Kosciuszko National Park
Australia may be better known for its crystal clear waters and white, sandy beaches but the Snowy Mountains region is the ultimate destination for year-round adventure. From skiing and snow shoeing to ecological tours and nature hikes, there’s no better way to experience Australia’s varied terrain and landscapes than with a trip to New South Wales.
When it comes to the alpine wilderness, The New South Wales Snowy Mountains region is the real deal. When you’re not snowboarding down the slopes, there are endless caves, lakes and trails to explore. The region is also home to Mount Kosciuszko, located within Kosciuszko National Park, which stands at 7,310 feet above sea level. Not surprisingly, it is Australia’s highest peak and serves as one of the continent’s top touristic attractions.One of the best rewards of visiting Kosciuszko National Park is the inspiring view from the top. As New South Wales’ largest national park, the grounds cover more then 690,000 hectares. On a clear mountain day, visitors can see gorges, mining settlements, the Tumut River, the Bogong Peaks Wilderness Area, the Selwyn Snowfields, flowing waterfalls and the limestone cliffs at Cave Creek. Keep an eye out for the park’s lookout points and make sure to bring along your camera to capture the moment.
When to Visit
Each of the four seasons offers different types of adventure and sightseeing, so plan your visit accordingly. During the winter, Kosciuszko National Park is covered in snow and visitors are busy snowboarding, snowshoeing and cross-country skiing. In the warmer months, however, things warm up quite a bit. The crisp, clean air rushes through the park and travellers can climb Australia’s highest mainland mountain, fish, sail, rock-climb, mountain bike or horseback ride through at his or her leisure.
What to See
As a whole, the park features diverse landscapes including glacial lakes, alpine herb fields, caves and gorges not to mention the Snowy River and wilderness trails. The park is recognized as a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve and is divided into three sections: the Northern section, the Central section and the Southern section. The northern part features treeless plains while the central section is Australia’s largest alpine area. The southern section is dry and rugged, with a large percentage of wilderness. The Blue Lake is another rarity as are the plant species that thrive in the park’s alpine and sub-alpine areas like the mountain pygmy possum and the corroboree frog.
Perisher, Thredbo, Mt Selwyn and Charlotte Pass are among the four most popular winter playgrounds and for good reason. Perisher offers a range of resort activities, from scenic chair lift rides and cross country Nordic Skiing to their Perisher Peak Music Festival while Thredbo has several instructional programs available to guests.Children as young as three years old can take specialized lessons and for those in a hurry to improve their skills, private lessons are also available. Selwyn is the only family owned and operated ski resort located in the Snowy Mountains Region and they cater to both beginner and advanced skiers. Charlotte Pass is a ski resort and village located within the park is especially popular with cross-country skiers.
The winter wonderland eventually melts into a spring awakening, alluring a whole new crowd to the region. The most common activities during this time of year are bushwalks and hikes. Thredbo Guided Walks have earned a good reputation for having expert guides who lead groups to some of the best alpine lakes and most scenic views. Along the way, they shed light on the local vegetation and the park’s unique flora, fauna and other fun facts. Kosciuszko Guided Walks pays special attention to the natural beauty and solitude of the park. This particular tour features a night in-between the two-day walk, with guests staying at Lake Crackenback Resort & Spa. This is the perfect route for those travelers seeking an off-the-beaten approach to the park and its wildlife.
Where to Stay
There’s something for every price point and preference and even though most of your time will be spent outdoors, it’s nice to come back and feel the comforts of home. Some tourists opt for cozy lodges or exclusive penthouses, while others prefer townhouses, apartments or quiet holiday homes.
Booking early is always a good idea, as NSW appeals to tourists year-round. Some of the more upscale options, like Nanook 32 Squatters Run in Thredbo Village are centrally located, offer great views and include extra perks and amenities like a round-the-clock concierge, a wood fireplace, Apple TV, Hydro toiletries from Germany and heated ski and book lockers. Parkwood 2 in Jindabyne is an example of more affordable apartment accommodations. Although simpler in design than more luxurious rentals, these budget-friendly apartments have all the basic amenities and boast a modern, clean design.
In simple terms, The Snowy Mountains are located between Sydney and Melbourne and south of Canberra. The best way to reach Kosciuszko National Park is by car but it’s also possible to travel by train or bus. There is a ski bus service from Sydney, Brisbane and Canberra to Perisher and Thredbo. Once in Perisher, hop on an over-snow transport to reach Charlotte Pass. Since Jindabyne is the closest town to Kosciuszko National Park, there are plenty of bus and car services that take people to and from the snowfields.
To save both time and money, visitors are encouraged to buy an All Parks Pass online before arrival. Typically, these passes take about ten business days to be delivered so planning ahead of time is key. Those visiting during snow season, from June to October, should book their transport ahead of time. Finally, if you’re planning to visit other parts of Australia, make sure you pack properly. Climates vary from cold to tropical. Sunglasses, sunscreen and a sweater are useful no matter when or where you visit.