The pinnacle of our three day hike in Mount Kosciuszko National Park was, of course, the namesake mountain itself. At 2,228 m, it is Australia’s highest point. It was our main goal of the trip, but honestly, was not the apex of our days there. Even though we had full packs and had to battle crazy gusts not unlike our initial failed attempt, the path to the summit was such a gradual, gentle stroll that it felt – almost disappointingly – like a walk in the park.
The highlights of our trip, rather, were when we pitched our tents at the end of each day’s walk, and lay back on sun-baked rocks to rest our swollen feet and sip hot tea (spiked with whiskey). While we boiled water for dinner, we gazed heavenwards, waiting for the first stars to pop out of the deepening purple skies, for the dusty Milky Way to unveil itself. For in few places of the world now do we get such clear, unpolluted views of the night sky.
The walk itself was nevertheless very delightful, with views of rolling hills stretching out into the far distance. Patches of snow still remain along the trail, alongside clumps of cheerful yellow billy buttons and fields of buttercup daisies.
Can’t wait to be back – or back out camping in the wilderness again. 😀
It’s fun to go off trail. It’s fun to wander off the beaten track to go where few people venture, to pretend for a moment that we’re early explorers discovering the great unknown. Remind me of this fact the next time I complain about ‘getting lost’. 🙂
It says something when we eventually link back to the main route and we spy a tent here and there in the far distance and we go, oh it’s so crowded! In reality though, in our entire day walking this second day, we spied maybe a total of a dozen tents?
My poor feet also thank me when we walk off trail on the soft – albeit uneven – mossy grass than the pebbly paths (time to give in and get new shoes?!).
Trying to spot Mount Kosiuszko
On the Main Range Track
Anyway, we lucked out with the weather today. The sun was out, strong, but a steady breeze kept us cool and mostly kept the horse flies away. We took our time on the trail, stopping often for photo opportunities, and just to soak in the views.
In the late afternoon, we found a quiet grassy patch along Wilkinson Creek where we set up camp and took the opportunity to rinse off in the cool waters.
Rinsing off in Wilkinson Creek
Our campsite at Wilkinson Creek
Another successful and fantastic day of hiking done and dusted.
We took advantage of the Australia Day long weekend and joined a group of friends to tackle Mount Kosciuszko again. Our intrepid hike leader, Ed, mapped out a more ambitious – but super fun – trail than the easy one from the Thredbo chairlift we’d initially tackled last November. Our main route was the Main Range Track, plus a “short” side exploration of Blue Lake on Day One.
Haha well “short” in quotation, because our mini exploration resulted in us wandering off trail, and circumnavigating the lake until just before sunset. Instead of pushing on to the original campsite that Ed had marked out, we decided to just set up camp on a flat patch of grass above Blue Lake.
It was a tough slog to get to where we were; certainly it felt harder than Day One on the Overland Track, in part because we had a longer climb, in part because we went off trail, and in part because we brought more stuff this time (thanks Jeff for carrying the tripod!). But the views of the sunset and the milky way after more than made up for the walk. We felt so incredibly grateful to be outdoors, in the peaceful wilderness and breathing in the fresh alpine air, cut off from the depressing noise and news.
We’d planned and were looking forward to summiting Mount Kosciuszko this weekend, ending with a cosy campfire along the banks of the Snowy River. But the weather had other plans, and we were served up 80 km/h winds and horizontal rain instead.
We gave it our best shot. Although we’d originally targeted the 18km return trail, we called it quits after struggling to cover a measly 3.5km in 3 hours. Eeks. And with Sunday’s forecast of certain sleet and snow, we decided it was more prudent to retreat to lower, drier ground. So back towards Canberra we went, where we cooked our camp fare of BBQ lamb, couscous and roasted vegetables on proper BBQ grill and ovens, downed with civilized glasses of wine and schnapps.