Ultimate guide to things to do in Snowy Mountains with kids
Snow play, horse riding, cosy cabins, bike rides and long scenic bushwalks – the Snowy Mountains are an active family’s dream.
Located along the Great Dividing Range on the NSW and Victorian border, the Snowy Mountains are Australia’s only Alpine Region and home the country’s tallest peak, Mt Kosciuszko.
In winter, the NSW ski fields open up and you can ski, snowboard or toboggan at one of the many resorts. Perisher and its surrounding villages make up the southern hemisphere’s biggest alpine resort, with nearby Thredbo also hugely popular. Beginners and families will enjoy the quieter Charlotte Pass and the kid-friendly Selwyn Snowfields. All offer a choice of accommodation to suit every budget and most offer the convenience of on-snow accommodation. When you’re not skiing, snowboarding or crafting the finest of snowmen, there’s plenty of other winter activities to be enjoyed from snow tubing and tobogganing to snowshoeing and disc golf.
But it’s not all about snow. There are lots of great things for kids and families to do in the Snowy Mountains all year round.
Active families will love the Snowy Mountains in summer, as it is the perfect time of year for hiking or mountain biking the endless mountain trails, horse riding, trout fishing, kayaking and more. Ride Thredbo’s Alpine Express chairlift (it operates all year around) to Eagle’s Nest Cafe for incredible views over the mountains. Summer is also a great time to visit Yarrangobilly area, one of the highlights of Kosciuszko National Park where you can explore caves with stalactites dangling dramatically from the roof, take a dip in a thermal pool or spot the incredible native wildlife.
Top things to do in Snowy Mountains
With an incredible variety of activities on offer whether it is winter, summer, autumn or spring, these are our must-see sights.
- Pick plump blueberries at Jolly Berries during the summer
- Learn to ski or snowboard at one of the excellent ski schools
- Build a snowman
- Head on a snowmobile tour
- Slip and slide down the mountain on a toboggan or tube
- Ride a horse through the mountains like the Man from Snowy River
- Visit the caves at Yarrangobilly
- Try your hand at the huge range of watersports at Lake Jindabyne
- Take the trek to the top of Mount Kosciuszko
- Learn about electricity at the Snowy Hydro Discovery Centre
Things to do in Central Coast with…
The snow isn’t just for big kids, there’s plenty of fun to be found in the Snowy Mountains for little ones. Many resorts offer crèches and kids clubs so they’ll have plenty to do while you hit the slopes. And most resorts have kids’ skiing lessons available for kids ages three and over. These special programs are tailored to allow little shredders to learn how to balance and make their first turns on skis with professional instruction and tuition in a safe area.
Afterwards even the littlest snow bunny will want to hit the white stuff to enjoy hours of snow play. Go sledding, enjoy a (gentle) snowball fight, make snow angels, and of course you won’t even need to ask if they want to build a snowman, because that will be a given. Just don’t forget to pack a carrot and scarf.
Make learning fun by dropping into the Snowy Hydro Discovery Centre. The Snowy Mountains Hydro-Electric Scheme is one of the engineering wonders of the modern world and kids will enjoy hands-on learning amongst the many interactive displays that will demonstrate the wonders of engineering and how electricity is made. If the kids need to burn off a bit of energy let them loose on the power bikes. They may even generate enough to boil the kettle.
Kids will love a stay at Lake Crackenback Resort, which not only provides an excellent base for families to explore the region, but offers many fantastic in-house activities including canoeing, biking, nine-hole and disc golf, a low ropes course and archery. They also provide Wombat Kids Adventure Packs for littlies complete with a bug catcher, binoculars, compass and nature journal to take on your explorations along the resort’s many trails.
When kids aren’t busy learning, or honing their ski and snowboard skills on the mountain, they’ll find plenty to keep them entertained. The Thredbo Leisure Centre, located just a five-minute walk from Thredbo Village Square, offers a variety of awesome activities ranging from an indoor heated waterslide to a blow-up obstacle course and wild trampoline sessions. There’s also bobsledding, tubing, snowshoeing and plenty of fun to be found on the snow.
Come summer, there’s just as much to do. Kids will love Lake Jindabyne, where they can enjoy a world of water sports including water skiing, kayaking, canoeing, fishing, wake boarding and swimming. Or head of for a hike up the Mount Kosciusko Mountain trail, pitch a tent in one of the many camping sites, take a four-wheel drive tour, enjoy a trail ride, or head off on one of the excellent bicycle trails.
A visit to the Snowy Mountains means action stations for adventurous teens. Not only can they learn to ski or snowboard at one of the excellent resort ski schools, experienced teens can shred down the mountain and test their skills at some of the mountain’s excellent terrain parks. If too much snow is never enough, there’s also snowmobiling, tubing, snowshoeing, nightskiing, and even horse riding through the snow.
There’s just as much fun to be found off the snow, during the summer months.
Hit the Thredbo Bobsled to fly down the a 700-metre luge track that twists and turns down the mountain a short distance from Valley Terminal along the Merrits Nature Track. Hike the mountain trails, try abseiling tuition, bouldering and caving with K7 at Thredbo, or explore jaw-dropping caves and take a dip in a thermal pool on a guided tour of Yarrangobilly Caves.
Best time to visit Snowy Mountains as a family
The best time to visit the Snowy Mountains depends on what you want out of your holiday. If you are all about building snowmen, skiing or boarding then July and August are the coolest months, and the snow is at its peak, but you’ll find the shoulder months of June and September still offer some great snow, but accommodation prices are much more affordable and the slopes less crowded, which can be better for kids learning to ski. Those who love horse-riding can enjoy it all year round.
For those less inclined to participate in snow sports, the summer months, from December to February, are ideal for hiking and camping with mild temps and loads of excellent trails including the famous trek to the top of stunning Mount Kosciuszko, Australia’s highest peak.
Family-friendly places to eat in Snowy Mountains
There’s more than just snow and skiing to be enjoyed in the NSW Snowy Mountains, where delicious adventures await. From crunchy apples to luscious berries and moreish truffles, fresh fish to tender beef, and incredible cool-climate wines for mum and dad, this region is responsible for some of the state’s best produce.
While there are loads of great cafes and restaurants catering to families, especially in bigger towns like Jindabyne and Cooma, the best way to taste your way through the region is at one of the many traditional country shows and food festivals held over the year, or visit the farm gates and cellar doors for tastings of the freshest produce.
Kids will especially enjoy picking plump blueberries at Jolly Berries in Tumbarumba during the summer picking season, or head to Batlow to pick, and devour, all things apple. Or catch your own dinner on a trout fishing tour of Lake Eucumbene or Lake Jindabyne during the summer.
Things to do for free in Snowy Mountains
- Skiing and snowboarding are infamously expensive pastimes, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy the snow on the cheap. If you aren’t worried about heading up the chairlifts there’s still magic to be found in the white stuff as it doesn’t cost a thing to build a snowman or throw snowballs.
- Come summer you can fish, swim and play in and around the region’s lakes and waterways. Go hiking or bring your mountain bikes to take on some of the incredible trails for all levels of experience. If you are feeling particularly energetic you can even trek right to the top of Mount Kosciuszko.
- And be sure to make a stop at The Snowy Hydro Centre to view its hands-on exhibits and interactive displays, free of charge. The kids can learn about power generation and even take a turn on the power bikes to see if they have enough energy to power a TV.
September – Lanterns on the Lagoon
Lanterns on the Lagoon will see sculptures illuminated by lanterns in Pioneer Park by the Tumut River, with loads of children’s activities and inspiring musical performances to enhance the displays.
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Janeece Keller is the founder and editor of Family Travel. She mostly travels with her husband and two young kids. She has a large blended family that lives in Australia and Europe. She has visited 52 countries and lived on 3 continents. From camping to luxury resorts Janeece tries to make sure her family has diverse holiday experiences each year. She is an avid hiker and ocean swimmer who loves good food, margaritas and heading off the beaten path.