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recreation and tourism

Today, many recreational facilities are available - walking tracks, ski resorts, visitor centres. A service industry has developed, providing ski villages complete with flats, restaurants and hotels. Commercial operators organise sightseeing, walking, horse riding and camp- ing tours for ever-increasing numbers of people. City-based walking groups, ski clubs and four-wheel-drive clubs set trends, lobby for development of facilities or areas set aside for their activity and influence the government on decisions about the use of public land.

Most of the development and construction in the Australian Alps is driven by the need for facilities for recreational purposes, usually for brief visits. There are ski resorts and ski runs on several of the high peaks, roads are maintained and cleared of snow to provide access for sightseers to remote areas, and picnic and camping areas with accompanying facilities are dotted throughout the Alps. The tourist accommodation and service industry is now the major growth industry in the towns in and around the Alps.

The major ski resorts within Kosciuszko National Park are: Perisher (including Perisher Valley, Smiggin Holes, Guthega and Blue Cow), Thredbo, Mt Selwyn and Charlotte Pass.

The Victorian Ski Resorts are Falls Creek, Mt Hotham, Mt Buller, Mt Buffalo, Lake Mountain, Mt Stirling and Mt Baw Baw

australian alps walking track

Formerly called ‘The Alpine Walking Track’, the ‘Australian Alps Walking Track’ is a long track that passes through the mountains of Victoria, New South Wales and the ACT. It is primarily a wilderness style walk as it passes through natural landscapes and there are no major facilities.

The track essentially follows the crest of the alpine range (the Alps) from southern Victoria through to the Australian Capital Territory (ACT). On the way it crosses all the highest mountain regions from the Baw Baw Plateau, the Mt Howitt area, the Bogong High Plains, the Cobberras then the Kosciuszko National Park and finally into the Namadgi National Park near Canberra.

In many ways, it is the grandest and most difficult of all the long distance tracks in Australia... The entire route takes about 50 to 70 days to complete depending on the number of rest days. As this is an alpine area with variable weathe , it is suggested to build in extra days to wait out poor weather. There are not just many tough climbs, the track crosses a number of rivers which have to waded or crossed by rough log bridges. Long sections of the track also have no markers as it passes through wilderness areas... Tents are essential - there are only a couple of huts along the track.

The first suggestion of a long distance walking track in Victoria was made in 1948 by the Field Naturalist Club of Victoria. This was accepted and proposals of routes were put forward by the Parliamentary State Development Committee in 1952. In 1954 Alam Strom walked from Mt Erica in Victoria to Tidbinbilla near Canberra and proposed the route to extend all the way through to Canberra. This was published by the National Parks Association of NSW. However there was little support at the time by bushwalkers and the idea languished. Many walkers felt that the wild areas should be left the way they were and a formal track was not needed. At that stage bushwalkers felt that the wilderness would last forever and that a track would destroy the wilderness values.

Extract from: John Chapman, ‘Australian Alps Walking Tracks’ at http://www.john.chapman.name/vic-alpt.html


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