I try to go on a weekend getaway at least once every month. It does not have to be long, usually a two to three hours drive just enough for me to get away from the city and to be mesmerised by the hinterland immediately beyond my doorsteps.
The October long weekend was the perfect reason to escape the city and embark on a longer drive. With the boyfriend, we picked Snowy Mountains as one of our destinations for the weekend. Although I grew up by the coast, I have always had this fascination over mountain ranges and where else to go but to Australia's rooftop - the Snowy Mountains range to get our highland fix? October to November is also a great time to go if you wish to avoid the ski crowds and still relish (last of) the snow season in Australia.
The drive was as satisfying as the destination was as we were able to see the mountain range from afar, still with its dramatic snow-capped tips. Maybe it was the heights - the air in the area felt extra crisp and refreshing.
We arrived at Thredbo after meandering through several quiet country towns and cellars. After taking the Kosciusko express to the top, we embarked on our hike to the Kosciusko lookout (note: Kosciusko express is closed parts of the year for maintenance and visitors would have to go up the mountains using another chairlift which would add approximately half an hour to your hike - best to check with Thredbo tourist centre on/before arrival).
It was very chilly when we reached the mountains, and due to an incoming storm, we were unable to climb Australia's tallest mountain, Mount Kosciusko (2,228 m!). We still managed to get to Kosciusko lookout and was swept away by the dramatic granite outcrops and last of the snow. We tumbled around in the snow, threw some snowballs, took many photos before making our way back to Thredbo village. It was a great day
View of Australia's tallest mountain, Mt Kosciusko, from lookout
Did I mention how amazing the drive was? The Snowy Mountain Alpine Way was exceptionally well maintained (due to the large volumes of traffic to the snows during winter peak seasons) and driving in autumn means there was no need for snow chains. With no traffic, we were able to drive at a very comfortable 100km/hr with the windows down the whole way. It worked magic in helping us forget the stresses of the city lifestyle.
If you are up for a detour, try taking the Snowy River way once you go past Jindabyne. This 85 km stretch is not as busy as Jindabyne Road and there was rarely any other cars. If you do take on this course, be prepared to embrace the 360 degrees views of pasture, animal grazing and endless country scenery. Just breathe in the country side and take it easy.
The Snowy River way also takes you past the historic town of Dalgety, the only town on the banks of the Snowy River between Melbourne and Sydney. This town once contested for being the Nation's capital - where it was passed over in favour of Canberra (one reason being it was claimed to be closer to Melbourne than Sydney!). Today, you can enjoy the historical establishments as you feel you have travelled back in time to a town which has not moved forward since the gold rush era.
One of the gems along the Snowy River Way - Dalgety
All in all, the trip was very satisfying, and we will definitely be back another day to complete the hike to Mount Kosciuszko. This was one of those tours where the journey was equally as impressive as the destination as it was worth the time exploring the Alpine region - including the well known Thredbo, Jindabyne, Cooma as well as surrounding, less explored towns. I recommend this to all travellers looking for another reason to tour the Snowy Mountains region after the snow season.
After publishing the article - a friendly reader reminded me it's actually Spring not Autumn in October (northern hemisphere thoughts!). So it should be Snowy Mountains in Spring ;P Nevertheless - this area is beautiful during all seasons anyway :)
Walk to Mt Kosciuszko, starting at Charlottes Pass. A welcome break at Seaman's Hut and read the tribute to the snow boarders who tragically died when a snow cave collapsed. Continue to the top for the best view south to the Victoria Alps and beyond. There is a cairn where many a photograph has been taken by walkers. The steel mesh track (to protect the fragile environment) is a bit hard on the feet, so wear good walking boots/shoes.
The descent to Thredbo via the Chairlift (if it's working) from Eagle's Nest is the best, a load off your feet!
Take water and some snacks (trail mix, energy bars) and use your supply.
Porta Loos are mid way, so take the opportunity to use them as there is no where else on the mountain.
I did this walk in the month of February and still walked through a small patch of snow.
I think you mean spring not autumn. Autumn is March April May. The Snowy area is just as lovely then too, with the bonus of the deciduous trees in colour. The town of Khancoban, at the Victorian end of The Alpine Way has a great show of autumn colour in May. The Alpine Way is a beautiful drive through the hills and bush of the Snowy and should not be missed....at any time of the year!