Kosciuszko is the highest mountain in Australia.
Southern inland New
South Wales is mostly high country with alpine vegetation, and the
only corner of the state where it snows properly during the winter.
Kosciuszko, aka Snowy Mountains, is known for some of the best skiing
in Australia during the winter, and some great bushwalking during the
summer, when you can climb
Australia’s highest mountain. It is one of the most popular
national parks in Australia, attracting about three million visitors a
Kosciuszko NP. Poster by AllPosters. Click on thumbnail to
Snowy Mountains Geology
The largest national park in New South Wales, the 690 000 hectares
Kosciuszko National Park runs from Victorian border to the west of Namadgi
National Park in Australian
Capital Territory. Australia’s highest
mountain, the 2228m Mount Kosciuszko, is
compared to the highest peaks on other continents.
This is because
Australia has been
geologically inactive for a very long time and Australian mountains
have therefore managed to erode more than the younger peaks on other
continents. The sedimentary
rocks of Australian Alpine area were
deposited about 800 million years ago when the area was under the
water. About 200 million years later, these sediments were intruded by
which today stand up as large boulders where the surrounding
sedimentary rocks have been eroded away. Ice ages have left further
imprints such as tarns, moraines and glacier lakes on the eroded
landscape of Mount Kosciuszko.
Snowy Mts landscape. Poster by AllPosters. Click on
Snow Gum and other Alpine Vegetation
When it comes to plants, Mount Kosciuszko National Park contains six
different wilderness areas: Byadbo, Pilot, Jagungal, Bogong Peaks,
Goobarragandra and Bimberi. It is interesting to see how the vegetation
changes with altitude: the subalpine areas on the lower slopes are
covered by wet eucalypt
forests and eucalypt woodlands while
higher up snow gums start to appear. At the highest altitudes where it
is too cold for trees to grow, there are open plains covered by alpine
vegetation on heaths and herbfields, which during the summer
a beautiful wildflower display.
Snow gum. Poster by AllPosters. Click on thumbnail to buy.
Corroboree Frog, Bogong Moth and other
Mount Kosciuszko National Park is particularly known for two rare
species: the black-and-yellow-striped Corroboree Frog (Pseudophryne
corroboree) which is found in the park’s alpine sphagnum
Mountain Pygmy Possum (Burramys parvus) which only
lives in the
altitudes above 1500m and was thought to be extinct until it was found
in 1966. Both species are endangered and endemic to the Australian
Alps. Other alpine
animals in the park include kangaroos,
and bogong moths (Agrotis infusa)
which migrate to the Alpine country during the summer to escape the
heat on lower altitudes. The 200 species of birds that are found in the
park include emus,
to name a few.
Kangaroos. Poster by AllPosters. Click on thumbnail to
Aboriginal Heritage and European History Aboriginal
people have been living in the area for
tens of thousands of years and they continued to live and work here
after Europeans arrived. The early European settlers were mainly
pastoralists, but later also miners and loggers. There are many
historical huts from those times scattered around the park.
Old hut. Poster by AllPosters. Click on thumbnail to buy.
North-east from here is the ghost town Kiandra,
beautiful Yarrangobilly Caves and the ski
Selwyn. Yarrangobilly Caves are in a
belt which formed about 440 million years ago under the water
and was later lifted above the sea level. There are guided tours to the
caves, and outside the caves are thermal pools where you can have a dip
in 27°C waters. Kiandra is an interesting ghost
town which boomed in Australian shortest gold rush with 4000 people for
only one year in 1859-1860, to drop to a few hundred people in 1861 and
to zero in the next 100 years.
Walkers. Poster by AllPosters. Click on thumbnail to buy.
Best Ski Resorts in Australia
South-east, towards Jindabyne are some of the most
popular Australian ski resorts, and the
Way, one of Australia’s greatest scenic drives past deep
lakes and snow-capped mountains. There are two good lookout points:
Olsen’s Lookout and Scammell’s Lookout. Places to stay include Alpine Resort Motel
and Quality Horizons Resort.
Summer Activities and Bushwalking
There is some snow here even during the
summer, but not enough for skiing, and not enough to stop you from
Summer is the best time to hike the park’s
tracks to Australia’s highest mountain, Mount Kosciuszko, enjoy the Alpine
vegetation, wildflower displays, snow gum
deep gorges, glacial lakes and crystal-clear waters of the Snowy River
and the 360° views that you have over the open plains. Other activities
popular during the summer are caving,
fishing, canoeing, kayaking, horse riding, mountain biking and white
Geehi lookout. Poster by AllPosters. Click on thumbnail to
Mount Kosciuszko Camping
You can camp on designated national parks camping grounds. Sawpit
Creek is a very nice camping ground – kangaroos
come right to your tent and you can get
very close to them.
Sawyers Hill Rest House. Poster by AllPosters. Click on
thumbnail to buy.
Here is a map of Mount Kosciuszko National
where I have tagged the places that I mentioned on this web page. You
can click on the tags to see what places they are, and double-click
anywhere on the map to zoom it in and see the places closer. Drag the
map to move around, and if you want to see the satellite image with
Google Earth, click on "Sat" in the top right hand corner.
This site uses
British English, which is the English we use in Australia. You will
find words like "traveller", "harbour" and "realise", and they are all
correct in the language used in Australia.
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