is something for everyone and those who do not want to strap on the skis can try their hand at tobogganing or snowboarding.
This resort has created a friendly atmosphere while at the same time keeping the facilities on a fairly basic level. The aim has not been to create a resort filled with hotels or restaurants but one which simply offers skiing facilities. There is a shop which sells equipment as well as a hire facility. Those who have never tried winter sports before can take advantage of the lessons offered by the on-site ski school which are aimed at all levels of expertise.
Ben Lomond has six chairlifts and covers more than 35 acres of terrain. This includes both downhill and cross country runs with many of these aimed at beginner level. The longest run is more than 2500 feet long. In addition, the toboggan run has already proved to be a big hit with children of all ages. Visitors who come to the area between July and September get the best of the skiing but there has been the recent addition of snow making equipment so that the resort is able to offer more guaranteed conditions for those who want to ski.
The Ben Lomond Creek Inn is a popular choice for those who want to stay close by. It is officially the highest hotel in Tasmania and has all the amenities that visitors would expect including a good restaurant and bar. There are lodges for those who want self-contained accommodation. Why not take one of the snowmobile tours that are on offer and can be arranged by the hotel staff? There is little in the way of après-ski at the resort itself so most visitors make the most of the entertainments at the inn where they are sure of a warm and friendly welcome.
Launceston is the main town in Tasmania and it is an easy drive from there to Ben Lomond. The route is scenic and enjoyable, taking you along the North Esk River Valley. The trip is just 40 miles but the last 10 miles will take you along gravel routes and you may need chains. The Jacobs Ladder section of the road may also give cause for concern as it is very steep and winding. When you arrive at the National Park you will need to pay entry fees and this can be done at the Creek Inn if you are staying there or at the ticket office at the boundary entrance to the park.
The hotel is also a great base from which to explore the national park. There are plenty of suitable hiking trails and picturesque scenery to enjoy.
The Jacob’s Ladder section of the road does not have to be negotiated if you are a nervous driver though. There is a shuttle bus which operates daily during the main ski season to take people up to the resort from the bottom section of Jacob’s Ladder. This can be arranged in advance through the hotel or booked separately.
Reaching Launceston is easy as there are connections from the airport to all the main cities in Australia. International airports can be found at Sydney, Melbourne and Perth for those flying in from abroad. Launceston airport has car hire facilities for those that need them. Alternatively if you are happy to travel at a leisurely pace then there are ferries from Melbourne and Sydney which head for Tasmania’s Devonport which is also within easy reach of the national park.
A trip to this part of the world is not the most cost effective for skiing. Most people travelling to Australia will spend at least two weeks there so a skiing holiday in Tasmania can be combined with trips to other popular destinations in mainland Australia. Those travelling long haul will pay a great deal for flights and accommodation but the accommodation at Ben Lomond is very reasonably priced and taking part in the skiing is no more expensive than most other skiing resorts.