Before you get started

What can you expect from this walk?

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Self guided inn-to-inn

Highlights:

  • 7 day itinerary (includes 5 days of walking)through Australia’s highest alpine ski region
  • A genuine 360 degree view from the summit of Australia’s highest mountain
  • Mountain lakes, wild rivers and glacial valley streams
  • Man from Snowy River country
  • Summer wildflowers in bloom
  • Stay in cosy alpine lodges and chalets
  • Rich diversity of wildlife including the chance to see wild brumbies

Overview:

Located half way between Sydney and Melbourne, this inn-to-inn walk explores parts of the 690,000 hectare Kosciuszko National Park including Australia’s highest peak, Mt Kosciuszko (2228m). Formed over millions of years of glacial, ocean and volcanic activity, this is undoubtedly one of Australia’s most breathtaking landscapes. These ancient peaks, plateaus and steep sided valleys are mostly snow covered from May to November and are a hotspot for winter sports. The snow melts in late spring and flows into Australia’s major rivers, stimulating and replenishing an astonishing array of flora and fauna ahead of the warmer summer months.

The highest peaks in the west are a striking visual treat as you walk above the treeline. To the east sub-alpine woodlands of gnarled snowgums give way to tall alpine ash, cypress pine and mountain eucalypt forests in the dry rugged areas along the lower Snowy River. You’ll see a variety of alpine villages, ski resorts and landmarks including Thredbo, Mt Blue Cow, Perisher Valley, Mt Kosciuszko, Thredbo and Dead Horse Gap.

We recommend this walk in the summer months, when the alpine weather is perfect for walking at altitude and the snowfields and meadows are alive and vivid with wildflowers.

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More on what you'll experience

You’ll trek alongside rivers and undulating valleys and traverse a mix of gentle and more challenging ascents across easy mountain passes. There are some optional loops and trails involving some short scrambles to spectacular lookouts. Above the treeline you’ll walk to the glacially formed Blue Lake and along vast snow plains reminiscent of Middle Earth. There are sections of well-marked pathways and boardwalks protecting fragile plant species, some rough trails through areas of cool temperate rainforest to drier forests and woodlands on the lower slopes.

The walking is exhilarating yet easygoing for a mountain environment given the relatively low altitude.

This walking holiday starts and finishes in Jindabyne with transfers between accommodation and sections of the walk. The walk includes overnight accommodation and delicious local food and wine in secluded ski villages and chalets adding to the mountain wilderness ambience.

You can rest and enjoy lunches beside pristine glacial lakes, crystal-clear creeks listening to the clack and roll of rivers stones, or alongside wildflower-carpeted meadows overlooking the vast valleys of the Australian Alps and the Great Dividing Range on the horizon.

Each walking day you’ll cover an average of just over 14 kms, but with the options we offer along the way that can be increased. Some days you’ll start your walk directly from your accommodation, while on others you’ll be dropped off and picked up at the day’s walking trail. As part of the walk you’ll even take an optional ride on a chairlift for part of the way.

We move your luggage ahead to your next accommodation at each stage, so all you need to carry is what you need for the day.

Let's dive into

More Details

Location

The Roof of Australia commences in Jindabyne, approximately half way between Sydney and Melbourne.

The easiest way to get to Jindabyne is to drive. There is a daily coach service from Canberra to Cooma – you would then need to catch a taxi from Cooma to Jindabyne. You can also fly from Sydney to Cooma on Aeropelican and then catch a taxi to Jindabyne.

We can supply more detailed information on request. However, it is more convenient (and often cheaper) to hire a car and leave it in Jindabyne during this walking holiday.

Grading

25% easy, 55% moderate, 20% more challenging. 14-23km (4-7 hours) walking each day, with some options to shorten the walks.

Mostly moderate walking but altitudes between 1400 and 2228 metres can leave you short of breath. A mix of narrow, well-defined foot tracks and wider 4WD tracks.The chairlift at Thredbo assists with one major ascent and descent.

For more detailed information including daily walk distances and times please download our Fact Sheet below.

Accommodation

Alpine lodges in ski village settings.

What’s included

6 nights accommodation, 6 breakfasts, 5 lunches, 4 dinners, chairlift rides, luggage transfers, vehicle transfers required for the itinerary, National Park fees, insulated lunch bag, maps, map case & info pack.

What’s not included

Alcohol, meals not listed in itinerary, drinks with meals (except tea/coffee and juice with breakfast).

The best time to go

This walk can be done any time from the start of December to 20th April. This mountain environment is about 10–15 degrees cooler than Sydney, and there is a possibility of bad weather even during summer. January and February are usually warm and the alpine wildflowers are at their best. December and March are usually mild, and considered by many people to be the best times to visit.

See the Bureau of Meteorology’s information about average temperatures and rainfall at different times of the year.

Regional food and wine

The region is noted for fresh Snowy Mountains trout and tender high country beef. Wash it down with a drop or two from the Snowy River Winery – the highest winery in the country, specialising in cool climate varieties.

The Itinerary

Let's Review

Day 1

Starts in Jindabyne any time after 2pm. There is no walking scheduled for today but if you arrive early enough you can walk for many kilometres around the shores of picturesque Lake Jindabyne.

Accommodation: Jindabyne

Day 2

After a transfer high into the mountains, the walk begins with the easy Aqueduct Trail. Marvel at one of the greatest engineering feats in the world – the mighty Snowy Mountains Scheme built in the 1950s and 60s to change the direction of the rivers and provide water for farmers on the dry inland plains.

The path meanders beside the scheme’s aqueducts, rivers and dams that opened up this isolated country. The route continues to Guthega Alpine village, set on the banks of the Snowy River.

Accommodation: Charlotte Pass Alpine Village

Day 3

Traverse through Blue Cow alpine ski resort to Perisher Valley. Hike to Porcupine Rocks for spectacular views of the Great Dividing Range. The ancient snowgum trees here are twisted and gnarled through centuries of harsh winters.

After rain or fog these tree trunks change colour to brilliant shades of red, orange, yellow and green.

Accommodation: Charlotte Pass Alpine Village

Day 4

Did you know that Australia has glacial lakes? You’ll see several on this walk above the tree-line. Cross our famous Snowy River, walk through fields carpeted in wildflowers, stroll along high grassy ridges and chill your drink in icy Blue Lake.

Watch out for spaghnum bogs – large mossy plants that hold six times their weight in water then slowly release it into the alpine streams.

Accommodation: Charlotte Pass Alpine Village

Day 5

Walk to the summit of the highest mountain in Australia, Mt Kosciuszko, a highlight not to be missed. This mountain is a mecca for walkers and you’ll share the summit with people from all over the world.

Finish the day with an exhilarating ride down the country’s longest chairlift. Hardy walkers can choose to walk Merritt’s Track steeply down through unique mountain ash forests and waterfall valleys.

Accommodation: Thredbo Alpine Village

Day 6

Take the easy way and ride the chairlift up! Today’s walk descends through fields of alpine wildflowers and snowgum forests to the Thredbo Valley. Will you be one of the lucky ones to see wild brumbies roaming the plains? Walk quietly in this special, pristine place.

Finish the day with an easy stroll along the banks of the swift Thredbo River as it meanders down to the village.

Accommodation: Thredbo Alpine Village

Day 7

After breakfast you’ll be transported back to Jindabyne where your trip finishes.

Enjoy a Flawless Experience

Traveller’s Tales

Chris Saunders & Jenny Krapez – March 2016, Roof of Australia

Auswalks makes the walking easy (well almost!).
In taking care of all the boring stuff (booking accommodation, meals, arranging transport, luggage transfers and packed lunches) means you just get up each morning and walk.
Route instructions for self-guided walks are excellent: comprehensive, reliable, and trustworthy.

Snowy Mountains: Roof of Australia

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$ 2355 per person twin/double share
$ 555 Single Supplement (private room)

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