Our next destination was Jindabyne NSW, where we stayed in a van park right on the shore of the lake of the same name. The view was great, the weather was perfect and we were hoping it would remain that way for our hike to the summit of the nearby Mt Kosciuszko (our highest mountain for those who may not know).
The next day was just as good and we caught the ski-lift at Thredbo to the start of the 13 km return walk to the roof of Australia. You can hike up from Charlotte Pass to save the cost of the lift pass but it's an extra 3 km.
|On the way up|
The Snowy River originates in the National Park but is dammed at Jindabyne before winding its way for over 350 km to the sea at Marlo on the coast of southern Victoria.
|Headwaters of the Snowy River|
We passed this lake, a post glacial tarn and the highest (at 2042 metres) on the Australian mainland and about 900 metres from the summit. The name Cootapatamba is apparently an Aboriginal word meaning "the icy waters where the eagle comes to drink".
We didn't see any eagles but a couple of Nankeen Kestrels were spotted in the distance along with a smattering of wildflowers closer to hand. Even though it was late summer there were still a few alpine plants flowering including the ones below that I was able to identify at the park headquarters the following day.
|Mountain Gentian and Billy Button (on left)|
Although it was about 6 degrees celsius with the chilly wind, this lizard had found a protected spot in the sun and was making the most of it.
|Black Rock Skink|
The spectacular granite tors of the Ramshead range are a sight to behold on the trek up. They add a distinct otherworldly aspect to the already magnificent surrounds, like a scene out of Lord Of The Rings.
The majority of the track is on a raised steel walkway that is easily negotiated by anyone with a modest degree of fitness and we took our time, doing the round trip in just under 5 hours so we could savour every moment we were up here.
|The summit to right of Clare|
Besides the Kestrels the only other birds we saw were Pipits and Ravens, the latter in a large flock that flew around us at the summit.
One of the aims of our trip was to climb to Australia's highest peak and we achieved this goal with a feeling of great satisfaction. The highlight of our journey to date. And we timed it well, for the next day the weather closed in and most of the range was covered in heavy cloud.
|At the summit (2,228 metres)|