The Tallest Mountain In Australia- Climbing Mount Kosciuszko
Deep in the snowy mountains of New South Wales lies the highest mountain in Australia. The famous Mount Kosciuszko! Climbing Mount Kosciuszko is usually on everyone hikers bucket list, if it wasn’t on yours it was definitely on ours. My daughter and I were very excited to tick this one off of our list of things to do when travelling around Australia.
Located just 30 kilometres west of Jindabyne is a small village called Thredbo. This highly popular village is bustling with locals and tourists all year round. We stayed at Jindabyne Discovery Park and it was sensational. A perfect location for our caravan and was right on the lake.
Whether you want to ski, mountain bike or walk the biggest mountain in Australia, it is open all year round. In this blog I am going to answer all questions related to walking to the top of Mount Kosciuszko.
See the bottom for interesting Mount Kosciuszko facts.
But first things first………
How Do You Pronounce Mount Kosciuszko?
How Do You Pronounce Kosciuszko? Well think of it like Mount ‘Cozyosko’ or Coz-ee-osk-o for a break down. Over my travels I have heard some odd and weird pronunciations of Kosciuszko so today you can learn it and save the embarrassing fix ups later. Knowing the Kosciuszko pronunciation helps when you are asking about the mountain as well.
Table of Contents
Where Is Mount Kosciuszko Located?
Mount Kosciuszko is located in the village of Thredbo, the village is well known for its skiiing and is only 152 kilometres from Canberra. It is also a hop, skip and a jump away from the local town of Jindabyne.
Tourists flock from all over New South Wales, Victoria and the ACT to ski and mountain bike in the Snowy Mountains but the main attraction is Thredbo and Mount Kosciuszko. The busiest season is during the months of April through to October. This is when pre-booking your caravan site or accommodation is a must. Even booking your walk is something to look into as the chairlift becomes flooded with avid tourists in search of the white stuff.
Distances From The Main Capital Cities
Sydney To Mount Koscioszko- 393 kilometres, 5 hours 20 minutes by car
Canberra To Mt Kosciuszko- 152 kilometres, 2 hours and 32 minutes by car
Melbourne To Mount Kosciuszko- 329 kilometres, 6 hours and 28 minutes by car
What To Expect On The Mt. Kosciuszko Summit
Let’s first dive deep into what to expect on the walk to the top of the Mt. Kosciuszko summit. Previous to walking this with my daughter who was seven at the time, I could find very little information about the walk. Taking my daughter on a long walk worried me and I scrounged around for more information but could not find it.
We have now completed the walk and I can now share the very best information with you.
1. The weather will change depending on which month you choose to go, you may experience all four seasons in a matter of four hours so please be prepared for the Mt Kosciuszko weather.
2. The walk is shorter than you expect and probably easier than you expect. There are some steady inclines and declines on the walk and only about ten stairs.
3. This one did surprise me but there is not much to look at when walking, no trees, limited plant life and I didn’t see any animals other than the odd crow.
How To Prepare For The Mt Kosciuszko Summit Walk
Preparing for the Kosciuszko mountain hike is important, especially when the weather conditions change very quickly.
When I went with my daughter, I wanted to be ‘extra’ prepared. I had never been to the snowy mountains and climbing Mt Kosciuszko scared the heeby-jeebies out of me.
But I realised after we had completed the Kosciuszko walk that I had over packed my back pack and had worried way too much on the little stuff.
My advice on how to prepare
- Check the weather before setting a date for your Kosciuszko hike. This way you can pack appropriately for that particular day and not for the entire year. If you see cloud also ask the staff at the Thredbo chairlift counter about the weather on the day.
- Ensure that all members of the party can walk the 13 kilometre round loop, which includes stairs and some steep inclines/declines. When I say steep I mean a two year old could walk this but they do stretch for more than a 400 metres and can become tiring on children’s legs.
- Ensure you have the right clothing (more on this later)
- Do the walk in your own pace. It’s not a race but an accomplishment.
Ensure You Check The Weather: Mt Kosciuszko
The biggest factor when taking on the Mount Kosciuszko summit walk is the weather. I have been harping on about this a lot but I have spoken to many families who arrived wearing the wrong clothing and have been turned away by the staff at the chairlift kiosk or could not complete the walk because they were freezing cold and turned back by choice.
The Kosciuszko weather will make you or break you if you are not prepared. The snowy mountains are not called the ‘snowy’ mountains for no reason.
Each person has a preference when they would like to walk the mountain. I decided that early March was good enough for us. We would have loved to have completed the walk with some snow but we weren’t in NSW for the winter and to be honest we weren’t prepared clothing wise for snowy weather.
Mount Kosciuszko Winter
Which brings me to my question- Does Mt Kosciuszko snow? Yes! Thredbo is a highly popular region for avid skiiers. This is also a popular time to walk to the top of the summit. The view from the top with the mountains covered in soft white snow is idyllic and many international tourists fly over just to complete this walk.
Mount Kosciuszko Spring
The months between September through to November is when the snow starts to melt and you can hear the constant sound of running water as you walk to the highest point in Australia. You will also see small waterfalls and running water over the rocks. This is beautiful to see and breaks up the walk. We sat by some running water to have lunch and that was in March.
This is also a popular time to see the Mt Kosciuszko flora and fauna light up the mountain. This time of year means that it will be in full bloom and you will be exposed to the beautiful side of the Kosciuszko national park weather in all it’s beautiful glory.
Mt. Kosciuszko Summer
Taking the hike during summer is a popular time to complete the summit. Not only is the weather perfect but it is also Australia’s longest school holiday. Which means that all locals come here to holiday and spend time away from their home town. With no cold or snow means that it becomes an easier walk for many tourists.
But be wary of the UV of the sun, being high up on the mountain, enhances the suns rays and you will burn quickly. My suggestion is to cover up with some sun care protection and light clothing.
Mount Kosciuszko Autumn
Between the months of March, April and May is Autumn and this is when my daughter and I walked the summit. We found the weather to be perfect and we only experienced the odd cooler breeze as we descended at about 1.00pm.
This time of year also leaves you open for a chance of rain, so we did pack rain ponchos as we were expecting rain in the afternoon so we tried to get back before the rain hit.
How Long Does It Take To Climb Mount Kosciuszko?
The magic question is how long does it take to climb Mount Kosciuszko? For the highest peak in Australia I think you will be surprised that it took my daughter and I only 3 hours there and back excluding the thredbo chair lift express and our 20 minute lunch stop.
I would put aside 4-5 hours out of your day for fit individuals. The chair lift takes 15 minutes one way.
Now we are both fit and we did stop a few times for photos and a toilet break at Raswons Pass. If you are familiar with exercise and go on regular long walks then this should be fairly easy. Although I won’t say that my knees were hurting a tad on the way down, because they were. The pressure of the steep-ish decline was putting some pressure on my knees but I am sure if we had slowed down our walk with more rests my knees would have been fine.
I still stand my ground and say that this walk is for everyone, slow and steady wins the race. I met a couple who were 84 and 86 years of age, they slowly walked to the top and made regular stops. Age is not a factor.
*** All information in this article is purely from my own experience. Please seek medical advice before taking on the Mt Kosciuszko walk.
What Is The Cost To Climb Mount Kosciuszko?
The Kosciuszko National Park Fees
The Kosciuszko National Park Entry fee can be paid daily or yearly. Both can be paid at the entry of the Mount Kosciuszko gate, online or at the visitor centre. We opted for a daily pass as we were not returning the next day. Prices include per car and is valid for 24 hours. The car can then enter the national park as many times during that 24 hour period.
You simply drive to the Mt Kosciuszko entry gate, pay your money with cash or card and you will receive a sticker for your car. You will then continue to drive through to Thredbo Village.
The Kosciuszko Express Chairlift Prices
Unfortunately to climb the highest mountain in NSW the experience doesn’t come cheap. If you want to take the Kosciuszko chairlift this will also add on an extra fee to take out those extra kilometres from the bottom.
The cost to take the chairlift is per adult and per child. I really wish there was a family pass as this is a fun experience as you can still take the chairlift without doing the walk.
The chairlift is a loop that leaves from the Thredbo Village to the start of the summit and brings you back to Thredbo village. It’s a great experience and the good thing is that once you have paid you can ride the chairlift as many times as you like. WITHOUT LINING UP!!!
What Should I bring On The Walk?
After climbing the highest mountain in Australia I can give you a list of items to bring. My advice is DON’T OVERPACK. I packed way too much water and food, plus too many pieces of clothing.
You really want to leave with a back pack as light as possible. The walk will be much more enjoyable with less things to carry.
Here is my list for things you need-
Water– 1 litre of water per person, more water during summer and less during the cooler months. If you have been on hikes before go with what you usually drink. Keep in mind there is only one toilet stop on the way. And no where to ‘hide’ on your way up.
Energy– Bring some food that gives you some energy. I took raspberries, bananas, sliced oranges and a salad wrap plus some lolly-pops to keep my daughter going in the tough times. We didn’t eat the oranges as the walk was less than three hours. Yes, I over packed on food and if my daughter didn’t come I could have left most of that food behind.
***Make the walk enjoyable- bring a nice picnic and enjoy the moment at the top. Soak it all in with a nice lunch. You can still keep it light but making it memorable is my biggest tip.
Clothing– this is going to depend on what time of the year you are taking the walk.
For summer you want light clothing, nothing too heavy or bulky. One light jumper to put on if it is getting cold towards the afternoon. Usually it only gets cold when the wind blows.
For Winter you most definitely want warm clothes, think beanie, scarf, even thermals.
For Autumn- Try for long pants and a thin jumper. The temperature does warm up when you start walking but the temperature cools very quickly when the wind starts to blow and the sun hides behind the clouds. Also grab a cheap plastic poncho from the Reject Shop, even if it does rain, you and your back pack won’t get wet plus you will only be out of budget $2.
For Spring- Spring can be a funny season, it can either be really warm or it can be really cold. Check the weather for Mt. Kosciuszko and use your best judgement. If there is a possibility of rain then take your poncho.
Shoes– Wear enclosed shoes with a sturdy sole. Or shoes that you feel most comfortable wearing and some comfy sweat absorbing socks in the summer. I wore my worn out joggers, my feet were starting to hurt towards the end as the metal pathway was wearing the soles of my crappy joggers down.
First Aid Kit– I didn’t bring one but if you feel like you want to carry a bandaid or a small kit then ensure it is light and small.
Camera- Of course you want your camera, I brought a DSLR, plus my GoPro and my Iphone. I didn’t use the GoPro.
Essentials (optionals)– Hat, sunscreen, scarf, beanie, lipbalm, toilet paper (there was toilet paper at Rawsons Pass),
When Is The Best Time Of Year To Do The Summit?
This will come down to each persons preference, I personally wanted to avoid the rain and snow but also to avoid the strong UV rays during the Summer. I chose March to walk the summit with my daughter and it was perfect timing.
Climbing Mt Kosciuszko in winter will have its pro’s like the snow fall on the mountains surrounding, which enhances the views 100 percent. This also has it’s cons which is the cold and the possibility of rainy days.
This question is most definitely a readers choice and I feel I cannot answer this for you. I know I really enjoyed my walk during the Autumn month of March and there was no rain and plenty of cloud yet spurts of warm sun.
Is It Safe To Walk With My Family?
Before leaving I researched a lot to try to find whether this was safe to walk with my seven year old daughter. I really didn’t want to take her on a walk and get lost. After the walk I can confidently say that this is safe to do with all members of the family.
The walkway is fully pathed with a metal grid 90 percent of the way, at about the 5 kilometre mark there are some stairs (only about 10) and then after this there is the last leg of the journey which is a gravel pathway leading to the top of the mountain.
The only thing stopping you from reaching the top is if someone can’t physically make the distance. If you feel you won’t be able to make the distance then I suggest walking to the first lookout and then turning back.
You will not and can not get lost.
Are There Any Toilets or Water Available on The Walk?
The big question!!! Let’s be honest we all need a toilet stop at some point and more so if it is in summer and the water consumption is higher. So yes there is a toilet stop at Rawsons Pass, the toilets are long drop but were clean and offered hand sanitiser instead of water.
Keep in mind that these toilets often are locked closed during the winter months.
There is no water on the Mt Kosciuszko summit walk, just after the Thredbo Chairlift you will see a water dispenser and this is the last and only water stop on your trip.
What If I Can't Make It? Can Someone Help Me?
The walk to Kosciuszko summit can be semi-steep in some places and can take over 5 hours for some people. If you get to a point where you cannot walk any longer you always have internet reception during your summit. A phone call to reception to the Thredbo chairlift will then alert the staff, where they will drive a four-wheel buggie to come and pick you up.
What If I Didn't Want To Take The Chairlift From Thredbo
If you wanted to enhance your walk and walk the full distance without taking the chairlift from Thredbo village then you can walk from Charlotte Pass to Mt Kosciuszko. This walk is 18 kilometres and is much more intense than the ‘summit walk’.
The reason for the chairlift is to wipe out the hardest and steepest climb of the mountain, if you choose to do Charlottes Pass please check out this information first to ensure you are prepared well.
How Far Is The Mt Kosciuszko Hike?
The Kosciuszko hike is the largest mountain in Australia but funnily enough it is only a 13 kilometre round loop. Which makes climbing the largest mountain in Australia very doable.
There are two options to climb the mountain- one is to take the Thredbo Chairlift which takes you up four kilometres of the hike and you will walk the following 13 kilometre return loop.
You can start from Charlottes Pass and walk the hard incline and the walk will be an 18 kilometre loop but with a lot more incline in those beginning 4 kilometres.
Can I camp on Mount Kosciuszko
How great would it be to camp among the wilderness of the Kosciuszko National Park camping. This can be done and can save you some money as well. By purchasing a kosciuszko national pass park visit, this gives you access for you to go mt Kosciuszko camping and stay for your walk.
Places to Camp With Your Caravan-
Island Bend Picnic and Camping Area- Great place to park stay and then explore the wonderful surrounds that the Mount Kosciuszko National Park has to offer.
Geehi Flats Campground– This place is FREE with only National Park prices that apply.
Thredbo Diggings– Another great place to stay with toilets on offer and internet reception is available for Telstra and other mobile.
What Should I Wear On The Mount Kosciuszko Walk?
What should I wear on the Mt Kosciuszko walk was a question on my mind before leaving. I didn’t want to be freezing cold so I packed a beanie, scarf and a puffer vest. Plus I wore lycra exercise pants with a singlet top and a thin jumper.
This was too much for March and I didn’t use the beanie, scarf and only the puffer vest for about 5 minutes.
If you are travelling in Winter you will need warm clothes and be prepared for the cold icey winds that are strong at the top of the mountain.
Visit The Jindabyne Op Shop-
After travelling around Australia chasing the sun, we really didn’t have any winter clothes. What we did do was visit the local second hand shop in Jindabyne. Both my daughter and I were able to pick up a beanie and scarf for $1 and we both chose some great quality puffer vests for $4. This way we didn’t blow the budget for the trip and we could donate these back to the second hand shop after our walk.
Things to remember-
You will warm up and you will start to undress quickly, probably in the first 500 metres if the sun is out and the winds are low.
In the afternoon is when the winds start to pick up and you will probably start to put on your jacket or jumper.
During Winter is when you will stay rugged up.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can I take a pram? Yes you can take a pram or stroller on the chairlift. Be mindful that you do want to take a stroller with larger wheels for easy pushing. Reviews from families that have taken a stroller is that it is hard and they struggled to push the pram up to the top but it was also helpful to carry their stuff.
Is The Walk Pathed On Mt. Kosciuszko? The walkway is a metal walkway platform that has small 2cm gaps, it is raised above the surface to protect the eco system.
Can I take a wheel chair On The Summit? No, there is one section that has a steep stair case at the 5 kilometre mark. Although if you had a team with you to help you up this staircase then yes this is possible. Although there is also a gravel pathway that a wheel chair could not access.
Are There Flies Climbing Mount Kosciuszko? Yes there are flies at certain times of the year. These flies only come out when the wind drops and are small sticky flies.
Can I Fly A Drone Climbing Mount Kosciuszko? No, drone flying is not allowed for recreational use in National Parks. For commercial use a certificate will be needed.
Is There Internet Reception On Mt Kosciuszko? Yes, you will be surprised to know that there is strong Telstra reception most of the way through-out the Mount Kosciuszko walk summit. Although you can download the Emergency Plus App.
5 Interesting Facts About Mount Kosciuszko
What Is Mount Kosciuszko height?
The highest mountain in Australia is Mount Kosciuszko which is 2,228 metres high. This also equates to the same as the elevation which is also 2,228 metres. When you enter your next quiz competition I hope you can remember the question ‘How tall is Mount Kosciuszko? 2,228 metres high!!!!!
What Is The Kosciuszko National Park History?
Paul Strzelecki was the first known person to climb the mountain in March of 1840, he then declared that the name of the mountain to be named after his homeland hero and freedom fighter Tadeusz Kosciuszko.
What Is The Aboriginal Name For Mount Kosciuszko?
While I would like to be able to give a clear answer on this question, I just can’t. This is still sitting in between the two parties and both are fighting for dual names for the mountain. But one of the aborignal names for Mount Kosciuszko is ‘Kunama Namadgi’
What Does Kosciuszko Mean?
The meaning; One who loves and defends his or her country. Soldier.
What Do The Locals Call Mt. Kosciuszko?
If you have been to Australia or if you live here then you will know right away that we all like to shorten just about everything. Our petrol station becomes- servo. The Bottler Shop becomes- bottlo and in true Aussie style Mount Kosciuszko became ‘Kozzy’
I hope you enjoyed reading the blog and I hope this helped you with your travels. Climbing Mount Kosciuszko is not a race but a majestic journey to walk and embrace (plus tick off your bucket list)
If you have anything to add to this blog post I would love to hear from you and include any tips or tricks that I can add. Drop them in the comments below.