Snowy Mountains - Kosciuszko National Park
Kosciuszko National Park
Kosciuszko National Park is one of the best-known and most spectacular reserves in Australia, attracting over 3 million visitors each year. The park is named after Mount Kosciuszko which, at 2228 metres, is Australia's highest mountain. Mount Kosciuszko itself was named for the famous Polish patriot.
The NSW government has recently decided to change the spelling of the park from Kosciusko to what is now believed to be the correct spelling of Kosciuszko.
The park is approximately 150km in length, running from the Victorian border to the west of the ACT's namadgi National Park. At 690,000 hectares it is the largest park in New South Wales and the Australian Alps.
The area was reserved as a state park in 1944. In 1966 it became a national park under the control of the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service. In 1977 the park was declared a World Biosphere Reserve under the UNESCO Man and the Biosphere program.
Kosciuszko lies astride the Great Dividing Range and contains the headwaters of major rivers including the Murrumbidgee, Snowy and Murray. It contains most of Australia's snow and the entire NSW alpine zone as well as glacial features and ski fields. Many of the parks plant life is above the tree line and are found nowhere else in the world.
Many rare species of fauna live in the park including the mountain pygmy possum which was thought to be extinct until 1966 and is still only found in this park above the 1500 metre line. The northern corroboree frog (an endangered species) is also only found in the Kosciusko National Park.
The area has a long and rich history of land use, including Aboriginal occupation which is thought to date back 20,000 years. Since European occupation of Australia, exploration, grazing, mining, skiing, tourism and the construction of the Snowy Mountains Scheme have all had and impact on the landscape.