The Snowy Mountains region is the perfect year-round destination. It’s a magical snow and adventure wonderland in the winter months, but it is equally interesting for the remainder of the year. Home to Australia’s five highest peaks, including Mt Kosciuszko, this incredible alpine wilderness area has plenty to offer, both on and off the snowfields.
The Snowy Mountains region is an iconic Australian treasure with a wide variety of attractions. Although best known as a destination for snow lovers, its diverse climate means visitors will find something to attract them year round in the spectacular mountain environment.
Whether you prefer zooming down a steep hill on a snowboard, exploring the scenery on a bike, wandering amongst the wildflowers or casting a line in the river, you’ll love the fresh mountain air and abundance of things to do in the Snowies.
The cooler months are a great time for having fun at snow resorts like Charlotte Pass, Perisher, Selwyn Snowfields and Thredbo. These are all located in the Kosciuszko National Park and offer activities including snow tubing, snowboarding, skiing and scenic chairlift rides. There’s something to suit all abilities, from beginner to expert.
Off the snow, you’ll find townships bustling with cosy wine bars and restaurants with welcoming roaring fires, vibrant nightlife, live music and plentiful shopping opportunities.
In the warmer months, bushwalking, horse riding and mountain biking are favourite pastimes. The walk to the summit of Mt Kosciuszko provides spectacular views of the valleys and ranges. Fishing is also popular in the streams and lakes but ensure you have a licence.
Allow several hours to drive from Canberra to the Snowies via the Monaro Highway and Snowy Mountains Highway. There are daily coach services available.
If you are driving in Kosciuszko National Park between the June and October long weekends, be aware that:
- many minor roads and some major roads close during the snow season
- two-wheel-drive vehicles must carry snow chains
- road conditions can be variable, so check for updates before heading off
- black ice, which is difficult to see when driving, can be a hidden challenge
When to go
The best time to visit the Snowy Mountains depends on the kind of break you are looking for.
Optimal snow conditions are in July and August. However, lower accommodation prices can often be available at the ski resorts in June and September.
In the summer months, temperatures are perfect for outdoor activities like hiking, bushwalking and horse riding. It’s much more comfortable for camping, fishing and cycling.
Whatever time you visit, be prepared for cold weather. The lowest ever temperature in Australia – minus 23.0 °C – was recorded here.
In summer, the temperature can reach the mid-thirties in the townships but still be sub-zero at night, with snow falling on the peaks.
- Duration: allow around two and a half to three hours to drive each way
- Distance from Canberra: around 220 km depending on where you go
- Cost: be prepared to fork out for park entry fees, hire costs (for ski gear, snow chains etc), food and drink, and use of facilities like ski lifts
- Recommended for: snow sports, bushwalking, food and wine, fishing, mountain biking, hiking and getting into nature
- More information: go to the Visit NSW website
What is your favourite spot in the Snowy Mountains? When do you think is the best time to visit? Let us know in the comments.
Header image from Snowy Mountains.