Australian mountains: Six of the best to visit in summer

THREDBO

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Summer in the mountains at Thredbo
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Thredbo MTB

Of all Australia's mountain villages, this one is the best fit in its natural surroundings - straddling an alpine valley with a river running through it. There's a chairlift to help you on your way if you want to make the walk to Mount Kosciuszko or some of the other alpine trails, and the lifts can also give some altitude for the resort's extensive mountain bike trail network. Back in the valley, there's tennis and golf available and to lower the pace a little, self-guided art and history walks reveal Thredbo's remarkable cultural depth. See thredbo.com.au

GEEHI FLATS

Man enjoying a day of fly fishing in Swampy Plains River, Kosciuszko National Park.
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67937Swampy Plain River, Kosciuszko National ParkMandatory credit: Don Fuchs; Destination NSWDescription: Man enjoying a day of fly fishing in Swampy Plains River, Kosciuszko National Park.

Photo: Destination NSW

Just off the Alpine Way on the Khancoban side of the Kosciuszko National Park, this camping or picnic area is one to bring overseas visitors to if they are looking for Australian wildlife in a natural setting - kangaroos, wombats and emus stroll around like they're in an ark. The Swampy Plain River runs alongside and is good for rafting in the spring and fly fishing in season. Trails nearby suit walkers, four-wheel drivers and horse riders. Camping is free but there's a $6 booking fee and park entry fees apply. See nationalparks.nsw.gov.au

FALLS CREEK

Because the village is at altitude, this is a preferred destination for athletes in training - long-distance runners and rowers among them. But you don't have to have the Olympics in sight. The Bogong High Plains beckon for walks to the likes of Wallaces Hut or the Pretty Valley Ponds, an undeveloped area that once was earmarked for settlement on a Snowy Mountains Hydro Scheme scale. The fishing is very good in season, it's a popular place for mountain biking with 40 kilometres of trails and there's a big lake that suits small craft. See fallscreek.com.au

DINNER PLAIN

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Dinner Plain
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Carmichael Falls Walk - Dinner Plain

Photo: Visit Victoria

Among the pioneers of this village was architect Peter McIntyre, who sought to create a series of buildings in an Australian alpine style - houses made of timber, tin and stone set among the snow gums. The style has strayed a little over the years, but it's nevertheless appealing with short walks (like Carmichael Falls, pictured) or longer adventures into the mountains; the Razorback Ridge out to Mount Feathertop is a spectacular trek. Serious hikers can use this as a launching point for the three-day Mount Hotham to Falls Creek walk. See visitdinnerplain.com.au

MOUNT BULLER

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Summer in the mountains at Mt Buller
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Cycling the Mount Buller road

Photo: Andrew Railton

There's plenty of scope for mountain bikers, but the steep and winding roads that lead to the alpine villages are just as appealing for road cyclists. The Mount Buller Tourist Road twists and turns to gain almost a thousand metres in altitude over its 16-kilometre climb to the village. It's a thigh-burning test of strength and endurance, but the ride back down can make up for it. On foot, there's a Gnome Roam for children and a four-kilometre nature walk that starts in the village and skirts the mountain's southern slopes before leading to the summit and its spectacular views. See mtbuller.com.au

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CRADLE MOUNTAIN

Outdoor heaven: Tasmania's spectacular Cradle Mountain.

Photo: iStock

If the mountains are about the scents of healthy scrub and forests and the sights of wildlife and dramatic landscapes, then this Tasmanian national park delivers. And it can deliver in the comfort of surroundings like the Cradle Mountain Lodge, the more rudimentary and heritage-rich Waldheim Cabins or the more challenging quarters along the Overland Track. The wildlife you're likely to encounter includes Tasmanian devils, quolls, wombats, platypus and echidna, along with Bennetts wallabies and Tasmanian pademelons. See parks.tas.gov.au

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