The Snowy Mountains provides a stunning backdrop – and glorious trails – for a great gravel bike ride while testing several GoPro cameras and experimenting with a range of different angles…


– Story and video by Rob Arnold



After the heat of summer and before the snow begins to fall in the Kosciuszko National Park comes that glorious time of the year for cycling in the NSW Snowy Mountains. In February, I discovered Mill Cabin built by former pro cyclist Trent Lowe and his partner Niki Fisher.

During my first two-night stay at this fantastic base for a holiday I took my road bike out a couple of times: up to Thredbo and Dead Horse Gap via The Alpine Way and, the next day, along the beautifully smooth bitumen to Charlotte Pass. That quick sample of mountain life was enough to lure me back again within a few weeks, and for my second visit I took my wife (and a gravel bike in the back of the car).

With ideal conditions for exploring the region, we would spend a day walking the path network at Charlotte Pass, near the highest peaks in Australia. The Snowy River and surrounding mountains are captivating at any time of the year and in March the weather was perfect. The nights were cool and we sparked up the barbecue and enjoyed food from the region cooked over the flames watched on by kangaroos and wallabies, while serenaded by birdsong from the nearby bush.

Mill Cabin is nestled on 14 acres of relatively steep bushland not far from Lake Crackenback. At 1,350m above sea-level it will soon become blanketed in snow but in February and March it was still T-shirt weather, even well into the evening. Still, it’s difficult to ignore the temptation of the outdoor hot tub, warmed by wood fire, while the sun sets and stars appear.

‘Mill Cabin’ built by Trent Lowe and Niki Fisher

Trent Lowe is a former MTB world champion (in the junior cross-country in 2002) who also raced on the road with the Discovery Channel team (2006-2007) and the early iterations of the Slipstream team (2008-2010). He raced the Tour de France in 2008, finishing 75th on GC before chronic fatigue became a factor that would ultimately end his racing career.

These days Trent is a carpenter, having relocated from Melbourne to the Snowy Mountains shortly after he and Niki became parents. They now have two young boys and a lifestyle that includes some of the usual trimmings that come with living in the mountains. Cycling is still part of the routine but, he admits, his rides are now almost exclusively off-road. What was once his job, is now one of many hobbies, along with fishing, skiing, bushwalking… and building.


– Click the links below to see the ‘Story Of My Ride’, to Thredbo and Charlotte Pass –

Mill Cabin is completely off-grid, built with 28 tonnes of granite sourced from his other property in the ‘Snowies’, not far from Jindabyne. It is the couples’ first foray into the tourism market, with lodging for those looking for a great location in the mountains and a chance to take in the beauty of the Australian bush.

There are plans for another cabin in a different location and that build is likely to get underway in the coming months. In the meantime, Trent and Niki are welcoming guests to their mountain hideaway, with bookings filling up fast, especially now that ski-season is approaching.

Gravel bike GoPro experiment

Before I set off for my gravel bike adventure in mid-March there was a considerable amount of preparation to consider. The original aim of the ride was to… well, enjoy myself and explore the Snowy Mountains, but also to showcase video images from a series of GoPro cameras.

Launched in 2023, the Hero12 Black is the latest action camera from GoPro. It is now part of my collection that also includes the Hero9, Hero10, and Hero11 – which all share the same shape although there are notable improvements in image quality and features from one generation to the next.

Click here for more about my GoPro camera and settings used while cycling

Before the trip to the Snowies, I set my Canyon Grail gravel bike up with all four of my GoPro cameras mounted to the handlebars: two on the ‘lower deck’ of the double-decker Canyon-specific bars, one on the underside of the cycle computer mount, and one on top of the stem (via a stick-on GoPro fitting). The idea was that I’d record some vision using each of the four cameras with similar settings and to compare the quality.

That plan was soon scuppered once I got rolling and realised that the SD card for the Hero9 (which has essentially served as a spare camera since getting the later iterations) was corrupted.

So, instead of doing the comparison, I quickly altered my approach and decided to experiment with a variety of angles from the on-bike cameras and associated mounts (including a couple of GoPro’s handlebar mounts, and the ‘Chesty’ which is now part of my growing collection of filming accessories).

As you’ll see in the footage from the Thredbo Valley Track video, I’m still adjusting to the chest mount; while it does showcase the terrain nicely and give a different perspective from the saddle, I didn’t have the angle adjustment quite right. The vision from the Chesty is taken from the GoPro Hero11 (without the Media Mod that I use for the camera mounted to the 3-Way selfie stick, which I carry in the middle of my jersey pockets).

Next time I ride with the chest mount, I’ll be sure to tilt the camera a little more so that I also capture vision of the trail further ahead than what you can see during my gravel bike ride.

Satisfying ride, great vision

It helped that I had perfect cycling conditions. March is a wonderful time to visit the Snowy Mountains and although the weather in the mountains can change at a moment’s notice I’ve been blessed during both my stays at Mill Cabin. There was a fair bit of rain the day before my ride along the Thredbo Valley Track but there were only a few puddles and the dirt rarely turned to mud.

There are plenty of rocks and a few sections where the trail gets technical enough to warrant a stop (caution over bravado), particularly when riding on a gravel bike rather than a MTB. I’m also pleased that I went up the hill on the trail (before the rapid return down the mountain on the road, via The Alpine Way).

It’s always a treat to ride without the bother of traffic and it’s even better when there are distractions like what I had during my adventure last week. Wallabies are plentiful, and one damn near jumped into me while negotiating some uphill switchbacks (alas, when I was not filming). There are also kangaroos and other animals, including a glorious lyrebird – with its plumage on full display – that stopped me in my tracks while on a flowing section of trail.

I should also add that, during my visits to the Snowy Mountains, there were multiple sightings of the dreaded (and deadly) brown snake. When the nights are cool and days are warm, these reptiles don’t mind sliding along the trails (or even the roads) when the sun is out. It’s a reminder that you always need to have your wits about you, and a good reason to consider solid boots and long pants when bushwalking.

It has been great to catch up with Trent Lowe again after years without contact. He was a columnist for RIDE Media during his racing days, and I was always curious about what he got up to once his career as a pro cyclist was over. He once featured on the cover of RIDE Cycling Review (along with Will Walker, in ‘The Style Issue’ at the start of the 2008 season) when he was a lean climber with a big reputation.

In 2024, Trent and Niki are living a different kind of life, but cycling is still part of the routine. As I’ve often said: once a bike rider, always a bike rider… but these days he does it for fun, exercise, and exploration – rather than a job.


He’s found his calling and if Mill Cabin is any indication of what he is capable of in his second career, it’s clear that Trent is a master builder as well as a super bloke who isn’t afraid of changing direction and putting his many talents to use. My wife and I had a fantastic few days in the mountains and we’ll be back when time (and cabin availability) permits.

Of course, I’ll be sure to pack my bikes and my cameras and continue to share the ‘Story Of My Ride’ when I get the chance to ride in the Snowy Mountains again.



– By Rob Arnold


For more videos, visit RIDE Media’s YouTube channel.