I’ve been as high as anyone can go in this country. Last weekend I climbed Mount Kosciuszko. That’s 2228 metres above sea level. I don’t know how many other people can say that – and I’m a little bit proud.
My journey started with an early morning bus ride (late by twelve minutes – hello Sydney buses!) to Circular Quay… then a little bit (read ‘a lot’) of frantic running… carrying two bags and dragging a suitcase behind me… from wharf to wharf… trying to figure out which one the express ferry to Manly left from. Turns out it was the one I went to first. Whoops!
Once on the ferry I spent the next twenty minutes trying to convince myself I wasn’t going to be seasick. I think the ginger tea I had for breakfast helped because… despite some pretty big waves… I made it to the other side with my insides intact. There I met my travel companions – my Aunt Margaret (AM) and Uncle Barry (UB) and we hit the road in their brand new car. We took a wide sweep around Sydney to avoid the traffic which my country relatives (and I guess anyone who doesn’t live here) weren’t used to. We ended up in Thredbo about 6pm. (It was a 10 hour round trip for me).
What an amazing part of this beautiful country Thredbo and its surrounds are. So different to the endless, flat earth you see in WA. (Which, by the way, I think is beautiful… in case you were wondering).
Our accommodation was second to none. During the peak season you can hire our two bedroom, two bathroom apartment for a cool $2000 a night. Off-peak, a much more digestible $250.
Saturday morning we ate a big breakfast to fuel up for our hike up the mountain. But the news was not good when we met our guide. The weather was not on our side… too bad in fact to go see the top of Kosi. Winds up to 80km/hour were forecast with gusts fast enough to push me over apparently. So we pushed it back a day and explored the region.
Sunday was take two and the weather was much better. When they say you climb to Australia’s highest peak there is a little bit of help. The Thredbo chair lift takes you up a fair way… a nice way to ease into the hike that’s for sure. But it doesn’t stay that way.
Jason was our tour guide and spent the next 6 hours pointing out different flora and fauna and teaching us a little about the area. I was pleasantly surprised to see toilets about half way up the mountain… what kind of hiking is that?!
The path is laid out for you… more so to protect the fragile enirvonment than to help out hikers. We crossed snow twice… that was pretty fun…. Also very slippery in my sneakers! But no-one fell off, so that was a good thing.
The walk is a mixture of uphill climbs, easy plateaus and a few downward slopes. Fittingly, the last kilometre or so to get to the peak is the toughest… an uneven path (at least there is a path!), ferocious winds which I did struggle to stay upright in and freezing temperatures. But that’s all quickly forgotten upon reaching the summit. Now I know what Edmund Hillary felt like when he became the first man to conquer Mt Everest (a bit of a stretch maybe?). It was awesome to be up there. The landscape is so beautiful. Mesmerising. Inspiring. Amazing. I have to admit, when Jason handed us all our certificates to say we’d climbed Australia’s highest peak I was quite proud of myself. Actually I was more proud of AM and UB who reached the top too. (Let’s just say I’m at least half their ages!).
The walk down wasn’t a breeze either. Remember how I said the climb is a mixture of climbs, plateaus and downward slopes? Well those downward slopes become uphill slopes on the way back. At least this time we had the wind helping us along instead of marching head on into it.
Beer never tasted so sweet and delicious and refreshing as it does once you’ve reached the summit of Australia and you’re overlooking Thredbo. UB shouted me and Jason a beer and AM went for the classier Veuve Clicquot as we overlooked the township and talked about the 13 kilometre climb we’d just accomplished.
If you ever get the opportunity I thoroughly recommend you reach the top of Australia. You’ll never forget it.
Thanks for reading. I’ll post more adventures soon!