Have you ever thought of doing something and have waited a very long time to actually do it? Well, Mount Kosciuszko was that “something” for me. I waited for a really long time to actually hike this spectacular mountain. I asked all my friends, acquaintances and everyone I knew in Sydney – everyone (well most of them) said “Yes, let’s do it!” But nothing materialized and this bucket list item was always on the back-seat.
Before I dive further down into my story, let me give some information about Mount Kosciuszko.
About Mount Kosciuszko
Mount Kosciuszko is a mountain in the Main Range of the Snowy mountains. It is the highest mountain in the mainland of Australia and it stands at a height of 2,228 meters or 7,310 feet.
The mountain was named by a Polish explorer Pawel Edmund Strzelecki in honour of Polish-Lithuanian freedom fighter General Tadeusz Koscuiszko.
How to get to Kosciuszko National Park?
- By Car: Best and easiest way to get to Kosciuszko National Park is by driving. The distance between Sydney and the other places are:
- Sydney to Jindabyne: approximately 470 kilometres (4.5 hours drive).
- Jindabyne to Charlotte Pass (Kosciuszko National Park): approximately 50 kilometres.
- National park fee: Kosciuszko Park fees is AUD 29 per car which is paid at the entrance of the park.
- There are parking spots available at Charlotte Pass.
- Public transport: The public transport to Jindabyne is a little complicated.
- One needs to take a train to Canberra train station from Central in Sydney. ‘
- And then catch two buses:
- One to Canberra civic bus stop from Canberra train station.
- Second to Jindabyne from Canberra civic bus stop.
- For up-to-date information on public transport, refer the Transport for New South Wales (NSW) website.
- Unfortunately, there is no public transport very close to the national park. Car is the best mode of transport to the national park.
How did my dream come true?
One fine day, I received a text message from my friend, who asked me if I was interested in joining him and his friends for a trip to Mount Kosciuszko. Without thinking much, I said “Yes” (this time). It was on the first weekend of March that year. I was supposed to go to Brisbane (my flight tickets were already booked and they were non refundable) but I still voted for Mount Kosciuszko.
At the end of the discussions and getting more people into the trip, 10 of us decided to bank on this beautiful journey together.
Another friend and I hired a self driven car from Hertz Australia. Three other friends were joining us in this car (which we adorably referred to as Car 2). The rest of them (including the friend who asked me about this trip) was in Car 1 which was driven by a group member.
We all knew it was a challenging weekend. The plan was that after work on a Friday evening, we would drive around 450 kilometres to a town called Jindabyne. The next day (Saturday) start out early and hike the summit and return. And then drive back to Sydney on Sunday. A total drive of approximately 900 kilometres and 22 kilometres of hike over a weekend. We all were up for the challenge.
Tip: If you are planning for a long hike, make sure you take a day off either on a Monday or on a Friday or do it over a long weekend. Three days is a must to be comfortable.
The Weather God had other plans for us. Sydney weather turned all gloomy and cloudy and was against us. It started to rain and pour. There was a storm. I think that could have qualified to be a cyclone. It was constantly pouring without stopping even for a minute the entire day. After the delays, driving through the gushing wind and rain and the stopovers for dinner and coffee, we reached Jindabyne at 1:30 AM (Saturday).
Tip: If you have such challenging plans, make sure you start from Sydney on time, at least by 4 PM.
We had hired a property through Airbnb for 10 people. The property had 3 bedrooms and 2 bathrooms. Due to some miscommunication and for arriving late, we had to sleep in the attic. I was not comfortable. It was cold and I did not sleep the entire night.
Tip: If you are booking a property through Airbnb, ensure the whole group has proper sleeping arrangements.
Of course I was grumpy and irritated in the morning. The weather was gloomy and bad. It was still pouring heavily. One by one, at a slow pace we got ready to leave for the Summit walk.
We decided to head to the visitor centre and inquire if we could do still the walk because of the weather conditions. The verdict was that we do some other easy walk in the Kosciuszko National Park. We ended up doing the Waterfall track (refer Appendix section of this post to know the details of the Waterfall track).
Tip: If it is raining heavily, it is advisable not to do the walk to the Summit.
In the evening, we all decided to chill out and socialize with other group members. Another group member prepared delicious roasted chicken. After a lot of drinks, food and dance, we called it a night.
We started early at around 7 AM to the Kosciuszko National Park, as we had to finish the hike and drive back to Sydney on the same very day. The starting point for the hike to the Summit walk is the Charlotte Pass. There are toilet facilities available at Charlotte Pass.
Note: There are many paths that leads us to the Summit, and it depends on how many kilometres one want to hike.
We took the 18 kilometres Summit walk.
The path is well defined and has a long stretch of road. And honestly apart from the distance, I did not find the walk hard.
The path to the Summit offers eye-catching and picturesque views of the valleys. I had never seen the Snowy mountains (Mount Kosciuszko and other mountains around get snow during winters and we call them the Snowy mountains) without snow.
The first milestone is the Snowy River.
The second milestone is the Seaman’s hut. The hut is built to provide emergency shelter to the users of the national park.
The third milestone is the Rawson Pass. This is the pass that connects the mountain from the Charlotte Pass to Mount Kosciuszko.
The fourth and the last milestone is the Summit itself.
I was on top of the World, just kidding! On top of Australia 🙂
Ensure to carry sufficient water and food as there are no cafes at Charlotte Pass or throughout the walk.
I even got a certificate for my achievement from the visitor centre, which is now stopped. They do not give any certificates.
After our hike, we drove back to Sydney.
Logistics of Summit Walk from Charlotte Pass
- Distance: 18 kilometres; there are many ways to go to the Summit, the first time I visited the Summit I took the fire trail.
- Grade: Medium to Hard (Hard only because of the distance to cover in a single day).
- Time taken: 8 hours.
- Path: Charlotte Pass – Snowy River- Seaman’s Hut – Rawson Pass – Summit.
- Type of walk: Return.
I was overwhelmed with emotions. I wanted to do this walk for such a long time and I finally had done it. What I felt can hardly be described with words. It was an achievement for me – at least a stepping stone to conquer all the summits (at least 6 of them which are achievable and a base camp). It has been a few years since I have been back from this wonderful memorable trip, but I can still feel it fresh in my memory.
I would like to end this post by stating one of the quotes by an unknown:
It’s not the mountain we conquer: but ourselves!
And I have to admit that I have fallen in love with Mount Kosciuszko. It is so very pretty and breathtakingly beautiful.
Appendix – Waterfall track
A relaxed easy walk in the Kosciuszko national park is the Waterfall track. It explores the upper section of the Swapit creek. It is great for bush walking and sometimes bird watching.
- Starting and ending point: Sawpit Creek picnic area.
- Type of walk: return.
- Distance: 6 kilometres.
- Time taken: 2 hours.
- Grade: Easy.
- Path: Sawpit Creek picnic area – Kosciuszko road.