One of the nation’s most outstanding and breathtaking mountain landscapes, the Australian Alps, has been awarded Australia’s highest heritage honour with its inclusion in the National Heritage List.
The Australian Alps National Parks was the largest and most complex National Heritage assessment to date, encompassing 1.6 million hectares of national parks and reserves across eleven national parks and nature reserves in the ACT, NSW and Victoria.
Known as the High Country in Victoria, Snowy Mountains in New South Wales and the Brindabella Range in the Australian Capital Territory, the listing of the Australian Alps National Parks recognises the outstanding natural, Indigenous and historic values of this iconic landscape.
The high altitude peaks, some rising above 2000 metres, and plateaus, glacial lakes and alpine and sub-alpine ecosystems of the Australian Alps are rare in our mostly flat, dry and warm continent. The Alps are home to the snow gum and unique alpine species like the mountain pygmy possum, as well as in the summer months providing spectacular arrays of alpine wildflowers.
The distinctive snow covered slopes of the Australian Alps provide a playground for broad-scale snow recreation in the nation.
The Australian Alps have a strong association with Australia’s natural and cultural history. They are an important place of dreaming and gathering for Aboriginal people and of recollection and discovery as former grazing land once traversed by stockmen, gold prospectors, pastoralists, migrants and botanists of early settlement.
Places on the National Heritage List are afforded protection under the Australian Government’s Environment Protection and Biodiversity Conservation Act and we will continue to work together with NSW, Victoria, and the ACT to ensure the protection and proper management of the outstanding heritage values of the Australian Alps National Parks.
For the people of New South Wales the majestic Snowy Mountains have long been a place of outstanding natural beauty and a key part of our colonial heritage.
Grand hiking and superlative fishing add year-round appeal to the Snowy Mountains, easily reached from Sydney. The Snowy Mountains, often just called ‘the Snowies’, is the only part of the Australian mainland cold enough for skiable snow to form. In winter, cross-country and downhill skiing have thousands of devotees. There are plenty of top-class resorts to enjoy, among them Thredbo Alpine Village, Perisher Blue Ski Resort and Selwyn Ski Resort.
The fun is not confined to winter. At the heart of the Snowy Mountains, Kosciuszko National Park is renowned for its spring displays of alpine wildflowers, trout-filled mountain streams and sparkling lakes. The park extends over 690,000 hectares, where walkers can relish breathtaking wilderness vistas and bracing mountain air.
Witses Hut – off the Nungar Creek Fire Trail
Images couresty of Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts