The photogenic qualities of this part of Australia can quicken the pulse of a photographer just as a fast run down the mountain does for a skier. From the rivers and creeks to the lakes, from the straight as a die Alpine Ash to the twisted and gnarled trunks of the snow gums, from the brightly coloured parrots to the shiny black Australian ravens, from the lumbering wombats to the agile kangaroos, from the bush to the rugged area above the tree line, there are subjects for my camera.
Jindabyne is an ideal base for the high country in all seasons with accommodation available in holiday units, motels and two caravan parks which include cabins and caravan and camping sites. And not far out of Jindabyne there are more places to stay with closer access to the bush and its inhabitants. Jindabyne has good eating places of all types and a well-stocked supermarket for those who wish to cater for themselves.
The seasons in the high country are clearly defined but this does not preclude snow in summer. This is mountain country and here the weather can change in an instant so never neglect to carry a jumper and wet weather gear with you even in January.
There are many signposted walks in the Kosciuszko National Park which vary in difficulty. Apart from the clothing I mentioned above you will need to carry a water bottle and a nourishing snack.
From Jindabyne it’s an easy drive to the real high country (Jindabyne itself is 914 metres above sea level!) at either Charlotte Pass, the home of the highest resort in Australia and named after Charlotte Adams, the first European woman to climb Mount Kosciuszko (2228 metres) in 1881, or Thredbo.
From Charlotte Pass there is the choice of walks to the summit of Mount Kosciuszko either by the route of the old road that was closed to traffic in the 1970s (18kms return) or via Blue Lake (21.5kms circular route). There is also a boardwalk (about 500 metres return) that passes through sub-alpine woodland to a lookout from which the high peaks of the Snowies can be seen. There are some typical examples of tortured snow gums on this short walk.
It was from one of the useful information panels on the boardwalk that I learned why the Australian Alps look more like big hills than the more rugged mountains of the Himalayas, Europe and New Zealand. It is because the Australian mountains are geologically much older. They have therefore been gradually worn down and rounded by many more years of wind and weather than their younger cousins.