Obviously the Snowy Mountains attract winter sports fans in droves: the scenery is beaut and the snow is excellent. But it turns out most of us are sleeping on the opportunity to hit the Snowies in summer, which sees it turn all adventure, minus the crowds.
Get higher than you’ve ever been
The National Park mountain range – aka The Snowies – is the highest in our great southern land, boasting five of the highest mountains in the continent (literally huge).
Summitting Mount Kosciuszko is the natural highlight: a four-hour round trip from the Thredbo Chairlift will take you to the highest peak in the country (2228m). Umm, 360-degree views over glorious greenery? Talk about King of the Hill.
Hook a monster
Time to share a well kept secret: the waterways around the Snowy River have some of the best trout fishing in the country. Major lakes like Jindabyne and Eucumbene have shallow bays and wide waters to cast your line in, not to mention a Bond-esque mountain range to frame pictures of your catch of the day. Go further afield to Thredbo River or Bullocks Hut to try your hand at fly fishing. No gear? Most fishing spots offer guided beginner lessons, so catching and cooking dinner over an open fire is definitely on the cards.
Hang on the lake
A balmy day floating on the river is exactly how the Aussie summer should be spent. Keep it chill by canoeing and kayaking around Lake Jindabyne with your mates (bringing waterproof speakers is never a bad idea to help your paddle keep a beat), or pick up the pace and your heart rate with windsurfing or wakeboarding. Both are excellent for making a splash in your summer. Pro tip: wakeboarding requires more core strength and coordination than you’d think, making it the perfect way to get shredded.
Climbing, caving and abseiling? These classic adventure activities are a lot more accessible in the summer when the caves are clear of snow and the icy air won’t sap the feeling from your fingers. Ledges to haul yourself over, gaps to squeeze through and drops to sail down can be found from from the Snowy Mountains down to Canberra. Jindabyne Rock is conveniently close to the lake and Signature Rocks offers climbs for beginners to pros. Experienced operators like K7 can walk you through them.
You can ring my bell
The Snowies – being hilly, rocky and ragged – are perfect to cruise down on bikes. Depending on your skills, there are trails in Thredbo, like the Thredbo Valley Track and the more extreme Cannonball Downhill. They range from seven kilometres to a full-day adventure. Lake Crackenback, Bungarra and Lake Jindabyne all have other trails worth exploring as well. Crushing trails then cooking damper over a campfire with mates? Sounds like just what your summer plans are missing.
Cool climate, hot drops
While the drink of choice in Thredbo during ski season is a mulled wine, winding down after hiking or canoeing around the parks calls for something a little lighter and and a little cooler. Vineyards Courabyra Wines and Tumbarumba Wines are a three hour trip away from Jindabyne, while Snowy Vineyard Estate is a half an hour drive. All have pristine views, but who are we kidding? You’re here for the wine.