The Skitube is a funicular (cog) railway that runs from Bullocks Flat in the Thredbo Valley to Perisher, and on to Blue Cow. Most of the track is underground. The Skitube Alpine Railway gives access from below the snowline to Perisher.
It is possible to buy combined lift and Skitube tickets. Travel between Perisher and Blue Cow is included with an ordinary Perisher lift ticket.
The journey takes about 10 minutes, and at times of peak demand trains run every 20 minutes. At night trains run hourly (or, if you are lucky really late at night, on demand)
There are restrictions on travelling with luggage at times of peak demand, between 8-00 am and 10-00 am uphill and 3-00 pm and 5-00 pm downhill on weekends (Luggage restrictions will apply Friday, Saturday and Sundays from the 25th June to the 4th September 2011).
It is very rare for chains to be necessary to get to the Bullocks Flat Terminal. If there is snow on the road to Perisher the Skitube is an alternative worth considering.
Whether you choose the Skitube or drive for day visits (ignoring road and weather conditions) depends on how many people are travelling. The Skitube is a per person rate, whereas park entry is per car. If one person is travelling the tube is cheaper. For 2 or more driving is cheaper.
In the past trains have run in summer, but since 2006 they do not run at all outside the ski season.
Should I use the Skitube or drive ?
The advantages of the Skitube are:
- easier drive in adverse conditions - conditions are also less likely to be adverse for more of the trip
- less likely to have the road blocked because of idiots (although still possible)
- The driver gets to power nap for ten or so minutes on the way down, which makes you more alert for the rest of the drive.
- Skipping Front Valley and going straight to Blue Cow
- parking is fairly near the Skitube. If you drive to Perisher and are a little slow (during peak times) you can end up with a very long walk or waiting for a shuttle bus from Smiggins.
- more expensive if there are a few of you
- tends to be crowded at peak times
- If you don't get a seat it can suck a bit, but the trip only lasts 10 minutes
Skitube website with prices and timetables.