Snowy Mountains

The Snowy Mountains of Kosciuszko National Park are located on the western border of the ACT. The Kosciuszko Alpine Way scenic loop covering many of the main attractions begins 7km west of Cooma from the Snowy Mountains Hwy. This national park is a snow skiing mecca in winter and a wildflower and bushwalking paradise during the warmer months.


Taking the scenic loop in an anticlockwise direction, Jindabyne and its beautiful lake is the first point of interest some 56km on. Lake Jindabyne is bordered by mountains and is a playground for trout fishing. The lakeside township enjoys a picturesque setting and a peaceful location.


Just west of Jindabyne is a 38km deviation from Alpine Way to Perisher Valley and Charlotte Pass ski resorts. The Lake Jindabyne Surge Tank Lookout just outside the park boundary offers stunning views of the lake and surrounding countryside.


Entry into the national park requires a permit which costs $16 per vehicle for 24 hours. The entry station is manned and permits can be purchased here. The drive to the ski resorts is very scenic and there are several walking tracks along the way. Sawpit Creek, Rennix and Rainbow Lake walks vary from 2.6 to 13km return and explore the creeks, Thredbo River and varying vegetation. Detailed descriptions of the walking trails can be obtained at the information shelter.

Perisher is the national park’s largest ski resort with Mt Perisher ski slopes, toboggan slope, snowtube park, ski gear for sale and hire, snow school, numerous bars, restaurants and cafes, chemist, newsagent, bottle shop and medical centre. It’s all here at Perisher, including a high capacity ski lift to make the uphill journey more enjoyable.


Charlotte Pass Village is Australia’s highest ski resort at 1765m. The quieter and more secluded resort offers accommodation and restaurants and less crowded ski slopes. The elevation at the pass is 1835m and a short 400m return walk along the Snow Gums Boardwalk offers views of the Main Range.


Thredbo is on Alpine Way 33km from Jindabyne. This popular ski village offers many types of accommodation from chalets to hotel rooms and has plenty of specialty shops and restaurants. The ski fields cater for both amateur and experienced skiers and a fabulous chairlift ride with magnificent views operates up the range to the Mt Kosciuszko summit walk, Australia’s highest mountain at 2229 metres.

Campers looking for free camps can find several between Thredbo and the Khancoban township. Leather Barrel Creek Rest Area is 18km from Thredbo and is a small camp site in the valley with level ground, a grassy picnic area and toilet, situated beside a picturesque creek.


Tom Groggin Rest Area is 8km further on and is a larger area with designated bays. Nestled beside Snowy Creek, this camp site has fireplaces, picnic tables and a toilet.

Geehi Flats Rest Area is 21km further along Alpine Drive on the Swampy Plains River. This grassy camp site has toilets and an enclosed picnic shelter.

(For the caravan park enthusiasts there are several parks in the region including Jindabyne Holiday Park and Discovery Holiday Park at Jindabyne, Kosciuszko Mountain Retreat at Sawpit Creek and Khancoban Lakeside Caravan Resort at Khancoban).

Scammell Spur Lookout is the next point of interest and on a clear day offers views of the western side of the Main Range. If the weather disappoints the wildflowers will not, the forest floor beams a plethora of yellow.


The Murray 1 Power Station, just 8km before Khancoban, is part of The Snowy Mountains Scheme, producing renewable energy by utilizing the abundance of water runoff throughout a complex infrastructure of tunnels, aqueducts, pumping stations, dams and power stations. The scheme is said to be one of the engineering wonders of the world, which is very plausible considering the network produces over 70% of renewable energy for the eastern states.

Khancoban is a small village servicing Snowy Mountain tourists. The township has a general store, service station, hotel with bottle shop, snow chain hire and a Lakeside Caravan Park. The Khancoban Dam permits recreational activities, providing boats and swimmers keep 200m away from the spillway gates and water channel. Boat and kyak hire is available at the caravan park in town.

Continuing the scenic loop on the Swampy Plains Creek Rd towards Cabramurra is the Tooma Dam, another catchment reservoir for the Snowy Mountains Hydro-Electricity Scheme.

Further on is Bradley’s and O’Brien’s Hut. There are many old huts in the national park either used by hydro scheme or pastoral workers in the past, some dating back to the 1930’s.


Lake Tumut Pond and Dam Wall is another integral part of the snowy hydro scheme. Boating and fishing is permitted in the dam which is subject to extremely cold water conditions. Proceed with caution approaching the dam wall as the single lane permits only one-way traffic at any time.

Cabramurra is the highest town in Australia at an elevation of 1488 metres. All the buildings here have triangular-shaped sloping roofs to suit the snowy winter conditions. You can get a bird’s eye view of the town from the Cabramurra Lookout. Services provided in the village include fuel, general store and Australia Post agent.


An alternative route to Kiandra via Kings Cross Rd passes the Selwyn Snow Fields. These day-use ski slopes are gentle runs and suitable for beginners and families wanting to escape the busier snowfields with more experienced skiers and boarders. A ski and clothing hire centre is on site as well as a cafeteria.

On the Snowy Mountains Hwy heading from Kiandra towards Adaminaby is the Sawyers Hill Rest House. This charming little shelter is to be used for camping emergencies only, however use of toilet and picnic facilities is permitted.


Outside the national park border continuing along the Snowy Mountains Hwy is the small country town of Adaminaby, home of the Giant Trout. The impressive specimen weighs 2.5 tonnes and is 10 metres high. Adaminaby is just a few km’s from Lake Eucumbene which is a Trout Fisherman’s paradise with several tourist parks and lakeside camping, north and south of the great waterway. Angler’s Reach and Rainbow Pines are in the north and Braemar Bay and Buckenderra are accessible from the southern end. Rainbow and Brown Trout are up for the taking and these fish enjoy live worms and chunky cheese and rainbow candy pulp baits seem to be a winner too. Fly fishing is a popular method on these waters and lure fisherman will find spinners and tassie devils are a good choice. A NSW fishing licence is required to fish the lake and short licence periods are available, for example 3 days for $6. Size limits here for trout are 25cm and the bag limit is 5 fish per fisherman.


Lake Eucumbene is the last major attraction in the Snowy Mountains scenic loop before the completion of the journey on Snowy Mountains Hwy towards Cooma. Note this route is not all accessible during ski season as some roads are closed. In the winter months chains are required for your vehicle’s tyres and can be hired at nearby towns and resorts. Spring through summer is the sightseeing time here and winter is solely snow skiing time. The Kosciuszko National Park is a beautiful part of alpine country offering lakes, fishing, glorious mountain views and bush camping in the warmer months and skiing, snowboarding, snowtubing, tobogganing, chairlift rides and living it up in cosy accommodation during the winter. There’s fun to be had here all year round whether it’s bustling with activity or quiet and peaceful.

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Return from Snowy Mountains to New South Wales