20 April 2016

Road trip from Canberra: Summer in Thredbo

| Ellen Harvey
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2016-01-24 09.42.30

tl;dr: Escape the heat by heading to Thredbo for summer. Play tennis or golf, take a ride on a bobsled, swim in the river, hike the national park.

While Thredbo is known mainly as a skiing hot spot, my favourite time to go to Thredbo is in summer. It’s warm enough to be outside, but cooler than the ACT. It has long sunlight hours, and if I’m being honest, there are a lot less people around.

Thredbo is the mountain equivalent of Queensland’s Coolum Beach for me. Both are happy places for me, and both bring an identical sense of peace.

To get to Thredbo, head south out of Canberra, following the signs to Cooma; then, the signs will direct you to Jindabyne. The drive may take two and half to three hours, but just being on the road, watching the Australian landscape pass me by, is calming.

Once you reach Jindabyne, there is the classic pit-stop at Sundance Bakehouse for a coffee, before taking on the final 34km of road to the village: the prettiest part of the drive by far.

Note: Be careful of wildlife on the road up to Thredbo; we saw two deer on the road in mid-morning.

Thredbo, has a national park fee to enter during winter (obviously); but, as it develops a strong mountain biking culture, there is a (discounted) national park entry fee in summer as well.

Once inside the national park, you’ll be inundated with things to do. However, if you’re not the hiking or mountain biking type, I’m sure that Thredbo will serve up an activity suited just to you.

During summer, you can go for a round of golf or hit a tennis ball. To play on the nine-hole course, it’ll cost you the green fee ($15.00), and they have buggies and clubs for hire. To hire a tennis court, prices start at $10 for half an hour, and as with golfing equipment, tennis equipment is ready to hire if you don’t have, or forgot, your own gear.

You may not want to climb the mountain, but it doesn’t mean you have to miss out on the views offered. The Kosciuszko Express chairlift is open 365 days a year. At $29 for a ride, it’s worth the trip. Watch the mountain rise before you; if you dare, look back and see the village shrinking. At the end of the 1.8km chairlift, you’ll arrive outside the door of Australia’s highest café, Eagle’s Nest. Take a coffee and grab a window seat to watch the world go by.

I have yet to try the abseiling and rock-climbing on offer at Thredbo and Mt Koscuiszko, but there are two companies that can help you enjoy these sports: K7 Rock Climbing & Abseiling, Caving, Bouldering and Snowy Mountain Climbing School.

Back in the village, make your Cool Runnings dreams come true with a ride in your very own bobsled. I have done it once, and that is probably enough for me – it feels very much like a rollercoaster, but without the security of being strapped in. For kids-turn-adults who grew up playing in Thredbo in summer (like my husband), the goal is to get from the top to the bottom without using the brake. My fear of falling out was too strong to do this. Despite my scaredy-cat tendencies, there was always a line, and almost everyone has more than one ride. Rides start at $7.

To finish off the day, head to the leisure centre to dip into the heated pool. Stretch out the muscles with a few laps of the Olympic sized pool, or ride the slide (which is a great deal slower than the bobsled). If swimming doesn’t immediately make you feel calm, try the gym and its selection of machines and weights.

There is so much to do in Thredbo, and many things that I haven’t mentioned – swimming in water holes, fishing in the river, enjoying a bakery pie, tasting the schnapps at Wildbrumby Schnapps Distillery…the list goes on.

One day is never like the next when visiting Thredbo in summer.

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