January 13, 2024

- Hiking Mt Kosciuszko: A complete guide for first-time visitors -

Mt Kosciuszko hike summary

Length: 12km return
Time: 2-3 hours one way, 6-8 hours return which includes taking a break at the top.
Grade: 2, Relatively easy. Mostly flat with some steeper sections.
Summit walk for Mt Kosciuszko is open 8.30am - 5pm during Summer.
Mt Kosciuszko chairlift is open 9am - 4.30pm during Summer.
Mt Kosciuszko weather: You must check the weather forecast before you go, no matter what time of year, as it can be unpredictable.
Mt Kosciuszko pronunciation: Mount Coz-ee-osk-co

What to bring on your hike

The below items are a great starting point for your packing list. I am assuming you are going to do the Mt Kosciuszko walk during the Summer months, but these items will also apply to the colder months as well.

In Summer, even though it is in the mountains, temperatures can be warm - around early to mid-twenty degrees celsius - but the peak of Mt Kosciuszko can still be chilly and very windy, even on a sunny day - expect temperatures more like 10-20 degrees celsius at the summit. Be sure to pack a light jacket and/or scarf in your backpack.

Here are some other items you should pack for your hike:

  • Rain jacket
  • Hiking boots with thick socks
  • Hat (snug fit so it doesn't blow away)
  • Sunglasses
  • Sunscreen
  • 2L+ water
  • Snacks
  • Camera
  • Light scarf for face/neck

When I climbed Mt Kosciuszko, I did the trek in March. While this is still technically only just past Summer, it was still a bit colder than I expected. Luckily I did pack a light puffer jacket and a rain jacket, and I needed both in the end!

Also, I cannot stress enough how important sun protection is. There is no shade or cover the entire way from the chair lift to the top of Mt Kosciuszko. Apply sunscreen, wear a hat and sunglasses, and bring lots of water.

I, unfortunately, made the mistake of not applying enough sunscreen, and the one area that was exposed got severely sunburnt. Luckily I had a hat, sunglasses, and a long-sleeved shirt otherwise it would have been a lot worse. Not great to be peeling the week after your amazing trip.

Additional items to bring during the colder months (April - October)

These items will come in handy not just at the top of the mountain, but at the base as well. I would even argue that you should pack these for the summer months, not just in winter.

  • Puffer jacket
  • Thermals
  • Gloves
  • Beanie
  • Snowshoes (check weather and snowfall)

Temperatures in the colder half of the year can reach below zero, with heavy snow that can cover the walking track up to Mt Kosciuszko. Check the weather beforehand, and make sure if there is snow predicted that you are well-equipped and experienced to handle that.

Where to Stay

Camping grounds

There are 2 camping grounds close to Mt Kosciuszko that offer cheap and beautiful places to stay for your hike up the mountain.

I stayed in Ngarigo Campground, located around a 10 minute drive from the base of Mt Kosciuszko. Within this campsite are located around a dozen good-sized camping sites with fire pits, drop toilets, Thredbo River right next door, and a walking and cycling track that takes you through some gorgeous bushland and along the river.

On one campsite, we managed to fit 2 tents and a camper trailer with room to spare for a communal dining set up around the fire pit. There is also designated car parking next to each site.

The second option is Thredbo Diggings Campground, located 15 minute drive from the base of Mt Kosciuszko, just inside the Kosciuszko National Park gates if traveling from the east.

Both of these campgrounds are technically free, but you will need to book ahead online and there is a $6 fee per booking. You can book both of these through the NSW National Parks official website.


The town at the base of Mt Kosciuszko is called Thredbo, and is most well known for being a ski town during the winter snow season. There are chalets, hostels and airbnbs you can book. But to get one for a reasonable price, you will need to book far in advance.

All of these accommodation options are within very easy walking distance of the Mt Kosciuszko chairlift.


If the options within Thredbo are a bit out of your budget, try Jindabyne. Located a 30 minute drive from the base of Mt Kosciuszko, Jindabyne is a bigger town right on the edge of a beautiful lake by the same name. You will also find more restaurant options and the Snowy Region Visitor Centre. And if you don't want to buy or bring your own gear with you, Jindabyne has great options for gear hire.

This Airbnb was one option we have used and loved.

What to expect on the hike

If you're gearing up for your first hike up Mt Kosciuszko in the summer, you're in for a treat. Having made the journey myself, here's a short guide to what to expect to ensure you're well-prepared for this adventure.

Begin your day by catching the chairlift. The price is reasonable, and it opens at 9 am. I recommend going at the opening or as close to it as possible to make the most of the cooler weather and don't forget to grab a map at the bottom before jumping on. The chairlift will save you some energy, taking you halfway up the mountain and offering stunning views along the way.

You can walk the entire way up, but for first-timers, I think the chairlift is still an amazing way to accomplish this walk and you do get some pretty views while you're heading up and down.

Before you set out on the main trek, there is a shoe-cleaning station. Please, don't forget to use this! This helps to protect the National Park and this precious piece of Australia free from weeds and diseases.

After you've done that, brace yourself for a bit of a climb at the beginning. You'll pass some beautiful streams along this first section so take your time and appreciate the beauty. Once past the steeper sections, the path transforms from boardwalk to gravel, making for a comfortable stroll. Towards the end of the hike, the path does become steeper again before you reach the Mt Kosciusko summit.

Around the midway point of your walk, keep an eye out for the beautiful glacial lakes – Lake Cootapatamba and Blue Lake. These picturesque spots provide excellent opportunities for photos. You'll also be able to glimpse the state of Victoria in the distance, adding to the breathtaking scenery.

Approximately 500 meters before reaching the summit, you'll find toilets that are free to the public. It's a good idea to make use of them before the final stretch. Nature calls, even in the mountains!

The remaining climb is around 1km of gravel path that is steeper than previous sections. Reaching the summit is a significant accomplishment. There, you'll find a summit cairn and a plaque, offering a perfect backdrop for photos. When you are standing on the cairn, you are the highest person in all of Australia!

Take the opportunity to have a break at this stage. There are plenty of spots to sit, relax, and enjoy any snacks or lunch you brought along (which I highly recommend because you will have been walking for around 2-3 hours at this point and you need to refuel!). Make sure you also hydrate yourself - even with the cooler weather you are probably sweating more than you realise.

On the way back down, the return journey is quicker, allowing you to savor the scenery one last time. Take advantage of the chairlift once again, and this operates until 4:30 pm. The return trip will take about 2 hours at a good pace, so make sure to start your descent in time.

In summary, a summer hike up Mt Kosciuszko is a memorable adventure. Make sure to check out the beautiful lakes and mountains around you, and consider bringing some snacks and lunch. With preparation, essential supplies, and a sense of adventure, you'll find yourself standing at the highest point in Australia. So, lace up your boots, grab that map, and get ready for an unforgettable day in the Aussie Alps!

Sharing your Mt Kosciuszko adventure

Sharing your Mt Kosciuszko adventure on social media is a fantastic way to capture and relive those breathtaking moments. When posting, use location tags to highlight key points of your hike. This helps others discover these locations and adds context to your content.

Some hashtags you can use to share your content on Instagram or Tiktok:

  • #KonquerKozzie
  • #MtKosciuszko
  • #AussieAdventures
  • #HikingAustralia
  • #MountainMagic
  • #SummitViews
  • #NatureEscape
  • #OutdoorExploration

Some accounts that you can tag to reach a wider audience include:

  • @VisitKosciuszko
  • @Australia
  • @NatGeoAdventure
  • @AustraliaGreatWalks

Remember, the key is to share your experience authentically and inspire others to explore the beauty of Mt Kosciuszko. Happy posting!

Looking for other Australian hiking adventures? Check out this hidden waterfall in Woy Woy, near Sydney.

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