As winter descends on the Snowy Mountains, people are being asked to grab their warmest beanies and head west to take a bite out of the best the Snowy Valleys has to offer.
Three festivals focused on food, wine and music have been arranged for the winter months of June, July and August to help buoy towns so heavily impacted by the Black Summer bushfires 16 months ago.
Using funding through the NSW Regional Tourism Bushfire Recovery Grants Program, the three single-day events will take place in Adelong, Batlow and Tumbarumba.
It is in this region where the Dunns Road bushfire converged with the Green Valley fire to create a megafire that burnt through 402,650 hectares of land over 50 days. Houses, sheds, fences, farms, machinery, livestock, wildlife and large tracts of bush and pine plantations were lost.
That destruction amounted to 45 per cent of the Snowy Valleys local government area.
As the towns struggled back, they were dealt another blow with COVID-19 further isolating populations and businesses, striking at the heart of the region’s tourism industry.
The inaugural three-stop Winter Bites Festival kicks off on 5 June in the vibrant mountain town of Tumbarumba, which is fast becoming known for its award-winning vineyards and lush agricultural pastures, along with the delicious chestnuts and berries that grow in the region.
Surrounded by idyllic mountain peaks, natural bushland and crystal-clear streams, the Winter Bites Festival will celebrate local produce, fine beverages and high-profile music acts.
Queensland duo Busby Marou and Emily Wurramara, both blues and roots artists, headline the Tumbarumba show at Courabyra Wines, which also features Babitha, Corey Legge and Rory Phillips rocking the stage from 12:00 pm to 6:00 pm.
All attendees will be transported to and from Courabyra Wines by bus from the centre of town so it’ll be easy to enjoy fringe events – including a gin botanicals masterclass – at other locations before and after the festival.
Free buses will also be running from Wagga Wagga and Tumut.
On 17 July, at the second Winter Bites Festival event in Adelong, it will be all about country when the beautiful voice of Kasey Chambers fills the winter air, along with Charlie Collins and other artists, from 12:00 pm to 6:00 pm.
Nestled on the banks of Adelong Creek, this historic town is the heritage gateway to the Snowy Mountains.
The delicious local produce and beverages of the Adelong region – renowned for its grass-fed lamb and beef – will be celebrated at the local showground. There’s even talk of a ‘meat-up’ – a smoking barbecue competition using locally produced meat.
Set among lush green pastures, panoramic vistas of orchards and grazing country, Batlow is home of Australia’s Big Apple and is the final stop on the Winter Bites Festival event trail, on 28 August.
Renowned for its apples, ciders, chestnuts, hazelnuts, truffles and waratahs, this stunning township will highlight the delicious local produce and beverages of the region along with an amazing music line up, featuring Australian rock royalty You Am I.
For more information and to purchase tickets, visit Winter Bites Festival.