Ever wanted to conquer the highest peak in Australia (and, at least according to the Bass list, one of the Seven Summits? All you need to do to tick the Mt Koscisuzko Summit Walk off your bucket list is pull on some comfy shoes, limber up and walk 6.5 kilometres up a hill and voila, you have scaled Australia's highest mountain.
And if you've wondered whether the vague rumours that a chairlift will carry you part way to the top are true, rejoice! The aptly named Kosciuszko Express does the hard yards for the first two kilometres from Thredbo to the Eagles Nest year-round and costs around $39 for a return trip. The trip takes 15 minutes and ensures you'll have fresh legs for the rest of the walk. Of course, if you enjoy doing things the hard way, you can walk the entire way from Thredbo village and watch everyone else sail past you or, for the true hardcore hikers, there's also the option to head from Charlotte Pass (an 18.5km round trip).
From the top of the chairlift, it's a 6.5 kilometre walk to the peak. The majority of the walk from the top of the chairlift is on a mesh walkway which is has been installed to protect the delicate landscape from erosion. It means the way is easy to follow and has the welcome addition of distance markers letting walkers know how much further you have to go until you reach the top.
The Kosciuszko Summit return trip takes around five hours and passes some breathtakingly rugged scenery and unique alpine environments. Highlights along the way are the Rams Head Range, Lake Cootapatamba and Seaman's Hut. As an unexpected but possibly very welcome bonus, there's a basic toilet facility at Rawsons Pass! Fun Fact: at around 100 metres below the Kosciuszko summit, this is the highest public toilet in Australia and it is definitely a loo with a view.
As you get to the summit, be prepared to fend off selfie-sticks and crazed hordes determined to get their picture for the 'gram. With a bit of patience, you'll get your turn and there are plenty of quiet spots near the top to sit on a rock and munch on a picnic in what surely must be one of the most beautiful places in the world.
The homeward walk takes you along the same path and because your lungs and legs won't be burning so hard, you can really enjoy the views. The mountain is best walked in spring and summer and you'll find a mix of snow, swirling mist, craggy granite outcrops and, through late spring and early summer, a sea of wildflowers bobbing and dancing down the mountainsides.
Before you hitch a ride back down the last couple of kilometres, you'll find the Eagles Nest Restaurant, the highest restaurant in Australia. The atmosphere in summer is fairly quiet (in total contrast to the ski season) but the Eagles Nest Bar has plenty of snacks and cold beer for thirsty walkers to toast your trip and quell the appetite which a thirteen-kilometre walk builds up. Cheers!