Don?t just drive to the snow from A to B like a maniac possessed. Make a couple of decent stopovers to rest your legs, add some colour to your day and keep you coming back down this way for more. Check out all the great things going on when driving?Sydney to Thredbo, and pencil in your stops before you even start the engine.
Can you take a few days off mid-week? Can you take Friday or Monday off work and have a leisurely drive down or back? Here?s just a small selection of things on offer over the winter enroute to the snow. Why don?t you cast your eye down and see what tickles your fancy. At the very least, it will give you something to talk about at dinner.
Wineries make a perfect pitstop for car trips as there?s always plenty of room for walking around, or running around, always something pretty to see or smell and something tasty to sip and buy.
If you?re a wine buff you would already know what a large wine region the Southern Highlands is proving to be with 52 vineyards, 12 wineries and 25 wine companies in the region producing a broad range of wine varieties.
[caption id="attachment_8567" align="alignnone" width="400"] Southern Highlands Winery. Source: The Australian[/caption]
Two to note for the purpose of being an easy enroute to snow stop are :
Producing award winning cool counter wines. Open Monday, Thursday, Friday 10-4pm and on weekends and public holidays 10am-5pm, Hume Highway, Sutton Forest, phone 82171409. On right hand side of freeway so get ready in your right lane to turn into driveway.
Located on a heritage listed circa 1834 Homestead, wines from Eling Forest have been produced and sourced from very long wine growing season due to cool climate conditions. Located at 12587 Hume Highway, it's cafe is open from 8am to 4.30pm daily ( closing at 4pm Sundays) with the cellar door open at 10.30am daily. phone 48789155.
Canberra Region Wines
Did you know there are over 33 winery within 35 minutes of Canberra? It is expanding and growing in popularity and worth pulling the car over for.
[caption id="attachment_8568" align="alignnone" width="400"] Canberra Winery. Source: Canberra Create Your Future[/caption]
Three Canberra region wineries of note are:
Drop in for a coffee, breakfast, lunch, helicopter rides or a scenic walk. This winery is an award winner for best regional winery by acclaimed wine connoisseur James Halliday. Located on the Federal Highway at Lake George. Turn off at the Gurney VC rest area and follow the signs. Open 7 days a week 10am till 5pm Phone 02 6295 6640.
Specialising in Savignon Blanc, Shiraz and Merlot and located at 154 Millynn Rd Bywong. Website review says 'a little vineyard that easily stands up to the bigger wineries in the area. A must stop if you're into sweeter wines'. Call 0415 484113 for appointments and more information. Open 10am till 5pm Friday to Tuesday.
Lots of national and regional awards won for Shiraz it's located at 106 Brooks Rd Bywong. Call 02 6236 9620. Open weekends 11am till 4pm or by appointment.
National Art Gallery
If wineries aren?t your thing and you prefer to be indoors looking at art, don't forget the National Art Gallery in Canberra. There are a couple of exhibitions open during the snow season, take note of the dates and be sure to drop in.
[caption id="attachment_8569" align="alignnone" width="400"] National Art Galley. Source: been there done that[/caption]
There?s always something interesting on rotation from Europe or North America. Save yourself an international airfare and spend an hour.
- Myth and Memory in Recent American landscape photography (finishes 15 July 2015. Exhibition of major contemporary American photographers including Robert Adams Mark Ruwedel, Mark Klett , Frank Gohlke. Free Exhibition).
- Colour my world exhibition (until August 30, Hand coloured photography).
- Streetwise Exhibition (on contemporary print culture until August 7. Australian print culture as an art form).
- The Story of Rama (until August 23 spanning 17th to 19th century India).
- Alive and Spirited (explores the importance of mythical spirits in Aboriginal Society. From august 2nd to January 2016).
National Zoo and Aquarium in Canberra
Meet a generous array of big cats at the National Zoo and Acquarium in Canberra. Cheetah, White lion , four African lions, Sumatran Tiger, Bengal Tiger, cougar ( puma), cheetah, Snow Leopard, serval and Sun bear among many more animals. Open 930 till 5 PM every day adults $40 children $23 (over age four) family $110.
Canberra Reptile Park
The park is located in?O?Hanlon Place, Nicholls.?Good selection of snakes, if you like things slithery and scaly. ?7 days a week 10am till 5pm -?$11 adults, $8 children, 4 and under free.
Ice Skating costs vary depending on the time of the day between $14-$17 and skate hire is $3.?Phillip Swimming and Ice Skating Centre, Irving St Phillip phone 02 6282 1660.
Always fun to wander around, buy gifts, local produce and a hot drink and get in touch with the local community. Enjoy the local produce made by small family based producers of the region and experience the flavours and talents that you won?t find at home.
- Cooma Markets (held every third Sunday of the month and host over 50 stalls of craft, books, clothes, plants. There?s a jumping castle for the little ones to stretch those legs. ?It?s a nice introduction to Cooma instead of just passing through).
- Jindabyne Markets (held every Saturday at Horizons 10 Kosciuzko Rd Jindabyne. A variety of local produce, coffee and gifts from 9am to 1pm Call 0402 997 681 for more information).
- Crackenback Cottage Markets (held on the 1st Saturday of the month from 9am till 4pm on The Alpine Way between Jindabyne and Thredbo, opposite Wildbrumby Schnapps Distillery).
Cool Climate Dinner Series
Thredbo guests can join a series of dinners from acclaimed chefs, if you?re a foodie and want to do something different call up to reserve your spot, it?s just down the road from thredbo at the Crackenback Resort. (Located at 1650 Alpine Way). Featuring James Viles from Biota Dining and Ben Willis from Aubergine Restaurant are the celebrity chefs for this year. Dinners are on the 24th July and 15th August. Call 1800 020 524.
When?heading Sydney to Thredbo or vice versa on the way home from your snow trip is an interesting spot to stretch your legs. Officially located inside the Mt Annan Botanical Gardens just south of Sydney is the Australian Plant Bank.
[caption id="attachment_8571" align="alignnone" width="400"] Australian Plant Bank. Source: Royal Botanic Gardens[/caption]
If you?re a keen documentary watcher you would note there are several plant banks in the world, these are secure concrete bunkers that house samples of plants and seeds from Australia and beyond for the purposes of research and preservation in case of global catastrophe. If your kids are old enough to fathom the magnitude of this enterprise, it?s quite cool just to walk around and think about history, science and progress in the making.
Where to stay once you reach Thredbo?
If you?re planning on staying at Thredbo to do some snowboarding or skiing, Lantern Thredbo Apartments have a range of self-contained apartments suitable for every kind of skiing and snowboarding group. All apartments have kitchens and washing facilities, very important for post skiing logistics.
Many have a car space, but if they don?t, it?s just a matter of unloading your luggage and parking the car in the designated car parks around the village.
There?s also free shuttle bus around the village. Get out on those balconies and enjoy a glass of wine that you picked up at the wineries on your way down.
Now, to plan that trip back to Sydney...