Blue Waterholes campground

High Plains area in Kosciuszko National Park

Overview

Escape to Blue Waterholes campground, the perfect spot to enjoy the great outdoors, with hiking, caves and Kosciuszko National Park's northern wilderness on its doorstep. 

Accommodation Details
Camping type Tent, Camper trailer site, Camping beside my vehicle
Facilities Picnic tables, barbecue facilities, carpark, toilets
What to bring Drinking water, cooking water, firewood
Opening times

Access roads to this campground are closed in winter (June to October long weekends).

Price Free.
Bookings Bookings are not required at this campground. Campsites are available on a first-in first-served basis.
Please note
  • This campground is generally closed in winter (June to October long weekends) but this period can be shorter or extended so it's a good idea to check with Tumut Visitor Centre.
  • This is a remote campground, please make sure you arrive well prepared.

This beautifully positioned campground is the perfect place to stay if you’re planning to hike the Clarke Gorge and Nichols Gorge walking tracks, and explore the nature and historic huts in the Northern Plains and Wilderness area of Kosciuszko National Park.

From the campsite there are lovely views of the limestone cliffs and rock formations of Clarke Gorge and Cave Creek. Wander down the short track to the turquoise waterhole that gives the campground its name. It's a great spot to paddle your feet and enjoy a picnic on a hot summer's day, as kangaroos cast a curious eye and eagles soar overhead. 

Nearby campgrounds at Cooleman Mountain, Cooinbil and Long Plain offer alternative places to stay in the popular summer months. 

For directions, safety and practical information, see visitor info

Close to

  • View of Coolamine Homestead buildings in the High Plains area of Kosciuszko National Park. Photo: Jennene Cathcart/DPIE

    Coolamine Homestead

    Historic Coolamine Homestead is in the High Plains area of northern Kosciuszko National Park. Learn about colonial heritage as you explore nearby Blue Waterholes and Long Plain. No winter access for vehicles.

Current alerts in this area

There are no current alerts in this area.

Local alerts

For the latest updates on fires, closures and other alerts in this area, see https://www.nationalparks.nsw.gov.au/camping-and-accommodation/campgrounds/blue-waterholes-campground/local-alerts

Operated by

Park info

See more visitor info

Visitor info

All the practical information you need to know about Blue Waterholes campground.

Getting there and parking

Blue Waterholes campground is in the Northern Plains and Wilderness area of Kosciuszko National Park. To get there:

  • Turn off Snowy Mountains Highway onto Long Plain Road
  • Turn right onto Blue Waterholes Trail
  • Blue Waterholes campground is located at the end of the trail, around 25km from the Snowy Mountains Highway turnoff 
  • Long Plain Road and Blue Waterholes Trail are unsealed, so please check conditions before you set out, and allow plenty of time to reach the campground.

Road quality

  • There's no vehicle access to this campground in winter, and road closures may occur in extreme weather
  • Check conditions before you set out, as Long Plain Road and Blue Waterholes Trail can become boggy when it rains.

  • Unsealed roads

Vehicle access

  • 2WD vehicles

Weather restrictions

  • 4WD required in wet weather

Parking

Parking is available at Blue Waterholes campground

Facilities

Water and firewood are not available at this campground.

Toilets

  • Non-flush toilets

Picnic tables

Barbecue facilities

  • Wood barbecues (bring your own firewood)

Carpark

Maps and downloads

Safety messages

Alpine safety

Alpine areas present special safety issues. Conditions can be extreme and may change rapidly, particularly in winter. It’s important to be prepared and find out how to stay safe in alpine areas.

Camping safety

Whether you're pitching your tent on the coast or up on the mountains, there are many things to consider when camping in NSW national parks. Find out how to stay safe when camping.

Fire safety

During periods of fire weather, the Commissioner of the NSW Rural Fire Service may declare a total fire ban for particular NSW fire areas, or statewide. Learn more about total fire bans and fire safety.

Mobile safety

Dial Triple Zero (000) in an emergency. Download the Emergency + app before you visit, it helps emergency services locate you using your smartphone's GPS. Please note there is limited mobile phone reception in this park and you’ll need mobile reception to call Triple Zero (000).

Prohibited

Pets

Pets and domestic animals (other than certified assistance animals) are not permitted. Find out which regional parks allow dog walking and see the pets in parks policy for more information.

Smoking

NSW national parks are no smoking areas.

Nearby towns

Canberra (56 km)

Canberra is the home of Australia's Parliament House, National Gallery, National Museum and War Memorial, as well as many more significant cultural and architectural offerings. Kids of all ages love the interactive science and technology at Questacon.

www.visitnsw.com

Mount Selwyn (37 km)

Mount Selwyn is the northernmost ski field in Kosciuszko National Park. The Stunning alpine scenery and rugged mountain ranges are a big drawcard.

www.visitnsw.com

Tumut (56 km)

Tumut is a country town on the northern foothills of the Snowy Mountains. The Rolling valleys, mountain streams and alpine mountain ranges make it popular for nature lovers and adventure enthusiasts.

www.visitnsw.com

Learn more

Blue Waterholes campground is in High Plains area. Here are just some of the reasons why this park is special:

Experiences and facilities

Horses tethered to posts in northern Kosciuszko National Park. Photo: Elinor Sheargold/OEH

The vast grassland plains, with their hidden huts, are a superb backdrop for walking tracks, mountain bike trails and scenic drives. Blue Waterholes campground is a favourite summer destination to explore stunning walks, creeks, and gorges. There are plenty of campgrounds to choose from across the plains, and with horse riding popular here, many offer facilities for camping with horses. These include: Cooinbil Hut, Long Plain Hut, Ghost Gully, Old Snowy, Wares Yards, Rocky Plain, and Bullocks Hill campgrounds. You can also bring your horse if you’re staying at Currango Homestead, Daffodil Cottage or The Pines Cottage (fees and limits apply, bookings required).

Unique landscapes

Cave and creek at Blue Waterholes, Kosciuszko National Park. Photo: Elinor Sheargold/OEH

As you explore the High Plains area you’ll see plains of snow grass, herbs and heath. Snow gums and black sallee eucalypts dominate the woodland, while mountain gum, candle bark and alpine ash also appear at higher elevations. The karst environment of the Cooleman Plain is best seen in the steep cliffs, narrow gorges, limestone caves and remarkable blue-tinged spring around Blue Waterholes.

  • Buugang cultural tour Don't miss this guided 4WD vehicle tour. Explore the country of the Wolgalu Aboriginal people in northern Kosciuszko National Park. Find out about the region’s pioneering heritage also. Lunch provided. 
  • Clarke Gorge walking track The 5km Clarke Gorge walking track follows Cave Creek downstream through limestone gorges and cave formations. Stop along the way to do some fishing and birdwatching.
  • Nichols Gorge walking track The 7km Nichols Gorge walking track, suitable for experienced hikers, follows Cave Creek and passes some karst features before rejoining Blue Waterholes trail.

High country huts and heritage

Coolamine Homestead, Kosciuszko National Park. Photo: Elinor Sheargold/OEH

From the mid-1800s into the 1950s, the high plains of Kosciuszko National Park attracted summer graziers who constructed timber and tin huts as shelter throughout the area. More than 20 of these photogenic high country huts are dotted along the many tracks and trails of the plains. Larger properties, like Currango or Coolamine Homesteads, became permanent residences and now provide a fascinating window into pioneer life.

  • Buugang cultural tour Don't miss this guided 4WD vehicle tour. Explore the country of the Wolgalu Aboriginal people in northern Kosciuszko National Park. Find out about the region’s pioneering heritage also. Lunch provided. 

A wonderland for wildlife

Eastern water dragon. Photo: R Nicolai/OEH

The complex karst environment of Cooleman Plain supports a rich community of animals and plants. Platypus, wombats, brushtail and ringtail possums, eastern grey kangaroos and red-necked wallabies are commonly seen along tracks and at campgrounds. The caves provide an important roosting site for the vulnerable eastern bentwing bat, and winter refuge for one of Australia’s highest populations of eastern water dragons. Keep an eye out for the leafy anchor plant along the banks of Cave Creek - it’s one of Australia’s only deciduous native plants.

  • Clarke Gorge walking track The 5km Clarke Gorge walking track follows Cave Creek downstream through limestone gorges and cave formations. Stop along the way to do some fishing and birdwatching.

World-class wilderness

Aerial view of Clarke Gorge, near Blue Waterholes, in the High Plains area of Kosciuszko National Park. Photo: Robert Mulally/DPIE

In recognition of Kosciuszko's unique value as a conservation area, it's been named a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. More than half the area of the park, over 350,000ha, has been declared wilderness and includes the Goobarragandra, Bramina and Bimberi wilderness areas, which cover 61,500ha.

  • Buugang cultural tour Don't miss this guided 4WD vehicle tour. Explore the country of the Wolgalu Aboriginal people in northern Kosciuszko National Park. Find out about the region’s pioneering heritage also. Lunch provided. 

Plants and animals you may see

Animals

  • Eastern bentwing bat. Photo: Ken Stepnell

    Eastern bentwing-bat (Miniopterus schreibersii oceanensis)

    In colonies numbering up to 150,000, eastern bentwing-bats congregate in caves across the east and north-west coasts of Australia. These small Australian animals weigh around 13-17g and can reach speeds of up to 50km per hour. Eastern bentwing-bats use both sight and echolocation to catch small insects mid-air.

  • Swamp wallaby in Murramarang National Park. Photo: David Finnegan

    Swamp wallaby (Wallabia bicolor)

    The swamp wallaby, also known as the black wallaby or black pademelon, lives in the dense understorey of rainforests, woodlands and dry sclerophyll forest along eastern Australia. This unique Australian macropod has a dark black-grey coat with a distinctive light-coloured cheek stripe.

  • Eastern common ringtail possum. Photo: Ken Stepnell

    Common ringtail possum (Pseudocheirus peregrinus)

    Commonly found in forests, woodlands and leafy gardens across eastern NSW, the Australian ringtail possum is a tree-dwelling marsupial. With a powerful tail perfectly adapted to grasp objects, it forages in trees for eucalypt leaves, flowers and fruit.

  •  Superb lyrebird, Minnamurra Rainforest, Budderoo National Park. Photo: David Finnegan

    Superb lyrebird (Menura novaehollandiae)

    With a complex mimicking call and an elaborate courtship dance to match, the superb lyrebird is one of the most spectacular Australian animals. A bird watching must-see, the superb lyrebird can be found in rainforests and wet woodlands across eastern NSW and Victoria.

  • Eastern water dragon. Photo: Rosie Nicolai

    Eastern water dragon (Intellagama lesueurii lesueurii)

    The eastern water dragon is a subaquatic lizard found in healthy waterways along eastern NSW, from Nowra to halfway up the Cape York Pensinsula. It’s believed to be one of the oldest of Australian reptiles, remaining virtually unchanged for over 20 million years.

  • Common wombat. Photo: Ingo Oeland

    Common wombat (Vombatus ursinus)

    A large, squat marsupial, the Australian common wombat is a burrowing mammal found in coastal forests and mountain ranges across NSW and Victoria. The only other remaining species of wombat in NSW, the endangered southern hairy-nosed wombat, was considered extinct until relatively recently.

  • Yellow-tailed black cockatoo. Photo: Peter Sherratt

    Yellow-tailed black cockatoo (Calyptorhynchus funereus)

    The yellow-tailed black cockatoo is one of the largest species of parrot. With dusty-black plumage, they have a yellow tail and cheek patch. They’re easily spotted while bird watching, as they feed on seeds in native forests and pine plantations.

  • Platypus climbing on to a submerged tree branch. Photo: Sharon Wormleaton/OEH

    Platypus (Ornithorhynchus anatinus)

    One of the most fascinating and unusual Australian animals, the duck-billed platypus, along with the echidna, are the only known monotremes, or egg-laying mammals, in existence. The platypus is generally found in permanent river systems and lakes in southern and eastern NSW and east and west of the Great Dividing Range.

  • Short-beaked echidna in Ben Boyd National Park. Photo: Sharon Wormleaton/OEH

    Short-beaked echidna (Tachyglossus aculeatus)

    One of only 2 egg-laying mammals in the world, the short-beaked echidna is one of the most widespread of Australian native animals. Covered in spines, or quills, they’re equipped with a keen sense of smell and a tube-like snout which they use to break apart termite mounds in search of ants.

  • Brush tail possum. Photo: Ken Stepnell

    Common brushtail possum (Trichosurus vulpecula)

    One of the most widespread of Australian tree-dwelling marsupials, the common brushtail possum is found across most of NSW in woodlands, rainforests and urban areas. With strong claws, a prehensile tail and opposable digits, these native Australian animals are well-adapted for life amongst the trees.

Environments in this area

Blue Waterholes campground, Kosciuszko National Park. Photo: Elinor Sheargold