Brumbies in the Snowy Mountains of NSW stare toward the camera. The plains they stand on are covered in grass and bushes.

The Snowy Mountains, Everything You Need To Know

The Snowy Mountains region of New South Wales is the highest mountain range in Australia, and is home to Australia’s highest mountain, Mount Kosciuszko.

Australia’s highest mountain range is part of the Australian Alps and the legendary Great Dividing Range that stretches from the northern tip of Cape York Peninsula in Queensland, all the way to the Grampians in Victoria.

Aboriginal History In The Snowy Mountains

The Snowy Mountains was home to Aboriginals groups for more than 20,000 years. Intertribal gatherings were held during the summer months to coincide with the migration of the bogong moth from southern Queensland to the region.

The Bogong Moths (Agrotis infusa) was a major seasonal food source in the southern highlands of New South Wales. Collecting the moths was made easy by the moths’ habit of each resting on the one in front, so that they could be collected simply by holding a container beneath them a running a stick along the line of moths causing them all to fall into the container. There was also a special fine-mesh net made from the fibre of the Pimelea shrub or Kurrajong tree, that when stretched between 2 sticks could be poked into narrow crevices to collect the moths. In some cases, smoke was used to get the moths out of particularly difficult places.

Austhritime

The Snowy Mountains region is also home to the Mountain Plum Pine (Podocarpus lawrencei, a low-lying conifer tree that is one of Australia’s few native conifers. The Mountain Plum Pine has existed in the southern hemisphere since the time of Gondwana.

The fruits of the Mountain Plum Pine were not consumed by Aboriginals in the region due to the toxins they contain. They did, however, eat the fruit of the Brown Pine (Podocarpus elatus).

Skiing In The Snowy Mountains

Recreational skiing started in the area around 1861 after thousands of people were drawn to the town of Kiandra after the discovery of gold in 1859.

The Kosciuszcko Chalet was built at Charlotte’s Pass in 1930 which opened the ski field up to travellers from all around the country, and the world.

There are four well-known ski fields in the region, Thredbo, Perisher, Charlotte’s Pass and Selwyn Snow Resort. And there are a range of great hotels to stay at in these ski fields such as The Perisher Valley Hotel, Novotel Lake Crackenback Resort, Lake Jindabyne Hotel, and many more.

A railway line was built to ferry people to the Kosciuszko National Park and the Blue Cow Mountain, and the Perisher Valley in 1987 called Skitube Alpine Railway. The Skitube stops at Blue Cow, Perisher Valley, and Bullocks Flat. Check out the timetable here.

Things To Do

It goes without saying that skiing should be high on the list if you’re heading for a bit of time in Australia’s high country. But, don’t put the towns that surround the Snow Mountains out of your mind.

Here are some towns in the region you need to visit.

Jindabyne

Population: 2,629
Elevation: 915m
Distance from Sydney: 4 hours, 46 minutes
Distance from Perisher: 27 minutes
Distance from Thredbo: 29 minutes

Jindabyne is a great place to base yourself if you’re planning on attacking NSW’s world-class ski fields.

You can take helicopter flights from Jindabyne to the top of Mount Kosciuszko, as well as hire guides to take you on guided tours of the alpine region.

The Snowtunes Music Festival happens in Jindabyne every September, and the Man From Snowy River Rodeo happens in December. There’s also a three-day mountain bike festival, Snowy MTV Festival, in February.

Find out more about Jindabyne here.

Berridale

Population: 1,197
Elevation: 860m
Distance from Sydney: 4 hours, 30 minutes
Distance from Perisher: 49 minutes
Distance from Thredbo: 50 minutes

Another great spot that sits around an hour from the ski fields is Berridale.

The small town has plenty of accommodation options including the Berridale Inn Hotel, and the Snowy River Hostel for something a little easier on the hip pocket.

If you’re up for a spot of fishing it’s worth driving out to Lake Eucumbene and the Eucumbene Trout Farm. Lake Eucumbene is a great spot for waterskiing and wake boarding throughout summer.

Find out more about Berridale here.

Tumbarumba

Population: 1,862
Elevation: 645m
Distance from Sydney: 4 hours, 56 minutes
Distance from Melbourne, 4 hours 47 minutes
Distance from Perisher: 3 hours, 7 minutes
Distance from Thredbo: 2 hours, 22 minutes

A beautiful, peaceful town, Tumbarumba isn’t a town to base yourself if you’re hitting the ski fields, but definitely a beautiful spot to take in the view of the Snowy Mountains.

Head to Tumbarumba in October for Tumbarumba Tastebuds, or Tumbafest in February.

Definitely visit Café Nest, a cafe serving dishes packed with local produce, as well as having range of books to check out and a cinema where you can catch some new releases.

Find out more about Tumbarumba here.

Check out some more great Local Rag yarns below:

Image credit: Christine Mendoza

Further Reading

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