If you think climbing to the summit of a mountain is beyond your reach, think again, and consider the Thredbo to Kosciuszko summit walk.
You need no mountain climbing skills, or even hiking skills, to achieve this summit. All you need is the ability to walk for a few hours.
Climbing a mountain is within your reach on the Thredbo to Kosciuszko walk
Mount Kosciuszko, the tallest mountain in Australia, rises to 2,228 metres tall, but you can reach the summit relatively easily, by committing to a 13km return walk.
Starting from Thredbo valley take the Kosciuszko Express chairlift, which will do most of the hard work by transporting you to a height of 1930 metres. Sit back and enjoy the views as you ascend the mountain.
The walk to the summit begins just beyond the Eagles Nest Restaurant and chairlift. The track is paved at first but before long it becomes an elevated mesh walkway. Due to the many thousands of people who visit each year, walkers are required to stay on the track to protect the alpine landscape.
Enjoy the open alpine landscape as you walk along the elevated mesh walkway
In mid-April, the scenery along the walk is typical of the Kosciuszko alpine landscape with open plains and water cascading down rocky streams. The vegetation is sparse at this time of year but comes alive with wildflowers during the summer months.
The first milestone of the walk is the Mt Kosciuszko lookout at the 2km mark. It is where many people stop to rest along the way and is also the turning around point for some. I was surprised that there weren't any informational signs at the lookout, pointing out the features of interest.
From this point, as the elevated walkway winds through the landscape, it passes over the Snowy River, alternating between inclines and declines. Some of the uphill sections require more energetic walking along the 6.5km, one-way trip.
If you're eagerly counting down the kilometres take careful notice along the sides of the walkway as there are some distance markers recorded.
At around the 4km mark, you may notice Lake Cootapatamba over to the left. It is one of five glacial lakes in the region and holds the distinction of being Australia's highest lake.
Check out Australia's highest lake, Lake Cootapatamba
At the 5.5km mark, you come to Rawson Pass where the track from Thredbo meets up with the track from Charlotte Pass. This spot does feature interesting interpretive signs about the Aboriginal heritage of the area. Learn about how Aboriginal people used the mountains and about Dyillagamberra, the local Rainmaker and Maliyan, the ancestral eagle. Walkers requiring a comfort stop will be pleased to learn there are toilets located here.
Almost there, only another 30 minutes to the summit.
From Rawson Pass, it is a steady climb of 1.67km to the summit. It takes around 30-40 minutes. From here, the track is loose gravel, fringed with grasses. Watch out for the spiky ball flowers (not their actual name) which can get stuck on your clothes or shoes and are difficult to remove.
It gets noticeably cooler on the final leg up to the summit which circumnavigates Kosciuszko.
The final push to the summit
At the summit, there is a trig marker signifying the highest point in Australia.
If it's as busy as the day we walked, there will be a long line-up of people waiting to get their summit selfies.
The 360-degree views are quite spectacular and you do feel a sense of achievement in making it to the highest point in Australia. Pull up a patch of grass or a rock and enjoy a rest break and something to eat if you've brought some snacks with you before you make the return trip back to the chairlift.
Pull up a patch of grass and enjoy the views
You'll need a rest & some snacks before your return walkl
The return walk from Thredbo to the Kosciuszko summit takes approximately 3 - 4 hours.
What to take: Hat, sunscreen, comfortable walking shoes, water, snacks, layers of clothing, camera
What not to take: hiking poles (we saw a lot of people carrying their poles on this walk as they are useless on the mesh platform)
While this track is open all year round it is generally snow-bound from June to October. National Parks advises that you can get to Mount Kosciuszko on cross-country skis or snowshoes during winter, however, there are no snow poles marking the route.
Mount Kosciuszko is located within the NSW Snowy Mountains in Kosciuszko National Park. Walkers are advised to check conditions before they set out.
For more information about park entry fees, click here.
For chairlift ticket pricing, click here.