Mount Kosciuszko National Park

Mount 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 year.
Eastern Grey Kangaroo, Kosciuszko National Park, New South Wales, Australia, Pacific
Kosciuszko NP. Poster by AllPosters. Click on thumbnail to buy.

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 not high 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 granites 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.

Eucalyptus Forest, Kosciuszko National Park, New South Wales, Australia
Snowy Mts landscape. Poster by AllPosters. Click on thumbnail to buy.

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 put on a beautiful wildflower display.

Snow Gum, Kosciuszko National Park, New South Wales, Australia, Pacific
Snow gum. Poster by AllPosters. Click on thumbnail to buy.

Corroboree Frog, Bogong Moth and other Alpine Animals
Mount Kosciuszko National Park is particularly known for two rare animal species: the black-and-yellow-striped Corroboree Frog (Pseudophryne corroboree) which is found in the park’s alpine sphagnum bogs, and 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, wallabies, echidnas, platypus, wombats, possums 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, kestrels, cockatoos and eagles to name a few.

Eastern Grey Kangaroos, Geehi, Kosciuszko National Park, New South Wales, Australia, Pacific
Kangaroos. Poster by AllPosters. Click on thumbnail to buy.

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.

Geehi Hut, Kosciuszko National Park, New South Wales, Australia
Old hut. Poster by AllPosters. Click on thumbnail to buy.

Kiandra and Yarrangobilly Caves
The largest town in the area is Cooma - a colourful town with some interesting history, and the gateway to Mount Kosciuszko National Park. Places to stay in Cooma include Dodds Hotel, Greenleigh Cooma Motel, High Country Motel, Kinross Inn, Marlborough Motor Inn, Nebula Motel, Sovereign Inn Cooma and Swiss Motel.

North-east from here is the ghost town Kiandra, the beautiful Yarrangobilly Caves and the ski resort Mount Selwyn. Yarrangobilly Caves are in a limestone 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.

Main Range of Snowy Mountains, Kosciuszko National Park, New South Wales, Australia
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 beautiful Alpine Way, one of Australia’s greatest scenic drives past deep blue 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.

If you are thinking of Skiing in Australia, on the Alpine Way is the popular Thredbo Ski Resort and just north of it are the Perisher Blue and Charlotte Pass. Places to stay in those include Bimblegumbie, Boali Lodge, Candlelight Lodge, Crackenback Farm Guesthouse, Lantern Apartments, Lhotsky Apartments, River Inn Resort, Rydges Thredbo Alpine Hotel, Snow Stream Apartments, The Denman Hotel, Winterhaus Lodge, Sponars Chalet and Perisher Valley Hotel.
Chairlift at Mt. Thredbo, Kosciuszko National Park, Australia
Ski resort. Poster by AllPosters. Click on thumbnail to buy.

Fun packages with trips starting from Sydney and Canberra:




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 enjoying bushwalking.

Summer is the best time to hike the park’s bushwalking tracks to Australia’s highest mountain, Mount Kosciuszko, enjoy the Alpine vegetation, wildflower displays, snow gum trees, 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 water rafting.

Lookout, Geehi, Kosciuszko National Park, New South Wales, Australia, Pacific
Geehi lookout. Poster by AllPosters. Click on thumbnail to buy.

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.

The Rest House at Sawyers Hill in Kosciuszko National Park
Sawyers Hill Rest House. Poster by AllPosters. Click on thumbnail to buy.

Here is a map of Mount Kosciuszko National Park, 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.

View Larger Map

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Our trip in 2001 Not rated yet
We had a uni field trip to the park in December 2001 and it was fantastic. Although it was summer, there were still patches of snow. The walk to …

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