Situated on the Main Range in southern New South Wales, this track offers a type of bushwalking not very common in Australia in that it lies entirely above the treeline.
The great views, easy accesibility and the chance to do a short (2 kilometre) side trip up Australia's highest mountain- Kosciuszko- make it a very popular day walk. It popularity and the fragile environment which it passes over have led to it being well constructed, a good portion of the path is paved while in other areas rough stone steps have been layed- do not expect any tricky scrambling this is just a gentle walk. It is a great place for a trail run too.
The Main Range lies in SW New South Wales and forms the highest part of the Great Dividing Range a scattered collection of mountains running parallel with the coast of Australia\s east coast from Queensland down through NSW and finishing in Victoria. The closest ‘city’ is Canberra about 220km away, the closest town of a size big enough to have a camping store is Jindabyne 35 kms, and the village/ ski resort of Thredbo is nestled in the valley just beside the Main Range and has chairlifts which can take you up onto the plateau (for an exorbitant fee). Thredbo has a few amenities (ie. A small supermarket, some drinking holes, and plenty of accommodation) but is quite swanky and as a result an expensive place to visit. You are better off stocking up on supplies for a trip in Jindabyne
Thredbo and Charlottes Pass are the two places which offer the best access to the Main Range Track.
To reach Thredbo from the west take the Alpine Way from Khankoban, from the east take the Kosciuszko Rd from Jindabyne. To reach Charlottes Pass take the road to Perisher Valley from Jindabyne and continue up past the ski resort for another 10 km's.
Starting from Charlottes Pass the loop is 20 kilometres, alternatives from Thredbo will be discussed at the end, for the sake of clarity the walk will be described in an anitclockwise direction.
Descend down to the Snowy River and cross it using the stones set in place for this purpose. Then follow the paved path up the other side enjoying the views over towards Mt. Lee- you will be walking along the top of this ridge later.
Continuing along the track views of Headley Tarn will open up to the east (left). Pass over another small creek and then walk up the slope to the lookout over Blue Lake, a short side trip down to the viewing platform is worthwhile.
The track now climbs up Carruthers Peak the highest point reached on the circuit at 2140m, which affords some good views of the track ahead. Notice Mt. Kosciusko nearlly directly ahead as you follow the ridgeline
Starting down from Carruthers and along the exposed ridge look down to Club lake, one of the five glacial lakes on the Main Range. The vegetation on this ridge consists mainly of hardy, ground hugging feldmark communties which are easily damaged, so it is worth keeping to the track.
After 2 km's the track reaches Northcote Pass and Lake Albina comes into view, the trail drops off the ridge to traverse above the lake.
The trail passes under Muellers Peak and begins the gentle climb up towards Kossie. From the turn off it is only 800 metres walk to the summit. Continuing along the track down towards Rawsons Pass then turn east on the Old Kosciusko Road. This maintenance road passes Seaman's Hut and then continues another 6 kilometres down to Charlottes pass.
If you want to begin from Thredbo this is an option too, however the longer distance (37 km if you don't take the chairlift) turns the hike into a much more strenuous trip, it might be worth bringing a tent along.
Follow the metal walkway towards Kosciusko as outlined in the Thredbo Ski Lift Route
, when you reach Rawsons Pass turn east and follow the Old Kosciusko Road to Charlottes Pass, from here follow the route as it is described above.
No technical climbing gear is required. Just regular gear for a walk ie. boots, a light jacket, water and clothes depending on the weather...