Towns and regions impacted by the summer bushfires have plenty to entice families, writes ANGELA SAURINE
It’s well known as a winter playground, but the NSW Snowy Mountains has become a popular year-round destination. Summer is usually one of its busiest times, but in January the mountain biking hub of Thredbo was evacuated, and the town of Jindabyne designated a ‘tourist leave zone’, with many roads closed because of bushfires. In the north of the Kosciuszko National Park, Selwyn Snow Resort was completely destroyed in the fires and will remain closed this season. Yarrangobilly Caves and Thermal Pool were also closed throughout summer, but both plan to re-open in time for Easter 2020. The Alpine Way has also re-opened, as well as roads in the northern areas of the park.
The region offers a variety of adventure activities, from hiking, horse riding and mountain biking to canoeing and kayaking on Lake Jindabyne. Climb to the top of Australia’s tallest mountain, Mt Kosciuszko; go fishing at Eucumbene Trout Farm, or head to Bombala Platypus Reserve, 1.5 hours’ drive from Jindabyne, to try to spot the unique creatures that reside in the river. And be sure to stop in at The Snowy Hydro Discovery Centre in Cooma to check out the new, interactive flyover through the mountains. Thredbo also has a leisure centre with a pool and waterslide, trampolines and a climbing wall, as well as bobsled rides.
Thredbo and Jindabyne have a range of accommodation options for all budgets and requirements, including hotels and caravan parks with cabins, lodges, luxurious apartments and self-contained units. Lake Crackenback Resort & Spa, beside the Bullocks Flat Skitube Terminal on The Alpine Way, has more than 18km of mountain biking tracks, archery, trampolines, canoeing and tennis, as well as a heated indoor pool and a gym. Nearby Wildbrumby Distillery is a great place for the kids to run around whilst parents enjoy lunch – and maybe even some schnapps.