If you’ve come to Australia in search of snow, you need go no further than the southeastern corner of New South Wales. Skiing in the Snowy Mountains is usually restricted to the months of July, August and September. But even in the antipodean summer a fcw drifts of snow remain to frame the wild flowers of the Australian Alps. At the top of this world
is Mt Kosciuszko, at 2,228m (7,30811) high, named after an 18th-century Polish patriot by a 19th-century Polish explorer. This is the birthplace of three important rivers, the Murray. the Murrumbidgee and the Snowy. Kosciuszko National Park is made up of approximately 6,300 sq km (2,432 sq miles) of the kind of wilderness you won’t see anywhere else: buttercups and eucalyptus and snow, all together in the same breathtaking panorama.
The only thing missing is a pine tree, or any of the other familiar conifers of the Northern Hemisphere. Cars must be equipped with snow chains from 1 June to 10 October. However, even during the summer months the weather can change for the worse at very short notice, so be sure always to carry a warm, waterproof jacket. The best-known ski resorts in this area are Thredbo and Perisher Valley.
New South Wales Outback Although New South Wales is the most populous and productive state (in both manufacturing and farming). it extends to the infinities of Australian Outback — bushland and cattle stations seem thousands of kilometres from commutcrland. Dubbo is the sort of place where the Old Gaol, meticulously restored, is a prime tourist attraction, gallows and all. Just out of town, the Western Plains Zoo (open: daily 9am-5pm) is Australia’s only open-range zoo, a cageless convention of koalas, dingoes and emus, plus more exotic animals like giraffes, zebras and monkeys.
Lightning Ridge, in the Back of Beyond near the Queens-land border, enjoys one of the most evocative of Outback names. Fortune hunters know it well as the home — reputedly the only home — of the precious black opal. Tourists are treated to demonstrations of fossicking, and there are opportunities to shop for opals.Bourke is a small town on the Darling River whose name signifies the loneliness of the Outback, where dusty tracks are the only link between distant hamlets. ‘Back of Bourke’ is an Australian expression for really far-out Outback. Bourke looks a lot bigger on the map than on the ground.
Broken Hill (population more than 20,600) is about as far west as you can go in New South Wales. almost on the border with South Australia. It’s so far west of Sydney, there’s a half-hour time difference, even though both are in the same state. The town is legendary for its mineral wealth —it has produced millions of tons of silver, lead and zinc. Tourists can visit the mines, either underground or on the top.
The neatly laid-out town, with its streets named after various minerals — Iodide, Kaolin, Talc — has become an artistic centre, with works by Outback painters on show in numerous galleries. Pro Hart, one of Australia’s best-known and most prolific painters, is a long-time Broken Hill resident. The School of the Air and the Royal Flying Doctor Service — both Outback institutions — give a further taste of life ‘back of beyond’.