Summer in the Snowy Mountains is the perfect time to explore nature and go on adrenalin-pumping adventures. Once the snow melts away there are fields dotted with wildflowers to hike through, shimmering trout to catch from alpine streams and brumby trails to tackle on horse riding safaris. Here’s our guide to the fun, food and festivals in the Snowies this Summer.
Saddle up and trek through alpine high country on one of these memorable horse riding adventures this Summer.
Family-owned Reynella Rides has been established for 49 years and expertly guides guests on multi-day treks through Kosciuzsko National Park. At the end of your day of riding including a picnic lunch, four-wheel drive vehicles meet your group with all the gear to camp overnight and supplies for your hearty mountain dinner and breakfast. Visit reynellarides.com.au
Snowy Wilderness is a horse riding resort nestled in a wild brumby sanctuary, so you’re sure to spot brumbies thundering across the plains on your part- or full-day trek. The 7500 acre property has contemporary lodge and cottage accommodation, a café and beautiful alpine scenery with mountain range views. Visit snowywilderness.com.au
Cochran Horse Treks
Slide into the saddle at Cochran Horse Treks and be guided by professional stockmen. Hear tales of alpine horseman on a variety of treks: follow a historic trail on Mountain Divide; reconnect with nature and family on a Family Trek for non-riders and children; or take the Brumby Trek for competent riders. Visit cochranhorsetreks.com.au
Also good for families, Thredbo Valley Horse Riding in Crackenback, near Jindabyne, offers special rides for kids and non-riders on easy trails, as well as pony rides for young children. Visit thredbovalleyhorseriding.com
Swap skis for spokes at top mountain biking destination, Thredbo Mountain Bike Park. A mix of cross country and gravity trails, skills park and flowing single tracks offer spectacular views of Australia’s highest peaks, alpine lakes and giant boulders on rolling plains.
There’s something for every level with a kids-only area, chairlift accessed gravity trails, as well as two-hour beginner, intermediate and advanced clinics daily. Don’t have a bike? Hire from the MTB fleet including the latest from Norco’s gravity range, visit thredbo.com.au/biking
The popular Thredbo Valley Track inside the park is currently undergoing an upgrade. The 18km trail follows the river from Thredbo Alpine Village to Bullocks Flat, and is being extended downstream to Gaden Trout Hatchery. The remote ‘lower’ part of the extension opens soon and is ideal for experienced riders wanting to test their skills. A 4km ‘upper’ track extension from Thredbo Alpine Village to Dead Horse Gap is planned and expected to open in 2020.
Rocky mountain high
Trek 2,228 metres to the top of our highest peak, Mt Kosciuszko. The Mount Kosciuszko Summit Walk starts from Charlotte Pass or Thredbo, and is a moderate grade, six to eight-hour return trip from Charlotte Pass and four to five hours from Thredbo.
Along the way you’ll see Lake Cootapatamba, Australia’s highest lake, blooming wildflowers and panoramic mountain views. K7 Adventures offer guided walks to the top, and at Lake Crackenback Resort & Spa, you can combine wilderness walks with a stay in a luxury lakeside resort.
Take a Summer Scenic Chairlift, which takes around 15 minutes one way and rises 560 metres, offering breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains and valleys of the Kosciuszko National Park. The Alpine hiking season, offering guided hikes, opens on 16 November, visit thredbo.com.au/events/alpine-hiking-season-open-2019.
Explore Yarrangobilly Caves, a complex network of six caves formed from a 440 million-year-old band of limestone. Look out for stalagmites, stalactites and cave corals. Above ground, take the nearby river walk to the thermal pool, which stays at a year-round temperature of 27 degrees.
Immerse yourself in a program of yoga and wellness retreats in the pristine surroundings of alpine high country. Guided by Jane Corben, founder and principal yoga teacher at Jindabyne Yoga Shala, guests can embrace the calming spiritual energy of the mountains. Stay in Thredbo village, rise at dawn for yoga on the mountain, meditate amongst weathered snow gums and nourish with healthy packed lunches. Visit www.thredbo.com.au/packages
The pristine waters of the lakes, rivers and water catchments of the Snowy Mountains are great fishing spots for recreational anglers. Fishing in most rivers and streams is allowed between October and the June long weekend, when melting snow creates crystal-clear waterways teeming with rainbow trout, Murray cod and golden perch.
On Steve Williamson’s Trout Fishing Adventures fishing guides will teach and guide anglers in fly, lure and bait fishing. At Lake Eucumbene, anglers can hook a rainbow trout, brown trout or fine Atlantic salmon. Visit Eucumbene Trout Farm and Gaden Trout Hatchery to see how these cold-water sport fish are bred.
From alpine ales to smoked trout and modern mountain fare, the food scene in the Snowies is flourishing. A new foodie hub serving flavoursome health-conscious food has popped up in Jindabyne. Birchwood Café doesn’t take bookings so it’s first in first served. Try the Lonsdale Roasters Coffee and tuck into colourful meals such as Spring-Time Toast with herbed ricotta, roasted beets, pickled strawberries and sugar snaps on sour dough.
Also in Jindabyne, there’s a small Persian restaurant Café Darya with an interesting menu of spicy slow-cooked meats and warm Persian salads, and don’t miss the classic Italian fare at long-standing Italian eatery, Bacco, with a quaint timber-lined space, blackboard specials and some of the best pizzas in the Snowy Mountains.
For an alpine ale, visit Snowy Vineyard Estate and Microbrewery, Jindabyne Brewery and at the award-winning Wild Brumby Schnapps Distillery, try lovingly crafted Schnapps from locally-grown Aussie fruits.
For crisp cool climate wine, head to Courabyra Wines cellar door in the Tumbarumba region at the foothills of the Snowies. Sample pinot noir or sparkling chardonnay then linger over their famous Ploughman’s Lunch Platter for two.
Crackenback Farm Restaurant and Guesthouse on the edge of the National Park has outstanding chef Jodie Evans at the helm and a charming mountain lodge vibe. Choose from the extensive wine list at the bar, then pull up a chair on the sunlit terrace and tuck into generous serves of French-inspired food while the kids run around on the grass and amble over play equipment.
Local favourite Black Bear Inn has a wonderful atmosphere, plenty of beers on tap and hearty, simple food such as eye fillet steak and mash. Central Road 2625 is another hidden gem in Thredbo’s Village Square, serving delicious Asian fusion such as salmon soba noodle salad.
Stay in new eco-friendly alpine hideaway, Avonside Alpine Estate, just twenty minutes from Jindabyne. There’s an off-the-grid solar-powered two-bedroom cabin with Scandinavian aesthetic, fully equipped kitchen and sleek bathroom. By day, take a tour of the farm to pet Southdown Babydoll sheep and Highland cattle, or collect fresh eggs from Avonside’s over 400 chickens. At sunset, enjoy a local wine by the outdoor fire pit.
Novotel Lake Crackenback Resort Spa in Thredbo Valley is a top pick for families all year round with loads of complimentary activities, spacious rooms with up to three bedrooms and onsite restaurants and bars. Tackle a hiking trail from the resort or take a guided Segway tour; throw a fishing line into Lake Crackenback, play golf, paddle a canoe or just relax in the heated pool.
For a boutique stay, The Eastern Oak Apartment is a minimalist apartment five-minutes’ walk from Thredbo village with an outstanding view of the High Noon ski field. Moonbah Hut, on a private lake just 15 minutes from Jindabyne, is just as appealing when snow-covered or sunlit. The traditional log hut has wood-fired cooking, quaint fishing prints, and outside you can fish or rock climb.
In the heart of Jindabyne, book into Jindy Inn for a good-value stylish stay and relax in one of their contemporary rooms, some with views of Lake Jindabyne. The owners are animal lovers and members of wildlife rescue group L.A.O.K.O. (Looking After Our Kosciuszko Orphans), so if you’re lucky your stay might coincide with that of an orphaned baby wombat. You’ll also find an extensive vegan menu at the restaurant – try the Zen Board with vegan cheeses, fruits and olives.
Festivals + Events
18-20 January 2020 – Thredbo Blues Festival
With live blues music in intimate venues across Thredbo Village, this long-running music festival is a highlight of Summer in the Snowies. Some of the most unique venues attracting exceptional global blues artists are Australia’s highest restaurant, Eagles Nest, and poolside at Alpine Hotel. Visit thredboblues.com.au
29-30 November – L’Etape by Le Tour de France
L’Étape Australia by Le Tour de France is a unique road cycle event that provides an experience close to riding in the Tour de France. Visit letapeaustralia.com
24 November – Gravity Girls
This MTB retreat led by some of Australia’s best female coaches will focus on the core skills of mountain biking such as body position, cornering, braking and jump fundamentals. For women only. Visit thredbo.com.au/events/gravity-girls-retreat-2020