[vc_row][vc_column][vc_column_text]It’s high fives all round as you look out over the Great Dividing Range that splits Australia’s largest national park in two. Below you, weathered snow gums and alpine wildflowers cover the vast expanse like a patchwork quilt.
The little legs that began to tire half way up the mountain are now skipping around with the sudden burst of energy that only a true sense of accomplishment can induce.
After a long ascent, you finally catch your breath only to have it taken away again by the panoramic views from the top of Australia’s tallest mountain.
Australia’s highest point, Mt Kosciuszko stands at 2,228 meters (7,310 ft) above sea level.
It’s located in the 673,524-hectare Kosciuszko National Park, the largest National Park in Australia.
The first person to summit Australia’s highest mountain was a Polish explorer named Count Pawel Edmund Strzelecki in 1840. He named the mountain in honour of Polish hero General Tadeusz Kosciuszko.
Climbing to the Summit
The walk to the summit of Mt Kosciuszko is one every Australian should do. But before you take one look at your kids and palm this off into the ‘too hard’ basket, you should know that hundreds of nature-lovers and amateur hikers alike take on the summit every day. Requiring no previous mountaineering experience, conquering Australia’s highest peak is far more achievable than you might think.
Because of its popularity, the track is impeccably maintained. To conserve the ecology of the area and minimise degradation, most of the track is on a raised metal grid, making it extremely easy to navigate. On the walk, you’ll pass historic alpine huts, craggy rock formations and blooming alpine wildflowers.
The Long Option
Beginning in Charlotte Pass, a round trip to the summit takes around 6-8 hours. The 18km round trip follows the Old Kosciuszko Road to Rawsons Pass. From there, it’s a short walk up the footpath to the peak.
The Shorter Option
The 13km round trip from Thredbo takes 4-5 hours. You can take the Kosciusko Express Chair Lift to Eagles Nest and follow the boardwalk from there. A family lift pass (2 adults + 2 kids) will set you back $72 and operates in summer between 8:30am-5pm.
The Shortest Option
If your kids aren’t quite up to hiking to the top or if the weather is not in your favour, the 4km track to The Lookout is a great option. You’ll still get outstanding views of the vast mountain ranges.
Good to know
The best time to do the walk is between December and March when the alpine wildflowers bloom. During winter, the track is snowbound and not suitable for little legs.
There is a National Park entry fee of $17 per vehicle per day ($29 between June and October).
Making the climb with a pram is challenging but achievable as there are a few clusters of stairs that require two people to navigate.
You’ll need to pack enough water for the day, sunscreen, snacks (a.k.a. bribes to get the kids through the final stretch), clothes for all weather conditions, and appropriate walking shoes.
Be prepared for unpredictable weather. Even if it’s steaming hot in the middle of January, be sure to pack a few extra layers just in case the weather takes a turn for the worse.
Whenever you head out for a hike, be sure to tell someone where you’re going.
I was blessed with parents who really saw the value in travel. After our first family trip abroad to Thailand, I became obsessed. I was hungry for anything new and different. I yearned to be in the middle of a city on the other side of the world with a suitcase in one hand and google maps in the other, stumbling around trying to figure out where I was going; literally and spiritually.