The Snowy Mountains are Perfect in Winter or Summer
For decades, the Snowy Mountains, Australia’s only alpine region, have been Australia’s favorite winter holiday destination. Nature seems to have thoughtfully placed the Snowy Mountains just about halfway between Australia’s two largest cities, Sydney and Melbourne, giving both sides of the mountains equally easy access to them. While the Australian summer months do not draw quite the numbers of visitors to the Snowy Mountains as the winter months do, this is steadily changing as Australians discover the magic and excitement in the mountains when they aren’t “snowy.”
The Snowy Mountains in Summer
If you love adventure and excitement, the Snowy Mountains have just as much to offer in the summer as they do in the winter. In an effort to attract summertime visitors to the Snowies, resort owners keep their lifts open in the summer so that mountain bike enthusiasts, hikers and sight seers can avoid the arduous climbs up the top of the slopes and experience them from the top down. While this is welcome news to those of us who may be a little lazy, it has also meant that the Snowy Mountains have become a summertime mountain bike mecca.
Thredbo is one of the Snowy Mountain’s most popular ski and snowboarding areas, boasting some of Australia’s steepest and longest trails. In the summer, these become downhill mountain bike trails. Some of them, such as the infamous Cannonball Run, are on the world mountain bike map as amongst the world’s steepest and trickiest. The Cannonball Run begins at the top of the mountain, at Eagle’s Nest and drops almost 2000 feet over a steep, winding, heart stopping 2 mile distance.
If more sedate mountain biking appeals to you more, then the Snowy Mountains are also ideal. There are mountain bike trails through beautiful wooded areas that link major resort centers together, making a day on the trail a combination of exercise and relaxation.
In Jindabyne, on the New South Wales side of the Snowy Mountains, you can have it all in the summer. Nestled in the foothills of the mountains, Jindabyne has a large lake for swimming, kayaking, wake boarding, water skiing or just enjoying from the shore. A relatively small village, from your Jindabyne accommodation, you can hop on your mountain bike, leave the world behind and explore the scenic foothills of the Snowy Mountains in minutes.
Mt. Kosciusko, Australia’s highest peak, is most accessible during the summer season as is one of Australia’s most popular destinations for “bush walkers” (hikers). There are two ways to get to the top of Mt. Kosciusko: the easy way and the hard way. The easy way is to take the chairlift at Thredbo to the top. The hard way is to hike it. Even the hard way is not that hard, if you’re reasonably fit and it’s so rewarding when you reach the top, look down and see Australia spread out in front of you.
The Snowy Mountains in Winter
The biggest names in ski and snowboard resorts in the Snowy Mountains are Thredbo and Perisher. Thredbo has a reputation for being for expert skiers and slightly insane snowboarders, boasting the steepest and longest runs in Australia. The Funnel Web run, named after Australia’s deadliest spider is an example of this. However, with over 50 runs to choose from, ranging from special runs for toddlers to the extreme runs like Funnel Web, there’s something for everyone at Thredbo.
In earlier years, three distinctly different ski resorts comprised what is now known as Perisher. First Guthega, Smiggin Holes and Blue Cow were amalgamated into Blue Cow and then, after the Skitube tunnel was completed in 1988, Blue Cow and Perisher became one. To this day, many skiers and snowboarders still call Perisher, “Perisher Blue,” but officially the name of the Southern Hemisphere’s largest ski resort is simply Perisher.
What Charlotte Pass lacks in size, it makes up for in snow. The highest resort in Australia, Charlotte Pass sits in the middle of a ski bowl. You can ski from your Charlotte Pass accommodation to the lift of your choice and finish a day of skiing or snowboarding at your doorstep again. In the height of winter, the only way in or out of Charlotte Pass is by over-snow transport, making it a dream destination for those who don’t like to see a solid ground for the duration of their vacation.
Rob loves the Snowy Mountains in summer and winter. There are hundreds of Snowy Mountains accommodation options to choose from, ranging from cheap but comfortable backpacker lodges to 5 star resorts. Whatever time of year you come to Australia, come to the Snowy Mountains. You’ll love them.