Building where you catch the ski lift
Building where you leave the ski lift
The Mount Kosciuszko Summit Walk from Thredbo village is one of two main options to summit Australia’s highest mountain. So why then would you choose this option over the summiting option from the nearby Charlotte Pass trailhead?
In talking about this walk I need to start with the parking situation. Parking is limited throughout the village with the main parking area being not long after you enter the village – parking is either along the road or off the side in an all day parking area. There are a number of two hour parking areas and private car parks throughout the village but you risk a fine if you choose the wrong location. Once you have parked your car head to the ski lift building which also contains a couple of cafe and food options if you’re feeling peckish. Once inside purchase a lift ticket which in early 2021 cost $45 per day for an adult. This is one of two downsides to this walk.
The other downside is that the ski lift opens at 9:00am. On the day I did this walk there were 80 km per hour wind gusts at the top of the chairlift which closed down the lift operation and I ended up starting the walk two hours later than planned. This is the other disadvantage of walking from Thredbo.
Once the wind died down it was around a 15 minute ride to the top of the chairlift at Eagles Nest. If you need a last minute toilet break this is a good opportunity. From a navigation perspective this trail is about as easy as it gets. Apart from signage that is easy to follow the trail for most part is on metal mesh walkway. The walk is mainly a steady uphill ascent with the occasional few steepish sections. Probably the hardest section is the final ascent from Rawson Pass to the summit itself. On the day I did this walk it was a Friday and there the smallest number of people I have ever seen at the summit, and that’s rare. Try this walk on the weekend and it will be very busy.
Overall this walk will take between 3-6 hours depending on the speed you travel and the amount of time you spend at the summit. The return trip is back the way you came from Mount Kosciuszko to Thredbo.
Those familiar with the Australian Alps will know that the temperature can vary. The UV rating is often very high and the winds can be very strong which can drop the temperature quite dramatically (see the image below of the apparent temperature).
The thing to know is that this is the main trail to the summit of Mount Kosciuszko and there are a number of reasons for that. Firstly this trail is 6km shorter than the alternative walk from Charlotte Pass. Secondly the views on the way to and from the summit are unique. Secondly this trail is much more scenic than the management road alternative from Charlotte Pass. You are walking through a valley most of the way up and it just has that special feel about it.
Apart from the spectacular views, the wildflowers are well worth the visit. While early summer is a better time from this aspect, there always seems something of interest year round.
Close up of chairlift
Wind delaying the chairlift. On the day I did this walk there was a two hour wait
Mountain bikers below
Approaching Eagles Nest
Top of chair lift
Signage at the start of the walk
Trails that start here
And off we go
Trail directional signage for this walk and others
Trail tread for much of the trail
Alternate trail signage
Approaching the lookout part way to the summit
At the lookout
Trail work with new trail going in
Lake Cootapatamba Lookout
Panoramic view on the Kosciuszko summit walk
Information signage along the trail at Rawson Pass
Rawson Pass sign
Australia’s highest toilets
Trail signage to the summit or take the detour onto the Main Range Walk
View on the final ascent
Views on the way up
Tim at the summit. His squashed hat is a result of the high winds on this day
Views to the distance from the summit
Paper Daisies on the side of the trail
Returning to Eagles Nest
Chairlift on the way down
Still heading down the chair lift
This short video contains photos and video from our walk to show you the walk from start to finish
Travel to Jindabyne via Cooma and head towards Thredbo village. There is a park entry fee which you can pay for as other a day or annual pass either at the visitor centre in Jindabyne or at the toll gates on nearing the park. The skilift starts operating at 9:00am but the operation can be impacted by high winds.
Make sure you only park in designated parking areas or you run the risk of a fine
Signage approaching the turnoff
Turnoff sign 2
Turnoff sign 3
Park entry. You will need to pay an entry fee. It can be a single day fee or an annual pass
Approaching Thredbo turnoff
Cars parked along the road
Walking to the chairlift
This walk was undertaken by the team from Australian Hiker