towing caravan to snowy mountains from Brisbane

Submitted: Wednesday, May 30, 2012 at 13:28
ThreadID: 95903 Views:9391 Replies:12 FollowUps:6
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I would really appreciate some advice. We want to take our grandkids on a trip to the snow. Plan to leave Brisbane on 20 June. Is it safe to tow a van on the Snowy Mountains Highway, particularly between Tumut and Adaminaby in winter? We are towing an 18ft6in van with a Ford Ranger 4x4. Any ideas on suitable caravan parks in the Snowies and best snowfields for kids (10 and 5 years). We have never been to the snow so know nothing.

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Reply By: GT Campers - Wednesday, May 30, 2012 at 14:41

Wednesday, May 30, 2012 at 14:41
No. Tumut to Adamidaby is one of the steepest climbs in Australia. you WILL overheat your transmission and encounter black ice and there is - of course - the risk of snow that will leave yiu stranded. So forget coming in via Tumut. Stay off the Snowy Mtns Highway altogether. TBH I think there are restrictions on some vehicle such as c'vans and laregr trucks.
Plan your route of Canberra, Cooma, Jindabyne then the resort towns of Thredbo and/or Perisher. Much betterer drive!

There are two parks and all shops/servoces/pubs etc Jindabyne. There is one at Sawpit Creek on the access road to Perisher. (very nice bushy sites).
I doubt you will be permitted to take the van beyond there due to the risks and restrictions.

Call Nat Parks for advice and restrictions - towing, chains, permits etc.

I have towed/camped all over the snowies in summer, I ski in winter and due to risks mentuioned above there is no way I would take a van there in winter. Sorry.
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Follow Up By: Nomadic Navara - Wednesday, May 30, 2012 at 16:29

Wednesday, May 30, 2012 at 16:29
I don't consider any of the gradients on the Snowy Mtns Hwy any worse than those over the range west of Brisbane. However in saying that the road between Kiandra and Adaminaby does get cut for a few days in some years as the result of snow falls. There could be icy conditions on that stretch at other times, particularly if you travel early in the day. There is also requirements to carry snow chains along the area under some conditions - Site Link - those are the reasons I would give for not using that road in winter, not because of its gradients.

If you are coming in that direction you may consider using the Selwin Snowfields. If so then camping in Tumut or Talbingo would be suitable.

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Reply By: Member - Fred B (NT) - Wednesday, May 30, 2012 at 14:47

Wednesday, May 30, 2012 at 14:47
Stay in Cooma, Berridale or Jindabyne and take the train to the snow from Jindabyne. Cooma & Berridale will be cheaper than Jindabyne.
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Follow Up By: Nomadic Navara - Wednesday, May 30, 2012 at 16:35

Wednesday, May 30, 2012 at 16:35
Also consider Dalgety if you can't get in at Jindabyne. Its a nice little park and would be easier to get into than the others. It's cabins are full all winter but the vanners don't seem to know about it.
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Reply By: rags - Wednesday, May 30, 2012 at 15:29

Wednesday, May 30, 2012 at 15:29
Also consider Adaminaby near cooma and take the kids to the Mt Selwyn ski fields, much cheaper for families than some of the fancy ski fields but sometimes snow cover can be a bit lite.
As for travelling the snowy hwy again it depends on snow and ice conditions,on a good day no problems,RTA and national parks have warning advice re chains or restrictions which can be checked at Tumut. This route is a great drive,a drive we do often from Talbingo up to Selwyn for a Ski.
check link

Kids will have a ball with a simple tabogan run which are cheap to hire

As also stated elsewhere Jindabyne is a good base to stop also .
Also it is worth doing a snowy hydro tour at one of the power stations, Talbingo and Khancoban are goodones
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Reply By: Erad - Wednesday, May 30, 2012 at 15:50

Wednesday, May 30, 2012 at 15:50
Agree in part with the comments above. The climb up from Talbingo to the top is very steep. Log trucks use it all the time. As for gradient, it is a bit steeper than the run up to Toowoomba and not as steep as the run up to the Bunyah Mountains. Onve you leave Talbingo, there are no facilities until you get to Adaminaby. Unless you are going early in the morning, black ice is unlikely to be there, but be aware that it can happen at any time. It is worst early in the morning.

It all depends on the weather. If it fine and sunny, you should have no problems with driving on ice. If it turns nasty, forget even thinking about towing a caravan on the ice. I live in the area and there is no way I will tow my van or trailer on icy roads if I have a choice. The choice is to go via Canberra, Cooma and then to Adaminaby or Jundabyne.

Mt Selwyn is perfect for the first timers. They even have a free rope tow! Lots of families take a BBQ and cook sausages and onions in the carpark whilst I have to resort to eating cold sandwiches. Miserable buggers... The facilities at Selwyn are not 5 or 6 star standard, but Selwyn is much cheaper and more family oriented than the others. If you want to do the whole thing and go up the chairlift to the restaurant at the top, then go to Thredbo, but there you have to park in the carpark well away from the snow, and walk around the village etc. It all depends on what you want to do. Selwyn is underrated by the snobs. It doesn't get as much snow as the other resorts and is thus snubbed by the snobs. And no - I don't have any affiliation with any ski resorts. I don't even go skiiing any more, even though we virtually live in it (cries a bit).
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Follow Up By: Greg P4 - Thursday, May 31, 2012 at 23:33

Thursday, May 31, 2012 at 23:33
I would go through Canberra then Cooma and if staying in the van Adaminaby at the park there. Mt Selwyn is better for families by all the feed back i get. Or you can stay at Buckenderra Holiday Village and have the best of both Jindi and Sewlyn as it is about 40min either way see web site, (and yes i have an interest here) either way the children will love it.
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Reply By: calliope55 - Wednesday, May 30, 2012 at 16:07

Wednesday, May 30, 2012 at 16:07
Thanks to everyone for your replies. Really helpful and I appreciate the time you all took to respond. Selwyn certainly seems a good option for the kids. Don't really want them to get serious about skiing, just have some fun in the snow, so the toboggan sounds like a great idea. Is there likely to be snow at Selwyn by the beginning of July? I know that is a bit like asking how long is a piece of string, but I'm hoping those with some knowledge of the area might have some idea.

AnswerID: 487181

Follow Up By: Berniec - Wednesday, May 30, 2012 at 16:25

Wednesday, May 30, 2012 at 16:25
Hi Nerida,

Having just driven down from Mt Selwyn, it will be a pretty good bet that that there will be enough snow on the ground at the beginning of July. Its like anything that is affected by the environment. You could have a couple of feet one day and get it washed away over night. Have a look at this site ( to get up to date photos and conditions.

If you decide on Mt Selwyn, I would recommend using Talbingo as your base. Its about an hour to the snow versus about 40 minutes from Adaminiby but nowhere near as cold as Adaminiby. A downside is that if you want to check out Thredbo or Perisher then its about 2 and a half hours to each of these locations.

Have fun. Its a beautiful area.
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Follow Up By: Member - Min (NSW) - Wednesday, May 30, 2012 at 16:38

Wednesday, May 30, 2012 at 16:38
Hi Nerida,

If you take the kids tobogganing it might be a good idea to bring cycle helmets it they have them - just a precaution.

Call into the visitor centre in Cooma and ask about conditions in the resorts.

If you decide to drive into the National Park be aware of the fees, they are steep. Check out the NSW National Parks website for Kosciuszko NP and see about sites at Sawpit Creek. You will want power. There is nothing like being cold to ruin a fun holiday. Consider hiring suitable clothing for the kids, including boots. They WILL get wet. They will also need waterproof gloves (not expensive) and warm hats.

Jindabyne is an excellent place to stay and has all services, big supermarket, etc.

Take a day out to spend in Canberra. It is our national capital and everyone should see it. Don't believe all the rubbish people go on with about it.

Have a wonderful time. It will be memorable.

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Reply By: Stephen H - Wednesday, May 30, 2012 at 16:48

Wednesday, May 30, 2012 at 16:48
All good advice above.Definitely take the road through Canberra and Cooma. I tow a18'Roadstar up to Jynbadyne from the South Coast and its quite an easy tow. But one thing you must do is book in now if you are going to stay in a van park. Two van parks in Jyndabyne one in Adaminaby. Very busy this time of the Year. I would take the Kids to Selwyn Snowfields more child friendly If theres snow on the ground.
Cheers Steve
AnswerID: 487183

Reply By: Bega Photographer - Wednesday, May 30, 2012 at 18:00

Wednesday, May 30, 2012 at 18:00
Do keep in mind that' it's a bit cooler down that way than up in QLD. Could be a bit nippy overnight. Expect frosts down to -5 or even -9 if you camp in the Snowy Mountains.

I'd think the Talbingo option for camping and Selwyn for the snow fun.

Otherwise stay at Cooma. A good bit colder than Talbingo but not as high as Jindabyne or Adaminby.

As others have said, you need to check the National Parks website to find out for sure, but I think you're not allowed to tow a van or trailor anywhere in the Kosciuskio National Park in the snow season, from the June long weekend till the October weekend.

As for the steepness, caravans are completely banned between Cabramurra and Khancoban, but you won't need to go that way.

At the end of the day, I wouldn't be camping up there in a caravan in the snow season. I'd stay down on the flat country.

Best wishes.
AnswerID: 487188

Reply By: Member - Old Girl - Wednesday, May 30, 2012 at 19:58

Wednesday, May 30, 2012 at 19:58
We have travelled over most of Eastern Aus and i would prefer to never take a van up that road again. Our old T/d 80 struggled with an 18" poptop. We went up in summer but it was still freezing.
AnswerID: 487199

Reply By: Bazooka - Thursday, May 31, 2012 at 00:14

Thursday, May 31, 2012 at 00:14

Agree Canberra - Cooma is the way to go. Depending on the weather the access from Tumut might be nil, difficult, or okay. Jindabyne is the hub and most lively town if you can get in to the park there.

It so happens that ALDI has a snow gear sale on from tomorrow if you live anywhere near a store. Prices are about 30% more than you'll pay for hire gear (boots, pants and jacket - buy the gloves). If you stop over in Canberra for a look it will probably be so cold they'll want to wear ski gear anyway.

Selwyn is certainly the most cost effective field (less snow usually, gentler terrain, more trees, less facilities) but for the full experience ($$$) getting the Skitube train up the mountain tunnel to Perisher or Blue Cow will really knock their socks off so to speak. The car park/terminal is up the Thredbo road not far from Jindabyne (no chains need to be carried iirc). If you are that way inclined you can buy combined NP entry and tube tickets. Google away and be prepared for a hit to the wallet.

Blue Cow info
AnswerID: 487224

Reply By: TheMightyMoose - Thursday, May 31, 2012 at 13:40

Thursday, May 31, 2012 at 13:40
G'day Nerida
A couple of years ago my wife, daughter and another couple went to the snow for the first time. I am over 50, daughter was late teens, other couple older than me. We rented a cabin between Adaminaby and Selwyn. The cabin was great and not that expensive (found via Google) and there was heaps of snow at Selwyn and most of the way from near the cabin all the way to the field. Even had a light sprinkle of snow at the cabin. Loved it. Sure you guys will too.
AnswerID: 487273

Reply By: calliope55 - Thursday, May 31, 2012 at 21:12

Thursday, May 31, 2012 at 21:12
Thanks to everyone for taking the time to reply. I really appreaciate the help.
AnswerID: 487319

Follow Up By: Sigmund - Friday, Jun 01, 2012 at 12:01

Friday, Jun 01, 2012 at 12:01
You should be able to hire moon boots and padded jackets and pants at Selwyn.

Keeping the kids warm and dry is important; they'll be rolling around in the snow. Take plenty of drinks and snacks for them cos it's exhausting. They'll be full on one moment and collapsed and grumbling without them.

Good luck!
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Reply By: calliope55 - Saturday, Jun 02, 2012 at 00:34

Saturday, Jun 02, 2012 at 00:34
Thanks, Sigmund. I hadn't thought about the need for snacks, so it's great that you brought it to my attention.
AnswerID: 487417

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