The Alpine National Park adjoins the Snowy Mountain at the border with New South Wales where it meets its big brother Kosciuszko National Park. It consists of several smaller protected parks and reserves, including the Alpine National Park, Mt Buffalo National Park, Baw Baw National Park and Yarra Ranges National Park. These four reserves are homes to the only ski resorts and ski fields in Victoria.
ALPINE NATIONAL PARK
The highest point in the Alpine National Park is Mount Bogong (1986 m). Sitting amidst the Bogong High Plains, it is defined by vast subalpine grassland and woodland. The mountain is towering over the Kiewa River Valley – a place of a great significance for the Aboriginal people.
On the southern fall of the Alps, the vegetation turns into a lush forest and tall greenwood with a dense canopy and abundant wildlife. The typical Australian eucalyptus, reaching far into the horizon, is home to boundless birdlife and unique species.
The area is known for winter sports, such as downhill, cross country, and backcountry skiing, while summertime brings great opportunities for hiking, climbing and mountain biking.
MAJOR RESORT TOWNS IN THE ALPINE NATIONAL PARK
WHAT TO DO IN THE ALPINE NATIONAL PARK IN WINTER
WHAT TO DO IN THE ALPINE NATIONAL PARK IN SUMMER
MT BUFFALO NATIONAL PARK
Mount Buffalo National Park is known for impressive cliffs, dramatic granite tors, tumbling waterfalls, snow gums and gorgeous wildflowers. The park features myriads of walking tracks, panoramic scenery, wild rivers and in summer it is the ultimate destination for adventurous pursuits such as abseiling, rock climbing and hang-gliding.
Winter turns the park into the snowy wonderland, and many adrenaline seekers come to take pleasure in cross-country skiing, particularly near the Cathedral (Cresta Run), Dingo Dell and Cresta Valley.
The town of Bright is the gateway and the main resort in the area with good accommodation options all year round. Lake Catani is ideal for camping, kayaking, canoeing, fishing, and swimming.
ESSENTIAL EXPERIENCES IN MT BUFFALO NATIONAL PARK
BAW BAW NATIONAL PARK
This small national park is situated it the southern part of the Victorian Alps, between the Central Highlands and Gippsland regions. Like the other parks, the major uses of the park are skiing in winter and bushwalking in summer. It is popular for cross-country skiing, downhill skiing, bushwalking, rafting and canoeing, fishing, scenic drives, and picnics. The highest peak in the park is Mount St Phillack (1566 m) in the Baw Baw Plateau.
The landscape is characteristic of grassland, plains, and woodland and Mount Erica and St Gwinear and Baw Baw Alpine Village are the bases for most of the walks. Thomson River and Dam offer great water activities, bushwalking, and camping.
The most famous is perhaps the Great Australian Alps Track, starting in Walhalla and extending 650 km across the to the Alpine National Park in Victoria, the Snowy Mountains in New South Wales and finishing in Canberra. It takes up to 8 weeks to complete the trail, but it is well-worth of the effort.
ESSENTIAL EXPERIENCES IN BAW BAW NATIONAL PARK
For more details and information visithttp://www.visitbawbaw.com.au/walking-cycling
The best way to explore the national park is self-drive (summertime only) via the Great Alpine Circuit as follows:
Melbourne-Dandenong Ranges (Belgrave)-Yarra Valley (Healesville)-Yarra Ranges (Warburton)-Baw Baw-Marysville-Eildon-Alexandra-Mansfield-Mt Buller-Myrtleford-Mt Buffalo NP(Bright)-Mt Hotham-Dinner Plain-Falls Creek (Mt Beauty)-Mt Bogong-Glen Valley-Lake Dartmouth (Mitta Mitta)-Tallangatta Lake-Colac Colac-Dartmouth-Omeo-Bairnsdale-Melbourne
NOTE We recommend renting a 4WD this road trip (especially if driving in wintertime) for even if the roads are well-maintained and most of them are sealed. Although the distances are not long allowed extra time for each section due to winding roads and lots of shortstops on the way. Also, snow chains are essential if travelling in winter.
Suggested time for the journey is 5-7 days.
WHEN TO TRAVEL
NOTE The resorts get extremely busy during the winter school holidays (June-July), and accommodation should be a book in advance
HOW TO GET THERE
Fly to Melbourne. Hire a 4WD vehicle and drive to the Alpine National Park.
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