Getting to the Snowy Mountains
Australia’s highest mainland mountain, Mount Kosciuszko, is the centrepiece of Kosciuszko National Park in the Snowy Mountains of NSW. Soaring to 2,228m, the mountain is named after Polish cultural and political hero Tadeusz Kosciuszko, and is known for its spectacular snow gums, ski resorts and for the famous walk to the top of Australia.
The Snowy Mountains are a beacon for lovers of skiing and snowboarding in winter and hiking and biking in summer. The mountains are serviced by towns like Jindabyne and Cooma to the east, Tumut to the north and Tumbarumba to the west.
During the winter months there is often a conga line of traffic full of snow enthusiasts driving down the highway from Sydney, a drive which takes around six hours. It’s a 2hr 30min drive from Canberra. Thredbo and Perisher can be reached directly by car, whereas Charlotte Pass can only be accessed by the over-snow transport from Perisher.
If you are going to drive you will need to have snow chains – they must be carried in 2WD vehicles in Kosciuszko National Park between the months of June and October. All vehicles must pay a fee to enter the park. It is a good idea to purchase a digital annual pass, which allows entry to all the national parks in NSW, from the NPWS website before you arrive. Annual passes are not available for purchase at the park entry gates. During winter, it is vital to drive to the conditions as visibility can be low and roads icy. Please check these alpine-driving safety tips before your journey.
If you are travelling to Perisher or Charlotte Pass, you can park your vehicle at Bullocks Flat near Jindabyne and catch the Skitube, a rack railway that travels up the mountains. The journey from Bullocks Flat to Perisher takes 10min and it’s a further 7min on to Blue Cow. Trains run every 20-30min from around 5.30am to close to midnight. Skiers staying at Charlotte Pass will catch a snowcat from the Skitube terminal at Perisher.
Fly into Snowy Mountains Airport near Cooma, which is an hour’s drive from the ski resorts. Qantas is offering direct flights from Sydney and Brisbane to Cooma during the 2021 ski season, while Rex flies between Sydney and Cooma twice a week. You can also choose to fly into Canberra, which is a two-hour drive from Jindabyne or 2hr 30min from Thredbo and Perisher. Wagga Wagga Airport is approximately 70min from Tumut and Tumbarumba.
It’s easy to hire a car or arrange transfers from these airports. There are also frequent bus services to the region.
Coach & train
If you don’t want to drive yourself, there are a number of coach operators with services from Sydney and Canberra to Jindabyne, Thredbo and Perisher. NSW TrainLink services operate between Sydney and Cooma, Jindabyne and Bombala, via Canberra, and Tumut and Tumbarumba too, via Cootamundra. From Melbourne, take a train to Bairnsdale for a coach to Bombala and Cooma.