Staying safe in the Australian Alps
It is important to be adequately prepared for travelling, walking and skiing in the Australian Alps. Snow chains, skis, boots and clothing may be hired in many towns around the alpine area.
- Don't be fooled - it can snow in summer too.
- Mountain roads are hazardous - drive carefully. Stay on formed roads and watch for wildlife.
- Always check fire-danger forecasts. No fires on Total Fire Ban days.
- Use a portable stove instead of lighting a fire.
- If you don't have a portable stove, use existing fire places and burn only dead, fallen timber.
- Choose a dry, firm camp site well away from streams.
- Bring enough to drink with you. Some mountain water may not be pure. To be safe, boil it.
- Wash up well away from streams,
- Where toilets aren't provided, bury your toilet waste.
- Carry out all other rubbish.
- Let the wildflowers grow - a picked flower soon dies and can't produce seeds
- Leave your pets at home
- Carry relevant maps. Maps provided on this website are not comprehensive.
If you want to walk or ski in the Australian Alps, be aware that the weather here can change very rapidly and that extreme conditions can be expected at any time of the year. Make sure that you have adequate clothing at all times. Don't undertake longer walks unless you are properly prepared, have an experienced walker with you and have a map and compass (and know how to use it) and other necessary equipment.
Hypothermia, or a drop in body temperature, can occur in cold and/or wet conditions if a person is tired, hungry or inadequately covered. When you walk in these parks you must take with you:
- Food and water or other drinks
- A waterproof jacket with a hood
- A warm jumper, hat and gloves
- Strong walking shoes, and
- A hat, sunscreen, sunglasses and insect repellent
Sunburn is a frequent occurrence even in winter, because the snow reflects the sunlight back onto the skin, and without the protection of sunglasses you may become snow-blind, a very painful experience.
In winter every car must carry properly fitting snow chains, and drivers must be aware of precautions to be taken to prevent cars freezing in very cold weather. In particular, radiators must contain antifreeze, and when cars are parked for long periods the windscreen wipers should be pulled away from the windscreen, and handbrakes should be left off, to prevent them freezing on.
In heavy snow or icy conditions, police and rangers will instruct drivers to fit chains or will place signs indicating that they are necessary. Bays are provided on the left of the road in places where it is likely that chains will be needed. Always follow the instructions and signs, and also fit them if you think it may be necessary, or you may risk losing control of the car on what can be dangerous roads.
Practise fitting chains before you drive into the parks, because the last place you'll want to learn their intricacies is kneeling in the mud and snow on a hard freezing road.
Please note that tourers should always carry the relevant maps, and travellers taking four-wheel drive trips should obtain and use four-wheel drive maps. Maps provided on this website are not comprehensive, and cover only what is needed to outline the trip. On any trip in the Australian Alps you should carry relevant maps.