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Alpine National Park
Wikipedia | Google | Google Images | FlickrAlpine National Park is located northeast of Melbourne in the Central Highlands of Victoria, Australia. The park stretches from central Gippsland to the border with New South Wales. There it joins Kosciuszko National Park. Alpine National Park lies in the Australian Alps and covers a large part of the Great Dividing Range in Victoria. Mount Bogong, rising to 1,986 meters and the highest mountain in the state, lies within the national park. Actually, ten of the eleven highest mountains in the state can be found in Alpine National Park. Also, with a surface area of 646,000 hectares, Alpine National Park is the largest national park in the state. The park protects the mountain range and its various alpine environments. Alpine National Park is listed as an Australian National Heritage Site and is one of eleven Australian Alps National Parks and Reserves.
The landscapes are made up of breathtaking alpine topography, wild and fast-flowing rivers, dramatic mountain peaks, forests of Snow Gums, valleys and wide grasslands. Although there are many different vegetation types, the most common are the alpine and subalpine plant communities. The lower mountainsides are covered with Alpine Ash Trees and Snow Gum Forests, while the vegetation on the higher plains and exposed areas consists of mossbeds, alpine herbs, wildflowers, and heathlands. The national park is home to no less than 1,100 native plants, adapted to thrive in this winter climate. Twelve species are found nowhere else on this planet.
Alpine National Park is also home to a variety of animals. There are endangered species such as the Smoky Mouse, Spotted Tree Frog, She-Oak Skink, and Powerful Owl. One of the park’s most precious animals is the mountain Pygmy-Possum. It is the only marsupial that lives only in alpine regions and also the only one that stores food for winter. The habitat of the Mountain Pygmy-Possum is heathland-covered, rocky slopes, a typical habitat that is only found in certain places in the Alps of New South Wales and Victoria. The Bogong Moth is a typical insect of the region.
HistoryThe Alpine National Park area has been visited and traversed by Aboriginal groups for many thousands of years. They had extensive knowledge of the region’s seasons, fauna, flora, and geography. In summer they visited ceremonial sites in the mountains and searched for the nutritious Bogong Moths. Nowadays, the Aboriginal community helps to manage the national parks and the cultural heritage in the states of Victoria, New South Wales, and the Australian Capital Territory.
In the 1830s, the first European pastoralists moved into the High Country from New South Wales. Summer grazing pastures extended from the foothills to the higher grounds. Huts were built for shelter, some of which are still there. During the second half of the 19th century, it was gold that drew many people to the region.
Cattle grazing was banned from Kosciuszko National Park in the 1950s and from the 1980s onwards, cattle was being removed from the high plains and the rest of the alpine areas. Now, only a small number of cattle is allowed to graze on specified patches of lands in Alpine National Park.
Things to See and DoIn winter, Alpine National Park is one of Australia’s few premier winter sports destinations. Downhill skiing, snowboarding, and cross-country skiing can be done around resorts such as Mount Hotham and Falls Creek. Snow camping is a popular thing to do as well.
In the warmer summer months, this is an excellent place for outdoor activities like cycling, hiking, canoeing, camping, and fishing. There are many excellent bushwalking opportunities in the Australian Alps. From easy strolls and day hikes to roaring waterfalls or mountain summits to the fabulous 655-kilometer Australian Alps Walking Track, there is something for all ages and all abilities. Cycling is a great way to explore the Alps in summer. There are many nice trails, including the excellent but challenging Great Alpine Road. Fishing in a stunning alpine landscape can be done in riverS and lakes throughout the region.
There are also some great opportunities for four-wheel driving. Tour companies offer activities such as horseback riding, whitewater rafting, mountain biking, and rock climbing.
How to Get ThereThe High Country and the national park is easily accessed from both Melbourne and Sydney via the Hume Highway. This major highway runs through towns such as Glenrowan, Wangaratta, and Benalla. Alpine National Park is accessible from several towns: Bairnsdale, Mansfield, Orbost, Jindabyne, Bright, Heyfield, Mount Beauty, and Mitta Mitta.
Similar LandmarksAlpine National Park is part of the larger Australian Alps National Parks and Reserves. It adjoins Kosciuszko National Park at the border of Victoria and New South Wales. Other parks in the Australian Alps are Snowy River National Park, Mount Buffalo National Park, Namadgi National Park, Baw Baw National Park, and more.
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Author: bramreusen. Last updated: Oct 24, 2014