6 June 2022

Australia's highest suspension bridge opens path to alpine tourism

| Edwina Mason
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Bring over river

Australia’s highest suspension bridge, which crosses the Snowy River between Guthega and Charlotte Pass, now forms part of the Snowies Alpine Trail. Photo: NPWS.

Amid Australia’s loftiest peaks lies the country’s highest suspension bridge, freshly minted and ready for walkers to test their boots as part of an ambitious new tourism venture.

Standing 1627 m above sea level, the bridge spans the Snowy River between Guthega and Charlotte Pass in Kosciuszko National Park.

It’s part of a recently constructed 9-km track along the upper Snowy River, forming the second stage of a world-class multi-day walk.

Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional NSW Paul Toole said this new section would help establish the region as a key eco-adventure tourism destination.

Formerly known as the Kosciuszko Snowies Iconic Walk, the newly-named Snowies Alpine Walk project is being constructed in four phases and will eventually cross Australia’s alpine roof.

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Featuring active days and comfortable nights, the 55-km four-day walk will extend existing walks across the park’s spectacular alpine area to link the resorts of Guthega, Charlotte Pass, Perisher and Lake Crackenback.

Each new track section is about six to 12 km in length allowing walkers to complete any section of the track as a single-day walk or combine sections for two to four-day treks.

The self-guided or guided path passes through majestic alpine and sub-alpine landscapes and along the Snowy River in Kosciuszko National Park. It includes reaching the summit of Australia’s highest mountain, the 2228-m Mount Kosciuszko.

Along the way, there are opportunities to enjoy beautiful high-country plains, snow-capped mountain ranges and uninterrupted horizons, as well as unique flora and fauna such as gnarled snow gums, hidden valleys of mountain ash, summer wildflowers, wombats, echidnas and native bird life.

It reflects the growing visitor demand for nature-based walking experiences in NSW and worldwide with the potential to become a ‘must-do’ experience, attracting an expected 50,000 visitors per year.

“Once all four stages are complete, the Snowies Alpine Walk will be a world-class experience for visitors to enjoy even more of Kosciuszko National Park and puts the Snowy Mountains region firmly on the domestic and international tourism map,” Mr Toole said.

Two people hiking

The ambitious project is expected to firmly place the Snowy Mountains region on the domestic and international tourism map. Photo: NPWS.

NSW Environment Minister James Griffin said the project was part of the largest ever investment in national park visitor infrastructure and could compete with the likes of Tasmania’s Cradle Mountain Overland Track.

“The opening of this section of the walk marks the completion of the second of four stages, and I’m thrilled to see increased access in this beautiful part of the world,” Mr Griffin said.

“The Snowies Alpine Walk is putting NSW on the map for multi-day hikes, and it’ll be a must-do walk for anyone who loves Tasmania’s Cradle Mountain Overland Track.

“I want to see everyone who comes to our magnificent NSW national parks to arrive as visitors and leave as conservationists, and this walk will help us achieve that.”

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Work has also commenced on the third stage of the walk, featuring a new section of track to link Charlotte Pass and Perisher Village via Porcupine Walk.

Work on the 11.4-km walking track between Perisher Valley and Bullocks Flat is set to start in early 2023.

NSW Police are also urging hikers visiting the region during the winter months to ensure their personal safety by submitting a Trip Intention Form and hiring a Personal Locator Beacon (PLB) before heading out into the national park.

Hikers can contact the Snowy Region Visitor Centre or visit the National Parks website or the Environment NSW website for more information.

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