Mt Kosciuszko is Australia’s highest mountain and one of the worlds Seven Summits. It stands alongside big names like Mt. Elbrus in Europe and Aconcagua in Argentina. Unlike these technical and challenging summits, the Mount Kosciuszko hike is accessible to the everyday trekker.
To be honest, the summit is a bit underwhelming if you''ve climbed mountains on other continents. However, Kosciuszko makes for a great practice climb if you are only entering into the world of mountaineering.
In this article I explain everything you need to know to hike Mt Kosciuszko. I've included route info and some useful tips for preparing for this trek.
Climbing Mount Kosciuszko - Everything You Need To Know
Where Is Mount Kosciusko?
Mount Kosciuszko is found in Australia's Snowy Mountains, New South Wales. You can easily access this trail from the town of Thredbo in Kosciuszko National Park.
How Long Does It Take To Climb Mount Kosciuszko?
The 13km (8 miles) round-trip trek to the summit of Mount Kosciuszko typically takes around 4-6 hours.
This is not the world’s toughest trek. How long you take will depend on your personal fitness level and how often you stop to rest or take pictures. The weather will also impact your hike time.
How Fit Do You Need To Be To Climb Mount Kosciuszko?
This trail is suitable for most fitness levels. However, there are some uphill sections that can be strenuous if you are don't do a lot of hiking.
The hike to the summit of Mount Kosciuszko is tame as far as mountains go. If you regularly exercise, you will manage this trek with no problem. You even see school groups trekking up during the summer.
The trails are well maintained pathways and metal-grate stairs. You shouldn’t have any difficulty finding the way up.
If you're not used to hiking, it's a good idea to start with some shorter trails to build up your fitness level before attempting the hike to Mount Kosciuszko. Check out this article on other hikes in Australia for inspiration.
When Is The Best Time To Climb Mount Kosciuszko?
The best time to hike Mount Kosciuszko is during the Australian summer (December to February). These are the warmer and drier months which are ideal for hiking.
Weather in the Snowy Mountains can be unpredictable. It's good to check the forecast but this doesn't necessarily reflect what happens in the mountains!
The trail to the summit of Mount Kosciuszko is open all year round. Even though it is technically possible to hike throughout the year, some seasons have better conditions.
Here's a breakdown of the weather you can expect during each season:
Hiking Kosciuszko In Summer (December to February)
Temperatures: 10°C to 25°C (50°F to 77°F)
During the Australian summer, the weather on Mount Kosciuszko is mild and there is a low chance of rain. This is the most popular time to hike the mountain. Clear days also give you the best views of the surrounding landscape.
Hiking Kosciuszko In Autumn (March to May)
Temperatures: 5°C to 20°C (41°F to 68°F)
Autumn on Mount Kosciuszko means cooler temperatures. This is my personal favorite time to hike as the leaves on the trees start to change color. Be aware that the weather can be a little unpredictable over Autumn. There is occasional rain and snow.
Climbing Mount Kosciuszko In Winter (June to August)
Temperatures: -5°C to 10°C (23°F to 50°F)
This is not the best time to summit Mount Kosciuszko. The mountains are cold and snowy. Temperatures often drop below zero and the trails get icy and slippery. The mountain is usually blanketed in snow between July- September.
You don’t need any technical skills to hike this trail in winter but you will need snowshoes, goggles and experience trekking in rough conditions. Some days the winds are howling and even a step feels impossible.
Under these conditions, visibility is so poor that you can’t see beyond your hands. Once again, this is not a great time to be summiting!
Climbing Mount Kosciuszko In Spring (September to November)
Temperatures: 5°C to 20°C (41°F to 68°F)
Spring is a good time to hike Mount Kosciuszko. Things are warming up and you can see new plant and animal life starting to emerge. However, you still need to be wary of the weather during this season. The occasional storm and snowfall still occur during spring.
Mount Kosciuszko Climb Price
Hiking Mount Kosciuszko is generally free. There are no fees or permits required to access the trail. However, there are some expenses that the average hiker may incur. Here are some of the potential expenses to consider:
If you're planning to stay in Thredbo Village before or after your hike, you'll need to pay for accommodation. There are several options in the area, including hotels, lodges, and campsites.
Hiking Mount Kosciuszko in winter requires some basic equipment. For a start, you will need snow shoes. Rentals from Thredbo cost around $49 a day. I’d also recommend trekking poles if you are braving the snow.
To access the start of the Kosciuszko Track, you have the option to take Kosciuszko Express Chairlift, which is operated by Thredbo Resort. These are fairly pricey at around $35pp for a return trip
What To Pack To Hike Mount Kosciuszko
When hiking Mount Kosciuszko, the most important thing is to be prepared for all types of weather. One minute skies are clear, the next you are in the middle of a storm.
layering is always the way to go when hiking in uncertain conditions. These are a few essentials that should be in your backpack for this hike:
- Rain jacket
- Water bottle or Camel pack
- Basic First Aid Kit
It's also a good idea to bring a map and compass or at least have offline maps downloaded on your phone.
Mount Kosciuszko Hiking: Route Options
All routes to Mount Kosciuszko summit start from the Thredbo Village. This is a ski-destination town located in Kosciuszko National Park.
Here is a breakdown of the two most popular trails:
Thredbo Village to Mount Kosciuszko Summit (4-6 hours)
The direct route to the summit begins at the Thredbo Village. If you want, you can take the Kosciuszko Express Chairlift to the Eagles Nest lookout. This is the starting point of the trail. You can also walk this extra 4 km or so and save money on the lift fee.
Note: The chairlift is open year-round, but operating times may vary depending on the season. It seems to usually start running at 9am.
From the Eagles Nest lookout, the trail follows a well-marked track that gradually climbs toward Mount Kosciuszko. The trail is a fairly gentle uphill but there are some steeper sections towards the end.
After around 6.5 kilometers of walking from Eagles Nest, you'll reach the summit of Mount Kosciuszko.
Welcome to the highest point in Australia! Take your time to enjoy the views of the Australian Alps.
To return to Thredbo Village, most people go back exactly the same way. I’d recommend you take a slightly different route back by following the signs along the Main Ridge Track. This only adds an extra kilometer but you will get some different scenery.
Main Range Walk To Mount Kosciuszko (6-9 hours)
The Main Range Walk is a popular trail in Kosciuszko National Park. It includes the summit of Mount Kosciuszko as part of the route. The trail is approximately 22 kilometers long. Here is a breakdown of the Main Range Walk:
The hike begins at Charlotte Pass (1,837 meters). From here, you'll follow the track along the Snowy River and then climb up to Blue Lake. This glacial lake is surrounded by impressive rock formations.
From Blue Lake, the trail climbs steadily up to the summit of Mount Twynam, the third-highest peak in Australia. Take it slow to fully appreciate views of the surrounding landscape of snow-covered peaks.
After reaching the summit of Mount Twynam, the trail continues along the Main Range towards Mount Kosciuszko. This section of the trail is relatively flat and straightforward.
The final section of the Main Range Trail takes you to the summit of Mount Kosciuszko (2,228 meters). From here you can see for miles in every direction.
When you are ready, retrace your steps back along the Main Range to Charlotte Pass.
Mount Kosciuszko Trek FAQs
Who was the first person to climb Mount Kosciuszko?
Polish explorer and geologist Sir Pawel Edmund de Strzelecki is the first known person to summit Mount Kosciuszko. He climbed the mountain in 1840 as part of a geological survey.
Strzelecki named the mountain in honor of Polish freedom-fighter General Tadeusz Kościuszko.
How long does it take to get to the top of Mount Kosciuszko?
It takes most people between 4-6 hours to hike from Thredbo to mount Kosciuszko summit.
Do you need a permit to climb Mount Kosciuszko?
There are no fees or permits required to access the trail.
Thanks Alison. This is very good advice. I agree that autumn is the best time.
Except it's not one of the seven summits!
Mount Kosciuszko is considered the seventh summit of the Bass version of the seven summits. It’s true that these days we usually look at Australasia as a whole. In this case, Puncak Jaya, which is considerably higher at 4,884m, takes its place.