Thredbo and the surrounding Snowy Mountains are home to some of Australia’s best vistas and demand exploring, whether by bike during spring and summer, or by ski and snowboard during winter.
But all that activity sure does work up an appetite. Thankfully, there’s a bunch of notable bars, cafes and restaurants in the region – here’s a primer on what to check out.
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“Please note: Kareela Hutte is a ski-in, ski-out venue – you must be an intermediate or above skier or snowboarder to visit this venue.” So proclaims the website for this much-loved chalet halfway down Thredbo’s popular Supertrail ski run. As you’d expect from an operation modelled on European alpine snow culture, Kareela Hutte’s menu skews Germanic and cold-weather with fondue and pork knuckle among its signatures. Should the occasion for a long lunch present itself, champagne, oysters and widescreen views of the valley are on-hand to keep the party going.
Merritts Mountain House
They come to Merritts for breakfast. They come for lunch. They come last thing in the day, hoping to snag a seat out on the deck for one final peek at the scenery, a bucket of Coronas and a lungful of mountain air. This alpine restaurant keeps its food simple – think chunky hot dogs, poutine, hot chocolate crowned with whipped cream and, like the saying goes, a cherry on top – but it’s perfectly pitched for the easy-going clientele who blow through during the day. Many arrive on their skis and snowboards, but you can also take the newly opened Merritts Gondola if you’re on foot.
Carb-loaders, this way please. The Bakery in the Village Square draws crowds from early with baked goods that range from recovery breakfasts (bacon and egg rolls!) to takeaway eats designed for the backpack. All the bakery favourites are present and accounted for, including pies, sausage rolls, cakes and pastries, plus espresso coffee. Cakes can also be ordered through the bakery if you’re on the mountain to celebrate an occasion.
Say it “ah-pray”, as in après ski – French for “after ski” and the noble tradition of stopping at a bar after a day on the slopes. Located close to the village square, The Denman hotel’s in-house boozer is open to the public and hums with energy after dark as skiers and boarders – boots and all – decompress with snacks from the concise, laidback menu (deli boards, oysters, pasta specials) and a drinks list that includes beer, schnapps, a generously stocked shelf of gin, and a tight collection of wine. Apres Bar buzzes seven nights a week in winter, and trades Friday to Sunday nights during the summer months.
Based in Crackenback, a visit to Australia’s highest distillery makes a fine day trip or pitstop pre- or post-Thredbo. Established in 2005 by Monika and Brad Spalding, Wildbrumby tells the story of both Monika’s family history (her grandfather was distilling schnapps before she was born) and Brad’s lifelong connection to the region (in a previous life, Brad was a ski instructor). Inspired by locavore European Alpine traditions, local fruit, mountain water and botanicals star in the distillery’s range of gin, vodka and liqueurs. The food menu is all about fortifying, Germanic-influenced mountain cooking such as slow-cooked beef gulasch, veal schnitzels, and spinach and ricotta dumplings.
Zack’s Bar & Brasserie
Connected to Bernti’s Mountain Inn, Zack’s Grill is a favourite among holidaymakers who book in for big-flavoured cooking, but its dedicated bar and brasserie is a destination in its own right. The thirsty drop in for beer, wine, cocktails and other post-snow essentials, particularly during happy hour (4pm to 6pm) when drink prices take a tumble. Refreshments aside, Zack’s also serves a small menu of pub favourites including burgers, chicken wings and pasta.
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