Conquering Kosciuszko, Australia’s highest mountain

Hmm. Conquering is not really the word you should choose to describe getting to the top of Mount Kosciuszko, the highest mountain in Australia. But it sounds good, doesn’t it?!

Pathway nearing the summit of Kosciuszko

Located not too far from Canberra, Mount Kosciuszko stands tall at 2,228 metres (for my non-metric readers, that’s 7,310 feet, apparently) which of course is not particularly tall – but it is for the wide flat land of Australia. However, this is not a steep, challenging kind of 2,228 metres – there is a chairlift and then a raised pathway all the way to the top and you certainly don’t need any mountain climbing equipment.

My friend Matt standing “on top of Australia”
But that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t climb it (walk it?!). After all, it’s not that often that you get the chance to reach the highest point of a country with relatively little physical effort … and beyond that, it’s still a beautiful part of Australia with an interesting history to boot. You may wonder, for a start, why it’s called Kosciuszko – clearly not a typical Australian name and not drawn from our Aboriginal heritage, either – and in fact it was named after a Polish national hero, General Kosciuszko, by the Polish explorer who found it. (Incidentally, when I was at school, we spelt it Kosciusko, but in 1997 they put the Z back in!). If you are travelling in winter, you will find it covered in snow, which of course is not very common in Australia – another interesting experience.

And speaking of interesting experiences, when I climbed Mt Kosciuszko with my Canberra-based friend Matt a few years back, we were most surprised to see this group of travellers at the top – apparently they were touring the country with their red-headed blow-up doll! (Hmm, there’s a phrase that’s bound to attract some misguided search traffic!)

As we approached the summit, they were inflating her, and then spent plenty of time taking multiple photos of her on top of the mountain. So there you go – if you decide to climb Australia’s highest mountain, you don’t know what you might see up there!

Along with Kosciuszko, I’ve topped Japan by climbing Mt Fuji (considerably harder) but have otherwise not (knowingly) made it to any “top spots”. Have you been to the highest points of any countries?


  1. I haven´t heard of this mountain, and it certainly has a non-Australian name. I have been to the two highest mountains in Portugal – Serra da Estrela or Star Mountain, at 2000mt, quite often when it was covered in snow, as it was only 80kms from where we lived (but we had no snow) and I have been up Serra do Pico or Pico Mountain in the Azores Islands at 2351mt, the only time I went it only had a bit of snow right at the top.

    • Sami – the feedback I’m getting from this post is that plenty of people haven’t heard about Kosciuszko!! You are not alone there. How lovely in Portugal to be so close to beautiful snowy mountains but not have to live with the day-to-day hassle of snow.

  2. I haven’t heard about this mountain. What an amazing name for an Aussie icon. Thanks for telling us about it – def one for the bucket list of hikes/climbs. I climbed Mt Kilimanjaro in Tanzania many moons ago – that was the highest I’ve been on foot 🙂

    • Kilimanjaro!! How wonderful, I’m quite jealous. And as I noted above – Kosciuszko is not exactly famous. You and Sami both live in Western Australia and haven’t heard about it – you probably need to go to school here to know about it! (unless you live on the east coast – I’m assuming it’s better known there)

  3. I have heard of it.. And thought it was common knowledge that it was the highest peak. One of my long time goals is climb it..great post xx

    • Thanks Melanie! Did you grow up in Australia? I suspect it’s only those of us who grew up here that definitely know about it! It’s not exactly famous on a world-wide scale …

  4. My wife and I walked to the top of Kosciuszko in 2010 – was enjoyable, but could have almost done in a gopher if needed it’s such a flat easy walk! Some nice scenery along the way. The thing that as a West Australian got me was that from the top I could see land belonging to more than one state .. bizarre to think another state could be close enough you could see it! No other highest Mt’s for me, but other Mt’s – Ben Lamond and various other smaller Mt’s in NZ during a 14 day hiking tour, Toolbrunup in WA.

    • It is such a flat easy walk, you’re right Roger, it feels a bit like cheating! And I agree, being able to see land from more than one state is bizarre for us West Aussies – even more bizarre was when I lived in Bratislava and could see into two other countries from my apartment window!

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