Snowy mountains

10 Things to Do in the Snowy Mountains

The chilly months are officially upon us, and if you’re keeping your holiday travel plans local this winter, the alpine playground that is the Snowy Mountains is awaiting you, only a five-hour drive from Sydney’s CBD. Loaded with great places to see snow and hit the ski slopes, it is an outdoor adventure-seekers dream come true, with countless fun and exciting things for you to do.

Things to Do in the Snowy Mountains

If you’ve left it too late this winter and end up visiting in the warmer months, don’t worry – there are still endless adventures for you to discover.  To get you started, here are 10 things to do in the Snowy Mountains that are bound to excite you!

Mount kosciuszko

Mount Kosciuszko | Image: National Parks NSW

1. Climb the Tallest Mountain in Australia

If you don’t know what to do in the snowy mountains, we think kicking things off with climbing the tallest mountain in Australia is a good starting point. It will take you between six to eight hours to reach the summit of Mount Kosciuszko, which is surprising given the epic, panoramic views you will have at the top! The mountain is snowbound during the winter months, so this is the perfect thing to do if you’re in town off-season.

Where: Mount Kosciuszko
When: Best during snow off-season
Price: Free

Check it out

Merritts gondola thredbo

Merritts Gondola | Image: Thredbo

2. Take in the View on Your Way Up the Merritts Gondola

If you love epic views but climbing isn’t your thing, the Merritts Gondola is the perfect thing for you to do if you’d rather sit back and relax. The Merritts Gondola is a high-speed, eight-person Gondola that takes skiers, snowboarders and scenic passengers from the Village to the base of the Cruiser Area in a short and sweet six minutes! The ride is not only comfy but offers unparalleled views of the mountains as well as access to all your skiing and snowboarding needs.

Where: Thredbo Resorts
When: Best during snow season
Price: Day passes can be purchase from Thredbo

Merritts Gondola

Merritts mountain house

Image: Rydges

Then Eat at Merritts Mountain House

After a scenic ride up the mountain, what could be better than a tasty dining experience at Merritts Mountain House? Just like something out of a dreamscape, the summit location is enough to transcend you to another dimension, and paired with live entertainment on the weekend and delicious hot chocolates and yummy bites, we can’t say no to a visit here. The restaurant is located a 1660m and features a traditional European market feel we love – you can sit inside for ultimate cosiness or outside for all those winter feels!

Merritts Mountain House

Tube town perisher

Image: High Country Online

3. Toboggan and Snow Tube

Tobogganing and snow tubing is one of the number one Snowy Mountains attractions, and we can see why! These are our top two places for either activity.

  • Tube Town (Perisher) – If you want to get a little bit wild, Perisher’s is the place to go. Keep in mind that toboggans and snow tubing are only allowed to be used on the designated Toboggan and Snowplay Slope at Perisher Valley and are not permitted on Skitube. Be prepared, Tube Town definitely isn’t for the faint-hearted!
  • Alpine Bobsled (Thredbo) – For something a little more family-friendly, head to the 700m Alpine Bobsled track in Thredbo. Located just a short distance from Valley Terminal along the Merritts Nature Track, the fun track twists and turns its way down the mountain whilst you control the speed with a brake on your sled.

Where: Perisher/Thredbo
When: Best during snow season
Price: Day passes can be purchased directly from the resorts

Snow shoe k7 adventures thredbo

Image: K7 Adventures

4. Snow Shoe at Your Ski Resort

If you fancy a walk through the snow, there are plenty of cool spots for you to check out.

  • Wilderness Sports (Perisher) – Wilderness Sports has you all sorted with everything you need for an epic snowshoeing adventure. They run several private tours and small group tours as well as snowshoe hire. Choose from the short and sweet three-hour Mount Wheatley Explorer at Perisher for $99, the full-day Porcupine Rocks Adventure at Perisher for $149, or The Roof of Australia for another full-day adventure up Mt Kosciuszko which will cost you $199.
  • K7 Adventures (Thredbo) – If you find yourself in Thredbo, K7 Adventures has all your adventure needs sorted with their guided tours and adventure packages for every level of skill and fitness. Their snowshoe tours are your ticket to the backcountry this winter – with plenty of experiences available that are perfect if you are new to the snow or just want to get out of the resorts and see a new side of The Snowies.
Thermal pool at yarrangobilly caves

Image: National Parks NSW

5. Take a Dip in the Thermal Pool at Yarrangobilly Caves

One of the more relaxed snowy mountains activities for when you need some R&R, the thermal pool at Yarangobilly Caves is not only a sight for the eyes, but will remove all those aches. Bask in the natural mineral waters, and at a consistent 27C, It’s great for a visit in the warmer months as well as the colder months. The pool is also 20 metres long, which means you can do laps, if you must.

Where: Yarrangobilly Caves
When: Best during snow off-season
Price: Free

Thermal Pool Yarrangobilly Caves

Thredbo leisure centre pool

Image: Thredbo

6. Bounce Around at Thredbo Leisure Centre

The Thredobo leisure centre is the perfect Snowy Mountains activity if you’re looking to escape the cold, but still want to have a bit of fun. They’ve got a massive pool area and waterslide, as well as a gym if you’re hoping to fit in some training or just an extra workout. There’s also squash courts, a bouldering wall and a basketball court.

Where: Thredbo Resorts
When: Year-round
Price: Free with resort stay

Thredbo Leisure Centre

Basic mountaineering course with blue lake ice climbing

Image: Allie Pepper Adventures

7. Mountaineer and Ice Climb with Allie Pepper Adventures

If you’ve got some extra cash to splash, how about taking a course in Mountaineering and ice climbing? Allie Pepper Adventures have a skilled team just rearing to teach you all about mountaineering. This course is designed for those who are more experienced and are looking to broaden their horizons into the world of mountaineering or looking to take it to the next level. Everest, anyone?

Allie Pepper Adventures

Yoga at jindabyne yogo shala

Image: Jindabyne Yoga

8. Do Some Yoga at Jindabyne Yoga Shala

If you’re wondering what to do in the Snowy Mountains to unwind, you can’t go wrong with some yoga at Jindabyne Yoga Shala. Jindabyne Yoga Shala perfectly accentuates the beautiful surroundings of its location in the Snowy Mountains, offering traditional lineage-based teachings, via daily classes, Ayurvedic & Tantra workshops, plus 200-hour Tantric Hatha Yoga teacher training. All you have to do is rock up and zen out.

Where: 12 Thredbo Terrace, Jindabyne NSW 2627
When: Year round
Price: Prices start from $22 for one session

Jindabyne Yoga Shala

Mountain biking on lake crackenback bush

Image: Visit NSW

9. Or Some Mountain Biking on Lake Crackenback

If you prefer to explore the Snowy Mountains on wheels rather than on boards or on your feet, Mountain Biking is the way to go. Simultaneously immerse yourself in the beautiful scenery while mountain bike along the countless trails that are scattered around the region, ringing from beginner to advanced, winding gloriously through peaks, forests and giant boulders on the rolling Monaro Plains.

Where: Lake Crackenback
When: BEst during snow off-season

Lake Crackenback

Lower snowy river

Image: National Parks NSW

10. Winter Camp on the Lower Snowy River

Wondering what to do in the Snowy Mountains if you prefer being in nature rather than a lodge? You can camp! The Lower Snowy River is one of the best snowy River attractions and you can set up camp there to enjoy its beauty all day and all night long. Embracing the wild south of Kosciuszko National Park, explore the scenic trails on a walk, bike or horse ride by day before kicking up your feet by the campfire at night.

Lower Snowy River

Thigns to do snowy mountains

Image: Visit NSW

Snowy Mountains Basics

If you haven’t yet taken the plunge and hit the fabled region, you might be asking yourself where is the Snowy Mountains and what exactly are they? Well, to put it simply, the area, which is also informally known as “The Snowies”, is an IBRA subregion in southern New South Wales. A wide-reaching plain, the region is home to the tallest mountain range in mainland Australia, thanks to the fact that it makes up part of the continent’s Great Dividing Range cordillera system.

Mountains

Within the region, you’ll find a number of great peaks, some ideal for climbing, while others are a little bit more tailored to the professionals. Specifically, The Snowies make up the northeastern half of the Australian Alps and as a result, house Australia’s five tallest peaks, all of which are above 2,100 m. These include:

  • Mount Kosciuszko – Reaches a height of 2,228 m (7,310 ft) above sea level.
  • Mount Townsend – Hits a height of 7,247 feet, only 2.3 miles less than Kosciuszko.
  • Mount Twynam – Located in the Great Dividing Range of the Snowy Mountains, it has an elevation of 7,201 feet.
  • Mount Rams Head – An all-season tourist attraction, Mount Rams Head has a height of 7,185 feet.
  • Rams Head North Mountain – The fifth highest mountain in Australia with an elevation of 7,142 feet above sea level.

Climate

With a name like the Snowy Mountains, there are no prizes for guessing what happens here. The region is best known for experiencing large natural snowfalls every winter, normally during June, July, August and early September, however, the snow cover regularly melts by late spring. According to Visit NSW, it is considered to be one of the centres of the Australian ski industry during the winter months, with all four snow resorts in New South Wales being located in the region.

Getting There

While there is an airport in close proximity to the Snowy Mountains, driving is your best bet for getting there, The Alpine Way and Snowy Mountains Highway are the major roads through the Snowy Mountains region, with routes passing through towns like Jindabyne and Cooma. If you are heading in from Sydney, the scenic drive takes around six hours, and 2hr 30min drive from Canberra. Importantly, it’s worth noting where you plan on going in the Snowies before taking off, as Thredbo and Perisher can be reached directly by car, but Charlotte Pass can only be accessed by the over snow transport from Perisher. Visit NSW advises that you make sure you have snow chains, which must be carried in 2WD vehicles in Kosciuszko National Park between June and October.

General FAQs

What are some things to do in the Snowy Mountains during Winter?

Some things to do in the Snowy Mountains in winter include skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, snow tube or toboggan.

What else can you do if you’re not skiing in the Snowy Mountains?

If you're not skiing, you can also mountaineer and ice climb, mountain bike or relax in the thermal pools.

Can you rise the Merritts chair if you’re not skiing?

Yes! The Merrits chair is for skiers and for those just wanting to enjoy the view.

CONTRIBUTOR

Aimee O'Keefe

Aimee O’Keefe is a Sydney-based freelance writer with a background in fashion, entertainment and technology coverage. She completed a Bachelor's degree in Media and Communications at the University of Sydney and has previously worked with Universal Magazines and the Ministry of Style. She currently works as Content Writer for a leading digital marketing agency.