Scouring Google Earth all along the high country searching for the out of ordinary, Owen found a magnificent gorge carved by a creek that seemed to be dry. That weekend he and his two best mates were off, heading in a direction none of them had ever been before; the High Plains Wilderness in Kosciuszko National Park.


  • Caves
  • Wildlife (Brumbies, Wedge-tail Eagles, Dingoes, Kangaroos, Platypus)
  • Turquoise stained creek
  • Rolling hills disappearing into vast gorges

Blue Waterholes Camping Ground

Heading south-west from Canberra we spent our first night camping on the shore of Lake Eucumbene. After a quick fish in the morning, we were inbound for Blue Waterholes.

Blue Waterholes camping ground, located in the Northern Plains wilderness area of the Kosciuszko National Park, is the starting point for the Clarke Gorge and Nichols Gorge hikes.

Owen Cooper High Plains Wilderness Kosciuszko National Park nsw blue waterholes

Clarke Gorge and Nichols Gorge Hikes

Just below the camping ground, Cave Creek starts right before your eyes as freezing turquoise water rises from underground caves, pouring out of a sheer rock face, carving its way through the limestone rock creating pools as blue as the sky leaving towering cliffs and caves either side.

The hike meanders along Cave Creek with several river crossings testing your agility coming to an end at the waterfall where only the brave hearted can face the icy cold water.

That night under the watchful eye of howling dingoes and stars as bright as the sun, we tried our luck with the trout we spotted earlier. One thing to keep in mind is walking this track at night with a beer in one hand and fishing gear in the other will result in some very wet feet.


Owen Cooper High Plains Wilderness Kosciuszko National Park nsw

Early morning we set off on the Nichols Gorge hike that follows the now dry Cave Creek upstream, revealing ancient brachiopods and sea lily fossils, towards Cooleman Cave. The 150-metre deep cave is filled with stalagmites and stalactites ending in an underground pool that mysteriously continues underwater.
The hike then spreads out onto snow grass plains surrounded by the Gurrangorambla Range and Tom O’Rourkes Peak, dotted with historical huts, looping back to the campsite.
The trip home was all about chasing mobs of brumbies and finding trout in amongst platypus patrolled creeks. All in all, turned out to be the perfect spontaneous weekend adventure.

Essential Gear

  • Torch
  • Tent, sleeping bag, ground mat
  • Topographic map (no service out here)
  • Day pack
  • Hiking boots
  • Fishing rod

How To Get There

Along the Snowy Mountains Highway, take Long Plain Road and follow until you a right onto Blue Waterholes fire trail.


  • Swimming
  • Fishing
  • Camping
  • Hiking
  • Caving
  • Photography

Skill Level


Distance Covered

Clarkes Gorge is a 5km (4 hour) return and Nichols Gorge is a 7km (5 hour) loop.