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Healthy travel in the Snowy Mountains, New South Wales

Jacqueline Alwill

Brown Paper Nutrition

More than a long weekend, less than a full week, the perfect amount of time to still hit that off switch, equally balanced with adventure! Whilst most might think of the Snowy Mountains only for Winter, in all honesty, the between seasons are some of the most magical and this Autumnal trip held up to all the memories I had from being there as a kid too.

Where to eat, stay and play in the Snowy Mountains:

  • The Snowy Mountains are a solid 5.5 hours drive from Sydney without holiday traffic. I remember as a kid we always left before dawn which gave us a full day there including the drive. On this occasion, on a Sunday of school holidays, we didn’t have the option to leave early in the morning, instead leaving lunch time which lands me on my first point of the trip. Whilst the roads are quiet, they are also incredibly dark as you move into the dusk and evening light during the Autumn and Spring. It’s relatively easy driving until you hit the National Park where there are almost no road lights. A joy as it contributes to the quiet and stillness and evening night sky, but a tricky evening drive. It’s fine, but with the dusk there are more animals on the road and low visibility, so I’d recommend not entering the park after sundown. Aim for the early morning drive arriving mid morning to lunch. On the other side of the trip, an early departure (6-7am) also means driving into direct sunrise as you move toward the East. Fine if you’re cautious but something to consider.
  • There are a number of wonderful places to stay in Jindabyne, Perisher, and Thredbo.
  • Jindabyne a small village, has all the shops for groceries and other necessities that you’ll want if you’re planning to stay in Perisher or Thredbo.
  • Perisher in the off-peak closes down as a valley, there is literally NOTHING open, which is part of its charm. We stay in Perisher in the same lodge each time – family history and lots of core memories there!
  • Thredbo has a lot more options open but Winter restaurants etc are closed.
  • Whilst this is a list of ‘eat, stay, play’ for clarity, there aren’t many exciting places to eat once you’re in the valley. One standout is Wild Brumby Distillery in Crackenback which has delicious food -you’ll need to book. Other than that, the mountains are very much a BYO food and meals trip. Enjoy the slow of the evenings and making yummy food at the accomodation.
  • There are so many incredible hikes / easy walks as well around the different valleys. Everywhere you go you’ll see a track. In our short time there we covered a small (had kids with us, so achievable) walk from Perisher Valley to Porcupine Rocks which offers an amazing view over Crackenback and Thredbo River. It was a 2-3 hour round trip depending on the length of legs of the people/small people you’re walking with.
  • Hiring bikes from Sacred Ride in Jindabyne was a great option for our group. We did 2 day hire and could pop them in the back of cars to travel back to the lodge in Perisher and then onto the locations we rode in the coming days. There is also a Sacred Ride in Thredbo.
  • First day of riding was from Charlotte’s Pass up to the Mt Kosicusko. It was insanely windy the day we did this ride, fortunately it has a relatively small incline for most, and then a medium incline to get you to the stop point where you’ll leave your bikes if you want to continue walking to the summit Mt Kosciusko. Mt Kosciusko is the highest point in Australia – 1.6km from where you’ll leave the bikes. Even if you make it to the stop point of the bikes, there are beautiful views back into the mountain ranges.
  • Pack a lunch for your mountain biking days (as mentioned nothing to buy anywhere) – my healthy staples were tinned Good Fish, carrots, cucumber, tomatoes, avocado with Mingle Seasoning, Mary’s Crackers and fruit. Was the best fuel for our days out.
  • Our second mountain biking day we drove from Perisher to Thredbo with the bikes and did the amateur mountain bike trail from Thredbo Village down Thredbo River finishing at Thredbo Diggings Campground. It’s a beautiful spot to stop and enjoy lunch and from there we’d organised a shuttle to take us back to Thredbo. As a group that haven’t biked much, the trail was just the right balance of pretty, serene and adventure. The shuttle was honestly a cracking idea. Everyone was pretty worn out by then! We booked Snowy Mountains Shuttles – Brett was great.
  • Back up in Thredbo village is the Leisure Centre which has a 4 lane 50m lap pool, squash courts, gym, zero gravity trampoline and in the aquatic area there’s a slide for kids and over school holidays they crank up Mission Inflatable for a bit of fun. Essentially an inflatable obstacle raft running across the  4 lane 25m pool.  Super fun way to fill another hour for the kids, and after a few hours on a mountain bike in a static lunge (well, almost!) a pretty nice way to cool down the legs.

Between these activities and some essential chill out time at the lodge with puzzles, uno, food, dips in the creek, more food and reading books that wrapped up our time nicely in the Snowy Mountains. It truly is a peaceful paradise down there and just stunning in these off peak months when the air is crisp and the crowds are minimal. The best disconnect and reconnect with nature.

*I’ve included links in the post to help you find those providers we used. None are affiliate links.