The Snowy Mountains spend over half the year being decidedly un-snowy. But they’re still mountains and mountains are fun no matter the temperature. We’ve rounded up 13 of the best things to do in the Snowies in the warmer months!
The bushfires earlier in the year were bad, and they affected parts of the Snowy Mountains region. Luckily the area is huge (Kosciuszko National Park is the biggest in NSW) and heaps of areas and attractions were unaffected and are still open for business.
Travel plans are on hold for the next few months, but that doesn’t mean you can’t start planning! At 100 million years of age, the Snowy Mountains are one of the oldest mountain ranges on earth, so you can count on them being around when this is all over!
1. Ride the Thredbo Valley Track All the Way to Jindabyne
The Thredbo Valley Track was already a fairly epic 17km ride from Thredbo down to Lake Crackenback Resort following the Thredbo River. Well now there’s an extension down to Gaden Trout Hatchery that brings the track up to 35km. Mint! May as well ride to Jindabyne for a pie and a latte at that point right?
Shuttle buses run in the area or you can do a car shuffle. Riding back is also an option, but we recommend you start off going uphill!
2. Downhill Mountain Biking With Chair Lifts at Thredbo
There is so much mountain biking on offer in the Snowy Mountains that it’s hard for me to pick the highlights. But I did it and downhill at Thredbo has to be on your list.
Once the snow melts, the chairlifts start ferrying riders to the top of the resort to blast down the steep terrain. Uphill won’t be on the agenda so save your energy for nailing berms and jumps.
Downhill bikes are pretty specialised, so rental is available for you to find the perfect steed for the task at hand.
3. Road Cycle to Charlotte Pass
The long, steady inclines, light traffic and smooth roads of the Snowy Mountains make it a road cyclist’s dream. No more yelling at shoddily parked Ubers, focus on the crisp air, slightly reduced oxygen (it’s good training!) and downhill run you’ll get at the end.
A popular route runs from Jindabyne all the way up to Charlotte Pass. Might get a few kudos for posting that one.
4. Tackle the Thredbo Bobsled
Bobsleds are sick. Do not even try to tell me otherwise. Bomb this 700m track, lean into the corners, brake if you must and run up and do it again. If you don’t reference Cool Runnings at least seven times you won’t be allowed back.
5. Paddle Around Lake Jindabyne
Lake Jindabyne was created when Jindabyne Dam was built over the Snowy River as part of the Snowy Hydro scheme. Now it’s a bloody good paddle.
There are little islands to explore and cheeky beaches to pull up on. The lake heats up throughout summer too, making it pretty enjoyable to cool off in after a big paddle.
Most of the ski shops rent bikes and watercraft in the warmer months, so pop into Jindabyne to rent what you need!
Fun fact: When the dam’s low you can see parts of Old Jindabyne, the township was flooded in 1967 and Jindabyne was rebuilt!
6. Waterski, Wakeboard or Just ‘Go Boating’ on the Lake
The open, calm waters of Lake Jindabyne are perfect for cutting crisp lines on your waterskis, or creating the perfect lip to flip off on your wakeboard. With heaps of access points to the lake you’ll have no trouble finding a place to put in.
Into more relaxing boating? You can hire a boat from Discovery Parks Jindabyne and potter around the lake to your heart’s content!
7. Trail Run Across the Roof of Australia
Cold air, well-defined trails, heaps of vert and 1/5th less oxygen in the air? Sounds like a training ground. The Snowy Mountains is the perfect place to go for a huge run, spurred on by beautiful views everywhere you look.
The region is also home to a bunch of races including the Australian Alpine Ascent, the Snowy Mountains Ultra and the Sri Chinmoy Multi-Sport Classic, for those looking to combine their running with other pleasures.
8. Hike To The Roof of Australia
You’d be crazy to miss hiking up Mount Kosciuszko during a warm-weather visit to the Snowies. The 18.6km track is covered in snow during winter, but in fine weather you’ll be treated to a stunning, well-graded hike that fords bubbling alpine rivers, passes a crisp view of the glacially-formed Blue Lake and includes a stop in at Seaman’s Hut.
You can ride your bike out from Charlotte Pass too, you’ll just have to leave your bike and hike the final 1.4km to the top. At 2,228m high, it’s the tallest mountain in Australia. Not bad.
9. Enjoy a Multi-Day Hike at Altitude
If hiking 20km in a day sounds like a bit much, why not spread the hike out over a coupla days? Overnight camping on the Main Range is a nice option for a simple campout and might give you the time and energy for a sneaky side trip or two (does visiting Blue Lake and summiting Kosi and Townsend take your fancy?).
More adventurous routes are possible too, ‘cause backcountry camping is allowed in Kosciuszko National Park, but you’ll need to make sure you’re following the regulations to take care of the pristine natural environment #leavenotrace.
10. See Wild Platypus at Bombala
The platypus is one of Australia’s most elusive native animals. Usually, they’re a rare surprise… not in Bombala. The region is well-endowed with a healthy population of the incredibly unique monotreme.
Head to the Bombala Platypus Reserve to catch a sighting of the platypus and learn more about conservation efforts.
11. Visit Wildbrumby Schnapps Distillery
Schnapps is kind of like a fruit brandy. We’re talking fermented fruit juice for a sweet drink with a kick. Can you think of anything better to warm you up after a brisk day of exploring the highest region in Aus?
Wildbrumby Schnapps Distillery has brought traditional European methods to the Snowy Mountains and incorporates local alpine water, native botanicals and freshly grown fruit for a final product that’s unique to the Snowies.
12. Go Camping at Island Bend
Every mission needs a basecamp, where better than the banks of the Snowy River? Island Bend is a large campground that was once used for workers on the Snowy Hydro Scheme, but now it’s prime for straight-up laxin’.
All you’ll be paying is park entry (it’s cheaper outside of the ski season) and you’ll be close to all the adventures above. Of course, homebodies can fish, swim, or paddle in the river or simply sit in their camp chairs and watch the breeze move through the gums. Bliss.
13. Tour All The Local Breweries
As if you needed an excuse to wet your whistle. Here’s your micro list of homegrown brews to dip into (just make sure you’ve got a designated driver or can stroll safely to where you’re staying if you’re keen for a few).
Boasting a solid range of beers named after different parts of the region, this brewery looks over Lake Jindabyne and has a solid tapas menu. Bueno!
The famous Kosciuszko Pale Ale is a tasty drop that incorporates Tasmanian grown Galaxy Hops into its cloudy goodness. They brew straight into the taps so grab a glass!
Brewed on the banks of the Snowy River and attached to Snowy Vineyard, these guys live their motto: ‘Good things brew in small batches.’
Two mates, lots of beers and one very inspiring About Us page later, these locals are dripping with passion to make the ultimate drop. There’s a banging restaurant attached too!
The Snowy Mountains town of Batlow already lays claim to some of the best apples in Aus, thanks to the rich soil, cool climate and oodles of experience the locals have with growin’ dem apples. So the smart people of Batlow decided to turn them into an even better cider. It’s on tap at plenty of bars around the region, or in pretty much any bottle shop!