5 Snowy Mountains Activities: There’s More to It than You Think
Many travellers flock to Australia’s beaches and coastal cities, but there’s a more adventurous and unforgettable place to visit: New South Wales’ Snowy Mountains. This rugged mountain range lures travellers in with its pristine waterways, enthralling outdoor experiences and gourmet food and wine offerings.
The fresh mountain air flows from wide-open horse riding paddocks to downhill mountain biking trails. There’s also a variety of accommodation in the Snowy Mountains to suit all travellers, from opulent spa resorts and self-contained houses to immersive farm stays and budget-friendly hotels and motels.
1. Horse Riding Among the Mountains
Live out “The Man from Snowy River” poem with a horse riding journey in the Snowy Mountains. Cochran Horse Treks offers multi-day rides and over 160 years of horse trekking history, while Reynella Rides transports you deep into Mount Kosciuszko National Park. For a luxurious experience, stay in the brick cottages at Snowy Wilderness, a brumby sanctuary that lets you run with wild horses and explore the area’s natural landscapes on horseback or in a four-wheel drive.
Are you visiting with family? Organise a private horse riding tour with Yarramba Horse Riding, which focuses on tailored rides for different skill levels. You can learn the nuances of skilful horse riding at Mountain Ash Trails, which specialises in highly effective riding clinics. Sit back and watch the experts show you how it’s done during the Boggy Creek Show, a two-hour spectacular of horsemanship, Aussie comedy and storytelling.
2. Hiking, Heritage & Culture
The mild summer temperatures in the Snowy Mountains are perfect for hiking and exploring the region’s rich Aboriginal and natural heritage and culture. Those looking for a challenge can take on the 2,228-metre-high Mount Kosciuszko, which boasts a scenic 13-kilometre circuit walking trail from Thredbo to its towering peak. Alternatively, learn about the traditional beliefs, hunting practices and bush tucker of the native Wiradjuri people on the Wiradjuri Aboriginal Cultural Tour.
Located along the Yarrangobilly River, the Yarrangobilly Caves showcase 440-million-year-old limestone formations discovered in 1834 by European settlers. Take a dip in the 20-metre-long natural thermal pool to soothe weary legs. You’ll feel dwarfed by the enormous sugar pine trees, the tallest of their kind in the world, along the Sugarpine Walk in Batlow. Afterwards, admire the cascading Tuross Falls in Wadbilliga National Park.
3. Scenic Fishing & Kayaking
Surrounded by forested mountains, the crystalline lakes and waterways in the Snowy Mountains reveal a limitless playground for kayaking and fishing. Recreational anglers cast lines out from the shoreline and off leisure vessels hoping to reel in trout, Murray cod and golden perch. Are you new to the area? Join an experienced local guide on a fishing tour with Steve Williamson’s Trout Fishing Adventures in Jindabyne or Snowy Monaro Fly Fishing in Cooma.
Try your hand at the art of fly fishing with Fly Fishing Tumut, which offers lessons in casting and hooking those elusive trout. You’re guaranteed to catch a rainbow trout at the family-friendly Eucumbene Trout Farm, or you can learn the basics of trout fishing at Lure Casting School in Lake Crackenback Resort. Experienced anglers can venture off on their own to fish Lake Eucumbene, Khancoban Pondage and Thredbo River.
4. Adrenalin-Pumping Mountain Biking
The Snowy Mountains delivers heart-racing thrills with its downhill mountain biking trails, particularly the Thredbo Downhill Bike Run. Catch the Kosciuszko Express Chairlift to the start of the run and admire the uninterrupted mountain vistas, before careening down the legendary trail past wall rides, rock drops, jumps and off-camber roots.
Looking for something more easy-going? Take on the 19-kilometre-long Thredbo Valley Track, which runs from Thredbo to Lake Crackenback Resort along the Thredbo River. Expect suspension bridges, open grassland and verdant eucalypt forests, along with smooth descents and scenic rest stops. You’ll also find immersive trails throughout the national parks and state forests around Tumut and Bombala, such as the 20-kilometre-return Cascade Hut Trail, which has snow gum forests and a lookout over the Murray River. For peaceful high-country trails, cycle the paths from Khancoban to Kiandra through Kosciuszko National Park.
5. Food & Wine Indulgence
Treat your stomach and taste buds to exceptional food and wine experiences in the Snowy Mountains, from ciders, schnapps, gin and beer to cheese and jams. Wine enthusiasts will appreciate the award-winning wineries, especially Courabyra Wines, which serves cool-climate wines, such as pinot noir, chardonnay, sauvignon blanc and pinot gris. Soak up the waterfront alfresco setting at Tumbarumba Wines, which serves Italian-inspired lunches and wine and cheese pairings.
Combine semi-dry sweet and fruity wines with craft beers at Snowy Vineyard and Microbrewery, which lets you brew your own boutique beer. Purchase free-range eggs, homemade jams and seasonal fruits at Mouats Farm or hand pick blueberries at the family-owned Jolly Berries between December and March. Located on the Alpine Way, the Wild Brumby Distillery & Cafe is perfect for tasting gourmet schnapps and gin in a rustic setting.