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australia:nsw:snowy_mountains

Snowy Mountains, NSW

introduction

  • Note there are park entry fees for those accessing the NP on the Alpine Way (eg. $17/car per 24hrs excl winter) - snow chains required after snow and should be carried June-Oct, but snow can occur any time of year!
  • Mt Kosciuszko is the highest mountain in Australia but the Snowy Mountains are quite rounded and so the summit appears more of a underwhelming hill rather than the dramatic slopes of Victoria's Mt Feathertop.
  • the parks are known for their wild brumbies (and also wild dogs)
  • most streams flow all year but water should be treated to make it potable
  • camping:
    • bush camping is not permitted within water catchment areas, within 30m of streams, or within 200m of public roads
    • collecting firewood or cutting trees is illegal
    • do not bury any rubbish - take it all with you even a small piece of tin foil can kill an animal, while orange peels take a long time to degrade
    • popular National Park summer sites include:
      • Tom Groggin, 24 km west of Thredbo on the Alpine Way, is a large area on the banks of the Murray.
      • Geehi flats, 31 km south of Khancoban on the Alpine Way, is on the site of the former Snowy Mountains Hydro-electric camp beside Swampy Plain River but no water here?
        • Old Geehi campground - set right on Swampy Plains River, this secluded campground is a beautiful, peaceful place to pitch your tent, drive through the Geehi camp ground and ford the river but need a 4WD for the track, alternatively, access via Geehi Walls trail from the Alpine Way, then turn south at the 1st intersection, ?roads are too boggy to access after rains
      • Three Mile Dam, near the Mount Selwyn skifields in the north of the park, provides good high altitude camping. The dam was constructed in 1883 to sluice ore for gold at the nearby Kiandra goldfields. Trout fishing is now the major attraction.
      • Talbingo and Blowering Reservoirs provide exposed camping with splendid views over the water.
      • further off the beaten track, consider the Cooleman Mountain or Blue Waterholes camping areas
      • Ghost Gully hidden off Long Plain Road at jnction of two creeks but popular with horse riders
      • O'Hares at Talbingo with lake views and boat ramp
      • Old Snowy camp ground near Tantangara reservoir said to be good for astronomy and horses, invigorating valley views, lies alongside Gurrangorambla Creek in the northern (Currango/Tantangara) precinct
      • The Pines at Blowering reservoir
      • Humes Crossing campground east shore of Blowering dam
      • Yolde campground near Blowering dam
      • Yarrangobilly Village campground located beside historic Cotterill’s Cottage
      • Wares Yards campground - not far from Tantangara Dam, offers an ideal base to explore the area, including Boggy, Nungar, and Kellys Plains
      • Cooinbil Hut campground looking out over treeless Long Plain and the headwaters of Murrumbidgee River
      • Ngarigo campground on the banks of Thredbo River
      • these sites are free and no booking is available
    • commercial camp grounds outside the park include:
  • gold was discovered at Kiandra in 1859
  • much of the park was logged for alpine ash from 1860's to early 1900's.
  • alpine wildflowers are at their best in Jan-Feb but there is always something in flower other than in winter
  • the 672km Australian Alps Walking Track (AAWT) runs from Walhalla in Victoria, across the Victorian Alps and then across the Snowy Mountains and finishing at Namadgi Visitor Centre

vegetation and animals

  • above the treeline of about 1800-1850m:
    • vegetation is mainly alpine herb fields and mosses although some mountain plum pines can be found. Very few birds or animals live in this zone permanently other than a few snakes (copperheads, eastern brown and white-lipped snakes - assume ALL are venomous and deadly), lizards, pigmy possums, alpine funnel web spiders, wolf spiders, some insects (such as alpine ants), and little ravens and the occasional wombat. Insects and birds become much more plentiful in spring including millions of Bogong moths which migrate from warmer climates in the north to seek cool, dark crevices above 1700m. In spring a mass migration of wasps, flies and moths which can last a week, leave the mountains an travel south over Dead Horse Gap.
  • above the snowline (~1450m) up to the treeline:
    • this is the subalpine zone where vegetation types are dependent upon microclimates and fires with alpine ash, snow gums, stunted shrubs and heaths.
    • Cold Air Drainage shrub and herbfield frost hollow landscapes occur in the Subalpine and uppermost Montane forest areas and have inverse tree lines. Long, Currango and Tantangara Plains in the northern part of Kosciuszko National Park are typical of these cold air drainage upper Montane landscapes and many of the pastoral huts are located around the edges of these or similar plains.
    • typically the huts have a northeast orientation to catch early morning sun and are located at the edges of forests near creek lines for protection from westerly winds, the nightly cold air drainage and to provide for easy water and firewood collection (now illegal)
  • below the snowline down to 900m:
    • montane forests begin dominated by tall wet sclerophyll forests of alpine ash, mountain gums, manna (ribbon) gums, candlebarks, black sallees, and wolly tea trees with some snow gums, while in moist gullies, a dense understorey of tree ferns, fungi, mosses and lichens grow. The endangered Southern Corroboree frog is only found above 1300m. Most animals and birds in the park live in this zone.
  • below 900m:
    • this is the lowland zone of dry sclerophyll forests and patches of stunted cypress pine while tea trees flourish near the creeks and wattles in the woodlands.

Tumut region

  • Tumut is 203km north of Wondonga taking just over 2hrs by car via the Hume Hway and is on the northern end of the Snowy Mountain Hwy
  • it is 65km or 53min drive north of Tumbarumba
  • Yarrangobilly Caves are 76km south and take just over 1hr drive
  • alternatively, one could drive to Canberra via the gravel Wee Jasper Rd from Tumut which is 70km to Wee Jasper (1.3hrs) and a total of 152km or 2.6hrs to Canberra (compared to 2hr 10min and 194km via the more circuitous highway north of the range via Gundagai and Yass)
  • gold mining heritage - gold rush towns include Batlow, Adelong and Kiandra (town no longer exists but ruins remain)
  • Warogong Sugarloaf walk
    • 10.4km return, 4.5hrs, mod; 450m ascent and descent
  • Thomas Boyd Track Head
    • The Hole - 13km return, 5hrs, mod ~400m ascent and descent

Talbingo region walks

  • Blowering Cliffs walk
    • 4.8km, 1.5hrs, mod. 250m ascent and descent
  • Blowering Basin walk
    • 3.4km, 1.5hrs easy, 200m ascent and descent
  • Buddong Falls
  • Jounama Creek walk
    • 6km return, 2hrs easy 80m ascent and descent
  • Old Mountain Road walk
    • 8.2km return, 3hr, mod. 500m ascent and descent
  • Landers Falls Lookout and Big Talbingo
    • 20.8km return, 7hrs, mod. total of ~700m ascent and descent
  • Bogong Wilderness
    • 41.4km return, 2 days, mod. total of ~900m ascent and descents
  • Vickerys Hut
    • 5.2km return, 2hrs, mod. 180m descent then ascent

Tumbarumba region

  • Tumbarumba is an excellent base on the western side of the mountains
  • it is some 4.5hrs drive from Melbourne via the Hume
  • alternate back roads access from Bright in the Victorian snowfields via Yackandandah or Gundowring takes around 3hrs and is 227km, although it is quicker but longer via the Hume (248km and just under 3hrs)
  • 109km or 1.3hrs south-east from city of Wagga Wagga
  • TumbaFest - last weekend in Feb
  • Paddys River Falls
  • Sugar pine walk in Bago forest via Kopsons rd
  • Blowering Dam
  • Yarrangobilly caves, thermal springs and camp grounds
  • Cabramurra - Australia's highest town at 1488m and was established for the Snowy Mtns Hydroelectric Scheme in 1954 using prefabricated houses, the town was moved 500m in 1974 to a more sheltered location with new houses built from bessa blocks, and the original site is now a lookout. Only workers for the company running the Tumut 2 power station are permitted to live there. There is a short airstrip nearby. Annual rainfall 1700mm.
  • accommodation:
    • Tumbarumba River Caravan Park
    • McPhersons Alpine Retreat

alpine circuit road from Tumbarumba

  • from Tumbarumba you can do an alpine circuit road which will take 4hrs plus sightseeing:
    • heading north through Bago Sate Forest to Batlow (30mins) then south-east for 27km on a winding road to Talbingo and Blowering Dam will take 45min
    • then turn right onto the Snowy Mountains Hway and pass through Yarrangobilly Village (free camp site and access to Long Plain to the east) and to Yarrangobilly Caves and thermal springs a total of 37km more taking a further 40 minutes for a total from Tumbarumba of just under 2hrs and 102km
    • one can then head south via the Selwyn Snowfields to Cabramurra, Australia's highest town some 40km and 45min drive
    • from Cabramurra, one can then head north-west via Goat Ridge Rd/Elliott Way to Paddys River Falls turn off (free camping near there) 55km taking just under 1hr (optionally for a much extended circuit drive further south to Tumut Pond Reservoir and the summer access Swampy Plains Creek Rd back to the Alpine Way near Khancoban)
    • from the falls turn off back to Tumbarumba is a final 14km taking some 11min

Long Plain

  • closed in winter
  • Long Plain Hut, Cooinbil Hut, Coolamine Homestead, Blue Waterholes camping area with an amazing karst landscape of small caves and gorges such as Clarke Gorge or Nicole Gorge
  • 70,000 hectares at 1200m altitude of treeless frost grass plains stretching 20km from Peppercorn Hill to Rules Point in the south where cold air flowing from the higher slopes becomes trapped (nighttime temperatures have even fell to -25degC here) and causes an “inverted tree line”
  • >1hr, 20km gravel corrugated road (not suitable for caravans past the 17km point) to Cooleman /mountain camping area then further 3km to Cooleman Homestead (restored) and a further 2.5km to Magpie Flat camping area which is near the start of the Jennings walks of this limestone karst region formed 440mya under sea which were uplifted 40mya:
  • 31km gravel drive up Port Phillip Trail to:
    • Old Currango walk (at 15.6km mark)
      • 1873 Currango Homestead; 9.2km, 3hr easy return
    • then via Pocket Saddles Rd to:
      • Leura Gap walk - 27km, 9hr return hard walk
      • Bimberi Peak walk - 21.2km, 8hr, return hard walk

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Clarkes Gorge

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Cooliman Homestead in morning fog

Yarrangobilly Caves

  • 6km unsealed road and entry fees apply
  • accommodation in lodge or nearby camp grounds
  • Yarrangobilly caves - self-guided tours (South Glory cave only) open 9.30am, guided tours of other caves - see times
  • Landers Falls Lookout - 10km 2.5-3hr return walk from 2WD carpark or 1.6km return from 4WD carpark with steep section
  • Glory Hole Farm and River Walk - 3.3km, 1.5hr easy, 100m descent then ascent
  • thermal pool, homestead, cemetery, river
  • Bluff Lookout circuit - 2.3km, 1hr easy
  • Castle Cave - 2.6km, 1hr easy

Yarrangobilly

  • just under 3hrs drive from Canberra via either Hume Hwy to north, or slightly quicker and shorter route via Monaro Hwy and Cooma to the south
  • Jounama Homestead Ruins walk - 15.7km return, 5hr easy grade
  • Talbingo Reservoir Viewpoint walk
    • 12.6km return, 4.5hrs, mod grade - cliff line 500m above water
    • 200m descent and ascent

Kiandra

  • gold discovered in 1859
  • Kiandra Heritage Trail - 1.2km return, 30min easy
  • Kiandra Plain - 7km return, 2.5hrs mod
  • Gooandra Homestead - 10km return, 3hrs, easy
  • Blue Creek Coppermine - 21.5km return, 8hrs, mod ~700m descent and ascent

Selwyn snowfields

  • Mount Selwyn Ski Resort
  • Elaine Mine walk - 16.2km return, 5hrs mod. total ~200m ascent, descent
  • Cabramurra Plateau walk - 6.3km, 2hrs, easy.
  • Goldseekers Track - 3km 1hr easy

Jagungal Wilderness

  • Black Jack and Manjar - 19.8km, 6hr return, mod. ~350m descent and ascents
  • Jagungal Wilderness - 66.8km return, 4 days, hard, ~150m descent and ascent
  • Southern Cloud crash site - 15.2km return, 5hrs, mod.~200m descent and ascent
  • Snakey Plain and Wheelers Hut - 16.4km return, 5hrs, mod. ~600m ascents and descents

Khancoban region

  • 76km south of Tumbarumba (1hr drive)
  • 149km east of Wodonga via Lake Hume, Tallangatta, Burrowa-Pine Mountain NP and Corryong taking just under 2hrs
  • 466km and 5hrs drive from Melbourne
  • situated on the Alpine Way which further south takes one to:
    • Scammells lookout
    • Geehi Hut
    • Kosciuszko
    • Tom Groggin
    • Dogman Hut camp area
    • Murray Gorge
    • then eastwards across the mountain range to Thredbo and then to Jindabyne (see below)

Jindabyne region

  • on the south-east part of the Snowy Mountains next to Lake Jindabyne
  • can access either:
    • west to Khancoban (see above)
    • northwest to Perisher Valley and Charlotte Pass and Mt Kosciuszko
      • on Alpine Way towards Thredbo:
        • Bullocks Track walk to Thredbo Diggings from Bullocks Hut (1934) - 4.6km return, 1,5hrs easy but mountain bikes!
      • via Kosciuszko Rd towards Perisher Valley:
        • from Kosciuszko Mountain Retreat 14km from Jindabyne:
          • Waterfall Walk - 5.5km, 1.5hrs, mod. 180m ascent/descent, views over Jindabyne
          • Pallaibo and Sawpit Falls - 11.2km return, 3hrs, easy 250m descent, ascent
        • Rennix walk - 11km return, 3.5hrs, easy, crosses a 10,000yr old bog
        • Rainbow Lake - 3km return, 1hr easy
    • south via Barry Way to Pilot / Cobberas Wilderness Area
      • The Pilot - 43km, 3days, mod. ~700m total ascent, descent
    • northeast to Lake Eucumbene and Snowy Plains and the Snowy Mountain Hway via Adaminaby, Kiandra north-west to Yarrangobilly
    • east to Cooma then north to Canberra

Thredbo village walks

  • Crackenback chairlift runs even in summer and will save you a 595m ascent!
  • Mount Kosciuszko summit walk
    • 12.4km return (after catching the Crackenback chairlift to the top station), 4hrs mod. 300m ascent to 2228m (highest in Australia) and descent, elevated walkway
  • Rams Head, Rawson Pass circuit
    • 11.5km, 5hrs, mod. 200m ascent and descent; stunning views from ridge, mass blooms in Spring
  • Dead Horse Gap, Thredbo River
    • 9.1km (after catching the Crackenback chairlift to the top station), 2.5hrs, mod. 600m descent
  • Merrits Nature Track
    • 3.8km (after catching the Crackenback chairlift to the top station), 1.5hrs, mod. 500m steep descent
  • Southern Main Range Circuit incl. Mount Kosciuszko summit
    • 50.9km, 4 days, hard
  • The Chimneys
    • 16.1km, 5hr, mod. 250m steepish ascent and descent, but nice views
  • Riverside golf course 1hr stroll
  • Meadows Nature Track - 3.2km circuit
  • Thredbo Village Walk - steep, winding streets of eclectic architecture

Perisher Valley and Charlotte Pass

  • Snow Gums boardwalk from Charlotte Pass Lookout - 0.5km return, paved walk to another lookout
  • Porcupine Rocks - 5.4km return, 2hrs, easy, 200m ascent, descent, spectacular granite boulders
  • Blue Lake - 10km return, 3hrs, mod. total 400m ascent, descent, but very popular
  • Blue Lake, Club Lake circuit - 13.1km, 4.5hrs, mod. total 400m ascent, descent, more adventurous than just Blue Lake
  • Mount Stilwell - 3.6km return, 1.5hrs, easy 200m ascent and descent
  • Charlotte Pass, Main Range, Rolling Ground, Munyang
    • 29.7km, 2 days, hard, ~600-700m total ascent, descent
  • from Guthega Power Station / Munyang:
    • Whites River Hut, Rolling Ground, Dicky Cooper Bogong
      • 26.3km, 2 days, hard, ~800m total ascent, descent
    • Brassy Mountains, Mawsons Hut, Kerries Ridge circuit
      • 40.6km, 3 days, hard, ~700m total ascent, descent
    • Guthega, Mount Tate, Tate East Ridge circuit
      • 12.9km, 5hrs, mod. ~600m total ascent, descent
australia/nsw/snowy_mountains.txt · Last modified: 2019/01/10 11:13 by gary1