With a convenient 3 days of leave resulting in 10 days off over the Christmas/New Year period my wife & decided to head to the Kosciuszko National Park in the Australian Alps for a few days of hiking on the main range.

Our plan was to spend 4 days on the main range exploring Australia’s highest peaks, with the alpine wildflowers in bloom and the only cirque lakes (Blue Lake, Lake Cootapatamba, Lake Albina and Club Lake) on mainland Australia we where in for a treat.

After spending Christmas and Boxing Day with family in Cooma we continued onto Jindabyne for the usual bakery morning tea where we looked over the Mount Perisher topographical map, picked up a PLB from the National Parks office and to organise the last couple of things at the Paddy Pallin store at the edge of Jindabyne. With 4 days of sunshine forecasted we drove up to Guthega, put on our boots, shouldered our packs and headed off for 4 days of hiking in the Snowys.


Day 1

IMG_8105-small

With a short relatively leisurely day planned we got onto the trail at around 11am and made our way to Illawong Lodge which is about an hour or easy walking from Guthega.

IMG_8107-small

After a quick snack and loo break we continued across the suspension bridge over the Snowy River and climbed up the spur towards Pounds Creek stopping for lunch in the shade of some Snow Gums.

IMG_8114-small

IMG_8143-small

Reaching the head waters of Pounds Creek, we crossed to the northern side of the wide hanging swamp and camped on a small flat area below the spur that that leads up to Mt Twynam. The camp site had easy access to flowing water, a nice flat boulder to cook on and we didn’t see another party all afternoon while we relaxed and enjoyed the wilderness.


Day 2

IMG_8159-small

After a chilly night where our 0 degree sleeping bags where pushed to the limit as the temperature dipped to a couple of degrees below zero we woke to more perfect weather.

IMG_8163-small

IMG_8169-small

Ignoring the more popular route we headed directly up the ridge towards Mount Twynam. We zig zagged our way through the large granite boulders stopping every now and then to catch our breath and enjoy the views looking off to the west of the Kosciusko range towards Geehi and Khancoban.

IMG_8175-small

After an hours climbing we topped out at the summit of Mount Twynam which for the peak baggers is Australians 3rd highest at 2195m. Luckily for us there was an English couple also at the top and they where kind enough to take a photo of us.

IMG_8182-small

IMG_8210-small

After leaving Twynam we continued along the Main Range Track passing over Carruthers Peak with views down to Club Lake & Lake Albina. We had lunch overlooking Lake Albina then continued along the track to where it fattened out to a large grassy saddle. Taking a faint foot pad to the right and headed north towards Mount Townsend.

IMG_8221-small

IMG_3539

We arrived at a large saddle just below Mt Townsend and decided to pitch our tent and take refuge from the horse flies for a couple of hours for the late afternoon. Once it cooled down we explored area bagging Mount Townsend which is the second highest peak in Australia at 2209m and cooked up a well earned Back Country Cuisine meal.


Day 3

IMG_8246-small

After a lazy start we got onto the track at around 9 and retraced our tracks for an hour and then continued onto Mount Kosciuszko. We dodged the day walkers and summited Kozzie where the saying “cant see the view for the people” rang true. Keen to leave the crowds behind we hit the track, passing Seamans Hut we made our way to Charlottes Pass along the management trail.

IMG_8263-small

After stopping at Charlottes Pass for a loo break and rest in the shade from the sun we descended down to the Snowy River. As it was still early, fairly warm and the flies where out in force we pushed past our originally planned camp at the Snowy and climbed up the trail to our last camp site at Carruthers Creek (which turned into one of the best of the whole trip).


Day 4

IMG_8283-small

Keen to get an early start we woke nice and early and found ourselves walking up the trail, passing Blue Lake before the day walkers from Charlottes Pass had hit the track. Blue Lake is the best example of a glacial lake in the alpine area. At 28m deep, this lake was formed when glaciers, flowing from the Great Dividing Range, converged and carved out a basin in the rock.

IMG_8314-small

IMG_8333-small

Crossing a small creek at the exit to Blue Lake we bashed through some low scrub making our way onto a grassy spur which lead to Little Twynam. Zuzi continued to attract plenty of flies much to my amusement (once returning home we learnt that the colour blue is a flies favourite and thus the the family on her cap for the entire walk).

IMG_8302-small

IMG_8104-small

After summiting Little Twynam and dropping down to Pounds Creek we retraced our steps passing a number of day walking parties to the suspension bridge at Illawong Lodge & back to the car at Guthega. Luckily the esky had kept a couple of beers cool for a refreshing pale ale to celebrate a great few days hiking in the Kozzie National Park.


We had perfect walking weather for our hike, however the Australian Alps can have extreme weather changes. Even during summer, be prepared for both very hot and cold weather, high winds, rain, snow, extreme UV levels and some sections of snow or ice on the ground.

Remember to not camp with in the catchment of the glacial lakes as not to unbalance their natural low nutrient levels. Plenty of tips on Leaving No Trace can be found here.

Think Before You Trek is a bush safety initiative between the NSW Police Force and the National Parks and Wildlife Service.

Think before you TREK promotes the benefits of planning ahead for your bushwalking trip by using an easy to remember acronym:

T – Take adequate supplies of food, water, navigation and first aid equipment.

R – Register your planned route and tell friends and family when you expect to return.

E – Emergency beacon (PLB’s) can be purchased at Paddy Pallin or hired from some National Park offices.

K – Keep to your planned route and follow the map and walking trails.

I have also found the Wild Walks website to be a helpful source of information for this and many other bushwalks in NSW.

About The Author

Dave Casey

Dave has worked as an International Expedition Leader and in Outdoor Education for over 15 years. He has extensive travel and guiding experience in Australia, NZ, Asia, South/North America and Europe. In his spare time Dave is a keen bushwalker, mountain biker and climber while also dabbling in some mountaineering and sea kayaking. He is currently working at Paddys as the National Account Manager, to fund all of the above.

2 Responses

  1. Caro

    Ah, what a fabulous trip. We must have only just missed each other. Looks like you had that great pocket of blue skies too. Does Paddys sell fly veils? I had an old one with me that I definitely put to use around Twynam… They were very friendly! 😉

    Reply
    • Paddy

      Thanks Caro

      Sounds like we passed like ships in the night!

      Yes the’Paddy pallin stores should have the Sea To Summit Head Net to keep the flys away.

      Cheers & thanks for reading
      Dave

      Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.