5 Reasons To Drive to the Snowy Mountains This Summer

snowy mountains summer
Getty Images

The Snowy Mountains are most commonly known as just as good in summer as they are in winter. Not many people realise, that when the snow stops falling, the mountains are still open, and one would argue, better looking than in the height of winter. Even though we’re on the cusp of winter right now, this iconic Australian location is ready for you to explore any time.

The Snowy Mountains encompasses Perisher and Thredbo, the two most popular ski destinations. Although, you also have Jindabyne and surrounding towns, that offer an adventure unlike any other. But before you head off on your summer, Snowy adventure, be sure to stop via your local Battery World to get your car battery health checked for free (conditions apply), and even get a new one fitted should it be time for an upgrade.

If you’re ready to ditch the city and find nature, here are five reasons to drive to the Snowy Mountains this summer. 

Things to do snowy mountains
Photo: @lalisakim

Explore the alpine wonderland on foot

Thanks to its diverse landscape, the Snowy Mountains boast some pretty spectacular sights. Although the snow can get pretty thick, most trails are more difficult to access unless you don your own cross-country ski gear. For hikers, the best time to go is early summer, when you can still get a glimpse of white powder blanketing the peaks, but can also access the trails that take you to lookouts and across mountain tops. Wilderness Sports is a great guide when it comes to all things Snowy Mountains. They can show you the best trails.

One popular hike everyone should tick of their bucket list is the ‘Kozzie’, which is a 13km round trip to the top of Mt Kosciuszko, also known as the top of Australia. On the way up, you might encounter boulder fields, Snowy River headwaters, a pack of wild brumbies, and anything else you’d expect to see when the snow finally melts, and the mountain awakens. If you want an easier hike, the Kosciuszko lookout is an easy 4km round trip.

You can also take a guided walk through Kosciuszko National Park, to learn about the region, or take the Charlotte Pass to Blue Lake track, which takes around three to four hours, and leads you by stunning landscapes and rivers trickling down from the mountain. 

Get off the beaten path

Tackling the high country is going to take the right vehicle, and what better way to discover the lakes and mountains than with a 4WD. Once you’re off-road, you will find camping, fishing, and scenic spots, you otherwise couldn’t access without a 4WD. Barry Way, which is considered a lower snowy drive, is a sprawling road trip, that leads all the way to the Victorian border, although, if you don’t want to go that far, you can stop at any time and head back. The road takes travellers to secret picnic spots, swimming holes, and lookouts in the Snowy River Valley.  Follow the road to Running Water Creek and be sure to stop at Jack’s Lookout, before getting back in the car to reach the scenic Pinch River. The Nine Mile Trail is also worthy of a visit and a great place to set up camp at the campground. Keep an eye out for wild brumbies, emus, and other flourishing wildlife in the area. Reach out to Cal Offroad for more tips and local knowledge, especially if you want to find those hidden gems in Jindabyne.

Before venturing into remote lands, it’s important to let people know where you’re going, in case you get lost or you find yourself in an emergency situation. As beautiful as this region is, it’s also got some hidden dangers, so be prepared before embarking on the journey or any remote adventure. 

Those who regularly enjoy a bit of adventure should look into a personal locator beacon, which can easily be activated from anywhere in the world. This little device saves lives every year and is the safety net you need for any journey. After being activated, the nearest emergency service will find you and assist with your emergency. Have peace of mind knowing that no matter where you are, you can be found and rescued within minutes. 

Things to do snowy mountains
Photo: Jeff Kingston

Explore the region on two wheels

Mountain biking is having its moment, especially in the Snowy Mountains. From high peaks to alpine lakes and forests, mountain bikes can take you to even the smallest pockets of the area. There are plenty of trails to follow, so you don’t get lost. If you’re a beginner biker, head to East Street, a 2km flow trail or the Thredbo Valley Track, which follows along the Thredbo River and offers spectacular views.

Lake Crackenback offers more than 18km of bike trails. You can take a guided ride, join a skills session to improve your technique and confidence, or bring your own bike and explore at your pace. 

Just outside Jindabyne is the Bungarra Alpine Centre, which has professionally built mountain bike trail networks, with over 20km of tracks and four skill areas. 

Of course, you can’t forget about the Mount Kosciuszko Summit Trail, which allows bikes between Charlotte pass and Rawson Pass. 

Take to horseback to explore the legendary high country

Home of the wild brumby and immortalised in Banjo Paterson’s 1890 poem The Man from Snowy River, the magnificent NSW Snowy Mountains offers horse riding tours for all levels of experience. Choose from an hour or full-day tour to explore the high country. There is also a multi-day trek, where you can camp under the stars, and swap yarns around the campfire, for that true country experience. 

The Cochran Horse Treks of Reynella Rides are located in Adaminaby, or you can find more adventures in Jindabyne with the majestic Lake Jindabyne in the background. Snowy Wilderness offers horse riding in a sanctuary for wild brumby horses. This is a great opportunity to get up and close to the magnificent wild beasts. There is also the option to choose Thredbo Valley Horse Riding in Crackenback, which is great for kids and non-riders. 

Things to do snowy mountains
Photo: Destination NSW

Eat and drink your way through the valley

The Snowy Mountains offer more than just adventure and thrills. You will find a thriving wine region, with cellar doors to taste, and a town famous for its apples—among others. 

Venture to the Tumbarumba wine region to taste cooler climate wines including chardonnay and pinot noir. You can visit cellar doors including Courabyra Wines, and Snowy Vineyard. You can also stop by the Kosciuszko Brewing Company or Jindabyne Brewing for a sampling of the mountain’s favourite beer. Grab an Ale from Tumut River Brewing Company, or discover gin at Wildbrumby Distillery. They use local fruits, and you can visit the distillery door near Crackenback for a tasting experience. 

South of Tumut is the little town of Batlow, most famous for its Batlow Apple Blossom Festival in October and Batlow CiderFest in May. Meander through the orchard’s roadside stall, sample apples, and other seasonal fruits. Macenmist Black Truffles and Wines offers a great experience to hunt for truffles. 

Another must-visit is The Big Trout in Adaminaby, northwest of Cooma. Standing at an impressive 10 metres high, the Big Trout is a symbol of the town’s best fishing spots in Lake Eucumbene, known for its fly fishing, and other fishing adventures. 

Things to do snowy mountains
Photo: @valhalla_perisher

Where to stay

During summer most ski resorts and pubs are closed, but if you’re looking for somewhere to stay during your trip, Valhalla Lodge offers a family-friendly stay, with classic lodge furnishings and feel. The food is definitely a highlight, with the menu changing daily, and the lodge is situated right near hiking trails, perfect for those early morning adventures.

With over 100 Battery World stores across Australia, there’s bound to be one near you. Check out your local Battery World store today.

Get the latest from Thrillist Australia delivered straight to your inbox, subscribe here.