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Kosciuszko National Park

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Australia’s highest mountains including Mount Kosciuszko

Containing within it much of the Snowy Mountains, the 6,900 square kilometer Kosciuszko National Park reaches to the west of Canberra and the Australian Capital Territory and south to the border with Victoria. The park includes Australia’s highest mountain, Mountain Kosciuszko and the source of some of the eastern states most important rivers.

Mount Kosciuszko and the Etheridge Range seen from the headwaters of the Murray River.

Mount Kosciuszko from the Snowy River
By Trevar Alan Chilver [CC BY-SA 4.0 ], from Wikimedia Commons
Along the track (466606042)
By Peter Dowley from Dubai, United Arab Emirates (Along the track) [CC BY 2.0 ], via Wikimedia Commons
Australia perisher pleasant valley
By User: (WT-shared) Inas at wts wikivoyage [Public domain], from Wikimedia Commons
Kosciuszko National Park NSW 2627, Australia - panoramio (352)
Ché Lydia Xyang [CC BY-SA 3.0 ], via Wikimedia Commons

The national park contains alpine and sub alpine areas with high natural snow falls and in summer comes alive with abundant wild flow displays.

The park is the source of the Murray, Snowy and Gungarlin Rivers, all of which are major parts of Australia’s largest irrigation and hydroelectric project, the Snowy Mountain Scheme.

Access to the park is generally via three routes:  Canberra and then via Cooma to the west of the park and accessing both the north and south of the park. Canberra to Jindabyne and to the Thredbo / Perisher snow resorts and lower Snowy River region (south). Turning off the Hume Highway to Tumut and directly accessing the northern region of the park and High Plains.

Many of Australia’s highest peaks

In addition to Mount Kosciuszko, the park contains several mountains including some of the highest peaks in Australia: Mount Townsend (2,209 meters, second highest), Rams Head Range (2190 meters, 4th highest), Etheridge Range highest point (2180 meters, 5th highest).

The area of the park had been used by aboriginal people, who for at least 20 thousand years would seasonally move into the high country with recorded tribal gatherings occurring to take part in a feast of the Bogong moth which was found there is abundance.

The area was explored by Europeans through the explorer Paweł Strzelecki first climbing Mount Kosciuszko in 1840 and naming it after the Polish hero Tadeusz Kosciuszko based on its resemblance to the Kosciuszko Mound in Krakow, Poland.

Many great hiking trails

The park is known for great hiking trails including some of the more popular:

Summer climb to the top of Mount Kosciuszko leaving from the Kosciuszko Express chairlift at Thredbo.  The walk is 13 kilometers return and takes 4 to 5 hours.

Hike or ride the Summit Walk along the old road to Mount Kosciuszko leaving from Charlotte Pass. The walk is 18.56 kilometers return and hiking 6 – 8 hours.

Main Range Walk is a 22 kilometer loop for the more adventurous hikers, leaving form Charlotte Pass to Blue Lake through the parks glacier created landscape, along the Main Range walking track to Mount Kosciuszko and back via the Summit Walk.

There are many, many more walking tracks and mountain bike trails within the park.

The 655 kilometer Australian Alps Walking Track which starts at Walhalla in Victoria traverses the entire length of the national park en route to its northern destination at Tharwa, near Canberra.

Bush camping is permitted in the park away from roadways and waterways. Camping grounds are available at local townships around the park and at the Thredbo, Lower Snowy River, Tumut, and is the west around Khancoban and at the north east High Plains.

130427-024 Lake Albina

The park has many examples of evidence of glacial activity and tarns including the 500 meter long Lake Albina.

Charlotte Pass 2008
By flyingpurplemonkeys (originally posted to Flickr as Charlotte Pass 2008) [CC BY 2.0 ], via Wikimedia Commons

Charlotte Pass Ski Resort.

The national park includes within it or is adjacent to the major New South Wales ski resorts: Charlotte Pass, Perisher Valley, Selwyn and Thredbo.