- See also: Thredbo, a well known ski resort in the park
Kosciuszko National Park is in the Snowy Mountains of New South Wales in Australia and is the largest (and highest) national park in the state. The sunburnt country isn't often associated with snow, but the park offers decent enough skiing.
Kosciuszko National Park covers 6,900 km². It is 350 km south-west of Sydney.
Used by aboriginal people for over 20,000 years, the park was a meeting point for feating on nutritious Bogong moths during the summer months. The first European to climb the mountain in 1840, Edmund Strzelecki, named the highest mountain here after a Polish hero called General Tadeusz Kościuszko, which explains the etymology of a name that is rather difficult to pronounce by most Australians.
The park was founded as "National Chase Snowy Mountains" in 1906, and renamed to its present name in 1944.
Flora and fauna
The wildlife is rather unique given that this is a cold part of a generally very warm continent. The corroboree frog, mountain pygmy possum and dusky antechinus are located in the high reaches. There is also a significant population of wild horses.
The park has a cold Alpine climate, and the upper regions experience heavy snow for around 4 months of the year. Remnants of the snow can still be found in the spring months, but there's no new snowfall.
There are two ways to get in the park. The first way is a much wider, easier route through the Alpine Way at Jindabyne. This is the most commonly used route, where it has two lanes (one for each direction) instead of one shared lane. The other route, is via Khancoban, is a much harder, winding road going up from an elevation of 230m up to 1550m at its highest in Siberia. It only has one lane, meaning you have to share the lane with oncoming traffic (which is actually quite rare), and when an oncoming vehicle comes, you should slow done to 30km/h. While only 78km from Khancoban to Thredbo, and with a speed limit of 80km/h, the journey actually takes two hours, due to the extremely winding roads.
Fees and permits
For cars, a $58 fee is required to enter Kosciuszko National Park. If you choose to come from Jindabyne, there is a gate where you can pay and go without leaving your car. However, if you come from Khancoban, you must stop at Thredbo and pay at the NSW Parks office. Not doing this is toll evasion and can lead you into hefty fines.
The park boasts its own electric railway. The Skitube Alpine Railway was built (as its name suggests) primary for skiers moving between 1 Bullocks Flat (with road access and parking) and the ski resorts of 2 Perisher Valley and 3 Blue Cow Mountain.
Otherwise, if you're coming by car, then the Alpine Way runs right throughout the park. The section between Jindabyne and Thredbo is quite a good road, but once you go further up, it's a one lane shared road. All vehicles must use chains from Thredbo to Khancoban, with only 4WDs exempt from this. Also, cheap 4WDs like a Kluger won't make it without chains during snow, so you need a proper 4WD to properly go here in the snow.
- 1 Mount Kosciuszko. Australia's tallest mountain, and featured as such on the original Seven Summits list. As climbing the Kosciuszko is a rather trivial challenge compared to the other continental summits, the Puncak Jaya on New Guinea is a taller and more challenging peak in Oceania. However, the walking track to the summit is always open, and is doable.
- 2 Blue Lake, Blue Lake Walk. A stunning glacial lake that can be reached by a trail through the unique Aussie eucalyptus trees and alpine meadows with flora seen nowhere else.
- Thredbo Community Bell, Thredbo. Australia's highest bell at 2037m in elevation.
- The snow - Any Aussie would love to see this considering that it only snows about 2-4 months a year, only in the Snowies.
Hike the Main Range walk (22km).
- Candlelight Lodge (32 Diggings Terrace), ☏ .
- Cascades Restaurant, Friday Dr, ☏ .
- Central Road 2625, 4/17 Friday Dr, ☏ .
- Eagles Nest, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. 9:30AM-3PM Daily. The highest restaurant in Australia at 1937m in altitude.
- River Inn, 4 Friday Drive, ☏ . River Inn is the only "ski in, ski out" accommodation in Thredbo, located at the Gunbarrel chair lift. It is very convenient but can be crowded and noisy in peak season. Peak season from $193 per night in a shared room or $275 per night in a twin room.
- Thredbo YHA, 2 Buckwong Place, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. This is a highly rated hostel. Peak season beds in shared room from $82.
- Thredbo Alpine Hotel, Friday Drive, ☏ , ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Offers ski and snowboard equipment lockers as well, and a dryer room for all the clothes drenched by the snow. Peak season twin rooms from $460 mid-week and $600 weekends.
- Karas Apartments, Bobuck Lane, ☏ . Self-catering apartments, all with balconies with a view of the ski slopes. There are studio apartments and 2 and 4 bedroom apartments. Studio apartment from $345 per night and two bedroom apartment from $695 in peak season.
- Boali Lodge, Mowamba Place, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. Shared rooms from $225 per night for adults and $130 for children in peak season.
- Tumut is a town just outside of the park and a good base from which to explore it.