To those, and there are many, who say that the Kosciuszko Summit walk is more more of a stroll than a hike – I say, you may have a point. But to those who call it boring – I say, no way.
We started out early because we’re staying in Thredbo which is an hour’s drive from our trailhead in Charlotte’s Pass. Now it is possible to go up Mount Kosciuszko from Thredbo but there were two problems with that idea. The first is that it makes for a shorter walk then we wanted. The second is that it involves catching a chair-lift; and chair-lifts rank very high up my list of of things I really don’t enjoy.
So it was a nice drive around the Mountain to Charlotte’s Pass and we were on the trail by 8am. And the great thing was that the early start meant there was almost no one else around which made for a gloriously peaceful walk.
The Summit Trail is the old access road to the top – so it is a well-maintained dirt road and easily graded the whole way. You gain 450m over the 9km walk which is pretty easy going.
The walk starts amongst twisted alpine gums which soon give way to high-plain grasses dotted with wild-flowers and interrupted by huge rounded boulders. The Snowy River runs down the valley, but at this height it’s little more than a creek in spite of all the rain we’ve had recently.
There are great views of the surrounding hills, the valleys and the track wending away into the distance. But the one thing you can’t see is Mount Kosciuszko. While Kosciuszko is Australia’s highest point it’s not very high and it’s surrounded by equally not-very-high points. Fun fact: Mount Kosciuszko was originally called something else and it’s neighbour, which they thought was the highest mountain, was called Mount Kosciuszko. When they realised their mistake they swapped the names.
We made good time up the track and only saw a couple of other walkers. Seaman’s Hut makes or a nice stopping point but it was pretty easy to choose a random boulder to take a rest against. We amused ourselves with trying to guess if we could see Kosciuszko yet and with counting ravens. The last few kilometres to the summit are populated with hundreds of ravens. At one point we looked out over a field of boulders stretching down the valley into the distance and realised eery second boulder had a raven sitting on top of it.
We got to the summit mid-morning. In contrast to warnings we had read, there was no one else there. The views are fabulous, perhaps especially with the lowering clouds providing depth. The summit was a great spot for morning tea. In fact it would have been perfect if it weren’t for the clouds of flies and midges. There were moments when you could hear nothing but a deep silence and then the buzzing of flies would come back in force.
As we started our descent we realised we’d been lucky to start out so early. The track coming in from the Thredbo chair-lift was filled with people heading our way; half an hour later and the summit would have been crowded with people.
The walk back down demonstrated why gravity is your friend and we managed to make it back to the car before the rain front came in. All-in-all a fabulous walk.