Snow Camping places in Alpine National parks

Submitted: Thursday, Jun 06, 2013 at 15:13
ThreadID: 102619 Views:2213 Replies:2 FollowUps:7
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We will be taking possession of our new Earthcruiser in a couple of weeks and want to try it (and ourselves) out in the snow in preparation for taking it overseas next year. We will start in the Alpine areas near Canberra and go south to the snowy parts of Victoria.

Can anyone recommend good snow camping spots which are likely to be accessible in winter in any of these parks?
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Reply By: Ken - Thursday, Jun 06, 2013 at 16:26

Thursday, Jun 06, 2013 at 16:26
You need to be aware that over winter, generally after Queen's Birthday through to Nov. there are few options for camping in the snow as the tracks are closed. A possible suggestion is somewhere on the Woods Point - Licola Rd such as Mt Skene. This road is also subject to closure and the local police should be contacted before setting out. Due to numerous rescues of un-prepared and sometimes foolhardy people the local constabulary are sick to death of rescues and enforce closures.

Early days yet but the Melb snow fanatics are apparently lamenting the lack of snow so far.

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Follow Up By: Member - Berylvt - Thursday, Jun 06, 2013 at 16:34

Thursday, Jun 06, 2013 at 16:34
Thanks for that Ken. Yes I think stopping at the police station is not a bad idea. If they know our setup they may be more helpful.
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Follow Up By: Member - Boobook - Thursday, Jun 06, 2013 at 17:27

Thursday, Jun 06, 2013 at 17:27
That road is closed and patrolled by the Policeman from Woods Point, Ken.

You must be a member of a club affiliated with 4wd Victoria, have 2 or more vehicles, a HF or Sat Phone, and apply for a permit at least 2 weeks in advance.

Otherwise you can and will get fined if Ken finds you.
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Follow Up By: Member - Berylvt - Thursday, Jun 06, 2013 at 18:34

Thursday, Jun 06, 2013 at 18:34
I wonder wh ether ExplorOz qualifies as such a club?
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Follow Up By: aussiedingo (River Rina) - Thursday, Jun 06, 2013 at 20:00

Thursday, Jun 06, 2013 at 20:00
I wonder as well!.... I wonder how our club is accepted in the 4by universe!!
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Follow Up By: Crackles - Thursday, Jun 06, 2013 at 22:09

Thursday, Jun 06, 2013 at 22:09
Permits for Skene are available from 4x4 Victoria & as ExOz are not affiliated there's no need applying. It's the land managers way of ensuring people are trained, covered by liability insurance & self sufficient on the mountain. To be honest an Earth Cruiser would be the wrong vehicle in deep snow & weighing in at nearly 5 tonne could get in a lot of trouble up there at times. At least you could sit inside with the diesel heater on while waiting for a tow ;-)
Unfortunately these days snow on 4x4 tracks in Australia (that are open during winter) is very intermittent so really need to wait for a big dump (below 1000m) then head out. Mt Terrible, Corn Hill, Mt Matlock, Mt Selma & Mt Useful is an excellent route while it's snowing & rarely gets deep enough to get into trouble.
Cheers Craig..........
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Follow Up By: Member - Berylvt - Friday, Jun 07, 2013 at 20:25

Friday, Jun 07, 2013 at 20:25
Well thanks for that. We are not planning to test out 4wd off road capabilities of the vehicle. We will do that on cape York later in the year. What we want now is to see how well the vehicle controls the cold - how well insulated it is, what kind of Doona do we need, how does the diesel heater run, how to manage the winter diesel for the vehicle, how does the roof top tent perform in the cold. We only need a camping area with snow and cold. The last thing we would want is serious off road work in the snow.

Don't worry we will be taking it very easy.
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Reply By: Member - Terra'Mer - Thursday, Jun 06, 2013 at 22:32

Thursday, Jun 06, 2013 at 22:32
Hi Berylvt

There are a lot of road closures across the mountains. Check with the national parks before making plans.

The Snowy Mountains Hwy between Tumut and Adaminaby is open unless they have received a good dump of snow closing it temporarily.

There are some places to camp along this road and last time I looked the road out to Tantangara was open for 4WDs in winter.

Boboyan Road is a good dirt option between Tharwa and Cooma but not "alpine".

Roads between Jindy and Khancoban, Cootamundra and Tumbarumba/Tooma, Suggan Buggan and Limestone Creek are all closed.

Check with Kosciuszko National Park about Barry Way

Above Falls Creek across Bogong High Plains is closed in winter.

There are still plenty of places to camp near the snowline and in the parks but not enroute for a drive through.

Some ideas for testing out your new rig are Island Bend camp ground near Guthega, Ngarigo and Thredbo Diggings on the Alpine Way, Tantangara Dam. If the Barry Way is open down to the River past Ingebyra there are some good spots by the water. On Lake Eucumbene you have Anglers Reach and they often get snow blowing down from Kiandra.

Hope you have good gear for subzero. You need to be prepared if you want to stay out of trouble. I used to camp whole winter seasons on and above the snowline and often went to bed in -10C without windchill, coldest winter night camped on the snow was -27 windchill. I had a good 2 man Macpac tent with a snow floor, top quality sleeping mat and the best Mont alpine down sleeping bag on the market at the time (it has since been stolen) as well as thermal bag liner, 2 layers of merino thermals inside the bag and a shot of chilli schnapps.

If you have the right gear for snow camping I'd suggest Island Bend, this is the most likely to get snow blow down from the mainrange. There is a pit toilet and lots of camp sites. Don't be tempted to camp to close to the river as they may need to release water from the dams upstream or pump through from another dam and I've watched it rise about a metre in about 30 minutes while camped there. There is wildlife, in fact the roos sometimes lick your tyres because they have salt from the roads. It is close to Guthega where you can buy passes to Perisher Blue or, if backcountry is more your style, the Guthega - Kiandra section of the AAWT starts just up the road at the Pump Station.

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Follow Up By: Member - Berylvt - Friday, Jun 07, 2013 at 20:31

Friday, Jun 07, 2013 at 20:31
Thank you. That is the kind of info we need. We do not yet know how well the insulation in the vehicle will work. Will we be too warm or too cold with our Doona and the diesel heater? Will the diesel turn to gel? We are not planning to go bravely off road in the snow and get stranded. But we do want to experience it in the real cold. Trying this for the first time in Tibet or Mongolia would not be very sensible either. We have bought ski gear such as jackets, warm trousers, gloves, scarves, boots etc. but the night time is really what we don't know about. That's why we want to give it a go. But we will be sure to be where we can retreat if it is too cold.
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