Lower Snowy River area

Kosciuszko National Park

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Overview

The Lower Snowy River area embraces the wild south of Kosciuszko National Park. Camp by the Snowy River, explore the scenic trails on a walk, bike or horse ride. See another side of the Snowy Mountains.

Read more about Lower Snowy River area

The Lower Snowy River is only 40km south of Jindabyne’s Snowy Region Visitor Centre but feels a world away.

Find a secluded site at a campground by the banks of the fabled Snowy River, or try one of our lesser-known campgrounds. Easy access to the river and its sandy beaches, plus a mild and dry climate, make this area perfect for fishing, paddling and swimming.

Set out on a bushwalk, horse or mountain bike ride along shady trails framed by towering eucalypts, cypress pine and yellow wattle. The long Pilot Wilderness mountain bike ride offers a challenge for well-prepared adventurers.

The best way to explore is along the sprawling Lower Snowy drive (Barry Way) from Jindabyne to the Victorian border. It follows the old stock route through the steep-sided Snowy River gorge. There are scenic stopping points along the way, like panoramic Jacks lookout and historic Willis picnic area.

There’s also plenty of bird watching and wildlife spotting. By day you might see red-necked wallabies, kangaroos and emus. Spot rainbow bee-eaters or peregrine falcons. As the sun sets, keep an eye out for wombats, possums and, if you’re lucky, the endangered spotted-tailed quoll.

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/visit-a-park/parks/lower-snowy-river-area/local-alerts

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Visitor info

All the practical information you need to know about the Lower Snowy River area.

Getting there and parking

Get driving directions

Get directions

    To get to the Lower Snowy River area in Kosciuszko National Park:

    From Jindabyne:

    • From Snowy Region Visitor Centre, drive 1.5km along Kosciuszko Road
    • Turn left onto Barry Way and drive 37.3km south to the park entrance

    From Victoria:

    • Follow Snowy River Road (C608) via Wulgulmerang to the southern border of Kosciuszko National Park, where it meets Barry Way

    The nearest fuel is available at Jindabyne or about an hour’s drive from Willis picnic area, at Seldom Seen (120km from Jindabyne)

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    Road quality

    • For most of its length, Barry Way is unsealed. It’s steep, narrow and winding and is not suitable for caravans.
    • Watch for minor rock falls and potholes – especially after rain.
    • Check weather and road conditions before you set out as the road can become boggy when it rains.

    Best times to visit

    The Lower Snowy River area in Kosciuszko National Park is a great place to visit at any time of year. Here are some of the highlights:

    Autumn

    Autumn is a great time for families and small groups to visit, as the days aren’t too hot for activities and the water is still warm. You may even have the entire campground to yourself.

    Spring

    Mild weather, the first flush of wildflowers, and the rivers flowing with snow melt, make spring a beautiful time to explore the Lower Snowy River area. Just be sure to check river levels before setting out.

    Summer

    Pitch your tent and enjoy a refreshing dip in the Snowy River. As it’s lower than the rest of Kosciuszko National Park, it can get very hot and dry in summer, so come prepared and check alerts for fire restrictions.

    Winter

    During winter, the Lower Snowy River area is the perfect place to escape the cold and crowds of Kosciuszko’s alpine areas. Flowering wattle blooms from the end of winter - a hint that spring is on its way.

    Facilities

    Maps and downloads

    Fees and passes

    No park entry fees apply in the Lower Snowy River area. See vehicle entry fees for other areas in Kosciuszko National Park.

    Annual passes and entry fees (https://www.nationalparks.nsw.gov.au/passes-and-fees)

    Safety messages

    All Kosciuszko National Park visitors planning a long hike, off-track or overnight adventure, or visiting a remote part of the park, are recommended to fill in the trip intention form and carry a Personal Locator Beacon (PLB). Find out more about hiring a PLB and completing a trip intention form on the dedicated iPads available at Snowy Region Visitor Centre, Tumut Visitor Centre and the Perisher NSW National Parks office.

    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.

    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).

    River and lake safety

    Water levels in the Snowy River and its tributaries can rise suddenly due to water releases from dams, and after heavy rainfall. Please take note of these river and lake safety tips.

    Permitted

    Cycling

    Cycling is permitted on public roads, and on some management trails outside wilderness areas. Within the Pilot Wilderness Area you can cycle on Cascade trail, Ingeegoodbee trail, and Nine Mile trail only. Riders please give way to walkers.

    Fishing

    You can go fishing in the Lower Snowy River area in summer season only. Fishing is not permitted between the June and October long weekends. A current NSW recreational fishing licence is required when fishing in all waters.

    Horses

    Horse riding is permitted along the Snowy River from Jacobs River to the Victorian border. You can camp with horses at Pinch River campground.

    Prohibited

    Firearms and chainsaws are not permitted in Kosciuszko National Park.

    Drones

    Flying a drone for recreational purposes is prohibited in this area. Drones may affect public enjoyment, safety and privacy, interfere with park operations, or pose a threat to wildlife. See the Drones in Parks policy.

    This area may be a declared Drone Exclusion Zone, or may be subject to Civil Aviation Safety Authority (CASA) rules for flying near airports, aerodromes and helicopter landing sites. See CASA's Drone Flyer Rules.

    Commercial filming and photography

    Commercial filming or photography is prohibited without prior consent. You must apply for permission and contact the local office.

    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. The alpine resorts of Thredbo, Perisher, Charlotte Pass, Ski Rider and Kosciuszko Tourist Park are exempt, though some commercial and outdoor places within these resorts may have no smoking areas.

    Visitor centre

    Nearby towns

    Jindabyne (40 km)

    For those heading to the Snowy Mountains snowfields, Jindabyne is a great place to hire or buy all of your skiing and snowboarding essentials from equipment to fashion.

    www.visitnsw.com

    Learn more

    Lower Snowy River area is a special place. Here are just some of the reasons why:

    A sanctuary for wildlife

    A spotted-tailed quoll, also known as a tiger quoll, stands on a fallen tree branch. Photo: James Evans/DPIE

    The Lower Snowy River is a haven for plants and animals, including rare species. While kangaroos, swamp wallabies and wombats are common, keep an eye out for the endangered spotted-tailed quoll, shy platypus, short-beaked echidna, and impressive wedge-tailed eagles. White box and cypress pine are common in the dry woodlands, as are grass trees - ancient flowering plants that have existed since dinosaurs roamed Australia.

    Drive the old drovers route

    Lower Snowy drive, Kosciuszko National Park. Photo: Luke McLachlan/DPIE

    In the 1800s, Lower Snowy drive (Barry Way) formed the stock route for sheep and cattle travelling from summer grazing, in the high alpine country, to Bairnsdale markets. The eagle-eyed can spot tree markers and the remains of old stockyards near Jacobs River campground. Before federation, a customs house stood at Willis picnic area, for the Victorian Government to collect taxes on cattle crossing the border.

    • Lower Snowy drive (Barry Way) Lower Snowy drive is a sprawling road trip that takes travellers past picnic spots, swimming holes, campgrounds and lookouts in the Snowy River valley.

    World-class wilderness

    Lower Snowy River valley, Kosciuszko National Park. Image: Murray Vanderveer/DPIE

    In recognition of Kosciuszko's unique value as a conservation area, it’s been named a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. More than half of the park, over 350,000ha (almost 865,000 acres), has been declared wilderness, including Pilot Wilderness and Byadbo Wilderness in the Lower Snowy River area. Pilot Wilderness, which rises from just over 200m in the Lower Snowy River valley to 1830m at The Pilot mountain, makes up over 20 per cent of this protected area.

    Plants and animals you may see

    Animals

    • 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.

    • Wedge-tailed eagle. Photo: Kelly Nowak

      Wedge-tailed eagle (Aquila audax)

      With a wingspan of up to 2.5m, the wedge-tailed eagle is Australia’s largest bird of prey. These Australian animals are found in woodlands across NSW, and have the ability to soar to heights of over 2km. If you’re bird watching, look out for the distinctive diamond-shaped tail of the eagle.

    • Emu, Paroo Darling National Park. Photo: John Spencer

      Emu (Dromaius novaehollandiae)

      The largest of Australian birds, the emu stands up to 2m high and is the second largest bird in the world, after the ostrich. Emus live in pairs or family groups. The male emu incubates and rears the young, which will stay with the adult emus for up to 2 years.

    • 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.

    • 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.

    • Tawny frogmouth. Photo: Rosie Nicolai

      Tawny frogmouth (Podargus strigoides)

      Found throughout Australia, the tawny frogmouth is often mistaken for an owl due to its wide, powerful beak, large head and nocturnal hunting habits. The ‘oom oom oom’ call of this native bird can be heard echoing throughout a range of habitats including heath, woodlands and urban areas.

    • 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.

    • Bare-nosed wombat. Photo: Keith Gillett

      Bare-nosed wombat (Vombatus ursinus)

      A large, squat marsupial, the Australian bare-nosed 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.

    •  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.

    Plants

    • Grass trees, Sugarloaf State Conservation Area. Photo: Michael Van Ewijk

      Grass tree (Xanthorrea spp.)

      An iconic part of the Australian landscape, the grass tree is widespread across eastern NSW. These Australian native plants have a thick fire-blackened trunk and long spiked leaves. They are found in heath and open forests across eastern NSW. The grass tree grows 1-5m in height and produces striking white-flowered spikes which grow up to 1m long.

    • Old man banksia, Moreton National Park. Photo: John Yurasek

      Old man banksia (Banksia serrata)

      Hardy Australian native plants, old man banksias can be found along the coast, and in the dry sclerophyll forests and sandstone mountain ranges of NSW. With roughened bark and gnarled limbs, they produce a distinctive cylindrical yellow-green banksia flower which blossoms from summer to early autumn.

    • A red triangle slug on the trunk of a scribbly gum tree in Blue Mountains National Park. Photo: Elinor Sheargold/OEH

      Scribbly gum (Eucalyptus haemastoma)

      Easily identifiable Australian native plants, scribbly gum trees are found throughout NSW coastal plains and hills in the Sydney region. The most distinctive features of this eucalypt are the ‘scribbles’ made by moth larva as it tunnels between the layers of bark.

    Environments in this area

    What we're doing

    Lower Snowy River area has management strategies in place to protect and conserve the values of this park. Visit the OEH website for detailed park and fire management documents. Here is just some of the work we’re doing to conserve these values:

    Preserving biodiversity

    Kosciuszko National Park plays an important role in conserving NSW’s biodiversity by protecting its vulnerable, threatened and endangered species. Conservation activities carried out in the Lower Snowy River area of the park include monitoring habitats, distribution and population of species such as spotted-tail quolls and box pine.

    Managing weeds, pest animals and other threats

    Pests and weeds have a significant impact on the ecosystems and habitats within Kosciuszko National Park. Reduction of pest species, such as deer, horses and goats, is an important part of the work NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service (NPWS) does to protect the integrity of the Pilot and Byadbo wilderness areas, water quality, and native animal and plant biodiversity.

    Managing fire

    NSW is one of the most bushfire prone areas in the world due to our climate, weather systems, vegetation and the rugged terrain. NPWS is committed to minimising the likelihood and impact of bushfires via a strategic program of fire research, fire planning, hazard reduction, highly trained rapid response firefighting crews and community alerts.

    Developing visitor facilities and experiences

    NPWS is committed to developing facilities for the enjoyment and safety of visitors to Kosciuszko National Park. Visitor feedback and environmental sustainability are key considerations in park maintenance, and upgrades are ongoing. Campgrounds, picnic areas, trails and lookouts are continually maintained and upgraded, and NPWS regularly reviews the park’s recreational opportunities, identifying areas for improvement or addition. Hazard assessments are also ongoing.

    Kosciuszko National Park has achieved Australia’s first Ecotourism Destination Certification, through Ecotourism Australia, recognising best practice sustainable tourism and visitation in protected areas.