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When most people plan a trip to the Snowy Mountains they are heading straight to Thredbo or Perisher for some skiing action.
It’s time to rethink your Snowy Mountains holiday; it’s a fantastic destination in the summertime and perfect for your next drive or getaway.
We loved experiencing this region during our trip to the Snowies in October. We recommend spending at least a week to appreciate the drive fully.
Here are our suggestions on the things you should see and do on this Snowy Mountains Drive, starting from Yarrangobilly and finishing in Jindabyne.
Yarrangobilly is in the northern part of Mt Kosciusko National Park and is well worth exploring.
We highly recommend staying the night in the Yarrangobilly Caves House and exploring the nearby caves and the thermal pools. We recommend taking a tour of the Jersey Cave and the easy 3km Yarrangobilly River Walk.
Press play to see the beauty of the Yarrangobilly Caves:
From Yarrangobilly take a day trip out to the Long Plain Drive.
The Long Plain Drive
The Long Plain Drive is only open after the October Labour Day for the warmer months. It’s a unique Australian drive and we loved it. Get excited because you’re about to see
The Wild Brumbies of the Long Plain Drive
The barren plains of the Long Plain Drive stretch for miles and amongst the small rolling hills you are almost guaranteed to see wild brumbies. We saw mobs of them.
Head of the Murrumbidgee River
Make sure you stop to visit the humble beginnings of the Murrumbidgee River, Australia’s third biggest river.
Drive a little further along the Long Plain Drive, through small pockets of mountain ash and smoky gum forests, and visit the Coolamine Homestead. Coolamine offers a glimpse into isolated ranch life of the early 1900’s.
Hop out of your car and walk around the property and old farm buildings – decide if you think this could have been the life for you!
Clarke Gorge walk
Again the Snowy Mountains will surprise you with its diversity and beauty. Clarke Gorge is not much further on from Coolamine Homestead. It is a 2.5km return walk through a narrow gorge cut by Cave Creek. Spectacular limestone cliffs and cave formations on either side lead you to Cave Creek Falls.
The landscape is dotted with snow gums and black sallee, and vibrant yellow billy buttons. There are about six small creek crossings on the walk, making it a fun adventure the kids will love.
Alpine Way Drive
From Yarrangobilly, take the Snowy Mountains Highway to the Kiandra – Khancoban links road, and drive through breathtaking mountain forests. You can see reminders of Kozzi’s gold-seeking past, as well as dams used in the Snowy Mountains Hydro-Electric Scheme.
We stopped at Khancoban for lunch before taking a couple of hours to enjoy the Alpine Way Drive, a spectacular drive that takes you through tall mountain forests and past snow-capped peaks all the way to Jindabyne.
It was the first time we saw snow in Australia and were totes excited! We stopped off in Thredbo for five nights to enjoy some summer time fun.
Relax in this beautiful alpine village and enjoy all it has to offer in the warmer months.
Climb Mount Kosciuszko
If the weather is in your favour, a climb to the top of Australia is very achievable. Take the Kosciusko express chair lift to Eagles Nest and follow the board walk to the rounded peak. It’s a 13km return.
Alternatively, you can walk the 4km return to The Lookout. This was as far as we got with the girls, as the conditions were unfavourable with strong winds, low temperatures, and snow on the peaks. Colourful, wildflowers carpet the area during the summer time, making it that extra bit special.
Stop off at the Eagles Nest restaurant (Australia’s highest restaurant) for a gourmet hot chocolate before taking the chair lift back down.
We recommend spending the afternoon bobsledding down the mountain and exploring the area by bike. There are plenty of mountain biking trails. If you are really adventurous, you can bike down the mountain. We preferred the gentler rides along the river through the bush.
We stayed at the YHA Thredbo, which is a great budget option. You’ve got to love the views from the deck.
Wild Brumby Distillery
Why not toast to the wild brumby you just saw on the long plains at this fabulous distillery owned by an Austrian couple. The meal we had at the Wild Brumby Distillery was amazing-hearty mountain food – and included the best hot chocolate I think Craig and I have ever had.
It was, of course, topped with some schnapps – peppermint for me and Butterscotch for Craig – the perfect accompaniment to alpine living.
You know you want the Man from Snowy River horse-riding experience. I think it’s in everyone’s secret dreams.
There are numerous horse riding companies to choose from that can be found on the periphery of the park, near Jindabyne. We took our daughter for an afternoon pony ride. It’s no wonder she thought the Snowy Mountains was the best part of our trip around Australia so far.
There are also bike trails around the lake and beautiful views to be found as you head north on the Kosciuszko Rd.
We also recommend the Little Thredbo walk that starts at the Lake Crackenback. For a longer walk combine it with the Bullocks Track walk to Thredbo Diggings. It snowed while we were on this walk – such an exciting moment to share with the girls.
Here is the moment we saw snow:
What are your tips for enjoying a Snowy Mountain drive? Where’s your favourite road trip in Australia?