HIKING TRAILS & TIPS
You will be spoilt for choice for hiking in the Mountains! From Lakeside strolls from your Jindabyne accommodation to the big one! Climb Australia’s Highest Peak and anywhere in between, you will not be disappointed in choosing to get a little exercise and see some amazing scenery along the way.
How a track gets its grade
The grading system assesses a walk’s difficulty based on several criteria, including experience required, steps, gradient, path quality and signage. The walk’s final grade is based on the most difficult of these 5 criteria, rather than an average. So some walks will have criteria that meet an easier grade.
Take a look at our guide below, and before your next adventure ask yourself ‘is this walk suitable for me?’
Grade 1 – No bushwalking experience required. Flat even surface with no steps or steep sections. Suitable for wheelchair users who have someone to assist them. Walks no greater than 5km.
Grade 2 – No bushwalking experience required. The track is hardened or compacted surface and may have a gentle hill section or sections and occasional steps. Walks no greater than 10km.
Grade 3 – Suitable for most ages and fitness levels. Some bushwalking experience recommended. Tracks may have short steep hill sections a rough surface and many steps. Walks up to 20km.
Grade 4 – Bushwalking experience recommended. Tracks may be long, rough and very steep. Directional signage may be limited.
Grade 5 – Very experienced bushwalkers with specialised skills, including navigation and emergency first aid. Tracks are likely to be very rough, very steep and unmarked. Walks may be more than 20km.
Jindabyne has a number of trails to get you started. The easiest is to start at Banjo Patterson Park right in the centre of Jindabyne and walk the shared path along the foreshore for 5klms. You will pass some artworks that remain from the Easter Lakelight Sculpture Exhibition. Watch out for trout rising in the early morning and at sunset. Some great viewing areas of Lake Jindabyne and look over where the “Old Jindabyne” once was now under 30 metres of water. Try the Tyrolean Village Shared Trail for a little bit harder workout but still stunning views. This trail extends over the “Dam Wall” for 10 km and winds up and down moderate hills. All with sensational views over the Lake and Mountains.
KOSCIUSZKO ROAD & CHARLOTTE PASS WALKS
STOP PRESS – Snowy Mountains Backcountry [SMBC] are now offering exclusive small group summer hikes to the main range from their Guthega headquarters! Well known by locals for their winter backcountry expertise and education in backcountry touring SMBC have some of the best guides in the business. Phone them at 0400 349 319 for more information.
Summit Walk from Charlotte Pass Village — 4.5km one-way – 6-8 hours – Grade 3— Seaman’s Hut 6km one-way • Rawson’s Pass 8km one-way • Mt Kosciuszko 9km one-way. This walk follows the old road to Mt Kosciuszko. In 1976 the NPWS closed the road to public vehicles at Charlotte’s Pass because of safety concerns, environmental problems and lack of parking. The walk passes through snow gums, heath and herb fields and provides extensive views of the Main Range and Snowy River. After crossing the Snowy River the track climbs gradually to Seaman’s Hut, Rawson’s Pass and Mt Kosciuszko’s summit.
Main Range Track from Charlotte Pass Village — 22km round trip – 7-9 hours – Grade 4 — After crossing the Snowy River below Charlotte’s Pass, the track climbs through alpine herb fields past Hedley Tarn Lookout to Blue Lake Lookout. It then climbs Carruther’s Peak that provides spectacular views to the west. It continues along the exposed ridge of the Main Range above Club Lake and Lake Albina until it meets the Summit Walk between Rawson’s Pass and Mt Kosciuszko’s summit.
Sawpit Track 1.6km round trip – 45min – 1.5 hrs – Grade 3 You can start this walk from the southern end of the Kosciuszko Education Centre or from the northern end of the Sawpit Creek picnic area. The track follows Sawpit Creek downstream through woodland (candlebark, white sallee, manna gum and mountain gum). The thick shrub growing beside the creek is predominantly woolly tea tree. After about one kilometre, a track junction is reached. The Sawpit Track takes a sharp turn to the right while the Pallaibo Track continues following the creek. The Sawpit Track climbs back up to the Kosciuszko Mountain Retreat (cabins/camping area). Walkthrough this complex to return to the picnic area and your vehicle.
Waterfall Track— 6km round trip— 45min- 1.5 hrs – Grade 3 –This track starts at the Sawpit Creek picnic area and passes through the culvert under the road. It runs roughly parallel to Sawpit Creek until it crosses the creek at a cascade or small waterfall. The tall trees with fibrous bark growing near the falls are alpine ash. Alpine ash was logged in this area late last century. On the return, the track passes between huge granite boulders before returning to the picnic area.
Rainbow Lake Walk— 3km return—45min – 1hr 15min – Grade 3 – The track begins at a gate on the left side of the road towards Perisher from Sawpit Creek,1.5km past Sponar’s Chalet. Parking is available opposite the gate or 400m further on at Dainer’s Gap. The track winds through snowgrass and snow gums to Rainbow Lake. The lake is a dam which was constructed to supply water to the Hotel Kosciusko. Sponars Chalet was the staff quarters for the hotel and became the main accommodation building when the Hotel Kosciusko burnt down in 1951. The old fences near a large boulder just before you descend to the lake are a legacy of the grazing era.
Porcupine Track— 5km return— 1hr 30min – 2hrs 30min – Grade 3 – This track starts at the Perisher Valley reservoir. To reach the start of the track turn left beside the Man from Snowy River Hotel and take the right branches of the road. The snow poles mark cross-country ski trails. Except where they follow the walking track, these poles should not be followed by walkers because loss 4 vegetation and the development of worn pathways will cause erosion. Because the ground in this area is often wet, some sections of the track are constructed from raised metal mesh. The track wanders through snow grass, snow gums and small shrubs until a large group of granite boulders is reached. These boulders provide an extensive view of the Main Range and Thredbo Valley.
THREDBO VILLAGE & MAIN RANGE TRAILS
Experience the natural beauty of Australia’s highest mountains in summer as you walk and hike some incredible alpine trails. Whether it’s a family-friendly hike to the top of Mt. Kosciuszko or an advanced day hike across the Australian Main Range, there’s something for every age and ability to enjoy. With tons of glacial lakes, unique flora and fauna and mountains as far as the eye can see, it’s a must-do whilst visiting Thredbo throughout summer.
NSW national parks offer hundreds of walking tracks across the state for all levels and experiences. To help you find walks best suited to your needs, tracks are graded using the Australian Walking Track Grading System (AWTGS).
AWTGS classifies tracks into 5 grades, based on the Australian Standard for walking track construction (AS 2156). It was funded and developed by a Victorian Government initiative, in partnership government agencies and non-government groups across Australia, including NSW National Parks.
Mt Kosciuszko Lookout & Summit Hike
The one everyone comes for! Summit one of the Worlds ‘7Peaks’ and tell your friends!
Denali. (6,194 m) -Mont Blanc. (4,810 m) – Elbrus. (5,642 m) -Everest. (8,848 m) – Kilimanjaro. (5,895 m) – Aconcagua. (6,961 m) – Vinson. (4,892 m) – Kosciuszko. (2,228 m)
Approx time: 4-6 hours
Colour on map: Purple
Stand on top of Australia at 2,228m and enjoy panoramic 360 degree views. Ride the chairlift to the top and head out along the pathway across Merritts Creek. Follow the walkway to the Kosciuszko Lookout, 2km one way, (altitude 2000m) for views of Australia’s highest peaks and alpine landscapes.
The track then descends into the headwaters of the Snowy River then rises up into a saddle known as halfway rocks. From here you can see the access trail from Charlotte Pass. Follow the walking track to Rawson Pass (altitude 2110m), passing Cootapatamba Lookout. From Rawson Pass the summit is only 1km away. The track circles around the summit right to the top. Return to Thredbo following the same track for a total of 13km.
Dead Horse Gap Hike:
Grade: 4 going up, 3 going down
Approx time: 4-5 hours
Colour on map: Brown
This loop walk starts from the Thredbo Village and takes you along the Thredbo River to Dead Horse Gap. From here climb through the alpine zones along the rooftop of Australia to the Eagles Nest Restaurant and down the Chairlift to return to the Thredbo Village. Along the walk there are stunning views from the top of the Rams Head Range, before the opportunity for lunch at Australia’s Highest Restaurant, followed by an enjoyable chairlift ride down to Thredbo. This hike can be done in either direction (please note that climbing from Dead Horse Gap is significantly more strenuous).
Alpine Lakes Hike:
Highlights: Glacial lakes, Incredible alpine views
Take a stroll out on the rooftop of this beautiful land. This is an iconic hike that promises stunning views of the mountains, beautiful unique flora and a complete sense of awe in what Mother Nature has created. From start to finish, this is a wonderful mountain experience. It is 32km of moderate to strenuous hiking but is quite achievable for a reasonable level of fitness. You will be hiking some of the highest peaks and seeing some of the most rugged mountain terrain Australia has to offer, not to mention the highest glacial lakes in the country. Enjoy this journey of stunning views, windswept peaks and unique features along the way.
PLEASE NOTE: This is an all-day hike with strenuous uphill sections, Thredbo does not operate a return shuttle.
Approx time: 2-3 hours
Colour on map: Pink
This walk starts with a scenic journey to the top of the hill on the chairlift. Starting along Merritts Nature walk, this walk soon detours down the hill by following a series of signposted trails and ski runs. The walk visits a few scenic creeks, but the main highlights are the wide views of Thredbo Valley.
Merritts Nature Track:
Approx time: 2-3 hours
Colour on map: Sky Blue
This walk explores the native bushland around the winter skiing area. After riding the Kosciuszko Express chairlift up the hill, arriving near the Eagles Nest restaurant, the walk winds through the snow gum forest, following ski runs and bush tracks back down the hill. The walk passes the popular Thredbo Bobsled and continues back to the village.
Approx time: 1-2 hours
Colour on map: Orange
Starting from the Valley Terminal, this walk leads you past the bobsled then down to Friday Drive and across the Thredbo River. From here, you follow the signposted Pipeline Path, a dirt track, along the hillside. The track leads to the picture-perfect Snowmakers Ponds for a picnic or a dip. Either retrace your steps or follow the rest of the notes back to the start following Friday Drive. An enjoyable stroll out from the village.
TIPS & HINTS PLUS SAFETY WHEN GOING ON A HIKE
The high country can be an extremely beautiful place but it can also be challenging with regard to our weather conditions. Mountain weather can change quickly from sun and heat to snow and rain in a few minutes.
- If going overnight tell someone your expected route and return time.
- It is advisable to take a GPS location device & EPIRB emergency beacon if travelling away from the main trails.
- If going on a day hike take a change of clothing. If it is hot & sunny when you first take off make sure you have the opposite clothing in your day pack i.e wearing shorts? take long pants..wearing t-shirts? take a jumper….Pack for all conditions!
- Always take water and a light snack with you.
- Take a hat, sunscreen and insect repellent. The fly’s in the mountains are big!!
- Wear sensible shoes. Thongs are OK for the beach, not a 15 km hike.
- Know where you are going and how long it will take to return.
- Take a camera for those great shots of you being a true” Mountain Man or Women”.