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Australia has a region known as the “high country” or the “Australian Alps”, where some of Australia’s myths and traditions of Australian identity were born, this is the locale of Australia’s most famous man of the mountains – The Man from Snowy River.

Captured in the poem ‘The Man from Snowy River‘ and written by one of Australia’s most famous poets, Andrew Barton (Banjo) Paterson, the poem tells the story of a valuable horse which escapes and the princely sum offered by its owner for its safe return. All the riders in the area gather to pursue the wild bush horses and cut the valuable horse from the mob. But they are all defeated by the country, all except for ‘The Man from Snowy River‘.

It is thought that Banjo Paterson based the character on Jack Riley from Corryong, although this is often disputed with the argument that Paterson created a composite character from a number of people he met.

Whether it is true or not, the character of the man is celebrated every year in ‘The Man from Snowy River Bush Festival‘, held at Corryong. This festival celebrates the heritage of the high country with Riley’s Ride, bush poetry, a parade, wine, food and much more.

There was also two movies based on the poem, “The Man from Snowy River” and “Return to Snowy River”, as well as a TV series “Snowy River: The MacGregor Saga”.

The Snowy Mountains are the highest section of Australia’s Great Dividing Range. Located in the south-western corner of New South Wales, with the Kosciusko National Park covering most of the mountains, stretching from the Victorian border to the ACT.

View across Mount Kosciuszko, Kosciuszko National Park, NSW
View across Mount Kosciuszko, Kosciuszko National Park, NSW

The first to travel the Monaro Plains to the peaks of the high country were the coastal aborigines on their annual pilgrimage to the mountains to feast on Bogong Moths. Although it is known that Aborigines from all directions visited the high country each summer , the home of the ancestral spirits, to participate in ceremonies.

They were followed in the mid 1800s by stockmen seeking their way through the mountains, then by land holders taking sheep and cattle to graze the high country, most likely following the same paths used by the Aborigines. Miners and loggers also made the journey in search of perhaps a fortune, or in most cases, a living. The twentieth century brought a new breed of mountain man – surveyors, hydrographers and engineers – who sought to and succeeded in harnessing the power of the abundant supplies of water in the high country.

In 1964 the area was declared a National Park and grazing ceased. Much of the high country is now part of the network of eight national parks which make up the Australian Alps National Parks system. The Parks contain more than 1,000 native Australian plant species and a number of threatened species such as the Smoky Mouse, the Spotted Tree Frog and the Mountain Pygmy Possum.

The Snowy Mountains region includes Mount Kosciuszko, Australia’s highest peak and is only a six hour drive south of Sydney. The Kosciusko National Park provides a fantastic summer backdrop of wildflowers, alpine walks, cycling and horse riding. You can take the Crackenback chairlift from Thredbo, up to the top of Mt Kosciuszko, or marvel at the breath taking alpine scenery on any number of walking trails. There is also whitewater rafting on the Snowy River, fishing for mountain trout, sail or cruise on Lake Jindabyne and then play a round of golf on Australia’s highest golf course. You can also take a swim outdoors in the naturally heated thermal pool of the Yarrangobilly Caves.

There are five ski resorts, Thredbo, Perisher, Charlotte’s Pass and Selwyn Snowfields, in the region, with more than 70 ski lifts between them. You can be thrilled to challenging treks, rock and mountain climbing, cross country skiing and heart-stopping downhill ski runs. The official ski season running from June to October. After all that excitement you can relax to the friendly village atmosphere that include piano bars and warm fires.

Visit any one of the snowfields townships of Adelong, Batlow, Berridale, Bombala, Cooma and Jindabyne, all offering great accommodation, tours, crafts, historic sites and natural attractions such as Lake Eucumbene and ‘high country’ wilderness.

The region is also home of the $400 million Snowy Mountains Hydro-Electric Scheme, an engineering triumph of the 1950s, which harnessed the waters of the mighty Snowy River.

The Snowy Mountain Region encompasses the following destinations:

NSW | Adaminaby | Adelong | Anglers Reach | Batlow | Berridale | Bombala | Bredbo | Cabramurra | Charlottes Pass | Cooma | Dalgety | Jindabyne | Khancoban | Kiandra | Kosciuszko NP | Nimmitabel | Numeralla | Perisher Blue | Selwyn Snowfields | Talbingo | Thredbo | Tumbarumba | Tumut | Yarrangobilly
ACT | Canberra
VIC | Dinner Plain | Falls Creek | Mount Beauty | Mount Buffalo | Mount Buller | Mount Hotham

View across Mount Kosciuszko, Kosciuszko National Park, NSW
View across Mount Kosciuszko, Kosciuszko National Park, NSW

Contact the local tourism visitor centre for your destination for more attractions, tours, local maps and other information.

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