Back in 2012 I was preparing myself to head back to work after being on maternity leave. Harry was almost 15 months old and I wanted to squeeze in a short holiday before my return. I wanted to go somewhere I hadn’t been before and somewhere that wasn’t more than 2 1/2 hours by plane away. Harry was still happy to be carried in the back pack carrier so I also thought it would be a good opportunity to do some walks that I wouldn’t be able to do again until Harry was quite a bit older. So I chose the Snowy Mountains and Kosciuszko National Park.
Our flight to Canberra was a bit of an event as we had to go via Sydney. Harry was cranky when we boarded the plane on the Gold Coast. Not long after take off, a lovely Virgin crew member swooped past and asked if they could take Harry for a little tour of the plane? Sure! Be our guest. A few moments later though, I looked at Chris and said “We have just let a complete stranger take our child”. But it was a crew member, and we were on a locked plane 30,000 feet in the air so it wasn’t as if he was going to go far. I turned around and saw the crew member showing Harry around the galley and him looking very interested. It may have only been a 10 minute reprieve from our grumpy little man but it was very much appreciated! By the time we boarded the ‘Canberra connect’ flight in Sydney Harry had lost the plot. He was cranky and let all the Canberra bound bureaucrats on board know it. I have never been on a flight before where there was only one child but here we were. And it was us. Thankfully the Virgin crew and fellow passengers tolerated us and we made it to Canberra Airport with our sanity somehow intact.
We collected our bags and hire car and hit the road. First stop was lunch in the town of Cooma on the way up to the Snowy Mountains followed by a stretch of the legs at the Mount Gladstone Lookout just on the outskirts of town.
Then it was back into the car to drive the rest of the way to what would be our base for the next four nights, Lhotsky apartments in Thredbo. We spent the afternoon exploring the village of Thredbo before having a delicious dinner at the Black Bear Inn. Then it was time for an early night. The next day we would take on Mount Kosciuszko, Australia’s highest mountain.
The morning dawned sunny but there were a few dark clouds hovering over the range. We walked down along the Thredbo River to the Chairlift. After strapping Harry to Chris with his child harness (I was not taking any chances!) we began our ascent. Up and up we went. The 15 minute ride took us up and over the grassy green slope and towards the granite tors near Eagles Nest. The easy part was over. We got off the chairlift, I adjusted Harry into the backpack carrier we began our walk to the top of Australia.
The walk takes us past the rocky outcrops of Ramshead Range and across the headwaters of the Snowy River. The track is mostly on a raised metal platform to protect the fragile vegetation beneath and is a fairly easy grade. As we walk higher we pass the glacial Lake Cootapatamba and then reach Rawsons Pass. There are toilet facilities here and you can either keep going up Mount Kosciuszko or turn and take the track to Charlottes Pass.
The metal walkway ends at Rawsons Pass and the final and steepest ascent of the walk begins up to the summit. We spend a good hour or so having lunch on top of Australia and watching the vast landscape of the Snowy Mountains change under the varying light conditions. Sunny for a while, then big clouds would roll over, then sunny again.
The return walk was just as interesting as the walk up. This alpine country really is very beautiful and peaceful. Mountains upon mountains, creeks, bogs and gorgeous rock formations mean there is always something to look at.
Writing this blog post now, over 2 years after doing the walk I remember sitting down outside of our apartment late that afternoon watching the sunset. I recall looking up towards Eagles Nest and the start of the Kosciuszko track and not feeling like I had ticked a walk off my bucket list, but that this walk had somehow changed me, left an imprint on me. I loved the openness and vastness of this walk. Those 6 hours spent walking and sitting and being so close to the sky made me feel small in its largeness yet wonderfully connected to the land and earth I was walking on at the same time. I love that wondrous feeling that only hiking in nature can give me.
*I should note that we did this trip in April 2012. Four days after we left snow fell on the Mountain. Always check the weather, plan ahead and make sure you have warm clothes and rain protection before setting out as the weather can change quickly up in the Alpine country.
At a Glance
Mount Kosciuszko Summit Walk 13kms return from the top of the Thredbo Chairlift. http://www.nationalparks.nsw.gov.au/things-to-do/walking-tracks/kosciuszko-walk-thredbo-to-mount-kosciuszko
Mount Gladstone Lookout 3.5 kms west of Cooma on Snowy Mountains Hwy. http://visitcooma.com.au/attractions/mt-gladstone/
Black Bear Inn 30 Diggings Terrace Thredbo Alpine Village
Lhotsky Apartments Thredbo Village 212 kms from Canberra 2hrs 35 mins. Ask about the special out of season rates. https://www.lanternapartments.com.au/thredbo-apartments/lhotsky-apartments/?gclid=CP-5m-n0zccCFQaXvQodOR0Itg