Kosciuszko National Park embraces the majestic grandeur of the high country. This is one of the world’s great national parks, with its alpine herbfields and soaring mountain peaks, the headwaters of the famed Snowy River and a fascinating Aboriginal and European heritage.
The largest national park in the state, Kosciuszko is expansive, dramatic and awe-inspiring. Situated on the highest land in Australia it has a rugged, wild beauty, yet up close it reveals many small treasures – delicate wildflowers, historic cattlemen’s huts, and rare and endangered wildlife. In winter when its peaks are blanketed with snow it is transformed into one of Australia’s finest ski fields. In summer wildflowers carpet the grassy meadows, and there are lovely walks and the chance to indulge in a whole range of outdoor activities. Kosciuszko contains six wilderness areas, and is recognised as a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve. It is also one of the Australian Alps National Parks, a cooperative arrangement between the states and Commonwealth to preserve and manage the region’s valuable alpine and subalpine environments.
Access From Cooma via Snowy Mountains Hwy (northern section) or via Jindabyne (southern section); from Jindabyne either via Kosciuszko Rd or Alpine Way; from Hume Hwy onto Snowy Mountains Hwy near Tumut; from Corryong (VIC) and Khancoban onto Alpine Way; many minor roads closed in winter and 2WD vehicles must carry snow chains on certain roads June–October; contact NPWS for details before setting off
Winter for snow sports; summer for walking, camping, wildflowers
450 km south of Sydney (480 km to park headquarters at Sawpit Creek); 90 km south-west of Cooma (to Thredbo or Perisher)
NSWNPWS 1300 361 967
Snowy Region visitor centres
Jindabyne (02) 6450 5600
Khancoban (02) 6076 9373
Perisher (02) 6457 4444
Tumut (02) 6947 7025
Yarrangobilly (02) 6454 9597
673 654 ha
Adaminaby/Cooma/Jindabyne/Tumut (02) 6450 5600, 1800 004 439
Featured Activities in the National Park
Take the chairlift from Thredbo then walk to the top of Mt Kosciuszko
Camp in the park and enjoy a mountain sunrise
Toss a line into a snow-fed stream and catch a trout for dinner
Ski, snowboard or toboggan on the mountain slopes in winter
Walk through meadows of wildflowers in summer
Explore the magnificent Yarrangobilly Caves
A look at the past Aboriginal culture
European pastoralists arrived in the region in the 1830s, bringing cattle and sheep to graze. This had adverse effects on the land and its flora and fauna. Grazing was phased out, ceasing completely in 1969, though the colourful heritage of the cattlemen of the high country lives on.
From 1859 to 1861 thousands of diggers trekked to Kiandra, lured by the prospect of gold. The rush was short-lived but old race lines and abandoned equipment still scar the landscape. A more lasting legacy of the miners was the introduction of skiing to Australia and by the early 1900s a tourist industry based on this sport had sprung up in the Snowy Mountains. The greatest impetus to development, however, was the Snowy Mountains Hydro-Electric Scheme, an ambitious project begun in 1949.
Aboriginal people are known to have visited the Snowy Mountains for thousands of years, and to have come regularly for ceremonies and to feast on Bogong moths, which move from the lowlands to the high country during the summer months.
Kosciuszko National Park straddles the Great Divide, its altitude ranging from just 200 metres in the Snowy River valley to the peak of Mount Kosciuszko at 2228 metres. This is the highest part of the continent, where glacial action has left five glacial lakes, including the icy Blue Lake, Australia’s highest lake. There are many different types of rock, with the oldest marine sediments 450 million years old, but granitic rock such as that at the summit of Mount Kosciuszko is the most common. An outstanding natural feature is the spectacular Yarrangobilly Caves, with their dramatic limestone formations.
The western escarpment experiences much more rain and snow than the more sheltered eastern area and the natural vegetation echoes the diversity of altitudes and of the rainfall pattern. Vegetation ranges from alpine and subalpine tracts with their beautiful pink snow gum and alpine ash to areas of wet sclerophyll forest and mountain ash, and then at lower elevations eucalypt woodlands, with box species common. Above the tree line, where it is too cold for trees to survive the winter, are the most distinctive and sometimes rare species – alpine herbfields that flower brilliantly in summer, flowering heathlands and spongy sphagnum bogs.
The extent and environmental diversity of the park ensures a wealth of wildlife. There are over 280 native vertebrate species, with kangaroos, wallabies, wombats and possums living on the lower mountain slopes and woodland areas. The most unusual creature is the rare (though common in the park) mountain pygmy-possum – a diminutive marsupial just 11 centimetres long, which lives high in the rocky alpine countryside, hibernating for seven months of the year. This tiny animal, originally known only from fossil records, was thought to be extinct until a colony was found in the park in 1969.
Around 30 reptile species have been recorded in the park, most in the lower altitudes. Watch for the eastern water dragon, mountain heath-dragon, tussock cool-skink, warm-temperate water-skink and alpine meadow-skink.
Birdwatchers should have a field day, with over 200 species, or nearly 40 per cent of the bird species in New South Wales identified here. However, due to the cold climate, many of these are migratory birds, but in winter you might still hear the squawking of gang-gang cockatoos in the subalpine snow gums. In the valleys, watch for the powerful wedge-tailed eagle and the occasional peregrine falcon.
Kosciuszko National Park offers a multitude of activities, with bushwalking, skiing and snow sports, picnicking, fishing, swimming, whitewater rafting, cycling and touring by car just some of the options. The Snowy Region Visitor Centre at Jindabyne is particularly well set up with information about the park and region. Ask about guided activities – some are led by rangers and others are privately run. Also worth visiting is the extraordinary Snowy Mountains Hydro-Electric Scheme (see feature).
Canoeing and rafting
The fresh mountain streams are ideal for canoeing and when the snow melts the swollen creeks and rivers provide some challenging whitewater rafting conditions.
North of Kiandra and accessible off the Snowy Mountains Highway is the extensive complex of startlingly beautiful limestone Yarrangobilly Caves, open for guided and self-guided tours. There is also an impressive limestone gorge with walking tracks, and thermal pools where visitors can soak in soothing waters at a constant 27 degrees Celsius. The endangered yellow and black corroboree frog inhabits this area. There is an information centre here and picnic facilities.
Cyclists can use the management trails to explore the park (bicycles are not permitted on walking tracks). A number of outlets in the region offer mountain-bike hire.
The crystal-clear mountain streams and many lakes are renowned for their trout and both experienced fly fishers and amateur anglers have a good chance of landing a catch as the waterways are regularly re-stocked from local trout hatcheries. No fishing is allowed from the long weekend in June to the long weekend in October. A recreational fishing licence is required to fish inland waters of New South Wales. Contact the NSW Department of Primary Industries/Fisheries 1800 550 474, or visit their website (www.dpi.nsw.gov.au/fisheries) to check details.
For those with an interest in the past there are many vestiges of European history – historic miners’ and cattlemen’s huts, relics of the gold-rush days and remains of grazing properties.
Horse riding is a great way to experience the Snowy Mountains country, and there are opportunities for horse-based camping in the north of the park. Check with park rangers or regional visitor centres for details of restricted areas before setting off.
The Alpine Way, which traverses the park, is steep and winding but offers a spectacular drive through truly exceptional countryside. Make sure to stop and enjoy the lookouts. Watch for wildlife on the road, especially early morning and at dusk.
Skiing and snow sports
All New South Wales’ ski fields are within the park. Well-known resorts with world-class ski runs are at Thredbo, Charlotte Pass, Perisher Blue and Selwyn Snowfields, all with multiple lifts for downhill skiing. There are marked and groomed trails suitable for cross-country or Nordic skiing. In the southern part of the park the trails are around Perisher Range; in the northern part they are around Mount Selwyn, Three Mile Dam and Dry Dam near Cabramurra. Cross-country skiers should advise someone responsible of their plans.
There are day-skiing areas at Mount Blue Cow, between Perisher Valley and Guthega, and Mount Selwyn, south-west of Kiandra. Snowboarding and tobogganing are also popular, along with snowshoe-walking (ask about guided tours).
Blue Waterholes Campground (northern section)
You’ll need a 4WD in wet weather, and an off-road camper trailer to get to this cracking campsite. From here you can access multiple walking tracks, adventure caves, a waterfall and a spectacular lookout.
Bradneys Gap camping area (northern section)
Bradneys Gap camping area is 10 km north-east of Khancoban via the Cabramurra–Khancoban Rd. Bring drinking water and firewood.
Broken Cart camping area (northern section)
Set amid eucalypt forest, this is a very basic campsite with no facilities, near the intersection of Feints and Broken Cart trails in the north of the park. Access is via Broken Cart Track off Long Plain Rd
Buddong Falls camping area (northern section)
Located at the trackhead to Buddong (upper and lower) Falls, this camping area has basic facilities and no designated sites. Tracks toBuddong Falls follow forestry trails and are only suitable for 4WD vehicles
Bullocks Hill camping area (northern section)
Access this grassy camping area, which includes a horse yard, via Bullock Hill Trail off Snowy Mountains Hwy. The site is an ideal base for exploring the park on foot, horseback or mountain-bike.
Clover Flat camping area (northern section)
You’ll need to bring drinking water and firewood to this camping area, 26 km north of Khancoban via the Cabramurra–Khancoban Rd.
Cooinbil Hut camping area (northern section)
There are 2 sections to this camping area: a walk-in and vehicle-based camping site on the north side of historic Cooinbil Hut; and a vehicle- and horse-based camping site on the south side.
Cooleman Mountain camping area (northern section)
Surrounded by towering gums, this campground is on the Blue Waterholes access road, 2.6 km east of Long Plain Rd. A 2 km walking track will take you to historic Coolamine Homestead.
Coonara Point camping area (boat-based camping, northern section)
This boat-based campground offers waterskiing, paddling and fishing as well as camping. To get here, you can launch from boat ramps at Talbingo Dam Wall south of Talbingo, or O’Hares Rest Area off Elliott Way..
Denison camping area (northern section)
From this camping ground you can reach Eucumbene dam and river, where you can go fishing or motorboating. It’s off the Snowy Mountains Hwy north of Gang Gang Creek. Bring your own drinking water and firewood.
Dubbo Flats camping area (northern section)
It’s 4WD access only to Dubbo Flats, reached via Broken Cart Track in the north of the park. The road will be closed completely in bad weather (snow, heavy rain), so check with the parks office before setting out.
Eucumbene camping area (northern section)
Camp near the Eucumbene River (no closer than 30 m) and try your luck with a fishing rod. There are no facilities or designated camping sites here. It’s 4WD dry-weather access
Geehi Flats camping area (southern section)
On the winding Alpine Way, 31 km south of Khancoban, Geehi Flats camping area isn’t recommended for large caravans and camper trailers. Despite this, the old Snowy Mountains Hydro camp spot is popular in summer
Ghost Gully Horse Camp (northern section)
As its name suggests, this grassy camping ground allows horses, and provides a loading ramp and horse yard. You’ll find it 9 km south-east of Rules Point, via Port Phillip Fire Trail off Long Plain Rd.
Halfway Flat camping area (southern section)
This is a popular picnic and camping area offering swimming, fishing, paddling and walking. It’s 55 km south of Jindabyne on the Barry Way near the Snowy River.
Humes Crossing camping area (northern section)
You’ll need to bring drinking water and firewood to this camping area, 25 km south of Tumut near Blowering Dam, reached by the Snowy Mountains Hwy. There are loads of water-based activities to immerse yourself in.
Island Bend camping area (southern section)
This former Snowy Mountains Hydro camp is located near the Snowy River, 23 km north-west of Jindabyne.Sites here are either in clearings where the old camp buildings were on the hill
Jacob’s River camping area (southern section)
Summertime offers fishing and swimming in the river next to this pleasant camping spot, 53 km south of Jindabyne. It’s near the junction of the Jacobs and Snowy rivers, off Barry Way.
Jounama Creek camping area (northern section)
This area has 2 parts. The main campground has picnic tables, BBQs and toilets; it’s 300 m off the Snowy Mountains Hwy, opposite the Talbingo turn-off.
Keebles Hut camping area (southern section)
Renowned as one of the best huts in the national park, Keebles Hut was built in 1942 and has been an extremely popular camping area since its amalgmation into the national park in the 1970s
Kosciuszko Mountain Retreat (southern section)
Kosciuszko Mountain Retreat offers a wide range of comfortable accommodation, from cedar cabins and chalets (some with spas) to caravan and tent sites.
Leatherbarrel Creek camping area (southern section)
You’ll need to bring your own drinking water and firewood to this camping area, 16 km west of Thredbo on Alpine Way. Note: the Alpine Way is a narrow winding road, parts of which are unsuitable for large campervans..
Lobs Hole Ravine camping area (northern section)
Trout fishing, swimming and relative solitude are the drawcards of Lobs Hole Ravine camping area, which was once the site of a village supported by large-scale copper mining in the late 1800s to early 1900s.
Log Bridge Creek camping area (northern section)
In summer these grassy woodlands make a great base for campers in the mood for paddling, sailing, swimming, fishing and walking. It’s 18 km south of Tumut, near Blowering Dam, via the Snowy Mountains Hwy.
Long Plain Hut camping area (northern section)
There are horse yards here, to the east of Long Plain Hut, and there’s another designated camping area to the north of the hut as well. It’s a great spot for the active camper
Ngarigo camping area (southern section)
There’s a short walk from car to tent here. It’s 3.6 km from Thredbo Diggings and 24 km south of Jindabyne. Access is via the Alpine Way. Bring your own firewood, drinking water and fishing rod
No Name picnic and camping area (southern section)
Bring your own drinking water and firewood to this small camping area, 57 km south of Jindabyne via Barry Way…. Find out more
O’Hares camping area (northern section)
This old Snowy Mountains Hydro Scheme workers’ campsite provides water access to the Talbingo Reservoir. As such, it’s a popular spot for boaters, paddlers, sailors and anglers.
Old Geehi Hut camping area (southern section)
The river here is a refreshing escape from the heat of summer; alternatively, you can drop a line in or go for a paddle. It’s off the Alpine Way; access unsuitable for 2WD vehicles. B
Old Snowy Camp (northern section)
You can get to this horse-camping area from the Snowy Mountains Hwy – turn on to Tantangara Rd and then Pocket Saddle Rd. Note: Pocket Saddle Rd is apt to close during June–Oct long weekends
Pinch River camping area (southern section)
You’ll find this spacious creekside camping area straddling Barry Way, 60 km south of Jindabyne. Bring your own drinking water and firewood.
The Pines camping area (northern section)
Put up a tent at the Pines and head out on the water at Blowering Dam for a spot of fishing, waterskiing, swimming or kayaking. The camping area is 22 km south of Tumut via the Snowy Mountains Hwy.
Rock Flat camping area (northern section)
Follow Lacmalac Rd for about 25 km south-east of Tumut and you’ll be here before you can say Goobarragandra River, which is what you’ll see when you arrive. Fishing, swimming and kayaking are all on offer.
Rocky Plain camping area (northern section)
This is a horse-camping area with loading ramp about 300 m off the Snowy Mountains Hwy just south of the Rest House (Sawyers Hill). The road is accessible by camper trailers and 2WD vehicles, but only in good weather
Running Waters camping area (southern section)
You’ll need to bring drinking water and firewood to this campground, but it’ll supply the picnic tables, wood BBQs and top swimming, fishing and paddling spots. It’s 63 km south of Jindabyne
Scotchies Yards camping area (southern section)
Accessed via Barry Way, 71 km south of Jindabyne, Scotchies Yards offers swimming, paddling, fishing and walking. Bring your own drinking water and firewood.
Thredbo Diggings camping area (southern section)
Steer clear of drinking the river water here – bring your own water, along with firewood. Access is via the Alpine Way, 1.4 km from the park entrance..
Three Mile Dam camping area (northern section)
Three Mile Dam, 14 km north-east of Cabramurra, was built in 1883 to service gold mining in the Kiandra region. Come in early to mid-summer and you’ll catch a kaleidoscopic display of wildflowers
Tom Groggin camping area (southern section)
On the south-western border of the national park, Tom Groggin is a large grassed area next to the Upper Murray River, with its good trout fishing. Access is via the Alpine Way, which is unsuitable for large campervans.
Wares Yards camping area (northern section)
You can get to this horse-camping ground via Tantangara Rd off the Snowy Mountains Hwy, although the track in may be closed during the June–Oct long weekends. Bring drinking water and firewood
Willis camping area
Just inside the NSW border is Willis camping area, 74 km south of Jindabyne via Barry Way. Bring your own drinking water and firewood.
Yachting Point camping area (northern section)
There are water activities galore during summer at this aptly named campground, 30 km south of Tumut near Blowering Dam. Take your pick of swimming, boating, fishing, waterskiing and paddling. Bring your own firewood
Yarrangobilly Village camping area (northern section)
This is the perfect place to stay if you’re interested in visiting the startlingly beautiful Yarrangobilly Caves.
Yolde camping area (northern section)
One of several camping spots on Blowering Reservoir, Yolde offers a great selection of water-based activities during summer: swimming, fishing, boating, paddling and waterskiing. It also has a boat ramp.
Kosciuszko National Park embraces the majestic grandeur of the high country. This is one of the world’s great national parks, with its alpine herbfields and soaring mountain peaks, the headwaters of the famed Snowy River and a fascinating Aboriginal and European heritage. The largest national park in the state, Kosciuszko is expansive, dramatic and awe-inspiring. Situated on the highest land in Australia it has a rugged, wild beauty, yet up close it reveals many small treasures – delicate wildflowers, historic cattlemen’s huts, and rare and endangered wildlife. In winter when its peaks are blanketed with snow it is transformed into one of Australia’s finest ski fields. In summer wildflowers carpet the grassy meadows, and there are lovely walks and the chance to indulge in a whole range of outdoor activities. Kosciuszko contains six wilderness areas, and is recognised as a UNESCO World Biosphere Reserve. It is also one of the Australian Alps National Parks, a cooperative arrangement between the states and Commonwealth to preserve and manage the region’s valuable alpine and subalpine environments. MAP DATA 2010 PSMA, GEOSCIENCE AUSTRALIA, AND EXPLORE AUSTRALIA PUBLISHING PTY LTD