Fresh Air and Alpine Flowers: Porcupine Rocks, Kosciuszko National Park Au
Tufted Daisies (Brachyscome Scapigera) on the Hill
The start of the Porcupine Rocks walking track affords lovely views back over the lodges across the road from the Perisher Mountain Ski Resort in Kosciuszko National Park, Australia.
Is there anything more restorative than mountain air in summer?
Australia’s Snowy Mountains are a wonderful place for summer walking. The bonus of being in the Antipodes is that the height of summer falls across the Christmas – New Year break. It is my chance to take time out to reflect on the old year, and plan for the new …
Whenever we can, my husband and I (with assorted family and friends) spend the New Year period in the Snowy Mountains, enjoying the walks – long and short, the unique flora, and the fresh air.
This year, we took the opportunity to revisit one one my favourite walks: from the Perisher Valley Reservoir to Porcupine Rocks – a large granite outcrop on a ridge south of Perisher Valley. Its a short, but moderately challenging walk with a suggested time of 2.5 hours return. I think it always takes me more than that: the 214m rise in elevation slows me down!
But it is sufficiently rewarding. The wildflowers are in abundance from early January, the rocks and terrain are visually interesting and the views from the top make the last steep climb worth it.
Join us for a summer walk.
The Main Range
We always start our mountain sojourn with a drive up to Charlotte Pass and a short walk on the Snow Gums Boardwalk to have a look over Kosciuszko National Park’s Main Range.
Silver Snow Daisies – Celmisia Astelifolia
We are at about 1,850 metres (6,070 ft) here, so the alpine flowers bloom a little later than in the more protected valleys further down the hill.
Ghost Snow Gums – Charlotte Pass
A bushfire passed through here many years ago; the dead skeletons of old snow gums stand like eerie ghost sentinels on the hill.
Winter Ski Lodges
Although Kosciuszko National Park has an increasing number of summer visitors, many of the ski lodges are only open in winter. Our walk the next day starts on Water Supply Storage Road past empty chalets and continues along Rock Creek.
Tufted Daisies – Brachyscome Scapigera
The grasslands around us – which are under snow in winter – are scattered with cheerful patches of daisies and buttercups.
The Path Up
Were glad of our walking sticks and sturdy boot! Parts of the track resemble a dried creek bed.
Alpine Mint Bush – Prostanthera Cuneata – on the Rocks
The Snowy Mountains were under the ocean some 450 million years ago. Today, the effects of millennia of pressure that metamorphosed the sedimentary rocks – and the subsequent erosion of these rocks, has left a roughly hewn landscape with the harder granite boulders protruding.
Grass Trigger-plant – Stylidium Sp.
The ground either side of the path (and sometimes on it) is boggy and wet.
The hillside is yellow with gorse blooms: in this instance, it is probably the Common Shaggy Pea (Oxylobium ellipticum).
Burned Out Snow Gums
I love the delicate colours of the heath and the granite …
… as we reach the three-way intersection with Porcupine Link Track. In winter, this is cross-country terrain.
Alpine Mint Bush – Prostanthera Cuneata
The smells all around us – especially the Alpine Mint – are fresh and glorious.
As we got close to the top of the hill, …
… the granite outcrops became more dramatic.
Silver Snow Daisies – Celmisia Astelifolia
Finally we reached our target: the ancient, craggy granite outcrop at the top of the ridge.
Looking Over Lake Crackenback
There are good views over the resort at Lake Crackenback from the ridge. Those willing to clamber to the top of the rocks get clear views of Perisher Valley, Mt Duncan, Thredbo River Valley and Bullocks Flat. We, however, played it safe and stayed lower down.
Granite Buttercups – Ranunculus Graniticola
As we work our way back down, we stop to admire the buttercups.
Snow Gums and Gorse
Perisher in Sight
When the ski resort comes back into view, we know we are almost finished.
Find the Fish!
We cross back over Rock Creek and make our way back to the car.
It was a lovely way to end the old year and start the one; I’ll be back in the mountains again when this year turns over.
Till next time …
Wishing you and yours a happy, healthy 2018!