Charlotte Pass, New South Wales

Charlotte Pass, New South Wales
Charlotte Pass

Overlooking Charlotte Pass Village
Location Snowy Mountains, New South Wales, Australia
Nearest city Canberra (city and major airport)
Cooma (town and airport)
Jindabyne (small town and small airport)
Vertical 209 m (686 ft)
Top elevation 1,964 m (6,444 ft)
Base elevation 1,755 m (5,758 ft)
Skiable area 50 ha
Lift system 5 total; 1 triple chairlift, 4 surface lifts (1 T-bar, 2 platter Lifts, 1 moving carpet)
Terrain parks 1 small, movable
Snowmaking Mobile units
Web site


Charlotte Pass is a location (elev. 1,837 m) in the Snowy Mountains of New South Wales, Australia where the Kosciuszko Road crosses Kangaroo Ridge. The location is also often referred to as Charlotte's Pass, both colloquially and in official documents.[1]

Looking through Charlotte Pass towards the main range in winter.

Charlotte Pass Village (elev. 1,760 m) is located at the base of Kangaroo Ridge to the south east of the pass, and is the highest permanent settlement in Australia.

The area is part of Kosciuszko National Park.

The pass and village are named after Charlotte Adams who, in 1881, was the first European woman to climb Mount Kosciuszko.[2]

The Kosciuszko Road now terminates at Charlotte Pass. The last 9 kilometres leading to Mount Kosciuszko have been closed, for environmental reasons, since 1982.[3]


The historic Kosciuszko Chalet was the first building in the village, and was opened on 10 May 1930. The Chalet at Charlotte Pass was one of several alpine area accommodation facilities built by government in Australia, and offered an opulent life style at the time.[4]

The Chalet burnt down in August 1938, and a new Chalet was built in its place the following summer.

The Chalet during August

The Chalet is still the largest and most significant building in the village, and remains the heart of the village in winter.

Apart from the Chalet, the village contains 12 commercial and club lodges,[5] and has the capacity to hold 607 guests.[6][7]

The village and resort precinct are part of the Kosciuszko National Park, and the village is leased to and operated by Charlotte Pass Village Pty Ltd (CPV); all leases are due to expire by June 2015.[5]

The area was one of the end points for the longest ski lift in the world, constructed from the Thredbo Valley in 1964. Because of high winds and technical difficulties it was closed after one season.[3] The cable snapped[citation needed].



An area between Kangaroo Ridge, Mount Stillwell ridge, and Guthries Ridge is formally designated as the Charlotte Pass Alpine Resort.[8][9]

It is the oldest and highest ski resort in Australia.[6]

The resort contains five ski lifts, one triple chairlift, one T-bar, two platter lifts and a beginner's moving carpet (which replaced a rope tow in 2008), accessing 50 hectares of skiable terrain.[6] The highest lifted elevation is 1,964 m; the base elevation 1,755 m; giving a downhill skier's vertical of 210 m.[6] The resort currently only lifts to part of its leased area. A small terrain park was first constructed in 2008. The resort has a few mobile snow guns to top up high traffic areas and help open difficult terrain areas earlier in the season. A list of every ski tow to ever operate at Charlotte Pass can be found at wikiski

The resort is also very popular with cross-country skiers, as the village provides immediate access to Australia's highest peaks.[10]

The resort receives, on average, more natural snow than other Australian resorts because of its elevation. In 1981, one weather event dropped snow to the extent that the Kangaroo Ridge triple chair terminus was buried in snow, over the top of the pylon, by the cornice by up to 0.5 m.[11] This level of snow fall is an exception.[12]

The Charlotte Pass ski area might be the only area in Australia with viable natural snow in several years' time, owing to the impact of global warming.[13]

Stillwell from Pulpit.jpgMount StillwellKangaroo RidgeLittle StillwellKangaroo Ridge Triple Chairlift mid stationBasin Poma (J-Bar) unload pointEgo flatsSnow gumsSnow gums
1 white, red rounded rectangle.svg Mount Stillwell
2 white, red rounded rectangle.svg Kangaroo Ridge
3 white, red rounded rectangle.svg Little Stillwell
4 white, red rounded rectangle.svg Kangaroo Ridge Triple Chairlift mid station
5 white, red rounded rectangle.svg Basin Poma unload point
6 white, red rounded rectangle.svg Ego flats
7 white, red rounded rectangle.svg Snow gums



During the summer, Charlotte Pass is a base for bushwalkers with intent to walk to the top of Mount Kosciuszko and access the Main Range. The mountain is an 18 km round trip via the Summit Walk, or a 22 km loop via the post glacial Lakes Walk.[2]

A shorter and easier walk to the Kosciuszko summit can be accessed via Thredbo. The Blue Lake can be accessed by a 4-hour round-trip walk from Charlotte Pass.


In summer, access is by Kosciuszko Road from Jindabyne.[2]

In winter, the area is snow-bound and can only be accessed by snowmobile from the Perisher Valley SkiTube terminal, which lies 8 kilometres to the north east, also via Jindabyne. Charlotte Pass Village Pty Ltd operates a fleet of three 18 seat 4x4 buses running on snow tracks which ferry visitors in and out of the village every half hour[citation needed].

The area has not always been regarded as being easily accessible to all people. In the mid 20th century, the Chalet at Charlotte Pass was referred to as a breeding ground for snobocracy by local politician John Wesley Seiffert who by public criticism obtained a reduced bus fare to the area, thus opening the snowfields to a wider range of people.[14]


Being an alpine area the area is subject to extremes in temperature, and is a recognised environmentally sensitive zone.[1]

The area has been long been used as a base for environmental research, for example for plankton studies in the nearby post glacial lake Blue Lake (New South Wales) in 1937 using a flat bottomed boat,[15] and more recently, for example in 1997 as a heliport for studies of the mountain pygmy possum.[16]


Climate data for Charlotte Pass
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 29.7
Average high °C (°F) 17.6
Average low °C (°F) 5.1
Record low °C (°F) −5.6
Precipitation mm (inches) 127.9
Source: [17]

Charlotte Pass has a subpolar oceanic climate (Köppen Cfc) though the higher peaks have an alpine climate (ETH). It has the coldest recorded temperature in Australia (excluding Antarctic territories), of -23.0°C on 28 June 1994.[18]

The area's highest recorded temperature is 33.5°C.[19]

Average temperatures range in summer from about 4°C to 17°C and in winter from about -2°C to 2°C.[19]

Annual rain fall averages 2329.6 mm,[19] with about half falling as snow between late May to late September, although conditions result in snow depth typically never exceeding 2.5 m to 3 m. Official snow depths are not recorded for Charlotte Pass, but are recorded by the Snowy Hydro Limited at nearby Spencers Creek (elev. 1,830 m). A typical snow depth at its peak is about 1.5 m to 2 m.[20][21][22]

Snow falls have been recorded at all times of the year, some persisting on the ground for days even in the middle of summer.[23][24] While snow falls at unexpected times can add interest to the area, they are typically associated with very severe weather events, which can also cause havoc with disastrous consequences. For example, weather patterns bringing snow falls on Boxing day and the following day in 1998 caused loss of life in the Sydney to Hobart yacht race that year.[23][25]


Of major faunal significance is the mountain pygmy possum (Burramys parvus),[26] which from 1894[27] until 1966 was only known from the fossil record.[3]

Management and services

The area is subject to a wide range of government legislation and environmental plans,[7] and, owing to the environmental sensitivity of the area, is one of the most heavily regulated areas in Australia.

Services such as garbage collection and sewage processing are the responsibility of the area's lessee.

Charlotte Pass Village in August.jpgKosciuszko Chalet HotelCharlotte Pass Ski CentreBella Vista Staff Lodge (Cell Block, Cellavista)Kosciuszko Alpine ClubKnockshannoch LodgeJerrabomberra LodgeSpencer's Creek LodgeStillwell LodgeSouthern Alps Ski LodgePygmy Possum LodgeSnowbird LodgeArlberg LodgeBurrawong LodgeAlitji LodgeTar Gan Gil LodgeSewage plant (Shakespear's Lodge)Basin PomaKosi Carpet (Magic Carpet (Moving carpet))Kosciusko Triple Chairlift"Fox hole" at the eastern end of Stillwell RidgeWorkshop
Accommodation and service buildings in Charlotte Pass Village
1 white, red rounded rectangle.svg Kosciuszko Chalet Hotel
2 white, red rounded rectangle.svg Charlotte Pass Ski Centre
3 white, red rounded rectangle.svg Bella Vista Staff Lodge (Cell Block, Cellavista)
4 white, red rounded rectangle.svg Kosciuszko Alpine Club
5 white, red rounded rectangle.svg Knockshannoch Lodge
6 white, red rounded rectangle.svg Jerrabomberra Lodge
7 white, red rounded rectangle.svg Spencer's Creek Lodge
8 white, red rounded rectangle.svg Stillwell Lodge
9 white, red rounded rectangle.svg Southern Alps Ski Lodge
10 white, red rounded rectangle.svg Pygmy Possum Lodge
11 white, red rounded rectangle.svg Snowbird Lodge
12 white, red rounded rectangle.svg Arlberg Lodge
13 white, red rounded rectangle.svg Burrawong Lodge
14 white, red rounded rectangle.svg Alitji Lodge
15 white, red rounded rectangle.svg Tar Gan Gil Lodge
Other facilities and features (Guthries Poma (Platter lift) and Pulpit T-Bar not shown)
16 white, red rounded rectangle.svg Sewage plant (Shakespear's Lodge)
17 white, red rounded rectangle.svg Basin Poma
18 white, red rounded rectangle.svg Kosi Carpet (Magic Carpet (Moving carpet))
19 white, red rounded rectangle.svg Kosciusko Triple Chairlift
20 white, red rounded rectangle.svg "Fox hole" at the eastern end of Stillwell Ridge
21 white, red rounded rectangle.svg Workshop

See also

  • Skiing in Australia


  1. ^ a b "National recovery plan for the Threatened Alpine Flora". Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts. 3 September 2007. Retrieved 2008-04-30. 
  2. ^ a b c "Charlotte Pass". Snowy Mountains regional tourism organisation. 2006. Retrieved 2008-04-30. 
  3. ^ a b c "NSW Wilderness Red Index - Jagungal". Colong Foundation for Wilderness Ltd.. 1999-09. Retrieved 2008-04-30. 
  4. ^ "Recreation in the Australian Alps". Department of the Environment and Heritage (Australia), Australian Alps national parks Co-operative Management Program. 2005-01-24. Archived from the original on 2008-07-20. Retrieved 2008-12-01. 
  5. ^ a b "Register of leases, easements and rights of way". New South Wales Department of Environment and Climate Change. 14 February 2008. Retrieved 2008-04-30. 
  6. ^ a b c d "Charlotte Pass Ski Resort - About". Charlotte Pass Village. Pty Ltd.. Retrieved 2008-04-30. 
  7. ^ a b "Kosciuszko National Park: Contemporary Management". New South Wales Department of Education and Training, Riverina Environmental Education Centre. Retrieved 2008-04-30. 
  8. ^ "Charlotte Pass Alpine Resort - Precinct Map" (PDF). New South Wales Department of Infrastructure, Planning and Natural Resources. 2004. Retrieved 2008-04-30. 
  9. ^ "Charlotte Pass Alpine Resort Precincts" (PDF). New South Wales Department of Planning. 2007. Retrieved 2008-04-30. 
  10. ^ "11 Years of the CCCSC Kosciuszko Tour - 1993 to 2003". Canberra Cross-Country Ski Club. 2004-08-20. Archived from the original on 2008-04-24. Retrieved 2008-04-30. 
  11. ^ Photograph displayed in dining room of Tar Gan Gil lodge, Charlotte Pass Village
  12. ^ "Climate Education - Abundant snow seasons". Bureau of Meteorology, Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts. Retrieved 2008-08-25. 
  13. ^ "Australian ski resorts must diversify or perish: ANU study". Australian National University. 10 June 1997. Retrieved 2008-04-30. 
  14. ^ "'Seiffert, John Wesley (1905 - 1965)', Australian Dictionary of Biography, Online Edition". Australian National University. 2006. Retrieved 2008-04-30. 
  15. ^ "WISENET Journal, Number 44, July 1997, Dr Isobel Bennett, AO - An oral history interview by Diana Wyndham". Women in Science Enquiry Network Inc.. 1997-01. Retrieved 2008-04-30. 
  16. ^ "Re-assessment of burramys parvus population size and distribution of habitat in Kosciuszko National Park: 1997 Progress Report.". Australian Institute of Alpine Studies. 2 May 1998. Retrieved 2008-04-30. 
  17. ^ "Charlotte Pass". Bureau of Meteorology. Retrieved 3 November 2009. 
  18. ^ "1301.0 - Year Book Australia, 2008". Australian Bureau of Statistics. 7 February 2008. Retrieved 2008-04-30. 
  19. ^ a b c "Kosciuszko National Park - Climate". New South Wales Department of Environment and Climate Change. 22 April 2008. Retrieved 2008-04-30. 
  20. ^ "Australian Snow Statistics". Michael Paine - Sydney Australia. 2 June 2005. Retrieved 2008-04-30. 
  21. ^ "Snow Depth Chart - 1968 to 2007" (PDF). South East Printing, Cooma. 2008. Retrieved 2008-04-30. 
  22. ^ "Chart of Snow Depths". Canberra Cross-Country Ski Club. 1999. Archived from the original on 2008-07-22. Retrieved 2008-04-30. 
  23. ^ a b "Preliminary Report on Meteorological Aspects of the 1998 Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race - Executive Summary". Bureau of Meteorology, Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts. Retrieved 2008-08-25. 
  24. ^ "Significant Weather - December 2004" (PDF). Bureau of Meteorology, Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts. Retrieved 2008-08-25. 
  25. ^ "Preliminary Report on Meteorological Aspects of the 1998 Sydney to Hobart Yacht Race". Bureau of Meteorology, Department of the Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts. Retrieved 2008-08-25. 
  26. ^ "Mountain Pygmy-possum - Priority actions". New South Wales Department of Environment and Climate Change. 1 September 2005. Retrieved 2008-04-30. 
  27. ^ "Southern Exposure - Mountain Pygmy Possum". Australian Broadcasting Corporation. 2000. Retrieved 2008-04-30. 

External links

Coordinates: 36°25′S 148°20′E / 36.417°S 148.333°E / -36.417; 148.333

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