Your year-round guide to the Snowy Mountains

Snowy Mountains, NSW. Credit: Destination NSW

Joanne Brookfield

Posted February 14, 2022

As the name Snowy Mountains rightly suggests, Australia’s high country is a winter wonderland for skiers and snowboarders. Located in South Eastern NSW, the Snowy Mountains are the tallest mountain range on the mainland and includes Australia’s highest peak, Mt Kosciuszko.

Kosciuszko National Park, which is where you’ll find all New South Wales ski resorts, is a six-hour drive from Melbourne, five hours from Sydney and two from Canberra. If you’re driving in a 2WD vehicle during winter, you will need snow chains, however you can also take a regional flight into Snowy Mountains Airport (Cooma).

Whichever way you get there, an awe-inspiring array of alpine scenery awaits, with rocky granite outcrops, dry eucalypt forests, caves, glacial lakes and crystal-clear rivers and streams alive with trout, all part of the many photos you’ll want to take.

The Snowy Mountains region includes surrounding towns Jindabyne, Berridale and Cooma to the east, Bombala and Delegate in the south, and Adaminaby and Tumut in the north.

While a hot spot in winter, when the snow melts there’s also mountain biking, bush walking, horse riding, kayaking, rafting and fly fishing as outdoor adventure options, plus plenty of cellar doors, craft breweries and restaurants strategically placed for optimum views, making the Snowy Mountains a year-round destination.

Summer fun in the Snowy Mountains

Climb a mountain

Mt Kosciuszko is often referred to as the ‘rooftop of Australia’ but it’s no Everest. However, don’t let that stop you from bragging about having reached the summit!

You won’t need years of training and a spare 40 days to risk your life doing this climb. Instead, it’s a 13-kilometre return walk starting at Thredbo, which should take 4-5 hours, or from Charlotte Pass, it’s an additional 5.5 kilometres, so allow up to eight hours before you enjoy the views. Locals will tell you best time of year is December to March, when the alpine wildflowers bloom.


Savouring the sights on foot is a great way to experience the diverse beauty of the landscape, plus wildlife such as echidnas, wedge tailed eagles and southern corroboree frogs.

If you want some river scenery, and maybe spot a platypus, from Sawpit Creek picnic area you can take the Pallaibo walking track which is 5.6 kilometres one way to Thredbo River picnic area, or try the Waterfall walking track, an easy 6-kilometre loop to an unnamed waterfall.

The Bullocks Track follows the trout-filled Thredbo River between Thredbo Diggings campground and Bullocks Hut, an historic building on the banks of the river.

Experienced hikers might prefer the more challenging Main Ridge Track, a 22-kilometre return loop from Charlotte Pass which winds along the famous Snowy River, past glacial lakes Hedley Tarn and Blue Lake.


Ram Ranges Head, Kosciuszko National Park. Credit: Don Fuchs & Destination NSW

Ram Ranges Head, Kosciuszko National Park. Credit: Don Fuchs & Destination NSW

Saddle up

Place yourself in the centre of Banjo Patterson’s famous poem, The Man from Snowy River, by saddling up and taking a horse ride through the High Country.

With at least six operators offering equestrian experiences, from pony rides for kids and horses suitable for every skill level, you can clip-clop through rural properties and up alpine trails

For a truly immersive experience, adventures up to a week-long are also available, so you can explore truly remote parts, see Brumbies in the wild and write your own bush poem by the campfire at night.

Backcountry, Kosciuszko National Park. Credit: Destination NSW
Dead Horse Gap, Thredbo. Credit: Destination NSW

Winter fun in the Snowy Mountains

Ski resorts

The biggest ski resort, in both the Snowy Mountains and the Southern Hemisphere, is Perisher, which actually consists of four linked resorts (Perisher Valley, Smiggin Holes, Guthega and Blue Cow).

This gives you 47 lifts servicing 1,245 hectares of skiable terrain, with an incredible variety of runs to choose from, plus there’s a snow sports school if you need a few lessons before you begin.

Home to the longest ski run is Thredbo, with the 5.9-kilometre Super trail. There are also several black runs for advanced skiers, at the other end of the skills spectrum such as Friday Flat, which is a great place for beginners to get the hang of things.

Here you’ll also find the first alpine gondola in Australia, Merritts Gondola, plus a buzzing alpine village that includes a Leisure Centre with Olympic-sized heated pool, waterslide and bouldering wall. Every Saturday night there’s also a fireworks display.

Perched at 1,765 metres, making it the highest resort in Australia, is Charlotte Pass. Its elevation gives it some of the most consistent snow falls, so in winter it’s completely snowbound and only accessible by over snow transport, which means there’s no cars or big crowds.

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