In Part 1 of the Beginner’s Guide: Wine and dine to the NSW Snowy Mountains, we wined and dined our way through the Murrumbateman wine region and Yass.
In Part 2 of the guide, we went to our first NSW Snowy Mountains stop of Thredbo.
In the final and part 3 of the beginner’s guide, we travel to our second NSW Snowy Mountains stop of Charlotte Pass.
Getting to Charlotte Pass
To get to Charlotte Pass, we drove 15 minutes from Thredbo and left the car at the overnight car park at the Bullock Flats Skitube terminal. After a 15 minute Skitube (train) ride from Bullock Flats to Perisher Valley ($86 return), we arrived at the transit area of Perisher Valley to catch our oversnow transportation to Charlotte Pass.
Our first impressions of the oversnow transportation? As strong as a tank and as comfortable as a bus! The 40 minutes on the oversnow felt like seconds as we gazed out the window, into uncharted territory. We arrived at Charlotte Pass just in time to see the last rays of sunlight.
Charlotte Pass is located 1,765 metres above sea level and is the highest permanent settlement in Australia and the location of one of Australia’s oldest snow resorts. It is the coldest location (−23°C in 1994) in Australia and reached −11°C on the night we were there.
The pass and village were named after Charlotte Adams who, in 1881, was the first European woman to climb Mount Kosciuszko.
With a limited numbers of guests allowed in the village at any one time, Charlotte Pass was very spacious, with minimal queues around the ski fields, making it a great destination for families.
Kosciuszko Chalet Hotel
We stayed at the majestic Kosciuszko Chalet Hotel which was the main accommodation option at Charlotte Pass. With a distinct fairytale-like castle (including a room call the Tower Suite), the Kosciuszko Chalet Hotel built was in 1930 and remains the iconic building of Charlotte Pass.
We had the Corner Suite which was spacious and can easily fit a family of 5. Located at the corner of the Chalet, it had a great view of the Charlotte Pass ski slopes during the day.
Many of the hotel’s original features were present, notably the details of the wood carvings on the stairs, original windows and high ceilings. There are ample fireplaces to keep all the guests warm during the winter, being the coldest destination in Australia.
The Chalet Restaurant
The Chalet Restaurant is the main restaurant at the Kosciuszko Chalet. With the recent release of the winter menu, Jen and I were eager to try the new menu and fill our hungry bellies.
For entree Jen had the sage and potato gnocchi ($18), served with a mushroom cream and gorgonzola gratinate and I had the dukkah crumbed lamb ($25), served with a polenta cake and romesco dressing.
The gnocchi was soft and pillowy, and they definitely didn’t skimp on the cheesy creamy mushroom sauce. It’s the perfect render of a no-nonsense winter dish, the type you’d expect a chef to cook for themselves.
The dukkah crumbed lamb was amazing, crunchy on the outside and tender on the inside. Those of you who know me, will know that I love my Middle Eastern flavours and for me, dukkah and lamb is a match made in heaven. The polenta cake provided a good balance to the fragrant dukkah spices and I was left wanting more.
For mains, Jen had the slow roasted confit of duck ($38), served on a bed of braised red cabbage and cranberry glaze. The duck was nicely cooked and falling off the bone and the red cabbage and cranberry glaze provided a nice sweet aftertaste.
I had the seafood bouillabaisse ($38) a rich tomato, garlic, thyme and fennel broth of white fish, king prawns and mussels, served with baguette toast and rouille. The broth was full of flavour and it was obvious after the first spoon that the broth had been stewing for hours. With the hearty combination of seafood, I was having a seafood party in my mouth.
My weakness is duck fat anything and we couldn’t go past the duck fat potatoes ($12) which was served with a side of aioli. It was rich, wholesome and very tasty. We also ordered a side of steamed vegetables ($9), which provided good balance to the indulgent meal we were having.
For dessert, we shared the steamed ginger pudding ($16), served with butterscotch sauce and vanilla bean ice cream. The pudding was cooked to perfection and paired with the ginger we were beginning to feel like it was Christmas in July. The vanilla bean ice cream provided a nice cut-through and we both left The Chalet Restaurant with a smile on our face. 🙂
The Chalet Restaurant
Kosciuszko Chalet Hotel, Charlotte Pass NSW
Phone: 1800 026 369
Website: The Chalet Restaurant
Skiing at Charlotte Pass
I collected my ski hire from the Charlotte Pass Snow Resort including a ski jacket, trousers, ski blades and poles. After a quick fitting, I was on my way to find my instructor located directly outside the rentals. As this was my second ski lesson, I had gained a bit more confidence and started to feel more comfortable with the ski equipment and the idea of being on the snow. I was excited to build on from what I had learnt from my first lesson at Thredbo.
Similar to Thredbo, the learner’s area had a conveyor belt (Basin Poma) that took me to the top of the learner’s hill (Terrain Parks). What was noticeable was the lower number of skiers and learners at Charlotte Pass, it was a lot quieter compared to Thredbo and the lifts and T-Bar hardly had a line.
This time around, although it was a group lesson (there were three of us), I had more one on one time with the ski instructor. I managed to complete quite a few ‘snow ploughs’, going up and down the learner’s hill.
I started to work on my turning with the ski instructor once I felt more comfortable with stopping on snow. I was told by my ski instructor that I was relying on ski poles too much (I guess if it was there, I was going to use it!) and soon was told to glide with my arms wide open like an aeroplane, without the ski poles, to work on my balance.
It was hard at first but after a bit of practice, it began to feel more natural.
With only ten minutes remaining until the end of the lesson, I was faced with the scariest challenge to date on my short ski career. It was time to go up the ski slopes via the Pulpit T-Bar and learn to turn (using a lot bigger turning arc) on a much steeper hill and faster speeds. My heart was racing and my legs were tense but it was great fun! I went up the T-Bar three times and fell twice but the adrenaline rush was addictive.
Although I was not yet ready to ski down from the top of the mountain, the view from the top of Charlotte Pass is a must-do. It’s one of the highest points in Australia and the view was magical.
We checked out, caught the oversnow back to Perisher Valley and took the Skitube back to Bullock Flats.
Located inside the Novotel Lake Crackenback Resort and Spa (a five minute drive from Bullock Flats), we stopped by the Alpine Larder for lunch on our way back to Canberra Airport.
Jen and I shared the deep sea squid salad ($18) with rocket, pear, pomegranate and chilli jam and Tathra beach pizza ($23.50) with garlic prawns, scallops, chilli, lemon and basil.
The squid was cooked perfectly, it was tender and soft. The classic pairings of rocket, pear and pomegranate was delicious and the lemon added a nice touch of acid.
As a traditional wood fire pizza restaurant, the pizza base was perfection – thin and crispy. The Tathra Beach Pizza contained two of my favourite ingredients, prawns and scallops and to the credit of the chef, it was divine. A minute too short and it would have been undercooked, a minute too long and it would have overcooked.
Novotel Lake Crackenback Resort and Spa, 1650 Alpine Way, Crackenback NSW
Phone: +61 (02) 6451 3060
Website: Alpine Larder
Wednesday – Thursday 10am-4pm
Friday – Tuesday 10am-9pm
The Novotel Lake Crackenback is a large 150-acre property that offers many activities including a 9-hole golf course, tennis courts and mountain biking. One of the must-do activities is the Segway (a two-wheeled electric self-balancing vehicle) tour around the resort.
We were taken on the Segway tour by Craig the activity manager and was put through the paces in the first 5 minutes on a specially designed obstacle course to make sure we were ready for the tour. This included the ability to move forward, stop, turn, go through narrow trails and up small hills.
The initial instinctive reaction I had was to control the Segway and operate it like a car, turning the stick and wanting to grab onto the stick quite firmly. I quickly learnt through Craig’s guidance to gently operate the Segway by leaning forward (to move forward) and back (to slow down or stop).
The view on the Segway tour was amazing, we could see the Snow Mountains clearly and with the lake slightly frozen over, it felt like everything was frozen in time.
We crossed a narrow bridge, cruised into bushlands and went up and down a few hills as well. We gained confidence as the tour went on and soon we were going full speed (~12km/hr) on open roads inside the resort.
Being in winter, parts of the grounds was covered in a blanket of snow. Of course we couldn’t resist driving the Segway through it! It wasn’t slippery at all and the Segway handled the snow with ease.
The length of the tour was 60 minutes and we enjoyed every minute of it. If haven’t been on a Segway before, make sure you try one. It was great fun and a great way to end our mega road trip to the NSW Snowy Mountains.
If you are planning your own Snowy Mountains adventure, be sure to also check out the Visit NSW website.
Photography by Jennifer Lam
I Ate My Way Through travelled to the NSW Snowy Mountains as guests of Destination NSW