|Height|| ||2228 metres (7309 feet)|
|Vertical Elevation|| ||290m Thredbo or 450m Charlotte Pass|
|Location|| ||Kosciuszko National Park (NSW)|
|Nearest town|| ||Thredbo|
|Start/Finish|| ||Thredbo or Charlotte Pass|
|Climbing time|| ||2 or 5 hours|
|Distance|| ||6.5 or 9km one-way|
|Grade|| ||2/5 Walk|
|Other peaks|| ||None|
Although not technically Australia's highest mountain (this honour goes to Mawson Peak on Heard Island), Mount Kosciuszko is the highest mountain on the continent. At 2,228metres Kosciuszko is the lowest of the seven summits and certainly the most accessible. Infact, so accessible that some 100,000 tourists climb the mountain every year. Fortunately there are several routes to the summit, allowing you to avoid the hordes if desired.
Kosciuszko is climbed all year round. However, during the colder (June-September) the entire summit and approach will be covered in snow. This makes the route popular among cross-country skiers. During summer (December-March) the high country can be scrochingly hot (30C+) with no shade. By default this makes the best time for climbing during Spring April-May and Autumn October-November.
The most direct route to the summit is via Thredbo village. You can catch chairlift to the top the ski slopes and walk the rest of the way to the summit. The alternative route via Charlotte Pass (also a ski village) follows the summit road the summit. You can drive to both starting points and buses run to Thredbo. Charlotte Pass can only be reached by snowcat during winter.
To reach both the starting points head to Cooma and then onto Jindabyne. From Jindabyne you can drive directly to Thredbo or to Charlotte Pass via Perisher. Both roads can be accessed with 2WD although snow chains are required during winter. You will need to purchase a National Parks entry ticket either way.
Distance: 6.5km 2 hours
If you think putting the bins out is hard work or a walk to the corner store is tiring then this route is probably not for you.
From Thredbo Alpine Village a chairlift will take you up the snowfields and bypass any real climbing you will need to undertake. An elevated walkway runs the entire length of the walk and during the summer holiday months there are literally hundreds, if not thousands of tourists making the daily pilgramage. To beat the crowds, I'd suggest an early start.
At the end of the metal walkway (6.5km (4 miles) from start to finish) is perhaps the only climbing you'll actually have to do on the walk. A few hundred metres of pathway winds its way up Kosiuszcko to the summit.
Despite all the tourists, this is a pretty cool walk and one I always look forward to. While most hikers start from Thredbo and walk back to Thredbo, if you can coordinate it, walking back via the Summit Road to Charlottes Pass is a much better option (especially as it's all downhill). You'll need to organise some sort of way to get back to Thredbo as the entire round trip is about 1.5 hours drive.
via Charlotte Pass
Distance: 9km 3-4 hours
The Charlottes Pass provides two routes to Kosciusko which can be combined for a long day trip. The Summit Walk is actually the old service road which runs to Kosciuszko and Ranger cars still use this road today.
The road is in very good condition so the walking is not too difficult. Most of the walk hugs a ridge, providing fantastic views down into the valley and the famous Snowy River, as well as good views across the valley and distant peaks.
You'll finally descend into the valley, cross the Snowy River before embarking on a steady climb back up the valley toward Kosciuszko. On the way up, you'll pass Seamans Hut, one of the few remaining huts still easily accessible. Seamans Hut was built in 1929 after a couple of skiers perished after becoming lost in a blizzard. Don't worry, they died during winter, not in the middle of summer.
After the Kosciuszko Walk via Thredbo this route attracts a good number of day hikers, however there is an added bonus with route with the facility of being able to ride a pushbike long the road.
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