Kosciuszko National Park (The Snowies)

Kosciuszko National Park was discovered by a Polish chap hence the reason not many people can pronounce the name so it is generally referred to over here as Kozzie. It is the largest national park in NSW and is one of the largest conservation areas in Australia. It is now a UNESCO biosphere reserve and it also contains Australia’s highest mountain. Snow sports are the big attraction but like our European Alps there are great scenic drives, walks, mountain biking and other attractions in the summer. Another plus for us is that the temperature is a few degrees cooler up here.

We stopped just before the park at Tumut and as usual the visitor information centre was very helpful and the lady spent almost an hour with us showing us amongst other things a live breeding programme for the endangered Corroboree frog . The only place in the world this frog lives is in the Kosciuszko National Park in altitudes between 1300 and 1700 metres. These tiny little things are only the size of your thumb nail and are very brightly coloured.

This huge park has loads of free camping grounds and park entrance fees only apply at high altitudes. We only drove 30kms or so from Tumut and stopped for coffee on the Blowering Dam. The camping spots and views were quite stunning so looking for an easy day we decided to stay. This is where the Australians do things so well. They have fabulous camping equipment complete with toilet tents, generators, boats and canoes all hooked up to 4wd vehicles. All this enables them to get set up at some superb isolated camping spots right at the waters edge. We preferred the shade of some trees a hundred metres back.

The following day we followed the Snowy and Alpine Highways high up into the park stopping off on the way at the Yarrangobilly Caves where a steep track leads down to a thermal pool – good opportunity for a wash as none of these campsites have showers. We spent the second night at another excellent free camp although we did have a running battle with March flies (bigger and noisier than horse flies and with a very nasty sting). The temperature up here and particularly at night is pretty chilly so for the first time we had to get the duvet out.

The Snowy Mountains are are also well know for their hydro-electric scheme, not usually something to get too excited about but the visitor information centre really is worth a visit. The scheme is recognised as a civil engineering wonder of the modern world and is the greatest engineering project undertaken in Australia. It started in 1949 and was completed in 1974 consisting of 7 major power station (2 underground), 16 major dams and it is all under the management of Snowy Hydro Ltd. Another main objective of the scheme was to mitigate the effects of drought on the Murray River so water is diverted from the scheme to farmers in that area.

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