Alpine landscapes, balmy beaches, and rainforests are just some of the landscapes within reach.
Jindabyne is the gateway to Kosciuszko National Park, home of Australia’s highest ski resorts: Thredbo, Perisher, and Charlotte Pass. But the town, which overlooks Lake Jindabyne in southwest New South Wales, draws all kinds of travellers year-round, not just in winter, with waterskiing, fishing, hiking, and mountain biking being popular activities in the warmer months. Travel just an hour or two out of town and you’ll also find dramatic cliffs, coastal hideaways, secluded beaches, and opportunities for whale-watching, rainforest walking, and more.
Australia’s highest mountain range and home to Kosciuszko National Park, the Snowy Mountains region is an alpine wonderland of glacial lakes and soaring snow-capped mountains. A 45-minute drive from Jindabyne, the national park’s riverfront Pinch River Campground is popular among fishers and swimmers cooling off in the heat of summer. Three Mile Dam Campground offers some of the best views of Mount Kosciuszko, especially in winter when the adjacent lake freezes over, and Yarrangobilly Village Campground makes a good base for walkers given its location near the Yarrangobilly Caves.
Just under two hours east of Jindabyne, the rugged Wadbilliga National Park offers a wilderness escape for experienced and well-equipped campers and bushwalkers. The park’s scenery includes steep gorges carved into granite cliffs and the teeming waters of Tuross Falls—plus, you might also spot such charismatic critters as wallabies, kangaroos, wombats, possums, and platypus. You can set up camp in the remote surroundings of Cascades Campground, a small, quiet area with toilets, picnic tables, and barbecues.
With its uncrowded, white-sand beaches, cliffs, and blue bays, the Sapphire Coast along the far south of NSW’s coastline offers a laid-back alternative to the north. This spot is perfect for soaking up nature while boating, kayaking, and wildlife-spotting. Eden is one of the best places in Australia to spot humpback whales on their annual migration, while Mimosa Rocks National Park, near Tathra, is a wonderland of rainforest, lagoons, and strikingly intricate rock formations. You’ll find opportunities for fishing, surfing, snorkelling, and birdwatching here, as well as the unpowered Gillards Campground set between the bush and beach.
The snowy winter (June through August) is the peak season in Jindabyne, offering the chance to hit the surrounding slopes but coming with bigger crowds and higher prices. Summer (December through February) visitors can take advantage of balmy weather and easy access to hiking, biking, and watersports on the lake. Some festive highlights outside of peak season include Jindabyne's Man From Snowy River Rodeo, an action-packed day filled with barrel racing and side shows, which has been held in late December since 1943. Keen whale watchers will want to visit between May and September.
- To stay at national park campgrounds, you’ll need to purchase park admission. - If you are planning to visit several NSW national parks, you can save on entry fees by purchasing an annual pass. - Smoking is prohibited in all New South Wales national parks, as are pets. - Jindabyne is home to several camping and outdoor supply stores, including Wilderness Sports in the town center.