This will be the last national park in Australia that I’ll write about (for now). I’ve covered every single one I’ve been to so far, from the phenomenal Freycinet National Park in Tasmania and gorgeous Wilsons Promontory National Park in Victoria to Francois Peron National Park in Western Australia and Flinders Ranges National Park in South Australia.
Together with Alpine National Park, Mt Kosciuszko National Park in the Snowy Mountains may just be one of the most surprising parks in Australia. It encompasses an area of the beautiful Australian Alps, a mountain range that runs from New South Wales across the Australian Capital Territory to Victoria. The park lies in the southwest of New South Wales and connects to Namadgi National Park in the ACT and Alpine National Park in Victoria – it’s one of the eleven protected natural areas of the Australian Alps National Parks and Reserves. It covers more than 700,000 hectares, making it the largest alpine region in Australia and its huge ecological importance is shown in the fact that it’s a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve.
Geography and Nature
Mt Kosciuszko National Park derives its name from Mount Kosciuszko, the tallest mountain on the Australian mainland. Other natural attractions are the headwaters of the Snowy River and impressive limestone caves. The landscapes are made up of rugged snow-covered mountain ranges, alpine herb fields, glacial lakes, heathlands and bogs. Vegetation consists mostly of alpine woodlands, dominated by snow gums, mountain gums and alpine ash. Animal life includes some of the rarest species in Australia, such as the corroboree frog and pygmy possum.
There’s not much accommodation to be found inside Mt Kosciuszko National Park, other than the winter sports resorts, but the surrounding towns of Jindabyne, Tumut, Thredbo and Cooma offer plenty of facilities.
Things to Do in Mt Kosciuszko National Park
Many activities can be done in Mt Kosciuszko National Park throughout the year. In summer, this is an area well-suited for hiking, fishing, canoeing, white-water rafting, mountain biking, caving, horseback riding and wildlife watching. A recommended thing to do is going for a drive – being such a mountainous region, the park has some amazingly scenic roads and spectacular lookouts. Examples of such lookouts are Black Perry Lookout, Wallace Creek Lookout, Charlottes Pass Lookout and, obviously, the summit of Mount Kosciuszko, the roof of mainland Australia.
The high season, however, may just be the winter season. When the snow starts to fall, the region transforms into the premier winter sports destination in Australia. Winter activities include skiing, snowshoeing, snowboarding, dog sledding and cross-country skiing.
The national park can easily be accessed by rental car along the highways from both Sydney, 350 kilometers away, and Canberra, 190 kilometers away. It is surrounded by several well-equipped towns. The park’s visitor center is located in the town of Khancoban and is the place to obtain park passes, information, maps and the like.