10 reasons the Aussie Snowy Mountains are worth visiting
Wombats and kangaroos on the snow! Doughnut stands. Pop up champagne bars. All very important reasons why it’s worth heading over to the Aussie Snowy Mountains for a ski trip. Seriously. Read about it here, with our 10 reasons why the Snowy Mountains are worth visiting.
1. Snownuts and lamingtons
Forget croissants and Dunkin Donuts, the Aussie ski slope sweets are top notch.
A trip to the Snowy Mountains is not complete without a stop at Jindabyne’s Sundance Bakehouse. The road trip from Sydney is around six hours, three hours from Canberra and just an hour from Cooma. Jindabyne is the gateway to the ski fields and a great spot for a sugar hit. The bakery is located inside Nuggets Crossing Shopping Centre and is a local institution. Come lunch hour you’ll find it packed with people picking up pies and quiches fresh from the oven – beat the crowds and make a beeline for the sweets cabinet. The famous “snownut” is a jumbo sized cronut topped with fresh cream and drizzled in chocolate. And then there’s the rows and rows of lamingtons, cream buns and other Aussie favourites. Best of all, this season Sundance has pop up bakeries at the Perisher Valley Centre and the Skitube terminal.
Forget the zoo, the Snowy Mountains are a great spot to see our most unique wildlife – you’ll see plenty of wombats, kangaroos, cockatoos and possums. Perisher sits inside the Kosciuszko National Park, and if you’re lucky you might see a wombat wobbling along the snow. You do need to drive carefully after dark to avoid hitting any hanging out too close to the road.
3. Snow Gums
Aspen might have groves of Aspens and Chamonix might be a wonder of white tipped Christmas trees, but Australia has the Snow Gum. Its scientific name is the Eucalyptus pauciflora, and you’ll find this stunning subalpine tree all over the Snowy Mountains, especially on the lower ski fields. Catching sight of red, grey and brown striped bark peaking through the snow is something every Aussie should see at least once. They’re at their best just after a fresh snow fall, so head over to the Perisher Quad Express Chair and get an outside seat if you can – the gums make chair lift rides all that more spectacular.
4. Snow climbing
That’s right, forget double black diamonds, make this season the year you try out snow climbing. K7 Adventures runs introductory one day courses into the adrenalin inducing task of scaling a snow covered cliff face. You’ll start out with a small cliff on Signature Rocks, learning the basics of ice picks, crampons, harnesses and abseiling before giving it a go. K7’s team of champion mountaineers will do everything from secure your crampons and rope belaying to pep talks and guided meditation for those who need a little extra motivation to tackle the climb.
The spiked shoes designed for walking over the top of snow have come a long way from the tennis racquet contraptions you might associate with a Charlie Chaplin movie. Snowshoes secure over the top of your walking boots and are great fun to take out for a few hours hiking. It’s an excellent work out but also a great opportunity to slow down and soak up the snow from a different perspective. Take the Kosciuszko Express chairlift all the way up to Eagles Nest in Thredbo and head out past the ski lifts to the Ramshead Peaks.
What’s the snow without skiing? Or snowboarding. The Snowy Mountains are home to Australia’s longest and highest runs and a cracker season will see you getting some on mountain time in excellent conditions. Perisher’s Skitube is a swiss-designed alpine railway that takes you from Bullocks Flat Terminal (20 km from Jindabyne) all the way up to the Perisher Valley and Blue Cow stations. Park the car, hop on the train and be on the snow in just ten minutes.
7. Alpine dining
The Snowy Mountains are home to high end chefs who have flown the city coops to embrace the fresh mountain air. Lake Crackenback Resort’s Cuisine Restaurant & Bar sits right on Lake Crackenback, with a fire, live music and an award winning menu showcasing regional and Australian produce. Start off with a Meredith Goat’s cheese and beet salad, try whole smoked local trout and save room for decadent bread and butter pudding for dessert. Jindabyne’s Wildbrumby Schnapps Distillery is a local institution famous for serving hearty traditional veal schnitzels and award winning schnapps (the butterscotch schnapps has a cult-like following). Crackenback Farm Restaurant is a great option if you’re after a hearty meal by a fireplace.
8. Off mountain activities
Not a snow person? That’s okay. The Snowy Mountains region is a playground year round. Mountain biking, cycling and hiking draw big crowds during the warmer months, but year round you can try activities like archery, trampolining and fly fishing at Lake Crackenback Resort. Introductory Fly Fishing classes are popular with all ages, especially father and son groups. Certified Casting Instructor Matt Tripet’s passion for the sport is contagious, so even if you don’t end up catching a single thing, it’s a fun way to learn a new skill. His half day classes are a good way to get hooked!
9. Start them young
Keen to have your kids on the snow as soon as they can crawl? The Perisher kids programs takes tots from as young as 6 months (don’t fret, they won’t be skiing that young), introducing them to the snow and offering great childcare while you get in a few runs. Toddlers can try out the one hour Little Stars lessons, but from aged three they can be enrolled in the Discovery Kids Program, a full day where they’ll ski or snowboard, play and have a heap of fun. There are full day programs all the way up to fifteen year olds.
The French alps might have the most famous après parties, but we do okay down here. The Thredbo Alpine Hotel’s poolside pop up GH Mumm champagne bar is the place to pop a bottle of bubbly once you’ve finished on the snow.
Lisa was the guest of DNSW