My kids had been begging me to see snow all through autumn and winter last year. But I wasn’t up to taking them away to the Snowy Mountains on my own. Instead I hoped it would snow in the Blue Mountains and we could take a little day trip.
Though by the end of July 2018, I thought we had missed our chance. BUT then it snowed in Oberon in early August! Unfortunately we couldn’t get up there that day. And chances were high that the snow would have been gone by the next day. So the next morning I decided to pack up the car and drive down to Canberra! I had heard that Corin Forest was a great spot for kids to first experience snow from a number of parents. And it definitely ticked that box.
Corin Forest is a snow park with snow play, tobogganing, small ski slope and a cafe (with an open log fire). It’s just south of Canberra and could be done in a day trip, though we stayed for two nights in Canberra and made a holiday of it.
The good thing about Corin Forest is that it’s an easy and affordable way to give Sydney kids their first snow experience. Particularly if you have limited time and no snow gear. Plus, snow chains are usually not needed for your car and they regularly have discounted tickets towards the end of the season on weekdays – bonus!
They are open from 8am to 5pm, 7 days a week during winter. You can book online, which we highly recommend during weekends and school holidays, as numbers are capped for safety and comfort.
Snow Play and Tobogganing
There are set sessions throughout the day. Snow play sessions go for 2.5hrs and run three times daily at 8:30am, 11am and 2pm. The cost is $20 per person and you can hire all the gear you need there. A toboggan is $5, snow jacket and pants are $20 and boots are $15 for the length of your snow session. Plus from memory you leave your licence with them as a bond for returning the gear.
We did the 11am session, as 8:30am was just TOO EARLY (and cold) and I thought by the afternoon it would get a lot colder. The only problem with the middle session is that it’s over lunch time.
We spent 2hrs tobogganing and building snow animals before finishing up to get something to eat at the cafe.
Thankfully I had packed snacks and found a spot to leave my backpack (dry) in the snow play area.
The snow play area is smaller than I thought it would be but big enough, particularly given I had two kids with me on my own. And of course, one wanted to toboggan while the other wanted to build a snow man – which is actually a LOT harder than it looks!
My preschoolers were able to pull the toboggan up on their own and after a few goes, were happy to go down on their own as well.
The only hitch we had was that we were all wearing gumboots (with double socks). Now this worked well until snow got into the top of my youngest boots and his feet froze. Of course he didn’t mention anything until towards the end. And by then I had to carry him back… mummy fail! Lucky I had a spare set of clothes in the car!
The ski sessions run for 3.5hrs at 9am and 1pm. Plus, there’s night skiing on Friday and Saturday from 5:30pm to 9:30pm. Corin Forest also run a Joeys Ski Club for kids 4-14yrs. A class is 2.5hrs and costs $109. It includes snow gear and snow teaching in a special area. Plus kids get a pass to the general ski area to use after their lesson to practice some more.
There’s a snow cam on their website as well as updates on road conditions and other important info. Corin Forest have all weather snow making technology, which allows them to generate snow at any temperature so there is guaranteed snow cover all season.
The cafe is near the carpark when you first enter. There’s an open log fire, so bring some marshmallows – or they sell small bags of them.
The menu is limited and sadly we found out the hard way that pizzas are only available on the weekend. But there’s enough to warm you up and my kids loved the spring rolls.
Between the carpark, cafe and snow field, there are open areas to walk around and have a picnic.
And we also stopped to touch some snow on the side of the road on the way.
All in all Corin Forest was a great first snow experience for my kids.
Top Tips for Visiting Corin Forest
Here is a summary of my top tips if you visit Corin Forest:
- Book online for weekend sessions and during school holidays, as they cap numbers.
- Check their website before setting off for weather and road condition updates.
- Make sure to bring gloves as you can not hire these. They do have some available to buy though.
- Take some marshmallows to toast on the fire and carrots for your snowman.
- Bring spare clothes in the car as chances are the kids will get wet,
- Take snacks with you to the snow play session (in a water proof bag) as chances are the kids will get hungry and its a bit of a walk back.
- If doing my trick and wearing gumboots (instead of snow/ski boots), make sure to wear double thick socks and put your pants over the gumboots to stop snow going in! Depending on the weather, warm wet weather gear should be fine for a snow play session.
Finding Corin Forest
Corin Forest is about 50mins south of Canberra. It was well marked from memory along the way and easy to find. And the roads were snow free on the way, but this may not always be the case. There is lots of on-site free parking.