On the far northwest side of Kosciuszko National Park, a couple of hours from the popular slopes of Perisher and Thredbo, the area surrounding the small town of Talbingo is a bonanza for camping, hiking, boating and fishing. It's about four-and-a-half hours by car from Sydney and totally worth it for the lack of crowds, incredible scenery and abundance of activities on offer – more than enough to fill a long weekend.
Jounama Creek Campsite is the perfect wilderness retreat, even though it's close to town it feels like you're miles from anywhere. The main campsite has open, grassy sites nestled beside the creek, great for caravans with lots of space for kids to play. The basic facilities include wood barbeques, picnic tables and outhouses. A couple of kilometres further up the dirt road (4WD vehicle recommended), veer left at the fork to find a couple more secret sites hidden along the banks.
The Old Mountain Track, which starts at the campsite, provides a challenging 8km roundtrip for hikers looking for a rewarding challenge.
Other nearby sites include the Black Perry and Landers Falls lookouts, just a short drive south on the Snowy Mountains Highway. The former delivers a spectacular vista of the snowies from a roadside viewing platform; to access the later take a short (1.6km roundtrip), steep jaunt from the 4WD car park located about 4km from the highway (if you don't have a 4WD you can park in the 2WD car park and walk or ride the extra distance).
Back on the highway, head another 30km south to Yarrangobilly Caves for an opportunity to journey underground into a world that was created some 440 million years ago. Take a self-guided tour through the largest cave, South Glory, or join one of the guided Discovery Tours that run several times daily.
The site also includes an outdoor geothermal pool, where the water is always a very pleasant 27 degrees celsius, which is great for a refreshing cool down when the sun is blazing.
It may not have the infamy of the neighbouring communities to the south, but this lesser known corner of Kosciuszko is definitely worth a summertime visit. If you're travelling to the area from Sydney, stop in at the Visitor's information in Tumut for maps and additional information on hikes and activities in the area.