Winter holiday destination that’s even better in summer

Welcome to Don’t Delay Your Stay,’s campaign to support communities hard hit by this summer’s devastating bushfires. Many of these regions rely on tourism, so one of the best ways to help is to visit and spend time in some of the most beautiful parts of our great country.

For as long as I can remember, I’ve had to explain to people why in the world my family chooses to spend every summer holiday hanging out in Thredbo in the NSW Snowy Mountains.

Skifields? Summertime? I get it. It’s confusing.

Sure, the booming popularity of mountain biking has helped spread the word there’s more to this place than snowsports and apres – but to the wider public, it’s still something of a summertime hidden gem.

Far left: me aged two, taking a break on the Mt Kosciuszko walk.Source:Supplied

29 years on: same place, same vibe.Source:Supplied

With 31 years of memories attached to the place, watching so much of the beautiful national park surrounding Thredbo go up in flames – and at one point, coming dangerously close to razing the town – amid a mass evacuation in January was gut-wrenching.

Unlike so many devastated towns, thankfully, this one survived – and my family made sure to stick to our annual pilgrimage up the mountain just a few weeks after the danger passed. Sadly, it was by far the quietest Australia Day weekend we’d ever seen there.

Whether you’ve visited before, or this is the first you’ve heard about summer holidays in the mountains (you’re welcome) – there’s never been a better time to make the scenic journey to the Snowies.

Once you get there, here are all the must-do’s:

Eat and drink


This local treasure should be at the top of everyone’s list. Located between Thredbo resort and Jindabyne, the distillery – set upon hectares of breathtaking farmland – creates its own homegrown schnapps, vodka and gin right in front of your eyes.

The best part? They offer a free sampling service of their impressively vast range, but be warned: There’s no way you won’t want to buy a bottle of your favourite in the gift shop before you leave (limoncello and butterscotch are personal highlights).

The Alpine Way distillery is surrounded by beautiful farmland.Source:News Corp Australia

They offer free schnapps taste testing.Source:News Corp Australia

Across both summer and winter, the distillery’s Austrian-themed restaurant is usually buzzing, so it’s highly recommended guests book ahead. Once you’re there, opt for Wildbrumby’s famous reuben sandwich, schnitzel burger or the gourmet sausages – and make sure you wash it down with one of their signature drinks, like the “Donner & Blitz”, (chilli schnapps and ginger beer, trust me, it works), bellini cocktail (with homemade peach schnapps) or a simple limoncello on ice.


For a relaxed, picturesque and utterly local experience, you can’t beat Thredbo’s local pub.

The large venue boasts pride of place at the front of the resort, with a huge balcony offering panoramic views of the mountain.

The bistro balcony offers up incredible views of the mountain.Source:Supplied

It’s the perfect place to unwind with a cold drink after a hike or play some pool or darts while taking in the scenery. It’s got a low-key family-friendly vibe and serves up hearty Aussie pub dishes and daily specials.

You’re guaranteed to spot the locals’ table – a group who are usually more than willing to regale you with a mountain tale or two.


The Black Bear restaurant is a longtime favourite of guests and locals alike – and most nights, its clientele is a pretty even mix of both.

The cuisine is hearty, wholesome, European-inspired fare, like the hugely popular “Trio of Schnitzels” – but make sure you arrive ravenously hungry.

Sunset is the perfect time for a drink on the balcony, and as darkness sweeps across the mountain, the restaurant’s wooden chalet-style interior will have you feeling like you’re tucked away in the Alps.

Sunset from the Black Bear balcony.Source:Supplied

The European-style interior.Source:Supplied


Smack bang in the centre of town is Thredbo Bakery, serving up coffee, freshly-baked treats, mouth-watering bacon and egg rolls, salad rolls, sausages, pies, and mini pizzas. One option is to grab a table outside in the sunshine – the other is to take away a packed lunch to eat on a hike or on a picnic.

Pizzas from the bakery at the top of Mt Kosciuszko. Picture: Supplied/Bronte CoySource:Supplied


For atmosphere, the Apres Bar within The Denman is just the right spot for a cosy evening drink.

While it’s decor is certainly visually appealing, it’s the expertise of the cocktail makers behind the bar that’ll keep you coming back.

(Pro tip: Ask the bartender for a “money shot”.)

Longtime Denman barman John is a cocktail whiz.Source:Supplied


At 1937 metres above sea level, Eagles Nest is Australia’s highest restaurant and, needless to say, offers eye-catching views.

There’s cafe-style food, a full bar and six varieties of their famously delicious hot chocolates on the menu at the restaurant, which is open from 9.30am until 3pm every day.

Unless you feel like a steep hike from the village, the best way to get there is by taking the Kosciuszko Express Chairlift.

It’s a great spot to unwind. Picture: Supplied/Bronte CoySource:Supplied



I’m not usually one for hiking, but there’s something about the crisp alpine air that makes exploring the pathways around Kosciuszko wildly appealing.

Kosciuszko is a bucket-list trek for any Thredbo visitor – it’s the highest point in Australia and a relatively easy, low-impact walk along a largely metal pathway.

It’s a beautiful, easy walk and appropriate for a wide range of ages. Picture: Supplied/Bronte CoySource:Supplied

But my favourite is Dead Horse Gap – it involves a chairlift ride taking you to the start of the track and leads you down the mountain over about a 2½ hour period.

The rugged terrain is breathtaking and, at times, looks like something straight out of a movie.

Pack a few snacks for the road to enjoy along the way and keep an eye out for local wildlife – you may even catch a glimpse of the notoriously shy wild brumbies.

There are plenty of other walking options, too – more details can be found on Thredbo’s official website.

(Note: You’ll need to buy a chairlift pass for many of the hikes.)


Thredbo is home to plenty of watering holes, providing an idyllic way to spend a hot summer’s day.

The dam near the entry (via Jindabyne) to the resort is a particularly good swimming spot, especially if you BYO floating devices.

The ultimate swimming spot.Source:Supplied


Thredbo Mountain Bike Park has established itself as a top mountain biking destination with Australia’s only summer-long chairlift access.

There’s a mix of trails including downhill, flow, all-mountain, cross-country plus skills parks, and with daily lessons available, it’s suitable for first-timers all the way through to more experienced riders.

Mountain biking has become a popular summertime activity in Thredbo. Picture: SuppliedSource:istock


If you’re looking for an activity the whole family can enjoy – the bobsled is just the ticket.

The 700-metre luge-style track twists and turns its way down the mountain, offering up a view of the village as you whiz by in the bobsled (a cross between a go-kart and a toboggan).

Speed is fairly easy to control, so parents can hop on with their young kids and do it at their own pace – while speed junkies will prefer to fly down at maximum speed.

It’s not cheap, but it’s great fun. A single ride is $10, six rides are $50, 10 rides are $70 and 20 rides are $120, and all can be purchased at Thredbo Sports, located at the bottom of the chairlift.


Enjoy a round of nine-hole golf on Australia’s highest golf course, or grab some friends for a spot of tennis at one of the resort’s two available tennis courts.

Not a bad backdrop.Source:Supplied


Fishing season runs between the October and June long weekends in Kosciuszko National Park and is a popular activity among both locals and visitors.

Thredbo River is home to some of the wildest trout in Australia and features plenty of peaceful, tranquil fishing spots along its banks.

Whether it’s your first time or you’re just looking to brush up on skills, learn to do it like the pros with one of the resort’s experienced guides.


Guided rides through the Snowy Mountains region can be enjoyed by all ages and ability levels and range from just a couple of hours to two-day wilderness camping experiences.

As you peacefully meander through the valleys and up the slopes, you’ll feel like you’ve stepped into Banjo Paterson’s The Man from Snowy River tale.


If you’re keen to try out the local beer, you’re in luck: There are plenty of brewery options available.

There are two of them in Jindabyne alone: Jindabyne Brewing and Kosciuszko Brewery (at Banjo Paterson Inn), with both offering a hearty range of local beers.

If you venture a little farther to Dalgety (just under an hour’s drive from Thredbo), you’ll come across the charming Snowy Vineyard and Microbrewery, which also features wine tasting and an a la carte restaurant.



Situated in the heart of the village, the Alpine Hotel is just a couple of hundred metres from the Kosciuszko Express Chairlift – which is open year-round and ferries guests up to the top of the mountain – and Thredbo River. Each room features an ensuite bathroom, and the Cascades’ buffet breakfast is pretty sensational.

Plus, there’s always a vibe in the hotel courtyard, where fire pits and fairy lights make for a relaxed evening hangout spot.

The Alpine Hotel is just a couple of minutes’ walk from the main hub.Source:Supplied

The hotel courtyard is usually buzzing with activity.Source:Supplied

For more information and to book, head to the official website.


The self-contained four-star Lantern apartments come with a fully-equipped kitchen, barbecue and laundry facilities – perfect for either a romantic couples break or a family stay.

Like many places in Thredbo, the view from the apartment balconies is picturesque – but Lantern’s location a bit higher up the hill makes it just a smidgen more spectacular (and a smidgen more pricey).

Inside one of the Lantern apartments.Source:Supplied

For more information and to book, head to the official website.


The significantly more budget-friendly cost of youth hostels is usually the biggest selling point, but in this case it’s the jaw-dropping view from the huge balcony and comfy lodge-style dining room.

The YHA balcony is pretty special.Source:Supplied

The rooms are basic, clean, comfortable YHA fare with the option of private or shared rooms.

For more information and to book, head to the official website.

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