Cooleman Mountain campground

High Plains area in Kosciuszko National Park

Affected by closures, check current alerts 

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Overview

Cooleman Mountain campground in Kosciuszko National Park is a great base for walking or mountain biking and exploring nearby caves and waterfalls.

Accommodation Details
Camping type Tent, Camper trailer site, Camping beside my vehicle
Facilities Picnic tables, barbecue facilities, toilets
What to bring Firewood
Opening times

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

Price Free. There are no camping fees at this campground but a $6 booking fee applies.
Bookings Bookings are required. Book online or call the National Parks Contact Centre on 1300 072 757.
Please note
  • Services are available at Cabramurra and Talbingo, approximately 70km away.
  • There is limited mobile reception in this park
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Sheltered by a grove of mountain and snow gums, Cooleman Mountain campground is a quiet base for exploring some of Kosciuszko National Park’s most amazing natural formations. A walk from the campsite takes you to Cooleman Mountain karst system, a series of spectacular limestone gorges and caves, as well as Blue Waterholes spring.

Hike or go mountain biking along Clarke Gorge and Nichols Gorge walking tracks. Bring your camera, too, because you’ll want to photograph the incredible geological formations. Eastern grey kangaroos and many species of birds, including crimson rosellas, can also be seen around the campground and further afield.

The campground is just 3km from Coolamine Homestead, a residence built in the early 1900s and still intact, and open between the October and July long weekends each year. It’s well worth the visit while you’re there.

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/cooleman-mountain-campground/local-alerts

Bookings

Operated by

Park info

See more visitor info

Visitor info

All the practical information you need to know about Cooleman Mountain campground.

Getting there and parking

Cooleman Mountain campground is in the northern precinct of Kosciuszko National Park. To get there:

  • From either Tumut Visitor Centre or Adaminaby, drive along Snowy Mountains Highway.
  • Turn right onto Long Plain Road
  • Drive north along Long Plain Road for about 17km, then turn right onto Blue Waterholes trail.
  • After 2.5km, you’ll arrive at the campground.

Road quality

  • There's no vehicle access to this campground in winter, and roads may close in extreme weather.
  • Check the weather before you set out as Long Plain Road can become boggy when it rains.

  • Unsealed roads

Vehicle access

  • 2WD vehicles

Weather restrictions

  • 4WD required in wet weather

Parking

Parking is available at Cooleman Mountain campground.

Facilities

  • Tank water is available at this campground – you'll need to treat or boil it before drinking.
  • Rubbish bins are not available – please take rubbish with you when leaving.

Toilets

  • Non-flush toilets

Picnic tables

Barbecue facilities

  • Wood barbecues (bring your own firewood)
  • Fire rings (bring your own firewood)

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.

Bushwalking safety

If you're keen to head out on a longer walk or a backpack camp, always be prepared. Read these bushwalking safety tips before you set off on a walking adventure in national parks.

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).

Accessibility

Disability access level - medium

  • Assistance may be required to access this area. The pit toilet has wheelchair access.

Permitted

Fishing

A current NSW recreational fishing licence is required when fishing in all waters.

Horses

Prohibited

Gathering firewood

Firewood is not provided and may not be collected from the park.

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 (58 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

Talbingo (34 km)

Talbingo is surrounded by some of the most inspiring scenery in the Snowy Mountains. At Talbingo Dam you'll enjoy panoramic views of the region as well as superb fishing for brown and rainbow trout. You can even go water-skiing on the dam.

www.visitnsw.com

Tumut (51 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

Cooleman Mountain 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.

  • 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.

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.

  • Snowy Mountains multi-day horse ride treks Immerse yourself in the wild beauty of the Snowy Mountains on a multi-day horse riding trek guided and supported by Reynella Rides. You'll enjoy hearty mountain food and roomy tents as you explore the High Plains area in Kosciuszko National Park.

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.

  • A juvenile platypus saved by National Parks and Wildlife staff. Photo: M Bannerman/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.

  • Echidna. Photo: Ken Stepnell

    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

Cooleman Mountain campground, Kosciuszko National Park. Photo: Murray Vanderveer