He hails from Snowy River, up by Kosciusko’s side,
Where the hills are twice as steep and twice as rough,
Where a horse’s hoofs strike firelight from the flint stones every stride,
The man that holds his own is good enough.
And the Snowy River riders on the mountains make their home,
Where the river runs those giant hills between;
I have seen full many horsemen since I first commenced to roam,
But nowhere yet such horsemen have I seen.
– Andrew Barton “Banjo” Paterson (1864-1941)
The Snowy Mountains are a must-see place, winter or summer. Banjo Patterson’s poem and the subsequent films and TV shows have entered Snowy River country into the Australian consciousness.
In winter, Snowy River country is the place to go for skiing; in summer it’s an amazing location for bushwalks, horse riding and experiencing the Australian bush, frontiersman-style.
For skiers and snowboarders, Mt McKay is the tallest and steepest and therefore the best mountain to swoop down. The various lodges all offer excellent skiing, with several resorts catering to different ski-level
proficiencies. And the nightlife is pretty cool, too.
“This is the real Australia. You feel like the man himself – the scenery is spectacular, the people Dinky Di, and the feeling of riding the high country is amazing.”
– David Koch
Some areas around Mt Kosciuszko have been national parks since 1898, so in the summer the bushland is pristine and beautiful. The relatively mild climate of the Australian snowfields means that there’s an amazing amount of flora to see. The place is ideal for bushwalks, camping and horse riding.
There’s also the odd new addition – Craig’s Hut was built as a film set for The Man From Snowy River and its photogenic location makes it a beautiful spot to add to your itinerary.
Did you know?
Charlotte Pass is Australia’s highest village at 1760m.
How to get there
The Snowy Mountains are accessible by road, air and coach. They are about a 6-hour drive from both Melbourne and Sydney, and a 2-hour drive from Canberra.
Qantas and Virgin Blue have flights into Melbourne, Sydney and Canberra, while Qantas also flies into Cooma, where there are plenty of rental car options.
There are regular bus services from Melbourne and Sydney via Canberra to Cooma and Tumut.
Best time to go
June to October for skiing, November to April for bushwalking.
Official website of the Snowy Mountains Regional Tourism Organisation
Snowy Mountains holiday rental accommodation
** This is our original 100 Things to Do Before You Die. First published in 1996. There is an updated 100 Things To Do In Australia Before you die, published in 2011.