‘Mount Kosciuszko National Park is a wilderness wonderland that will wow you in any season.’
Mount Kosciuszko is Australia’s tallest mountain and well-known in Australia for its winter sports activities such as skiing, snowboarding and the like. Much of the Australian Snowy Mountains region is incorporated into Kosciuszko National Park. The range of year-round attractions available here is almost endless, making Mount Kosciuszko a favourite camping spot for both Australians and tourists.
2019-2020 Australia Bushfires
At the end of 2019 and beginning of 2020, Australia experienced the worst bushfires in recorded history. 33 Australians died, 10 million hectares of Australian land was burnt to the ground and over a billion animals perished or lost their homes in catastrophic bushfires. Many of these were Australia’s iconic animals. Thousands of koalas, kangaroos, wallabies, birds, reptiles and other wildlife were also injured requiring personalised care or needed to be euthanised.
Over 50% of the national park estate and more than 2.5 million hectares of national park estate has burned and been impacted. Several NSW national parks and reserves, particularly on the south coast including Kosciuszko National Park were severely damaged by bushfires. The authorities were forced to close areas off in the national park for safety measures to protect the public. Thankfully, the Australian bush will regenerate and wildlife will begin the circle of life all over again. Australia has learned valuable lessons and hopefully the country will be better prepared for the inevitable next time.
It is always a good idea to check for closures and alerts before heading out as the Australian bush can be a dangerous place especially in high temperatures, electrical storms and heavy rain. You can stay up-to-date by visiting the NSW National Parks or Rural Fire Service websites.
Both government websites offer an app that you can download to a smartphone. Although the entire point of camping in the bush is to leave life’s little distractions behind. Staying connected to the internet allows you to keep up-to-date with the outside world and gives you access to help should an emergency arise. Note: The internet is not always reliable in the Australian bush so it is very important that you register when entering and exiting a National Park in Australia.
Kosciuszko National Park Camping | 5 Top 5 Campsites
In the national park itself there are twenty-six campsite areas to choose from, but which of these are worthwhile? Below are the Top 5 Mount Kosciuszko Camping Spots in this glorious natural environment which are unique in comparison to anywhere else you may camp in Australia.
Bush Camping Snowy Mountains
You may be thinking, ‘why would I want to camp in the snow?’ and I would absolutely agree with you! But what most people do not know is that the area surrounding the Snowy Mountains and Jindabyne, the small town close to the base of the mountains has excellent bush camping areas and activities available year-round for adventurous, nature lovers.
If you want the full experience, surround yourself within Australia’s breathtaking, natural environment, then camping may be the perfect way to immerse yourself in the stunning scenery that you will find within the Kosciuszko Park and nearby region.
A Magical Winter Escape
The hardcore snow bunnies use these camping spots during winter in order to save on expensive ski resort accommodation and channel all their funds into snow sports. But if you want to get the most out of the Kosciuszko National Park and this grand mountain then spring and summer will give you the best overall experience.
1. Pinch River Campground
60km from the small town of Jindabyne you will come across the popular camping area of Pinch River Campground nestled by the river. It is located at the junction between Pinch and Snowy Rivers, making it a highly sought-after fishing spot. Make sure if you decide to fish during your camping trip that you have a NSW Fishing Permit as these campgrounds are found within National Parks and Wildlife jurisdiction and are patrolled regularly.
Swim | Play | Relax
You can step right out of your tent or camper straight into the cooling water. On the warm days of summer this is the perfect place to swim and paddle. Eucalyptus trees and cypress pines are scattered throughout the flat ground camping area. These native Australian trees give you the opportunity to camp in a little shade and provide some privacy from other campers during your stay.
Bushwalking, mountain biking and horse-riding adventures are ideal on many of the great trails are found in this section of the Kosciuszko National Park. Pilot Wilderness Mountain Bike Ride is a popular long-distance mountain bike trail enjoyed by experienced mountain bike enthusiasts.
Pinch River Campground is located inside of the National Park payable access area, so the campsite is free, but you will need to purchase a Kosciuszko National Park Pass for your vehicle. There are around 20 campsites on offer for you to choose from. It is most popular in the warm summer months, but during spring and autumn you will most likely experience less people here with you. Spring and autumn times are warm enough to enjoy the water, without the extreme Australian summer heat. Winter here provides a place to escape the ski resort crowds in Jindabyne and nearby Thredbo and Perisher Valley.
Sorry, No Dogs Permitted
The campground is located on a dirt road which can be accessed by most vehicles but if heavy rain has occurred recently you will need a 4WD vehicle to get there. As with all of the campgrounds mentioned, they are inside of the National Park area, so no pets are allowed. Leave your pooch at home for this trip!
2. Three Mile Dam Campground
The Three Mile Dam Campground in is one of the favourites of the area. The lake views here are stunning and it is often packed out during the summer months. It is found right on the edge of Mount Kosciuszko’s high country, surrounded by shady snow gums and a vast alpine lake. In the wintertime it turns into a winter wonderland and the scenic lake will for the most part freeze over completely.
Here there are no marked sites, but it gives perfect access for camper trailers and vans to park. With your NSW fishing permit in hand, you can fish for trout, a favourite pastime of both the locals and visitors.
It also has many historical aspects, as the dam situated in this location was resurrected in 1883 for the sole purpose of sluicing for gold mining operations. It is not every day you can camp side by side a gold mining site (Kiandra) from over 100 years ago! There are plenty of walking tracks but be wary if you decide to take the path less travelled and venture off, as there are accounts of old gold mining shafts in the vicinity.
You do not need to make a booking and long drop toilet facilities, barbecues and picnic tables are available to campers. It is about 75km south of the small town of Tumut. If you decide to make the trip, then the best directions can be found on the National Parks and Wildlife website as it is quite hard to find if you do not know the way.
3. Yarrangobilly River Campground
Beside the Yarrangobilly River you will find the Yarrangobilly Village Campground. It is the perfect location if you are looking to camp in a tent as the sites are both level and grassy with a lot of surrounding open space. On warmer days you can take a refreshing dip in the bubbling creek or explore the natural wonders and historic places in the northern precinct of the Kosciuszko National Park.
It is also a great base for walking, fishing and spotting wildlife. Yarrangobilly River Campground is located near Cotterill’s Cottage, the oldest building in the Kosciuszko National Park which dates back to 1899. A guided tour of the nearby Yarrangobilly Caves and a swim in the Yarrangobilly Caves spring-fed thermal pool are also a must during your stay. Bring a picnic lunch and take advantage of the picnic area next to the pool, with change rooms and toilets. You might even see a platypus or two in the nearby river.
You can hear the highway from here, but it is often not too noticeable over the natural sounds of the campgrounds and Australian bush. Building your own campfire in the wood pits is permitted but ensure that you bring your own firewood as it is rare around this campsite. It is again a free camping site with composting toilets available to you. There are round 20 campsites on offer and no booking is needed. Just rock up and find your special somewhere to pitch your tent in nature!
The picturesque riverside camping spot can be found about 60km south of Tumut and is accessible off the Snowy Mountain Hwy as you cross the Yarrangobilly River. The campground is five hours drive from Sydney and two and a half from Canberra. It is a great place to escape the bustling city life and just relax at one with nature. If you have a 4WD head to nearby Lobs Hole Ravine 4WD Trail and take in the scenic views across Australia’s Great Dividing Range.
For practical information and directions visit the NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service website here.
4. Humes Crossing Campground
At the eastern banks of the Blowering Dam you will find the Humes Crossing (Blowering Dam) Campground. Virtually anywhere in the New South Wales largest national park, camping is permitted. In the summertime particularly, this location is ideal for water skiing, fishing, kayaking and other water sports. It’s another one of Mt. Kosciuszko’s brilliant free campgrounds offering plenty of space for your tent, car or camper van. It’s great for families and large groups who like to bring all the comforts of home! Fishing and swimming is permitted there, but swimming is only allowed when the dam is full.
Campsites are located on the water’s edge and captivate the stunning views that stretch across the dam. Who doesn’t want to wake up to the birds singing and the sunlight glistening on the surface of the water? The picturesque campsites along the water are unshaded, so perfect for the cooler months either side of winter. In the summertime when the Australian sun is beating down upon you, those camping in tents would certainly be more comfortable in the shaded camp areas, a little way from the water. It can be really hard to sleep in sweltering conditions, particularly when it is humid as well. Just like you need winter gear for snow camping, it is wise to come well-prepared – especially in summer.
You can explore the Mt Kosciuszko hikes and nearby trails such as Blowering Cliffs Walking Track or the aqua blue waterholes close by the Blue Waterholes campground. The kids will love exploring the magnificent Yarrangobilly Caves that are just a short drive away. Those who wish to partake in cross-country skiing and snow shoeing should check out the Three Mile Dam Cross-Country Ski Trail which is accessible from Selwyn Snowfields. The Selwyn area is the main gateway to central and northern Kosciuszko National Park located between the small towns of Tumut and Cooma.
Composting toilets are available on site and you may bring with you your own firewood or seek some out in the bush, but do not bring a generator as they are not permitted. You can even make use of the wood barbeques available along with the picnic tables. There is no better way to spend your camping vacation than in Humes Crossing Campgrounds if you find yourself in the Snowy Mountains area. It can be found off the Snowy Mountain Hwy between The Pines and Yachting Point campsites.
5. Jounama Creek Campground
Jounama Creek Campground is beautiful but comes with its own obstacles for the hardcore campers among us. It sits just outside of the vehicle pay area of the Kosciuszko National Park, so it is not only a free campsite but also free to access. There is a 4WD track from the campground which leads to majestic swimming holes where you and your family can take a refreshing dip in the natural springs. Keen mountain bikers must explore the nearby cycling routes such as Cumberland Trail.
There is also the Jounama Creek walk which starts about one kilometre from the campground and approximately 500 metres off the Snowy Mountains Highway, 3km from the closest town of Talbingo. The Grade 3 walk is 6km long but worth the effort when you reach the natural pool at the end. It is perfect spot for birdwatching so if you are an avid birdwatcher then make sure to bring along your binoculars.
There are toilets available, but these are composting toilets and there is no toilet paper dispenser. National Parks employees regularly clean the toilets, but ensure you bring your own toilet paper! Flatter campsites are often taken by those with vehicles, especially 4WD, so if you intend to camp in a tent, be wary that it is on sloped ground.
That being said, the swimming holes and cheap camping, while free, in this area are certainly drawing points for its popularity. There are plenty of wildlife that are likely to grace your campsite, especially during spring when the weather begins to warm up.
Just One of Australia’s Best National Parks
With so much beauty to behold, it’s tough to choose which camping ground you should visit first. To help, rank the best camping grounds in Kosciuszko National Park, we factored in campsite opportunities, accessibility, natural landmarks as well as bird and wildlife.
So, if you want to experience the magnificent alpine surroundings offered by this area, then camping in one of the five camping grounds listed should certainly be near the top of your list. In early spring and late autumn, you will even get to see the first and last snow of the season, which sits peacefully atop Mount Kosciuszko.
There is no red dirt or crocodiles to be seen, but you will come face to face with other different Australian wildlife, such as Wombats, Emus, Echidnas, Kangaroos, Koalas and much more. There are plenty of activities available to keep the kids busy and make your time in the Kosciuszko National Park an unforgettable camping experience. For those who love a cold beer you must try Kosciuszko Pale Ale made by Kosciuszko Brewery in Jindabyne NSW.
Park Entry Fees and Annual Passes
Regular visitors to NSW national parks can save on motor vehicle entry fees by purchasing an annual pass, and get access to parks for 12 or 24 months. For Mount Kosciuszko information and Kosciuszko National Park Entry fees click here.
Things to Do in Jindabyne NSW
No matter how organised you are for your camping adventure, there’s a good chance you will forgot to pack something or need to restock the esky. Jindabyne is one of the nearest towns to the 5 Top Kosciuszko Camping Spots.
Here’s a few side trips nearby worth investigating any time of the year in Jindabyne NSW.
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