The Australian Alps were a sight that I hadn’t expected to see in Australia. This is a place where tall mountain peaks are permanently covered with snow; deep green valleys cut through mountain ranges and where alpine vegetation covers high plains. I always thought of Down Under as a scorching hot continent, with deserts, Outback, bushlands and rainforests. Never did I realize that there are cold mountain ranges, too.
Alpine National Park is located in the state of Victoria, northeast of Melbourne. It lies adjacent to Kosciuszko National Park in New South Park, another magnificent park in the Australian Alps. This mountain range is actually part of the even larger Great Dividing Range that crosses the southeast of Australia. The national park is home to the highest mountain in the state, Mount Bogong. Additionally, ten of the eleven highest mountains in Victoria lie within the park’s borders. The tallest mountain in the country, Mount Kosciuszko, lies in Kosciuszko National Park.
The park protects the fragile alpine vegetation, mountain ecosystems and landscapes in the Australian Alps and is one of the eleven Australian Alps National Parks & Reserves. It’s also a National Heritage Site.
Things to Do in Alpine National Park
When I was there, I spent most of my time driving around, snapping photos of the vistas and hiking. It was the middle of summer and it was pretty hot, although there still was snow on the mountain peaks.
These warm temperatures make it an ideal summer destination; activities include hiking, cycling, camping, fishing, canoeing, etcetera. There are numerous hiking trails leading up and down the mountains and towards roaring waterfalls and still lakes. The ultimate hike in this particular region is the epic 655-kilometer Australian Alps Walking Track. Cycling can be done on- and off-road. There’s a large number of mountain biking trails. A good suggestion would be cycling the Great Alpine Road, achallenging, but extremely scenic road.
More adventurous activities are off-road driving, rock climbing and whitewater rafting.
In winter the entire area becomes Australia’s premier winter sports destination. There are resorts in Mount Hotham and Falls Creek, where you can go snowboarding, downhill skiing, cross-country skiing and – a very popular thing to do – snow camping.
Alpine National Park can easily be reached from both Sydney and Melbourne along the Hume Highway. Several towns lie in and around the park, offering plenty of accommodation options and places to eat.
Although having done a lot of research and reading before going to Australia, I managed to completely miss the Australian Alps and Alpine National Park. I pretty much just stumbled upon it on when I was driving from Sydney to Melbourne.
That’s exactly why I love traveling so much: the possibility to discover unexpected places at any time; places that change your perception of a region or country; and places that just blow you away and that you won’t ever forget…