The Mount Kosciuszko hike, in the Thredbo-Perisher area in Kosciuszko National Park is one of my favourite places to explore and holds a very special place in my heart. Cool alpine air, rugged landscapes and crystal clear rivers are just some of the drawcards to this part of the Australian high country, but by far the biggest enticement for hikers is the ambition to summit our tallest peak, Mt Kosciuszko.
Kosciuszko National Park
The best time to visit the summit
Mount Kosciuszko is 2228m (7310ft) above sea level and Australia’s highest summit. It is a truly awe-inspiring experience and definitely belongs on everyone’s bucket list. Kosciuszko National Park is on the Victorian and New South Whales boarder, and worth visiting all year round but for hikers wanting to reach the summit the warmer months are best, as the track can often be buried deep in the snow during the cooler months.
You may think this summit is totally out of reach you or the everyday person. You may think you need to be a fitness nut or hiking junkie to be able to tackle this massive peak. But I’d like to say – not true! I am an overweight asthmatic with bad knees. However, my biggest asset is my determination to push myself out of my comfort zone and challenge myself to do things someone told me I couldn’t. And I did it!
The main range is a 22km loop track
For those that are after a serious hike and want to test your fitness ability and self-determination, the Main Range track is what you’re after. The main range is a 22km loop track that summits several mountain tops and has an overall ascent of 1km. It’s long, it’s hard and it takes a decent level of fitness and physical ability (or mental determination). What you get for that effort is access to some of the most beautiful views you’ll find anywhere in the high country.
Curruthers Peak to Club Lake
Starting off from charlottes pass you’ll pass by the famous Blue Lake where most Instagrammers shoot the big “pile of rocks” (which I skipped). As you continue up the track to Curruthers Peak and round the corner you’ll be met with views over Club Lake and a wide vista over the NSW high country spread out before you.
Continuing on the fairly even track, and then onto an elevated pathway traversing around Lake Albina in the shadows of Mt Townsend, is one of my favourite views on the whole trail. After Lake Albina the track gets a little more difficult and narrow. A small section winds around before taking the next incline on your final push to the summit.
Lake Albina in the shadows of Mt Townsend
As someone who suffers from asthma and not being in great physical shape, I found this very challenging but with regular rest breaks and breaking the climb up into sections, it was quite manageable. The payload at the top is 360 degree views across our beautiful high country and a well-deserved rest to refuel for the track back down the other side. The track on the way down is much easier; an open and flat gravel fire trail that seems to just keep going and going, and going.
The decent: Seaman’s Hut, crossing the Snowy River and returning to Charlottes Pass.
Passing Seaman’s Hut, you’ll be crossing the Snowy River before returning you to the carpark at Charlottes Pass. This descent is steady and never too steep but after the climb you’ve already done it seems relentlessly long (however it is only about 8km from the top to the bottom). This track down from the summit is known as the Summit Walking Track and is another option to the top as you could also do it as a return walk. Taking the same track up and back is a very popular option particularly for those with mountain bikes and younger children.
The views on the way up and back are relatively the same throughout, the whole way you are overlooking the Main Range but it’s not the same as the beautiful lakes you get to see on the Main Range track. Many people enjoy stopping on the banks of the Snowy River or at Seaman’s Hut on their way up and down. It takes about 3 hours each way according to the National Parks signs.
The Kosciuszko Walk – An easier option
The whole Main Range loop including stops along the way took me 6hrs and 45mins – a little shy of the 7-9hrs the signs indicated. If you’re still keen to see the summit but the idea of a 22km track is a little too daunting you can also do what many tourists do which is the Kosciuszko Walk. It’s a 13km return walk that crosses the mountain ridge from Thredbo’s Kosciuszko Express Chairlift. It’s an easy elevated boardwalk the entire way until you reach Rawson Pass where all the walks converge near the summit. From there is short walk on a gravel path to the top.
Kosciuszko Lookout and Lake Cootapatamba
This is a beautiful walk that passes by Kosciuszko Lookout and Lake Cootapatamba. The trail winds higher and higher towards the summit and can be done by all ages and fitness levels. This can be an incredibly busy track though – just something to keep in mind. A return adult ticket on the chairlift will set you back roughly $40.
Lessons from the mountain
My biggest takeaway personally from completing the Main Range was that it really isn’t about the limitations of my body but of my mind and if you can convince your mind you can do something, the body will follow.
Walk the Main Range Track
Come along as I tackle the biggest and toughest hike so far. Summiting the highest peak in Australia, Mt Kosciuszko!
Guest Writer: Dimsim Outdoors is a NSW native with a passion for exploring and a determination to push herself outside of her comfort zone. Relatively new to hiking, the last few years have seen Dim explore some of the beautiful hikes spread across NSW and beyond. She loves sharing her adventures with others and inspiring more people to get out and explore, because long walks on the beach are overrated. Long walks in the mountains is where it’s at. @dimsim_outdoors dimsimoutdoors.com