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Kosciuszko National Park
Wikipedia | Google | Google Images | FlickrAttracting more than three millions visitors every year, Kosciuszko National Park is one of the more popular national parks in Australia. It is situated in the Australian Alps and in the southeast of the state of New South Wales, about 350 kilometers southwest of Sydney. Adjacent national parks are Namadgi National Park in the Australian Capital Territory and Alpine National Park in Victoria. About 150 kilometers long, the park runs from the ACT to the border of Victoria and is the largest national park in New South Wales. Covering almost 700,000 hectares, it is also the largest alpine region in Australia. The area is a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve and is one of eleven protected areas that make up the Australian Alps National Parks and Reserves.
Kosciuszko National Park is home to the highest peak in Australia, Mount Kosciuszko. The park consists of rugged alpine landscapes, heathlands, glacial lakes, fens, bogs, and feldmarks. It is a landscape unique in Australia. Vegetation in the national park is made up mostly of alpine woodlands, of which the Snow Gum is a symbol. Alpine Ash and Mountain Gums are other typical trees in the region. Some other plant species are endemic to the region and can’t be found anywhere else on the planet. Wildlife includes some of the most endangered species in Australia, such as the Mountain Pygmy Possum and the Corroboree Frog.
Decently sized towns around the national park are Jindabyne, Tumut, Thredbo, and Cooma. Accommodation, food, and information can be found there.
Kosciuszko National Park is the source of three significant rivers: Gungarlin River , Snowy River, and the Murray River, one of the world’s longest rivers.
HistoryThe region of the Australian Alps (Snowy Mountains) has had an Aboriginal population for more than 20,000 years. They did, however, move to the lower altitudes of the High Country during winter.
The Europeans first started exploring the region in 1835. Mount Kosciuszko was climbed in 1940 by Edmund Strzelecki, and he gave the mountain its modern name, after a Polish hero. Soon after, the High Country was used by farmers as summer pastures for their cattle. Gold mining in the area began in the 19th century. In 1861, the Australian Alps were where skiing in Australia started.
The area around Mount Kosciuszko was declared a national park in 1944.
ActivitiesThe national park’s visitor center is located in Khancoban. This is where park passes can be obtained, as well as information, maps, souvenirs, and clothes.
The fantastic mountain landscapes of Kosciuszko National Park provide a wide range of recreational opportunities. In summer there is excellent kayaking, hiking, mountain biking, fishing, mountaineering, whitewater rafting, caving and wildlife watching. In winter the mountains are covered in thick blankets of snow and offer great skiing and snowboarding.
Several thousands of visitors hike up to the summit of Mount Kosciuszko each year. The Australian Alps Walking Track is probably the most famous and popular hiking trail in the region. In addition, there are dozens of other hiking trails, ranging from short strolls to challenging mountain ascents. Most trails lead past beautiful glacial lakes, historic mountain huts, tall craggy peaks and ravines. A few suggested trails are the Cascade Hut Trail, Dead Horse Gap Walking Track, and Illawong Walk. The national park is dotted with basic, yet scenic, campgrounds. Camping is allowed anywhere in the park, except near a river or streams or near roads.
Most sections of the national park can also be accessed on a bicycle along scenic cycling trails. Other adventurous activities include caving, rock climbing, horseback riding, and boating.
Being an alpine region, winter activities consist of snowboarding, snowshoeing, skiing, and cross-country skiing. There are many winter resorts in the region, offering everything from basic accommodation to luxurious stays in a winter landscape.
Kosciuszko National Park also offers great scenic drives. Several lookouts provide great view of the mountains and valleys. Examples are Charlotte's Pass Lookout, Black Perry Lookout, Scammells Lookout, Wallace Creek Lookout, and, of course, the summit of Mount Kosciuszko itself.
How To Get ThereThere are several towns surrounding the national park. Cooma, Jindabyne, Thredbo, Khancoban all lies within about a dozen miles from the park. The towns can be reached along the highways from either Sydney (350 kilometers away) or Canberra (190 kilometers away).
The park is opened year-round, but in winter or during harsh weather, some roads may be closed. It is advised to always check the weather forecast before starting an outdoor activity.
Similar LandmarksKosciuszko National Park is part of a larger alpine conservation area, which includes Alpine National Park and Namadgi National Park. Other parks with similar vegetation types and landscapes are located in Tasmania, Mount Field National Park, and Cradle Mountain-Lake St Clair National Park.
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Author: bramreusen. Last updated: Oct 08, 2014