I once read a story of a mountain climber who set out to bag the highest peaks on the five continents. He chose Kosciuszko first but never made it. Foul weather ate up all his time and he had to return years later to complete the task. It’s just a reminder that not all days are as benign as the one we were having. Skiers who’ve experienced Thredbo on windy days can attest to that!
We utilized the excellent toilet block at the intersection. It was a surprise to us that there was one there. Then we moved on, past the Main Range Trail and up the last 800 metres to the top. Judging by the amount of people here on this day, we must have been some of the last Australians to perform this feat.
Fondest memory: It’s a wonderful feeling to sit atop and know that there’s nothing for a few thousand kilometres that’s any higher. We shouted ourselves our pre-packed lunch and chilled out for 20 minutes, soaking up the atmosphere and sipping our cordial.
On the way back we took more note of the delicate flowers, pondering how hardy any plant would have to be to survive up here. We were amazed to learn of the threat posed by bogong moths who inhabit fields far away, that have had poison spread on them, then they fly all the way up here to die and leave an arsenic trail that kills the alpine vegetation.
The summer meadows are a windblown treat for the eye however and all too soon we found ourselves back at the chairlift where we paused for afternoon tea in the Eagle’s Nest, a favourite haunt for skiers in season though the only bird we got close to was the pipit (pic 5).
Fondest memory: We were distracted from its expansive views from time to time by mountain bikers (pic 4) alighting from the lift. What a great was to spend a day but, sadly, ours was nearly finished but, at least I’d ticked another box.
They came with poles, they came with backpacks, they mostly came with hats, they came with beanies, they came with scarves, they wore parkas, they wore board shots, the older and wiser ones wore long sleeves and they brought their lunch. Some made it, some didn’t; some were to be found laying on the side of the trail; it was like a pilgrimage route to the mount; who would be anointed, who would miss out? What miracles might occur before the small pile of stones on the summit?
For me, the miracle was that so many people were trying to get there. From the sleeping babies (did they really care) in prams, to the elderly (heavens, we were numbered among them), to the loving couples, to the foreign travellers, they came in all shapes and sizes.
We chose the easy route; first riding up the chairlift to Crackenback and then commencing the walk. It still left us 6.5kms to the summit, invisible over the horizon for the next few kms.
I always used to have a bit of a spit about the national park entry fee but I whinge no longer. This walk has been laid for most of its length with steel mesh boardwalk which is superb to walk on. Drifting over the alpine flora in the cool winds of the mountains surrounded by an almost cloudless sky meant we were probably in one of the best places in Australia on New Years Eve. We were walking to Mount Kosciuszko, the correct spelling of which Microsoft haven’t caught up with yet (it was changed in 1997).
We were passed or passed others continually; one of our party kept taking photos which slowed us down a little. The undulating trail meant the drink bottles came in handy but we passed the 2km point where the lookout was situated and didn’t even pause.
For novices it’s hard to tell just which overgrown hill is Kosciuszko. It’s only the trail that gives it away after you reach the point where it intersects with the Charlotte Pass Trail, a 9km easy gradient hike from the resort of the same name.
From here you can see the Main Range Trail and the one leading to the mount, readily identified by the number of bodies walking there.
Thredbo = ski ski ski. There are runs for all, green and bunny slopes for beginners over blue runs to black runs which are challenging enough unless you're a ski maniac.
The Crackenback Supertrail is good for carving and warming up.