New South Wales, Australia
Australia’s highest mountain is not as world famous Ayers Rock, but the fabulous Mount Kosciuszko, in the Snowy Mountain Range, reaches over seven thousand feet above sea level. Located in NSW, the mountain is unlike many of the more challenging ascents listed above, in that reaching the summit is a relatively easy feat, as long as you are well prepared and come with the right equipment
In fact, a pretty decent pathway exists up the Charlotte Pass towards the summit, and is generally easy to navigate. It is even possible to cycle a large majority of the path, before cyclists dismount and reach the top of the mountain by foot. Even easier is the ascent via chairlift and a short walk along the Thredbo pass, which should take no more than two hours and is a relatively easy climb.
The perceived safety of the mountain also makes it a popular tourist resort and it is frequented by leisure tourists in the winter for skiing and snowboarding, as well as in the summer months for walking and hiking. The high footfall over Mount Kosciuszko has resulted in numerous calls for management of the area and the conservation of the slopes of the mountain, and there is even a sewage system in place to cater for the thousands of tourists who take the many mountain trails each year.
Although it holds its place as one of the worlds Seven Summits, Kosciuszko is the lowest amongst the other six mountains and is also undoubtedly the easiest mountain to climb. The mountain is in fact so accessible that it is the location for an ultra marathon hosted every year, which sees runners making their way over the summit during the marathon race.
Mount Kosciuszko was first climbed in 1840 by a Polish explorer who named the mountain after fellow Pole Kosciuszko’s tomb, and is part of the Kosciuszko National Park. The Kosciuszko National Park is itself a UNESCO conservation zone and Biosphere park, thanks to the wide variety of natural life found within the limits of the park and the slopes of the mountain.
Climbing to the summit will mean that you will be able to pass over the beautiful Snowy River before capturing some wonderful panoramic views over New South Wales, including of the rest of the Snowy Mountain Range from the summit. You’ll also be able to take in some of the fantastically varied and interesting plants and animals of the slopes of Mount Kosciuszko. These include over 210 different types of birds from the region within a beautiful Alpine setting.
There are plenty of camping areas along the route to the summit and they are generally basic but easily accessible and frequent, ensuring you are never very far from a rest station; although, bear in mind that there are no food previsions for sale past the cable car base. There are many different routes available along many different paths, as well as a variety of guided tours available, including an awesome sunset tour where hikers can view the sun set from the summit of Mount Kosciuszko.
(Image by Aschaf on Flickr)