Finding snow only three hours from Sydney
You don’t have to travel far, as long as the weather plays along
Normally, only the Victorians get to have all of the fun in this regard, and anyone within close reach of the Kosciuszko area. But every now and then, it gets close to Sydney. Very close. Katoomba and Blackheath, at the top of the Blue Mountains, does get the occasional dusting. But there’s a better spot. Keep driving through the mountains, head down Victoria Pass, and turn south onto Cox’s River Road.
Give yourself another hour, and you’ll be coming quite close to Shooters Hill, and Vulcan State Forest. It’s south of frosty Oberon, on the Oberon Plateau. Where Katoomba has an elevation of around 1,000m, this area betters it. In fact, look at a good map, and you’ll find a few spots over 1,300m. In other words, it’s perfect for snow.
We cottoned onto a pending cold snap at about 2pm on Thursday, and quickly made plans to meet at our favourite pie shop early Friday morning halfway up the mountain. I slept in and was running late, but we still had time for a notoriously delicious breakfast pie and a coffee, before punching out to our destination: Vulcan State Forest.
Home to vast acres of Radiata pine, a popular place for hunting and fossicking, this state forest straddles Shooters Hill Road and give you the best opportunity to do some snow driving close to Sydney. Sure, you don’t need chains as you plough through hip-depth drifts, but we did get a good dusting of about 10cm. Enough to turn this pine forest into a winter wonderland.
The other great thing about it is you practically get it all to yourself. We saw only a couple of other vehicles near the fire tower (which is marked on maps, and a good starting point). But once you start following your nose down the many unnamed tracks in the area, you’ll have perfect solitude.
Being so close to Sydney (we reckon about three hours from most of Sydney, on a good run), this area is perfect for a last-second dash out to find snow. You often don’t have much warning, but keep a sickie or leave day up your sleeve, and spend an awesome day experiencing something rare and special.