A long drive is deserving of an extra long weekend (or should it be the other way around?), so take a classically winter trip and flip it on its head this autumn by exploring the Snowy Mountains region – but without the snow. Make the most of this Easter long weekend before the flakes start to fall with this alternative adrenaline-pumping adventure.
Make no mistake, the ‘long’ in ‘long weekend’ is about as true as it’ll ever be for a Snowy Mountains strike mission from Sydney. To think you’re going to have a smooth run out of the CBD at any point on departure day is to dream, but the general rule is if you leave before midday, you’ll likely make it to the mountain by dinner. If you’re planning an Easter Long Weekend excursion, make sure you allow for the extra time to get out of the city.
The Brand-New Mazda BT-50 is about as dynamic as our itinerary, handling everything from maximum highway consumption to stops in the Australian capital and mountainous terrain with ease.
The rich pastures dotted with livestock and bush scrub slowly make way for rolling hills and rocky outcrops, until all of a sudden, the gobsmacking sunset over Lake Jindabyne almost makes you stop in your tracks. By early evening, you’ve hit Kosciuszko National Park and the town of Jindabyne. The water in autumn is an inviting yet still chilly temptation, but pulling up lakeside and enjoying the view with the tray down will have to do this time around.
For a population of just over 2,600, the restaurant options could surprisingly serve a small city – telling of the popularity of this place during the winter months. After a sizeable drive, a jolly pub-style meal at Jindabyne Brewing is well deserved all around, before making your way upward the valley, and arriving 1,300m above sea level at The Eastern in Thredbo Village. This minimal loft cabin shares a similar ethos to the BT-50’s premium comfort and design. The Japanese-inspired Onsen will call your name into the night, there’s no doubt about that.
The cabin-supplied Supreme Coffee beans make for a hot cup of joe that tastes all the more sweeter as we stand on our balcony in the crisp morning air. After 7 hours of driving the day prior, it’s obvious your legs will be burning for a bit of action. Thankfully, mountain bikes are an effortless addition to the top of the BT-50’s tray, without having to compromise on regular space.
Buckle up for the Thredbo Valley Track to warm things up; an easy 12 kilometre circuit, that takes riders from the valley floor to Rangers Station and back. It’s an epic mix of terrain across three different peaks, suspension bridges, and the Thredbo river. This is high country at its most invigorating, and hitting it at-pace rather than on foot gives you an exhilarating rush you can only top by cranking it up a notch and continuing on to Thredbo Diggings. It’s an extra 28 kilometres that you might not have entirely planned for, but will end with a quick fang down the once snow-covered Cannonball Downhill and Kosciuszko Flow Trails.
Lunch is a well-earned spicy burger from the aptly named Burger Bar, and a quick wander around the village. Thredbo on the flip side of winter is an entirely different vibe to its usual hustle and bustle, and you get the sense of forbidden freedom as if you are a kid on school property outside of the school term. If the visibility is on point, seize the opportunity to jump on Thredbo’s Kosciuszko Express chairlift and walk to the Kosciuszko Lookout, set amongst alpine herb fields and with panoramic views of everything from the Snowy River to the Ramshead Range.
Sunday is usually a day for rest, but this is not an average Sunday. You’ve had a good night’s sleep and you’re here to go hard. Check out at 8am, pack your bags and drive back along the river as it drops steeply for over 750 metres in elevation. Spend the next four hours gently paddling down the river and tackling wet and wild rapids, a little more powerful now thanks to the spring melt off the surrounding mountains. The team at Alpine River Adventure will escort you back to your starting point, where we change into warm clothes and crank the BT-50’s heated seats before the gloriously long journey home begins.
As bon vivants who enjoy the longer drive (it’s hard not to in the Brand-New Mazda BT-50), we’re swinging through Canberra for a couple of hours to squeeze as much out of the weekend as possible. With our aforementioned guide to the nation’s capital in tow, stock up on provisions and, if the energy is there, partake in a few evening activities before pointing north and setting the adaptive cruise control on 110 km/h for a quick and steady drive home up the Hume Highway home.
This article is part of a series, proudly presented in partnership with the Brand-New Mazda BT-50. Thank you for supporting the brands who support Boss Hunting.