A Guide to Kosciuszko National Park

It is the largest national park in New South Wales, covering 6,900 square kilometres, including the country’s highest peak Mount Kosciuszko. The south of Kosciuszko National Park hugs the Victorian border, while its north reaches almost all the way to Tumut and Canberra. That’s a big space, so whether you’re visiting for a weekend or a week, there is plenty to see, especially if you’re feeling energetic. 

Summer in Kosciuszko National Park 

With the snow gone, the park becomes a hikers’ paradise. About 100,000 people each year take the Mount Kosciuszko Summit Walk. Starting at Charlotte Pass, the 9.5 kilometres to the summit is a gradual incline on an easy-to-follow management trail. There’s amazing scenery, wildflowers, and a crossing of the Snowy River. When you get to the top, don’t be surprised if you have to wait your turn to take a photo at the summit stone.

For something completely different, the three-kilometre Rainbow Lake Walk is relatively flat and attracts not nearly the number of hikers. It’s a short walk through the bush before the lake comes into view. There are lots of grassy patches along the way where you can sit and take in the scenery. If you’re lucky, you might see wombats or gang cockatoos.

Whether you’re an experienced mountain biker or are someone who’s always wanted to give it a go, Thredbo Mountain Bike Park is the only one in Australia with lift-access gravity trails. It has 40 kilometres of trails and two-hour intro classes to teach newcomers the basics. You can hire a bike from Thredbo Retail and Rental.

Get the adrenaline pumping with a rock climbing and abseiling adventure, suitable for beginners, with Snowy Mountains Climbing School. The views from the granite tors are awe-inducing.

Because you’ve got a rental car, a drive along the 108-kilometre Alpine Way is a must-do. It starts in Jindabyne, which sits on the lake of the same name, and winds its way through some spectacular mountain scenery, past the ski resorts and to the border town of Khancoban. Take your time and enjoy the views along the way. 

Winter in Kosciuszko National Park 

During the year’s coldest months, the ski resorts of Thredbo, Perisher, Selwyn, and Charlotte Pass attract skiers from around the country. Perisher is, in fact, the largest resort in the southern hemisphere. There are 47 lifts on its seven mountains, as well as the Skitube Alpine Railway, which offers an alternative way to travel from Bullocks Flat to Perisher. 

Whether you’re a skier, snowboarder, or complete beginner, you’ll be able to find rentals, lessons and runs to suit at any of the resorts. 

If zipping down hills
doesn’t light your fire, there are 58 kilometres of marked and backcountry
cross-country skiing trails. The loops range from 2.5 to five kilometres, and you can go at your own pace. Make sure your smartphone is fully charged, because you’ll want to capture shots of some of the pristine scenery, punctuated by snow gums, on your route. 

Many of the walking trails around Thredbo and Perisher become popular for snowshoeing during winter. A valley called Dead Horse Gap is particularly good and you’ll be able to look down the hill at the skiers. 

Of course, one of the big attractions of the ski fields is the end-of-day activities. You’ll want to find a spot close to your accommodation because you’ll need to leave the rental car in its place. Rug up and kick up your heels in one of the outdoor bars at places like Thredbo Alpine Hotel. There are also lots of bars and restaurants, where you can get cosy by the fire and refuel with excellent food and wine. Snow Gums Restaurant, in the Perisher Valley Hotel, is a top choice.

If you’re looking for an experience and a great meal, book a snowcat dinner in Thredbo. These weekly events take guests by snowcat to on-mountain restaurant Kareela Hutt. Once there, a four-course dinner and fine wines is served overlooking the sparkling lights of Thredbo Village. 

Don’t forget, you’ll need to book snow chains with your rental car to travel to the ski resorts during winter. 

Your Kosciuszko Base Camp 

There are campgrounds right across the national park, but if you don’t want to be pitching a tent, most of the accommodation options are in the two ski towns of Perisher and Thredbo. There are a number of lodges and hotels in both locations, available in a range of budgets. 

Lake Crackenback Resort, just outside the park, is an excellent option, where you can choose from mountain chalets or lakeview apartments. There’s a spa and restaurants, as well as mountain bike and ski hire.

There’s also Guthega Inn, perfectly located for skiing in winter and hiking in summer. The 10 comfortable, stylish suites have views of the Snowy River and mountains, plus there’s a bar and restaurant on-site, lounge with a fireplace and mountain bikes and fishing gear to borrow. 


When you’re ready to see the best of Kosciuszko National Park, hire a rental car to make it easy.