From Australia’s highest peaks to its darkest caves, the Snowy Mountains is where people have always flocked for sublime adventures in a magical setting.
You don’t need the snow to enjoy the 50 kilometres of mountain bike tracks around Thredbo and Jindabyne, or to experience the life of a high-country cattleman on a horseback tour of the hills. Hunt for truffles, hire a sailboat, take in a round of frisbee golf (really) or visit a classic high-country hut. (Maybe not all in one day, though.)
Here our picks for warmer-weather activities.
Thredbo Mountain Bike Park This is the Mecca for mountain bikers in Australia, and deservedly so. With stunning views and a huge variety of terrain, you don’t even need to bring a bike with you – just hire one in the village.
The park makes convenient use of a major ski field chairlift to cart you to the peaks of the downhill, flow, all-mountain and cross-country trails. It features an all-ages skills park, a fast-flowing pump track, plus a team of qualified guides for those just starting out. If gentle gradient is more your thing, try the Thredbo Valley Trail or the village cross country trails.
Kosciuszko Summit Walk It’s not a bad brag to be able to say you’ve climbed the highest mountain in your country, and nowhere in the world is this more achievable than in Australia. You can climb Mount Kosciuszko two ways, either from Charlotte Pass (18.5 kilometres return) or by getting a chairlift from Thredbo to the top of the ski field (11.5 kilometres return). Is it considered cheating if you get a chairlift halfway up?
There’s nothing strenuous about either route, with the tracks mostly along roads or raised paths to protect the fragile alpine environment. At peak times this can be one of the busiest hiking trails in Australia, but there’s plenty of space on the broad summit to find a piece of grass all to yourself to soak up the view from the roof of Australia.
Reynella Rides The original horse trekking company in the Snowy Mountains, Reynella Rides has been taking visitors on multi-day treks into Kosciuszko National Park for nearly 50 years. The Rudd family are passionate advocates for the environment and sustainable practices, and Reynella is a certified eco-tourism company.
There’s no better or more authentic way to appreciate the grandeur of the Snowy Mountains than from horseback. If you’ve got the time, their five-day horseback safari will create memories for a lifetime – you'll end each day with a three-course meal and yarns around the camp fire and cover 160 kilometres in total. No horse-riding experience is needed, but cowboy hats and an adventurous attitude are recommended.
Macenmist Black Truffles and Wine Get a crash course in all things truffle during a visit to Barbara and Richard Hill’s rural truffle property, a few kilometres south of Bredbo. The couple have spent decades turning the land they one described as a “barren tip” into a green oasis, planting nearly 10,000 trees.
June to August is the time to visit if you want to partake in truffle hunting. Two specialist Lagotto truffle dogs, Fahren and Tawdiffu, follow their noses to seek out the subterranean fungi known as “black gold”, as Barbara and Richard demystify the art of this special form of agriculture. After the hunt enjoy a three-course truffle luncheon, with paired wines from the boutique on-site vineyard.
Raglan Gallery and Cultural Centre The grand Lord Raglan Inn, built in 1854 and home of Cooma’s Raglan Gallery, is a historic building worth a visit alone. The gallery has operated for over 50 years and is run entirely by volunteers who are passionate about local art and culture. Its permanent collection includes works by renowned Cooma artist Imants Tillers, complemented by changing temporary exhibitions. The heritage gardens are dotted with intricate sculptures and trees planted over a hundred years ago.
If you’re looking for a souvenir of your trip to the Snowy Mountains, the Raglan Gallery is the place to go, with a selection of gifts made by local artists, including jewellery, ceramics and cards.
Wiradjuri Aboriginal Culture Tour Tumut Join a guided walk through the heart of the traditional lands of the Wiradjuri, Ngunnawal and Walgalu peoples, and cultivate an appreciation of indigenous connection to country. Learn about the annual journey into the high country to gather Bogong moths and the techniques used for fashioning spears and axes.
Run by the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service, this cultural tour imbues with visitors with an understanding of what it takes to live off the land, why the region must be respected and what the country means to people who have called it home for over 60,000 years.
This article is produced by Broadsheet in partnership with Destination NSW.