The Snowy Mountains, known informally as "The Snowies", are the highest Australian mountain range and contain the Australian mainland's highest mountain, Mount Kosciuszko, which reaches 2,228 metres AHD, approximately 7310 feet.
The range contains the five highest peaks on the Australian mainland, all above 2100 metres (6890 feet). They are located in southern New South Wales and are part of the larger Australian Alps and the Great Dividing Range. This is mainland Australia's only true Alpine region with large natural snowfalls every winter. Snow normally falls the most during June, July and Early August. Most of the snow has melted by Late Spring. The Tasmanian highlands are the other Alpine region in Australia.
It is host to the Mountain Plum-pine, a low-lying type of conifer suspected of being the world's oldest living organism. It is one of the centres of the Australian ski industry during the winter months.
The Alpine Way and the Snowy Mountains Highway are the major roads through the Snowy Mountains.
The mountain range is thought to have had Aboriginal occupation for twenty thousand years. Large scale inter-tribal gatherings were held in the High Country during summer for collective feasting on the Bogong moth. This practice continued until around 1865.
The area was first explored by Europeans in 1835, and in 1840, Edmund Strzelecki ascended Mount Kosciuszko and named it after a Polish patriot. High country stockmen followed who used the Snowy Mountains for grazing during the summer months. Banjo Paterson's famous poem The Man From Snowy River recalls this era. The cattle graziers have left a legacy of mountain huts scattered across the area. Today these huts are maintained by the National Parks and Wildlife Service or volunteer organisations like the .
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