Discovering the Snowies – Tour itineraries
The Snowies are well served by a network of sealed roads boasting spectacular scenery. The Snowy Mountains Drive can be accessed from Canberra in the north, Bega on the south coast and Albury to the southwest. Take your time enjoying one of Australia’s greatest natural resources at your own pace.
The “Snowies” contains the nation’s highest peak, Mt Kosciuszko, the inspiring feat of the Snowy Hydro Electric Scheme, and the state’s largest preserved natural area in Kosciuszko National Park. This physical face is given its cultural heart by the heritage preserved in the park, in the people’s literature, storytelling and folklore.
DAY 1 – COOMA Visit the new Snowy Hydro Visitor and Education Centre and unravel the design and technology of the Snowy Scheme. Walk along Cooma’s Lambie Street to the Raglan Regional Art Gallery, past historic architecture of stone and timber. Visit Cooma’s railhead, a functioning attraction with trains running a to a regular timetable.
Take Tourist Drive1 south of Cooma. Drive to the top of Mt Gladstone, 3km south of Cooma. Heidi’s Tea House at the top provides great gluhwein and 360° views over Cooma, the Monaro, the Snowy Mountains and Mt Kosciuszko.
BERRIDALE & DALGETY – Beyond the Snowy Mountains airport lies Berridale, a cross-roads village that features a local winery and cafés. From here, drive to historic Dalgety, the town on the Snowy River that almost became the nation’s capital. Good food, a historic bridge, a great country pub and an historic walk to enjoy.
JINDABYNE From Berridale, a 20 minute drive brings you to Lake Jindabyne. Stop at the Jindabyne Dam wall. Visit the Snowy Region Visitor Centre for park passes and maps, and to view an interpretive display of the towns history.
DAY 2 – JINDABYNE - Cycle along the lake’s edge, take a scenic or fishing boat charter, take to the air in a scenic flight or hire a runabout or catamaran for time on the water.
Visit the monument to Count Paul Edmund Strzelecki, and learn why he was significant to the region. Fish for Rainbow and Brown Trout, the occasional Brookie or Atlantic salmon from the lake, or in one of the many surrounding streams. Fishing licences are required in NSW, and short stay licences are available from a number of outlets including many service stations.
KOSCIUSZKO NATIONAL PARK – Leave Jindabyne on the Kosciuszko Road into Kosciuszko National Park. Passes are sold at the gate or at regional Visitors Centres. Stop at the Waste Point lookout for great views of the lake and Jindabyne. A little further on, the Kosciuszko Education Centre (open seasonally)
gives some understanding of the features, flora and fauna of the mountains, including the illusive pygmy possum and corroboree frog. There are lovely mountain forest walks commencing from here.
PERISHER VALLEY/CHARLOTTE PASS - Enter the alpine region, where the trees thin and become restricted to the warmer locations along ridgelines towards Perisher Valley. This ski village is a quiet haven for walkers in summer. A half-day trip walk to the Porcupines is a must.
Drive on to Charlotte Pass, Australia’s highest ski village. Witness magnificent views of Australia’s alpine zone. On the horizon, across what is called the “Main Range” is Mt Kosciuszko. A return walk to the top of Kosciuszko is a full day’s trek. Below witness the first flows of the iconic Snowy River.
DAY 3 – THE ALPINE WAY, 3km from Jindabyne, crosses two valleys, the first through folkloric grazing land, the second the longest geological fault in NSW. Crackenback Farm gives an idea of the local building styles from two centuries ago and offers a café, guesthouse and maze.
THE THREDBO VALLEY - Novotel Lake Crackenback Resort features award winning apartments overlooking Lake Crackenback, Cuisine On Lake Crackenback Restaurant and a number of activities are on offer, and is only a short walk to the Skitube.
The Skitube is Australia’s only alpine underground rack and rail railway. Parking the car at Skitube gives access to river walks, and the first purpose built fishing lodge at Bullocks Hut. There is some good fly fishing here as well in the nearby Thredbo River.
THREDBO Drive in to Thredbo and view modern mountain architecture in a genuine alpine village. A variety of accommodation and dining is available.
Take part in a mountain walk, via the Kosciuszko Express Chairlift to the top, for many an exciting trip in itself. Popular walks include the Mt Kosciuszko summit walk and the Dead Horse Gap walk. In the village, tennis, golf, mountain biking or bobsledding may take your fancy.
DAY 4 – ALPINE WAY - This stretch of Tourist Drive 1 takes you across the natural watershed of the Australian Alps. Below Deadhorse Gap the rivers flow east into the Snowy. Wild brumbies gather here to exploit the sub-alpine pasture. They are best seen in mornings and late afternoons, and there are more good walking trails here to explore.
Continue along the Alpine Way past Tom Groggin Station, once claimed to be home of the “Man from Snowy River”, to Geehi. Grey kangaroos, wombats and emus live here and can be seen at almost any time of the day. Geehi, on the Swampy Plains river, is a beautiful spot for lunch, or camp, with good facilities. A stop further along at Scammels Spur lookout is a must. Constructed for a visit by Queen Elizabeth in 1950s, it gives the best view of the western faces of the Australian Alps. Observe Mt Kosciuszko as it rises 1900m from the valley floor.
KHANCOBAN – Plan a stop at the Murray 1 Power Station and Information Centre, featuring an excellent display on the Snowy Scheme’s history and the people who built it. The Tourist Drive 1 concludes in Khancoban where good food and accommodation is on offer, in view of the pondage below Murray 2 Power Station where trout fishing is popular or a relaxed game of golf with the kangaroos at the Khancoban Country Club.
DAYS 5 – 7 Follow the signposted Tourist Drive 5, which briefly crosses the Murray River and into Victoria passing through Towong, Tintaldra and back into New South Wales.
TUMBARUMBA is the next stop. Visit Paddy’s River Falls, and the location of the mid section of the Hume and Hovell Walking Track. Taste Tumbarumba’s increasingly popular cold climate wines. Experience one of many adventure activities, such as mountain biking, or visit a berry farm. The main street displays fine examples of country Australian architecture. Accommodation available includes motel, hotel and B&B.
BATLOW Tourist Drive 5 continues to the home of cool climate apples and stone fruits, in Batlow. This beautiful town is a great stopover, before travelling on to Tumut, which sits at the crossroads of Tourist Drive 5 and the Snowy Mountains Highway.
TUMUT Visit the Old Butter Factory, now the Tumut Region Visitors Centre. You can take the River Walk, visit the historic millet Broom Factory, Tumut Valley Violets, catch a guided tour of the state-of- the art paper mill, and visit the Adelong falls and gold mine ruins.
Turn south onto the Snowy Mountains Highway. Make a stop at Blowering Reservoir Dam wall, or just a short drive further visit the largest power station in the Snowy Hydro Scheme at Tumut 3.
On this diversion, you will pass the birthplace of author Miles Franklin in Talbingo.
Visit Yarrangobilly Caves and Thermal Pool, or the more adventurous can turn at Rules Point to visit the preserved and maintained family homestead at Currango, featured in many high country photo shoots.
Visit Kiandra, a historic gold mining town, and the birthplace of skiing in Australia, and the second oldest ski club in the world. Observe the interesting original buildings and cemetery.
Take the turn to Cabramurra, the highest town in Australia. Many of this area’s waterways and dams, such as Eucumbene River and Three Mile Dam make great fishing locations, especially for brown trout.
ADAMINABY’S “BIG TROUT” welcomes the visitor to this popular centre for trout fishing, although horse riding in summer and skiing in winter (at nearby Selwyn Snowfields) are big drawcards as well.
Drive to Lake Eucumbene where a variety of fishing lodges and caravan parks at Old Adaminaby and Anglers Reach are to be found. The Lake’s Dam Wall is testament to the awe- inspiring vision of the architects of the Snowy Hydro Scheme.
NIMMITABEL & BOMBALA
From Cooma a trip through Nimmitabel across the Monaro Plain provides a good introduction to these prairie-like grasslands. On the road to Bombala, these grasslands and cold winters create the conditions for some of the finest woollen fleeces in the world.
Bombala is fast becoming known for its production of lavender oils as the soils, climate and altitude match the lavender plants’ needs perfectly. Visit the Bombala Lavender House for visitor information. Drive through town to the platypus reserve on the Bombala River, and catch a glimpse of these timid but interesting creatures from the specially constructed viewing platform.
Bombala is a great base for mountain biking, bushwalking and 4WD adventures. 20 minutes south of Bombala, Bondi State Forest has over 85km of trails winding through pine and stately native forests. Visit the South East Forest National Park to witness lush old-growth forests, spectacular granite formations and the Myanba Gorge. Take a drive to Delegate and visit the Early Settlers Hut, believed to be the first European dwelling on the Monaro.