So where to go part 2...this was going to be all about New Zealand and Australia, however, as we speak, Christchurch, New Zealand has just suffered a horrific earthquake, and parts of Victoria, Australia, are experiencing awful flooding resulting in mud slides in the high country and people trapped in their homes/villages or loss of goods / property etc. Some of the places that are flooded, are also places that were horrifically destroyed by the infamous bush fires in Feb 2009. Yet, whilst these places have suffered, and still suffer whilst rebuilding their lives, properties and businesses, they also suffer so much afterwards as tourists choose not to visit. Well, we just have to remember - they rely on tourism to keep them afloat, and get back on track. For many of these places, tourism is the number 1 income. So, when they want us to come and visit, come and visit we must.
Last year, myself, hubby, left and right hip spent the day up at Lake Mountain for some real fun family snow play. Being the 'foreigners' that we were back then (now we are proud Aussie citizens!), we were unaware of the fact that we would be travelling through many parts of country Victoria that were deeply effected, even destroyed by these horrendous bush fires. As we travelled through Narbethong and Marysville, we were deeply shocked, and brought to tears by what we saw. There were burnt out houses, trees, cars, and businesses... but there was also many signs of new lifes; houses were being rebuilt, people were clubbing together to help each other out, the community spirit was amazing. Even trees were budding new leaves as a sign of new times. The Marysville toboggan / clothing hire shop was operating out of a portable as were the famous Marysville bakery and The Lolly shop. Life was just moving on. So now, 18 months on, don't forget to head up to those places and stop and give your support. Winter or Summer.
So, now to places to other places to go to in the snow. In Australia, the main resorts are spread over Victoria and New South Wales. We have already mentioned Mount Buller, and Falls Creek, however the other place that comes highly recommended is Mount Hotham. It is, like Falls Creek, that little bit further away than Melbourne (approx 5 hours drive), however, definitely worth the drive up there, and as Victoria's highest ski resort, is more likely to have good snow coverage. There is the Milo Mighty Mites club for the little people to join, which is a totally supervised ski school, lunch is then provided and indoor activities are then encouraged...all this whilst mum and dad go out to ski! Mount Hotham also boasts some great ski in / ski out accommodation, however to lower the costs, a lot of families stay down in Dinner Plain village which is only a short distance away. In NSW, both Perisher and Thredbo are both very much worth considering, both offering great snow packages, and brilliant child ski schools.
Kia ora - over to our friends across the ditch in New Zealand. Now this is hubby's neck of the woods and he, to this day (even though I have shown him many a nice ski run in Europe) would swear that NZ beats everywhere else (how very NZ of him!) There are over 24 different ski resorts in NZ, so yes, the choice (bro) is there, and many a family would actually recommend NZ as it really can be more value for money than some resorts in Australia. It takes around 3 hours to fly to NZ from the East coast of Australia, and you can get to the slopes really quickly from most of the airports, so this really is great for travelling with kids. We have to admit, NZ is beautiful and has been many a backdrop for many a good flick of late (The Lord of the Rings to name one), and it does have a lot to offer so you could combine a ski trip with some other fun family activities.
So, whether you want to head to the North or South Island, there are plenty of ski fields to choose from. The North Island offers great ski and snowboarding terrain on Mt Ruapehu and the beginners/kids end up in the Yeti ski school in Happy Valley. Bliss! The South Island boasts a large ski terrain; Choose from The Remarkables, Coronet Peak, Mt Hutt or Cardona, to name but a few, however Cardona one of the only resorts in NZ where guests can stay right up on the mountain, making it a real family friendly place to go (and claims to have the best ski school in the Southern Hemisphere...plus has a fab website!)
So cheers bro, the choice bro is all yours...