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Backpacking in the Snowy Mountains

Lake Albinia in the Snowy Mountains

Lake Albinia in the Snowy Mountains (photo: Tim Keegan)

[I]f you are looking to hike or ski in Australia, then you are in for a real treat at the Snowy Mountains.

It’s one of the largest ski areas in the country, but also a phenomenal area with national parks and walking trails available to enjoy every month of the year.

Getting Here

Although it’s still in New South Wales, getting to the Snowy Mountains is a bit of a drive – approximately 460km from Sydney.

Most activities around the Snowy Mountains are quite spread apart. You will need to either, arrange a bus trip or travel by car.

If you’re driving in a campervan, you may want to use public transport to take you to the opposite end of your hiking trail and then walk back to your campsite, especially if you plan on hitting higher elevations with narrow roads.

Things to Do

Kosciuszko National Park is at the heart of the Snowy Mountains, and you could spend weeks exploring its peaks and valleys. In winter, you’ll ski, and in summer, you’ll cross endless fields of wildflowers and spectacular views for kilometres.

The best known track in the area is the Australian Alps Walking Track – that’s perhaps because it is 655km long!

If you wanted to walk its entirety, most experts say to plan on 10 weeks.

If you don’t have quite that much holiday time, try one of the smaller sections: Bogong plains, Jagungal wilderness, or the Baw Baw plateau. Another long but beloved track is the Hume and Hovell Walking Track.

Don’t feel like walking all day? Check out the famous Yarrangobilly Caves for a shorter, but very interesting, walk — or how about an afternoon of abseiling?

Your sports activities don’t have to be quite so adventurous: you can go fly fishing, swimming, hot air ballooning, or horse riding.

Food and Drink

You need a little something to keep you going, and the Snowy Mountains deliver.

Glenburnie Vineyard and Mannus Wines, both in Tumbarumba, offer locally made wine in their charming tasting rooms to try.

Prefer hops?

Near Jindabyne, there's the Snowy Vineyard and Microbrewery.

If that’s still not enough, try the Wildbrumby Schnapps Distillery, which is sure to put a perk in your step – just no overdoing it.

If you don’t like your fruit distilled, there’s always the Wilgro Orchards, where you can sample what an apple tastes like fresh from the tree – there’s nothing like it.

Where to Stay

Given the size of the area, it’s obviously best to plan to base yourself near the cities and activities where you’ll be spending the majority of your time.

A few popular sites:

Cooma Snowy Mountains Tourist Park

An easy walk from Cooma, this well-maintained park has a variety of cabins and caravan parking options for guests.

Tumbarumba Creek Caravan Park

A great spot to park your caravan if you want to be close to the wineries and distilleries in this neighbourhood. The park is pet-friendly as well, and despite being close to town, it is a peaceful spot, with a trout stream right outside your door.

Kosciuszko Mountain Retreat

This mountain retreat is a site in the heart of the national park and is also close to Jindabyne. This excellent facility offers great hiking access and clean camping grounds that feel very much like an alpine resort.


This post was written and brought to you by Mighty Campers Australia. Rent a cheap campervan at our Melbourne or Sydney depot for your trip to the Snowy Mountains.

Planning a trip? Go Backpacking recommends:


Saturday 22nd of June 2013

I drove through the Snowy Mountains on my way across Australia earlier this year. Absolutely beautiful drive. Would love to see it in the winter.


Saturday 22nd of June 2013

Yarangobilly thermal pools are worth a mention, a similar sized walk as the caves from the carpark. Mt Kosciusko is a great climb too - more of a steep walk with a footpath however with magnificent views!

Bruised Passports

Monday 17th of June 2013

Snowy mountains have been on our wishlist for a while- your write-up is tempting me to book flights ASAP

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