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Chasing Slow – Part 18: Australia’s Highest Mountain

Hiking up the highest mountain in Australia

We hiked up the highest mountain in Australia! ..but, not as planned.

Exploring the Australian Alps wouldn’t be complete without making our way to the Mount Kosciuszko Summit, the highest mountain in Australia.

We left Mount Buffalo and headed to a campground near Thredbo, where we had the intention of driving up to Eagles Nest and hiking from there to the Kosciuszko Summit and back, but we underestimated how big and steep the mountain roads were, among other things.

Shortly after making our way onto the Great Alpine Road, about a 1.5 hour drive shy of the campground, the car overheated and we hadn’t even got into the super steep sections yet, so we let the car cool off and slowly rolled down hill into the small lakeside town of Khancoban, just inside NSW past the VIC border. Lucky for us, there was campground next to the lake and a few alphas that took a look at the car and assured us that the car was fine & “she’ll be right, mate”.

We took it easy for the rest of the day at a nearby creek and did a bit of planning for our upcoming hike to make to reach the summit of Australia’s highest peak.

Although Mount Kosciuszko is the highest mountain in Australia, it’s only a short hike to the summit, well at least we thought so.

The next morning, we started our journey to Thredbo which was brought to a hault by another phantom car issue.

Only about 40 kms from Thredbo, a loud noise came from the wheels, so bad that an old bloke flagged us down so that he could take a look. He suggested that something pretty bad was going on and that we should slowly head back to camp and find a mechanic. We turned around and drove more than half way back, then the noise stopped… with a strong desire to reach the top of Australia’s highest mountain, we did another u-turn and v-lined it to Thredbo.

I would like to say that we then hiked up Kosci without a hassle, but that wasn’t the case. Google maps and Eva’s research lead us to believe that we could drive all of the way up to Eagle’s Nest, then casually walk about 5.5 kilometres to the summit, but unfortunately that wasn’t an option as the road isn’t open to the public.

Park officials confirmed that the only way to get from Thredbo to Eagles Nest is via the chair lift or by walking up an extremely steep hiking trail. They then went on to explain that the chair lift was closed due to strong winds and they don’t recommend that we walk due to it already being 2pm and the trail is over 20 kms to the summit and back, but that wasn’t going to stop us, so we started walking anyway. Rebels.

A gruelling 4kms or so later, we made to it to the top of the chair lift! & by then, the damn thing was operating again, so we thought that at least it’ll be an easy descent.

Eagles Nest

Read more about hiking from Thredbo to Eagles Nest on Merritt’s Nature Trail.

Cautious of the sun going down while we were still on the mountain, we continued the hike with a solid and exhausting pace.

To our surprise, there was a fair few patches of thick white snow, which we didn’t expect would be the case in summer.

Before we knew it, we had made it to the top of the Australia’s highest mountain!

When we looked at the time, we found ourselves in a bit of shock! Even when including a somewhat of a lunch break and plenty of time stopping to take photos, we made 10.5 kms in distance and about 1,000 metres in elevation in only 3 hours!

Summit of the highest mountain in Australia

We soaked in the views from the summit and made our way back down to Eagles Nest.

Read more about the hiking trail from Eagles Nest to the Mount Kosciuszko summit.

Sticking to the trend of the day, by the time we arrived back at the top of the chair lift, it was closed, but it wasn’t much of a worry as it was all down hill from there.

About an hour later, we arrived back at our car in Thredbo, caught our breath and headed to the caravan for some well earned rest.

If you’ve also hiked up Mount Kosciuszko and can also make claim to reaching the peak of the highest mountain in Australia, let us know if you had as much trouble as we did in the comments section below, likewise if you have any questions!

Up next: We’re heading to Australia’s Capital, Canberra.

About Guy

Hey guys, I'm Guy - one of the founders of WAY&FARER and the main one posting on the blog. I've written about hundreds of places to visit, campgrounds and hiking trails both on the WAY&FARER blog and in the "EXPLORE" section on this website. If you've got any questions about anything that I've written or you've noticed that one of the places we've covered has changed & needs an update, please get in touch with me via guy@wayandfarer.com. Otherwise, I'll leave you to enjoy the blog and while you're at it, take a look at the WAY&FARER Camping Shop! Cheers, Guy

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