The rooftop of Australia
The Kosciuszko area of the Australian Alps contains the highest peaks of mainland Australia and is one of the better known and most spectacular parts of the Australian Alps. Encompassing much of the Kosciuszko National Park, the region boasts well-developed attractions and features.
Entry to the Kosciuszko area, including the alpine area and most of the NSW ski fields, is via the Kosciuszko Road and Alpine Way from the east, or the Alpine Way or Khancoban to Cabramurra Road from the west (summer only). You can drive to Thredbo Village, Smiggin Holes, Perisher and Guthega year-round and extend this to Charlotte’s Pass in non-winter periods. The Kosciuszko Alpine Way, with its numerous wayside stops, is the most popular route for those passing through the region.
The Australian Alps Walking Track
You can join the Australian Alps Walking Track (AAWT) at several locations within the region. The AAWT can be easily accessed at Dead Horse Gap, on the Kosciuszko Walk, at Guthega and at Munyang Power Station.
The long-distance Australian Alps Walking Track stretches from Walhalla at the southern end of the Australian Alps and passes through Kosciuszko National Park on its way to the outskirts of Canberra in the Australian Capital Territory.
For those looking for transport and advice about joining the Australian Alps Walking Track in the Kosciuszko area, charter transport is available from Corryong or Khancoban.
Walks in the Kosciuszko and Jindabyne region
Wild Walks has detailed walk information on over 50 walks in the Kosciuszko region with images, topographical maps, elevation details and track notes.
Some great walks of the Kosciuszko region include:
- Kosciuszko Walk – Thredbo to Mt Kosciuszko (13 km return)
- Main Range Track (13 km)
- Porcupine Walk (5km)
- Summit Walk – Charlotte’s Pass to Mount Kosciuszko (18km return)
- Dead Horse Gap Track (5km)
- Thredbo River Track (4km)
- Bullock’s Track – via Bullock’s hut (4.5km)
VisitNSW.com has put together an itinerary for the Kosciuszko Alpine way. This fantastic route takes in some of Australia’s best alpine driving.
The NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service has some information on touring and 4WD trips throughout the region. You should check this site prior to any trip for up to date information on road closures and bushfires.
Australia’s highest mainland peak, Mt Kosciuszko, is a major drawcard for visitors to the region.
Hiking to Kosciuszko’s peak at 2228 metres is one of the most inspiring single-day walks in the country. During summer, the summit can be reached from two starting points – the top of the chairlift at Thredbo or from the snow gums at Charlotte Pass. Both routes are equally scenic, traversing glacial lakes with breathtaking views of the valley and ranges that make up one of the world’s most dramatic ecosystems. Total vertical ascent is over 600 metres but well within the abilities of the average walker.
From the Snow Gums Boardwalk at Charlotte’s Pass, you will see many of Australia’s highest peaks with superb views of the Main Range. The walk traverses sub-alpine woodland on the Guthrie Range and signs identify the visible peaks. Mount Kosciuszko is visible from the first lookout.
The Kosciuszko region has some of Australia’s best-known ski resorts with thousands flocking each winter to Thredbo, Perisher and Charlotte Pass resorts. If you have never been before, visit snowymountains.com.au for a great checklist of things to think about before the trip.
Camping is a great activity within the Kosciuszko region with many sites along the Kosciuszko Alpine Way, such as:
A number of caravan parks and other accommodation in nearby towns are also available.
A variety of licensed operators can help you explore the Kosciuszko region, through walking, mountain biking, rafting, fly-fishing and winter trips into the back country.
Mountain biking and cycling
The Kosciuszko and Jindabyne region is rapidly becoming appreciated for the variety and extent of mountain biking and cycling opportunities. There are numerous cycling routes within the Kosciuszko National Park.
Downhill and cross-country mountain biking is incredibly popular in Thredbo – the location of several National Championship and National series events. Summer tourist activity in the picturesque alpine village is beginning to rival the winter as mountain biking becomes more popular.
The legendary Cannonball Run is one of Australia’s longest downhill courses at 4.2 kms. Catch your breath on the scenic chairlift ride back to the top, then do it all over again! Great cross-country loops include the Bridle Trail loop and the Golf Course loop. Make sure you stop over in Jindabyne on your way home too – there are new trails being developed all the time. Jindabyne was also the site for the 2002 international Red Bull Rampage downhill competition.
Road cycling is quite popular along mountain roads such as the Alpine Way, Kosciuszko Road and Snowy Mountains Highway – hit the climbs and you can pretend you are in the Tour de France!
Off-road touring opportunities abound along management trails within the park – explore for hundreds of kilometres in peace and safety, as these trails are closed to public vehicles.
The Cascade Fire Trail, starting near Dead Horse Gap is a popular mountain bike route enabling riders to reach Cascade Hut (18 km return). Also popular is Summit Road along the old Kosciuszko Rd from Charlotte Pass to Rawson Pass (followed by a short walk up to the summit of Mt Kosciuszko) – 16 km return.
A good place to start when planning a horse riding expedition into this region is the NSW National Parks site. If you’d like to hook up with an organised tour, snowymountains.com.au has a list of operators to try.