Patches of snow remain unthawed throughout the year on the topmost peaks of the Snowy Mountains. The full extent of Australia’s alpine areas within the Kosciuszko National Park is only about 30 kms by 10 kms. The word ‘alpine’ is often used to describe all snow-covered areas but, in its strictest sense, refers to the high country where it is too cold for trees to survive. In NSW this occurs at around 1,800 metres. The highest mountain in Australia is Mount Kosciuszko, at 2228 metres.
The Kosciuszko alpine area supports about 200 plant species. Most are dormant throughout the winter, submerged by up to 2-3 metres of snow. Some plants flower while still under the snow or very soon after it melts, while others flower late in the snow-free season. They include creamy-coloured pimelias (Pimelia ligustrina), the orchid-like, fragrant flowers of Alpine mint bushes (Prostanthera cuneata), and the large yellow or orange flowers of ‘Billy Buttons’ (Craspedia sp).
The Snowy Mountains attract visitors all year round. The peak time for wildflowers is in summer (January and February). To find out more about the Kosciuszko National Park, contact one of the following National Parks &
Wildlife Service offices and visitor centres:
Khancoban Information Centre
Scott Street, Khancoban 2647
Phone: (02) 6076 9373 or (02) 6076 9382
Kosciuszko Education Centre
Phone: (02) 6450 5666
Snowy Region Visitor Centre
Kosciuszko Road, Jindabyne 2627
Phone: (02) 6450 5600
Tumut Region Visitor Centre
The Old Butter Factory, Adelong Road, Tumut 2720. Phone: (02) 6947 7025.
Or visit the NPWS website: www.nationalparks.nsw.gov.au/npws.nsf/Content/Home
Produced with the assistance of the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service.
Filmed on location at Kosciuszko National Park.
No environmental damage was incurred on location. The conservation values of the areas have been preserved.