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Kosciuszko National Park...
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In winter, this hike is graded as a grade 5 hike and should only be undertaken by those experienced in wilderness navigation and snow camping.
It is very convenient that all eleven of Australia's Eleven Highest Peaks are located within the Kosciuszko National Park and all the summits are within twelve kilometers of each other (at least as the Crow flies).
The forty six (approximate) kilometre route will take 3-4 days to complete if you average about 6 hours hiking per day.
The trail generally follows the Main Range Track and Summit Road, both popular Alpine walks in their own right. The actual summiting of many of the peaks requires detours from defined walking trails and instead cross-country hiking along unmarked or non-existent trails. However only basic map to ground navigation is required to summit each peak. Poor weather could makes things a little more challenging, so it would be wise to ensure some members of your party have more advanced navigational skills.
I would recommend commencing this hike at Charlotte Pass, where you can leave your vehicle, and hiking in an anti-clockwise direction.
If you are planning on undertaking this as a three day hike I would recommend camping in the following locations. Please also refer to the map below.
- Day 1 (19.2km): Camp on the saddle between Mount Northcote and Muellers Peak. There is a reliable water source in the valley to the north of this saddle. This location can get windy so be sure to pitch your tent where you will be most sheltered from the wind. (marked with red dot on map below)
- Day 2 (14.3km). On the plateau to the northern side of North Rams Head. This is a large flat area with a shallow creek and provides rewarding sunset viewing as the light falls onto North Rams Head. (marked with red dot on map below)
- Day 3 (13.3km). Return to Charlotte Pass
Peak Profiles (in summit order)
- Mount Twynam: 2195m
- Watsons Crags: 2136m
- Carruthers Peak: 2145m
- Mount Northcote: 2131m
- Alice Rawson Peak: 2160m
- Mount Townsend: 2209m
- Abbott Peak: 2145m
- Mount Kosciuszko: 2228m
- Ethridge Ridge 2180m
- Rams Head North: 2177m
- Rams Head: 2190m
Maps and Weather
The hike is all above the tree line and does not offer much protection from the elements. Check current conditions with the Bureau of Meteorology
Purchase a current topographical map online from SV Maps
About the region
Kosciuszko National Park spoils you with snow sports, walks and mountain biking in the Snowy Mountains. Go camping, explore caves, climb Australia's highest mountain, or stay in heritage accommodation. There are 7 areas in this park:
1. Thredbo-Perisher area is your gateway to Mount Kosciuszko. Find NSW's favourite ski resorts, top alpine hikes, mountain bike trails, and endless adventures in the Snowy Mountains.
2. The Lower Snowy River area embraces the wild south of Kosciuszko National Park. Camp by the Snowy River and explore the scenic trails on a walk, bike or horse ride.
3. Khancoban area is the western gateway to Kosciuszko National Park. Discover Geehi and Tom Groggin's camp spots, fishing, and riding. Marvel at the Western Fall views or explore huts and hikes in the Jagungal Wilderness.
4. The Selwyn area is your perfect base to explore the walks, rides, and top fishing spots of central Kosciuszko National Park. Selwyn Snow Resort and historic Kiandra are closed due to severe fire damage.
5. The Yarrangobilly area is a highlight of northern Kosciuszko National Park. Explore jaw-dropping caves on a guided tour and swim in the thermal pool. Stay at historic Caves House and enjoy the walks and wildlife.
6. The Tumut area is your launch pad into northern Kosciuszko National Park. Discover water sports and wildlife at Blowering Reservoir. Camp and explore hidden walks and waterfalls in the foothills of the Snowy Mountains.
7. The High Plains area spoils you with summer walks, horse rides and bike trails to mountain huts, caves, and gorges. Camp, stay in Currango's heritage cottages, and discover Kosciuszko's wild north-east corner.
The hike can begin at either Charlotte Pass or Thredbo, although starting from Charlotte Pass means the entire journey can be completed in a round-trip with the last day walking entirely downhill, while beginning from Thredbo means the last day will invariably be spent walking uphill. We therefore chose to begin our journey from Charlotte Pass and after having carried four days of food, wet-weather gear, sleeping bags, stoves, tents etc (as well as a few Easter eggs to celebrate Easter) the downhill journey on the last day was certainly much appreciated.
6 hours from Sydney
3 hours from Canberra
7 hours from Melbourne
Max elevation: 2215 m
Min elevation: 1722 m
Total climbing: 1966 m
Total descent: -1966 m