The 16km return hike to Mt Twynam from Guthega is an epic day trip in the mountains and a great quieter alternative to the Main Range track.

Highlights

  • Explore beautiful Kosciuszko National Park away from the crowds
  • Climb the Great Dividing Range
  • Walk through alpine lakes, boulder fields and ancient Snow gums
  • Australia’s third highest mountain

 

Read more: 10 Tips For Your First Off-Track Hike

Why Mt Twynam?

Mt Twynam is a popular ski touring route, but the climb needs to be on your summer hiking list too. Standing at over 2100m, the peak of Mt Twynam delivers spectacular 360° views.

It’s one of the highest points on the Great Dividing Range and it’s the perfect vantage point to soak in the mountains and snap a photo of the famous Mt Kosciuszko. 

The east view is over Perisher Ski Resort while the west looks across the Sentinel to the Victorian High Country. If you time your trip in the summer months of December and January you’ll be rewarded with endless views of mountain wildflowers. 

Mt Twynam is accessible from the popular Main Range Loop but if you head out of Guthega you’ll have the mountains to yourself! The secret is out – Kosciuszko is more than a winter snow destination.

A Day in the Mountains

Dawn breaks as we drive out of Jindabyne and climb into the mountains. We stop at the Hydro Surge Tower for a coffee and to take in the sunrise views over Lake Jindabyne before our hike. Winter is well on its way with morning temperatures sitting below zero. 

 

 

It’s the perfect opportunity to test out the Aussie-made merino range from Wilderness Wear, who supported this microadventure. I selected the MerinoFusion 190 Switch Hoodie as a base layer and the Ascent Merino Soft Shell Jacket as a shell. We’ve also got the women’s Merino Fusion Light and Grampians Peaks Hiker Socks to keep our toes warm and dry.

The trail starts from Guthega car park and heads along the Illawong walking track to a cable suspension bridge. The frost crackles under our feet and we take in the beautiful views along the Snowy River back toward Guthega Dam and Gills Knob.

This is one hike I’m glad I brought my camera on. The bridge leads to the foothills of the Great Dividing Range and the beginning of our climb. 

The track winds through alpine plains and passes in and out of ancient Snow gum groves. These are some of my favourite trees in the national park and likely more than 100 years old based on their size.

Read more: 10 Tips on How To Tread Lightly in Our Wild Places

 

 

Their trunks are twisted and gnarled from the harsh environment they grow in. While it’s a beautifully sunny day, I can’t help thinking of the storms they must’ve endured.

Above the treeline the track becomes a little less defined. Rock cairns guide us through a granite boulder field and lead to an alpine lake sitting below the summit of Mt Twynam and Little Twynam.

The track disappears after this point and we navigate around the northern side of Mt Twynam to approach from the back (much easier on the knees). 

Once up on the ridge we join up with an old track, possibly an old road left from the days when stockmen used to own grazing leases in Kosciuszko National Park.

The views from the top are spectacular and it really does feel like the top of the world. The summit is exposed and there’s wind coming from Victoria that the ridge had been protecting us from up until now. We quickly pull out our jackets and rug up. 

There’s nothing like a well designed jacket to keep the elements out. Wilderness Wear’s Ascent Merino Soft Shell fuses Schoeller NanoSphere fabric with Tasmanian merino and keeps me toasty on the summit.

We picnic in the sun behind a large rock before making our way down, quickly navigating through the boulder field. The round trip takes us between 5-6 hours with plenty of stops for photos and a picnic. 

 

 

Track works are underway to join the Illawong walk to the Main Range and the track will be closed for periods while work is underway so make sure you check the National Parks website before heading out.

It’s All About Layers!

Layering is a must in the mountains where the weather can change in an instant and the temperature range can go from -5℃ to 25℃ in a single day. You can be freezing in the shade one minute and hot and sweaty stomping up a hill the next. 

Merino is one of the best materials to have at your layering disposal – it breathes while you’re working but keeps you insulated when you stop.

We were stoked to be using Wilderness Wear gear on our microadventure as the benefits go far past functionality – Wilderness Wear is 100% Australian made, designed, and sourced with a carbon neutral traceable supply chain.

The MerinoFusion 190 Switch Hoodie was the perfect base layer. I was hot when I reached the top and should have been sweaty-as, but the ‘super-wick’ abilities of the fusion fabric kept me dry. 

The Ascent Merino Soft Shell Jacket is my dream protective layer. High performance materials, multiple vents to adjust temperature and pockets that are designed to sit above your waist belt so you can actually use them. 

This combo will be my go-to for a ski or a hike in the back-country.

 

Essential Gear

  • Topographic map and compass
  • 3L of water at least
  • Lunch and snacks 
  • All weather layers – quality merino wear is recommended
  • Hiking shoes
  • Hat
  • Sunscreen 
  • Insect repellent (the blow flies come out in summer)
  • Camera
  • First aid kit with snake bandage
  • Personal Location Beacon (PLB) – You can hire one from the Snowy Region Visitor Centre or the police station in Jindabyne
  • GPS device/watch (optional)

How To Get There

The trail starts from Guthega car park located 45 minutes from Jindabyne.

Skill Level

Intermediate/Advanced – The walk is not signposted and sections are off track and quite steep. 

There’s no reception out here so you’ll need to be prepared to navigate without Google Maps! If you haven’t picked up a paper map and compass since year 7 camp, fear not! The route is marked on most map services for use with GPS devices and watches. But best to learn quick smart how to navigate without them.

Read more: A Beginner’s Guide to Map & Compass Navigation

Distance Covered / Elevation Gain / Duration

16.6 km / 840m / 6 hours (with plenty of photo time)

 

 

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