Ultimate Travel Guide: Snowy Mountains, NSW
Winter is coming. And no, that’s not a reference to Game of Thrones, because winter is truly coming. So let’s make the most of it!
The top notable ski slopes in Australia are in the Snowy Mountains, also known as Kosciusko National Park. And while there are plenty of ski slopes to trundle down and plenty of activities to undertake, the hardest part about holidaying here is knowing where to stay and where to eat and drink. Do you want to stay onsite at four of the major ski resorts or do you prefer to lodge just outside the wintery mountains? Do you want luxurious dining or casual hearty meals in cruisey restaurants? Whatever your prerogative, we’ve got all the knowledge you need to make those crucial decisions.
There are four main ski resorts in the Snowy Mountains region, with three including onsite accommodation. Selwyn Snow Resort does not have places to stay nearby, but it is a great family-friendly resort aimed at teaching beginners how to ski while giving kids a perfect spot to toboggan. Other than that, there are plenty of lodgings to stay at, with most of them located within the three other main ski resorts.
Perisher Ski Resort is the largest of its kind in the southern hemisphere. It’s a giant web of skiable terrain, which adds up to well over 3,000 acres. It contains four resort areas: Perisher Valley, Blue Cow, Smiggins and Guthega, with each containing a selection of lodges, hotels and self-contained apartments, as well as plenty of eateries and bars to sink your teeth into (our top picks of these are below). Choose to stay in luxury at Marritz or Valhalla, or go for cool and casual like The Stables or Perisher Manor.
Thredbo Ski Resort
The second largest ski resort in the area is Thredbo, and is continuously voted the best resort in the area. It won the World’s Ski Awards’ best ski resort medal for 2018. But you don’t have to wait until winter to visit, because Thredbo is an allrounder destination. Go for peak luxury at Snowgoose Apartments, go simple and effective at Aneeki Ski Lodge or go cheap at the Thredbo youth hostel. All lodgings here are mashed together in a neat bundle, meaning wherever you stay you’ll be in the action in no time.
Charlotte Pass Ski Resort
Charlotte Pass is Australia’s highest resort, set at 1,765m above sea level. It’s also just as good in winter as it is in summer, offering plenty of beautiful views and wavering views of the valley. Choose from a handful of lodges and hotels, 11 in all, each depending on your tastes; from the rustic vibes of Snowbird Lodge to the homey world of Alberg Ski Club. Now you just have to consider which slope to go on first.
Ski Rider Hotel
Ski Rider Hotel is situated just far enough away from all the hustle and bustle of the ski resorts. It’s on the road towards Perisher and includes very rustic lodgings where you can park the car right out front, making it easy to go from the bed to the car as quickly as possible. It also includes an onsite restaurant and two bars, a gaming room, a TV room and even houses equipment hire for your convenience. In our experience, however, we recommend hiring equipment before you hit the snowy mountains.
Eat & Drink
High Ground Coffee Bar
Don’t go the low road, aim high and go to High Ground Coffee Bar for a hearty morning wake up or lunch to fill up that grumbling belly. Skiing is hard work, no doubt! We’d say that they serve the best hot chocolate, but let’s face it; all hot chocolates are amazing in the dead of winter. Go all out and get a Guinness Pot Pie, a perfect filler on a cold winters day.
Alpine Eyre is a hidden gem in the Snowy Mountains, serving up a wonderful collection of hot bevvies to warm your loins. Because it’s a hidden gem, you won’t get a boisterous crowd, making it a classic spot to really chill out. Travel Ninemsn considers this spot to be the best burgers in Perisher, and we couldn’t agree more. For a relaxing escape from the crazy world of skiing, head over to the Alpine Eyre.
Thredbo Burger Bar
Sticking with the burgers, another popular burger joint in the Snowy Mountains is Thredbo Burger Bar, which serves the best burgers in Thredbo. They’ve got seven Angus Beef burgers, four chicken burgers, and two vegetarian burgers, with the option of making them nude (bunless). And what goes best with burgers? Beer, of course! These guys house a wonderful selection for your puckering lips.
Merritts Mountain House
High on the hill is the Merritts Mountain House, ready to serve you up some mouth-watering dishes. Refuel your empty tank with some classic European pub fares, from lamb shanks to Goulash, while saving some room for cakes and slices made in-house. Cosy up inside or head out for a fresh tang of sun, and warm up with a classic hot chocolate.
If the hot chocolates don’t warm you up, we guarantee that this place will. Wildbrumby (Schnapps) Distillery specialises in liquors, from gin to vodka, all the way through to fancy flavoured liqueurs. They also dabble in wine, most especially mulled wine like Gluhwein, which is perfect for after skiing. While you’re here, fill up that belly with something nice, from soups to schnitzels, and even burgers.
Jindabyne is a haven for frugal families, offering plenty of spots to stay outside the confines of the snowy ski slopes. There’s also a level of versatility here, with plenty of dining options to consider, which could also include cooking at home. The list below are the top hotels and inns to stay in and doesn’t include the dozens of bed and breakfasts and single-house villas that are on offer in the small town of Jindabyne.
Full Circle Apartments
Full Circle Apartments offer a variety of apartments to suit all sizes, from small families and couples to large groups. All apartments include heating, dining room, kitchen, with linen and towels included as part of the fee. There’s also free wifi for anyone who finds it hard to leave their work commitments and online friends.
Lake Jindabyne Hotel Motel
As well as having luxury rooms that include views of the glorious Lake Jindabyne, this hotel motel is also a wonderful place to party on the weekend. Welcome to Lake Jindabyne Hotel Motel. After hitting the slopes all day, come back to reality with a wild night of DJs and alcohol. And then there’s the traditional pub fare that is sure to keep you stocked up all the way to bedtime.
Rydges Horizon Snowy Mountains
Rydges is a well-known international hotel-chain, so it’s no surprise they end up on our list. At Rydges Horizons Snowy Mountains, you’ll not only gain access to cosy and warm self-serviced apartments, but also The Fireside Lounge, McEvoys Restaurant and Squires Tapas Bar. There’s also an indoor swimming pool, tennis courts and a games room.
Jindy Inn. It’s so Australian, isn’t it? We love it! Jindy Inn is a serene home-away-from-home, featuring in-house restaurant and bar, and simplistic Victorian rooms. Each room includes wifi, air conditioning, central heating, a fridge and a flat-screen TV. There’s also a communal kitchen and laundry.
Eat & Drink
Rokits Edibles is a Jindabyne local favourite. Their menu aims for contemporary while offering their own little pizzazz to each dish. The menu also includes a daily-changing specials selection, so expect the unexpected! As we write this, today’s top special to us is a chicken and pumpkin Penang curry with rice. Yum!
As well as a stunning selection of burger recipes on hand, Burger Biz serves up hotdogs aka dawgs), southern fried chicken and specially made fries. And for dessert, pick yourself up a sundae in the summer, or dare to try one in winter. Better yet, avoid the wait and order online before you head in. How delectable!
Cocina Mexican Grill & Cantina
Mexico seems to be infiltrating every corner of the globe, which now includes Jindabyne. Well, if the hot chocolates and liquor choices don’t warm you up, then Mexican fiesta will definitely do the job! And what’s more? They’re opening a cocktail bar on the 24th of May. Margarita anyone? Aribba!
Birchwood Cafe is the ultimate in rustic dining, featuring off-white walls and earthy tones. This simplicity is channelled through their love for wholesome and healthy food, serving up nutritious meals for breakfast and lunch, catering to most dietary requirements. And if that doesn’t gird your loins, then maybe their tasty collection of hot bevvies including hot chocolate) will!
What better way to end this ultimate travel guide to the Snowy Mountains than with a brewery? Welcome to Jindabyne Brewing, serving up five of their own unique beers to the wintery region of southern NSW. Across the other end of this tiny town is Kosciusko Brewery, as well, but Jindabyne is unique to the town. Get adventurous and go with their seasonal ale. Oh, and don’t forget their tapas-style menu!