Under the Milky Way // Mt Kosciuszko (NSW)

Mt Kosciuszko is definitely one of the best places in Australia to witness the Milky Way in all its astronomical glory.

Photos by Instagram: @ptanphoto & @beaut_brute

Highlights

  • Camping by Australia’s highest peaks
  • Swimming in alpine creeks
  • Exploring Blue Lake, Watsons Crags and it’s spectacular mountain peaks
  • Crystal clear night skies

The Lowdown

“I wonder what’s there?” is something we have all asked ourselves when hiking, this was the motivation for this 3 day, 2 night hike exploring the Main Range Track of Mount Kosciusko.

The hike begins near Charlotte Pass with expansive views of the Snowy Mountains, the Snowy River rock crossing and the Main Range Track weaving its way as far as the eye can see.

The start of the track is not difficult but will be a good test of stamina as the climb seems never ending. The initial rock crossing over the Snowy River is a good way to warm up the legs with a sample of the pristine beauty ahead.

Reaching the Blue Lake turn off most hikers opt to continue west towards Carruthers Peak, instead we ventured east and this is where the adventure really begins.

Working our way to the eastern side of Blue Lake and crossing it by the creek which makes a natural dam wall, we managed to find a faint track which would lead to our campsite atop the cliffs of Blue Lake.

After a long hard climb and a promise of extra helpings of chocolate and scotch if we pushed “just a bit further” we were rewarded with our campsite, located atop the cliffs of Blue Lake, by a stream which turns into a waterfall that dramatically plunges to Blue Lake, a truly spectacular spot and a perfect setting for the night sky yet to come.

The night sky did not disappoint, far from it, it proved to be spectacular and showed the Milky Way in all its glory and made all our effort to reach this destination all the worth-while.

The following day involved a much more conventional route returning to the Main Range Track after a short off-track exploration of Watsons Crag Dome and The Sentinel, a number of dramatic peaks which only get the imagination flowing for future adventures.

After exploring Carruthers Peak and Lake Albina along the conventional track we reached our second night’s camp site at Wilkinsons Creek early, this allowed for a much needed rest and an afternoon nap, which was quickly followed by a swim in the snowmelt waters from nearby Mt Townsend.

After a hearty meal and exploration of our surroundings, we settled in for a night counting stars and calling dibs on shooting stars, thankfully there were more than plenty to go around.

Our last day was the longest by distance but the easiest as it involved a moderately easy climb to Mt Kosciusko with some snow-angels being made with the last of the remaining snow. At the summit, crystal clear skies gave a 360 degree view of our adventure over the last 3 days and of the easy Summit Walk track leading back to Charlotte Pass; those with good eyes could make out the track back almost all the way to our first night’s camp, although that could have been the last of the scotch talking.

Over 3 days that were over far too soon we shared amazing sights and experiences and were rewarded with some of the most beautiful landscapes Australia has to offer, pushing forward even when there appeared to be no way ahead and forged new friendships along the way, at the end of it we asked yet again the same original question and dreamt up future adventures which get our imagination wondering… and that I believe is the answer to: “I wonder what’s there?”

Warning

It is worth noting that even in summer there is some snow on the peaks and temperatures can drop dramatically with little notice, we gave one of our emergency blankets to a family on a day trip who had unfortunately been caught out by a sudden temperature drop; always be prepared and carry warm clothing even in summer specially if travelling with children.

Essential Gear

  • Tents & sleeping bag
  • Personal Locator Beacon
  • Warm clothing (even in summer)
  • Topographical map, GPS, First Aid Kit
  • Sufficient food and water for a number of days.

How To Get There

Start and end on Kosciusko Rd by Charlotte Pass Lookout, head out on Main Range Track, return by Summit Walk track, venturing off track around Watsons Crag and Blue Lake isn’t difficult but does require good navigation skills.

Activities

  • Hiking
  • Camping
  • Swimming
  • Photography
  • Off track exploration

Skill Level

Advanced; a good level of fitness, equipment and off-track navigation ability is required.

Distance Covered

35 kilometres walked, 1600 elevation gain, steep terrain with no obvious track in parts.

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