NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service is upgrading the Mt Kosciuszko Summit Walk to make it accessible to people of low and restricted mobility, becoming the only one of seven global continental summits to do so.


If you’re thinking of kicking off 2023 with a hike to Australia’s tallest peak, you may notice a little more scaffolding than usual. Mt Kosciuszko’s Summit Walk is currently undergoing a bit of a facelift to ensure greater accessibility for hikers of differing abilities and to safeguard the fragile alpine ecosystem.


What upgrades are occurring?

On-ground works commenced earlier this year, after late season snow and adverse weather created delays, and should continue until early May 2023. At the moment, NSW National Parks is working on constructing a 40 metre long, two metre wide smooth, non-slip, natural stone-paved ramp to the summit. 


Artist’s impression of the upgraded Kosciuszko summit – 1. Summit cairn 2. New low mobility stone paved ramp 3. Upgraded stone paved track surface 4. Expanded milling area 5. Existing steps


Likewise, they’re currently replacing the ‘geo-web’ and gravel path with a natural stone-paved surface to match other areas of the trail. 

Upgrades to the lower section of the Summit Walk are also set to be completed in the future. This includes replacing the ‘geo-web’ between Charlotte Pass and Rawsons Pass, which is set to be completed in future years, as well as replacing sections of the metal track between Thredbo and Rawsons Pass which were initially laid incorrectly.

Read more: Mobility Chairs are Now Available to Rent at Select NSW Parks

Why do we need upgrades?

The major reason for upgrades to the trail is increased accessibility. As it stands, the last few metres to the Mt Kosciuszko summit contain stairs. In hopes of ensuring that Mt Kosciusko is an achievable destination for everybody, NSW National Parks is in the process of installing a ramp alongside this last section.

NPWS states that, ‘Whilst the upgraded trail won’t meet the technical specifications of an Australian Standard wheelchair-accessible walking track, it will make accessing the summit much easier’.

With this upgrade, Mt Kosciuszko will become the only one of the seven global continental summits accessible to people of low or restricted mobilities. This comes with the Krazy Kosci Klimb occurring on the 10th-12th of February this year, which empowers young people living with cerebral palsy or similar disability to climb Mt Kosciusko.

The other major reason for the upgrade is to reduce environmental impacts. Over 120,000 people reach the summit of Mt Kosciuszko each year, and with 21 endemic species and many endangered animals and plants in the region, the way walking tracks in the Kosciusko Main Range are constructed is important in ensuring the longevity of the precious alpine environment.

Most of the hike between Rawsons Pass and the Kosciusko Summit is gravel embedded within a black plastic ‘geo-web’. Initially, this ‘geo-web’ was installed to maintain the track against the severe weather that occurs on the Main Range. However, over time, the extreme wind, rain, and snow has washed much of the gravel off the track and into the surrounding fragile ecosystem.



Not only does the exposed ‘geo-web’ become somewhat of a trip hazard to hikers, but the washed away gravel has a tendency to fill the gaps in boulder fields where the endangered Mountain Pygmy possums build their nests.

While some people have complained about this style of hiking trail, they have their place when accessibility and conservation are involved.

Read more: Why Are Australia’s Walking Tracks Being Over-Engineered?

Does this mean I can’t hike Mt Kosciuszko?

There’ll likely be some minor delays accessing the summit during the week, particularly in the early mornings and late afternoons as helicopter operations to drop off and pick up construction materials occur.

But never fear! You can still access the summit! The only downside is there are a fair few more stairs than usual as a temporary 200m long pedestrian scaffold has been installed. This unfortunately means that the summit will be temporarily inaccessible to wheelchair and some restricted mobility users, for a short period of time. 

Just be wary of ice flows if you decide to complete the entire 22km Main Range walk, as some sections of the path remain under snow. 

Before you start your hike to the summit check NSW National Parks Alerts or call NPWS on 1300 072 757 (13000PARKS) for more information on current park closures and conditions.