A natural playground for adventure-seekers and lovers of the great outdoors - there's plenty to see and do in the Snowy Mountains.
1. Visit Coolamine Homestead
An icon of the High Country, Coolamine Homestead is one of the most visited sites in Kosciuszko National Park. The homestead is actually comprised of three individual buildings, and each has its own unique architectural style, owing to the fact they were constructed at different periods of the late 1800s.
All have been beautifully restored, while the interior walls have been papered with newspapers from the late 1800s and early 1900s, their still-readable text rendering the place somewhat of a colonial time capsule.
Perfect for a picnic (or emergency overnight accommodation), Coolamine Homestead is a must-visit attraction.
2. Explore the Blue Waterholes
There are several cave systems waiting to be explored here in the Snowy Mountains, with five open to the public in this particular area. They are Blue Waterholes, Barbers, Murray and Cooleman One and Two caves. Entry to the other caves requires permission from the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service.
The most stunning of the caves are the Blue Waterholes, named for their distinct blue colouring – a result of the chemical composition of the water. Don’t expect to go swimming when you reach the waterholes however, the water remains ice cold on even the most scorching summer day.
3. Stopover in Talbingo
Perched on the edge of the Tumut River — now the Jounama Pondage — the quaint little town of Talbingo is framed majestically by mountains in all directions. The town was moved in the late 60s as part of the Snowy Mountains scheme, with the original location flooded to form the Jounama Pondage.
The original town consisted of a pub, a station and its homestead, and was the birthplace of author Miles Franklin. It’s now also the last stop for fuel before Cooma. The name ‘Talbingo’ is a combination of the English ‘tall’ and the local Aboriginal ‘bingo’, meaning belly. This is in honour of Mount Talbingo, which (apparently) looks like the big belly of a man lying down.
4. Walk the Clark Gorge Walking Track
Meandering alongside Cave Creek (with more than one shallow water cross, be prepared to take your shoes off!) the track is spectacularly wedged in a narrow limestone gorge whose sheer cliffs rise imposingly on either side, inspiring vertigo even from ground level.
These steely grey walls are perforated with caves and holes, and the grassy, monotone, undulating terrain with only the occasional snow gum or black sallee tree lend an almost Tasmanian feel to the landscape. It’s quite something.
5. Drive the Alpine Way
No matter what the season (although you will be required to carry snow chains with you in winter), driving the Alpine Way makes for a spectacular touring route.
The road winds along the Thredbo River, scales the Great Dividing Range, and descends down the western side of the range to Khancoban. Incredible views of the snow-capped peaks, hidden valleys and limestone cliffs are a given - but if you’re lucky you might even catch a glimpse of the High Country’s infamous brumbies.