Thredbo, NSW, travel guide and things to do: Nine highlights in summer


On the way to Thredbo – a lovely drive through a landscape of granite boulders, skeletal trees, big skies and cows standing in rivers – stop for a leg-stretcher at Wildbrumby Distillery on the roadside between Jindabyne and Thredbo. The kids will appreciate the chance to run about on lawns dotted with giant sculptures, while adults can try schnapps with flavours that range from sour cherry to peach, apricot and apple – though pear and butterscotch might be the two tastiest. For lunch, you'd best focus on Austrian dishes such as schnitzel, goulash and sausages with sauerkraut. See


Summer in Thredbo isn't short of hiking options, the easiest being the very agreeable Riverside Walk along four kilometres of the Thredbo Valley on a track that winds through beautiful snow-gum forest and is never out of the sound of the chuckling, peaty-brown river. But if you're up for a challenge, book the guided-only Alpine Lakes Walk, a 19-kilometre loop that takes you to Australia's highest glacial lakes and provides outlooks onto the Snowy Mountains' most rugged peaks, which you miss from Thredbo itself. The wildflowers are splendid too. See


Thredbo, the one and only guide by Brian Johnston
Images supplied

Thrill seekers can embrace alpine riding in Thredbo Mountain Bike Park where lifts haul you upwards and then it's all downhill on tight bends and twisting tracks. Less adventurous or inexperienced riders, though, should hit Thredbo Valley Track for a superb 20-kilometre mountain-biking ride that takes you downriver from Thredbo to Crackenback. The track undulates through eucalpyt forest, across grassland, and over the Thredbo River on occasional suspension bridges, with only short uphill sections, and provides beautiful scenery all the way. See


Eagles Nest is billed as Australia's highest restaurant, sitting at 1937 metres atop Kosciuszko Express Chairlift. Come here for a breakfast of cinnamon pancakes or a bacon roll and watch emergent sunlight and shifting shadows change the look of the ridged landscape. Later in the day, coffee and apple strudel will fortify you before a hike. In truth the food is ho-hum, but no matter: it gets you a seat by giant plate-glass windows with vertiginous views over Thredbo and its crumpled scenery. See


For both good grub and cosy alpine atmosphere on evenings that can be chilly even in summer, there is no better spot than T Bar Restaurant. Its relaxed, rustic interior suits the location and encourages conviviality. The Italian-focused menu isn't large but everything is scrumptious, from the mushroom-and-truffle arancini to the pappardelle smothered in rich ragu. A pizza oven adds warmth and smokiness to the ambience and delivers excellent Italian-style pizzas, modest on toppings but delicious and thin-crusted. See


Thredbo, the one and only guide by Brian Johnston
Images supplied

Three-day summer yoga retreats run by Jindabyne Yoga Shala will have you stretching, meditating and sucking in dollops of fresh mountain air and splendid scenery. Yoga guru Jane Corban is patient with beginners and has a great line in inspiring metaphors ("Your breathing should be like a crystal stream that gathers debris and then releases it") to get energy and interest flowing. Summit sunrise yoga might be a highlight as orange light flits across the mountains. A plunge into an icy rock pool on the Thredbo River brings adrenaline to an otherwise blissed-out experience. See


Australia is the only continent where ordinary walkers can summit its highest peak, and surely all Aussies should stand atop Mount Kosciuszko at least once. The 13-kilometre return hike from the top of Kosciuszko Express Chairlift takes four hours, has no steep climbs and is well signposted. It first crosses alpine marsh with wide-open scenery before reaching the windblown rockiness of Rawson Pass. The path then curls upwards and before you know it you're on the roof of Australia. Good mobile reception allows you to make a boastful phone call. See



Mountains aren't short of relaxing environments and pastimes, but the ultimate Zen encounter might be over a fly-fishing line as you stand knee-deep in crystal-clear water that gurgles and skips down the Thredbo Valley. Forget fishing's tough-guy image and enter a meditative state in which time seems to be suspended, stress floats away and your whole world becomes purling water, trees and alpine quiet. You might see deer or a platypus. Even if a trout never nibbles, you'll be content. Rivers are open between the October and June long weekends, but you can fish most lakes year- round. See


Lake Crackenback Resort & Spa doesn't have the convenience of being in Thredbo itself but benefits from a tranquil lakeside location, 15 minutes by road down the valley. You're absorbed in a mountain setting backed by snow-dusted hills, and at night kangaroos come out to nibble on the lawns. On-site activities such as mountain biking, bushwalking, kayaking and archery keep the kids amused; there's also a nine-hole par-three golf course and indoor heated swimming pool. Self-contained accommodation includes studios, apartments and "chalets" or holiday houses. See


Thredbo too far to drive there? Snow Connect provides airport transfers from Canberra airport to Thredbo and other NSW alpine resorts, and also runs 4WD tours into the Snowies. Affable owner Leanne Harrison is a mine of information about the area and a talented photographer for those keen to capture the alpine landscapes on camera. See

Brian Johnston was a guest of Destination NSW.