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Mount Kosciuszko
Jagungal, Jar-gan-gil, Tar-gan-gil, Tackingal[1]
Sunrise views from the summit of Mount Kosciuszko, Kosciuszko National Park 56.jpg
Mount Kosciuszko summit.
Highest point
Elevation 2,228 m (7,310 ft) [2][3]
Prominence 2,228 m (7,310 ft) [2]
Isolation 1,894.26 km (1,177.04 mi) [2]
Coordinates 36°27′27″S 148°15′44″E / 36.45750°S 148.26222°E / -36.45750; 148.26222Coordinates: 36°27′27″S 148°15′44″E / 36.45750°S 148.26222°E / -36.45750; 148.26222[4]
Mount Kosciuszko is located in New South Wales
Mount Kosciuszko
Mount Kosciuszko
Mount Kosciuszko is located in Australia
Mount Kosciuszko
Mount Kosciuszko
Mount Kosciuszko (Australia)
Parent range Main Range, Great Dividing Range
Topo map Perisher Valley
First ascent

1840 by Paweł Edmund Strzelecki (European)[2][4]

Ancient Times by Indigenous Australians
Easiest route Walk (dirt road)

Mount Kosciuszko /ˌkɒziˈʌsk/[5] is Australia’s highest mountain, at 2,228 metres (7,310 ft) above sea level. It is located on the Main Range of the Snowy Mountains in Kosciuszko National Park, part of the Australian Alps National Parks and Reserves, in New South Wales, Australia and is located west of Crackenback and close to Jindabyne.

Various measurements of the peak originally called Kosciuszko showed it to be slightly lower than its neighbour, Mount Townsend. The names of the mountains were swapped by the New South Wales Lands Department in 1892 so that Mount Kosciuszko remains the name of the highest peak of Australia, and Mount Townsend ranks as second.[6] The 1863 picture by Eugene von Guerard hanging in the National Gallery of Australia titled "Northeast view from the northern top of Mount Kosciusko" is actually from Mount Townsend.[7][8][9]



It was named by the Polish explorer Pawel Edmund Strzelecki in 1840, in honour of the Polish-Lithuanian national hero, General Tadeusz Kościuszko,[note 1] because of its perceived resemblance to the Kościuszko Mound in Kraków.[10]

The name of the mountain was previously spelt "Mount Kosciusko", an Anglicisation, but the spelling "Mount Kosciuszko" was officially adopted in 1997 by the Geographical Names Board of New South Wales.[4] The traditional English pronunciation of Kosciuszko is /kɒzˈʌsk/, but the pronunciation /kɒˈʃʊʃk/ is now sometimes used,[11] which is substantially closer to the Polish pronunciation [kɔɕˈt͡ɕuʂkɔ] (  listen).

There are several native Aboriginal (Ngarigo) names associated with the mountain, with some confusion as to the exact sounds. These are Jagungal, Jar-gan-gil, Tar-gan-gil, Tackingal; however, all of them mean "Table Top Mountain."[1]


The mountain was formed by geologic uplift.[12] It was not formed by any recent volcanic activity.[13] Eroded granite intrusions remain at the summit as large boulders above the more heavily eroded sedimentary rocks.[13]

Reaching the summitEdit

Mount Kosciuszko is the highest summit in mainland Australia. Until 1977 it was possible to drive from Charlotte Pass to within a few metres of the summit, but in 1977 the road was closed to public motor vehicle access due to environmental concerns. The road is open from Charlotte Pass for walkers and cyclists for 7.6 kilometres (5 mi)[14] to Rawson Pass, at an elevation of 2,100 metres (6,900 ft) above sea level. From there a 1.4-kilometre (1 mi) walking path leads to the summit. Cyclists must leave their bicycles at a bicycle rack at Rawson Pass and continue to the summit on foot. Anyone with a modest level of fitness can walk to the top.

The peak may also be approached from Thredbo, taking 3 to 3.5 hours for a round trip. This straightforward walk starts from the top of the Thredbo Kosciuszko Express chairlift, which operates all year-round. The walking path is popular in summer, and is a mesh walkway to protect the native vegetation and prevent erosion. It is 5 kilometres (3.1 mi) to Rawson Pass, where it meets the track from Charlotte Pass, and from where it is a further 1.4 kilometres (0.87 mi) to the summit. The walk to the summit is the easiest of all the Seven Summits.[15]

The third and often overlooked route up Mount Kosciuszko is up the very challenging and historic Hannel's Spur Track (15.5km) which approaches from the NW and is the only route to pass though the Western Fall Wilderness Zone - passing though 4 different bio-diversity bands along the ascent. The Hannel's Spur Track is officially Australia's biggest vertical ascent of 1800m. This is the same route that explorer Paul Strzelecki climbed and 'discovered' Kosciuszko in 1840 and also the same annual route that the stockmen once brought the cattle up/down from the valley almost 2km below to graze in the alpine meadows of Kosi throughout the summer. The various aboriginal tribes from the Murray valley also used this same route annually for 1000s of years to access Kosciuszko to harvest the delicacies of Bogong Moths that were in abundance throughout the summer months and to socialise with other tribes from the coast and northern plains. The Hannel's Spur Track trailhead (sign) is about a 1.4km hike SSE of the Geehi Rest Area on the Alpine Way road between the towns of Thredbo and Khancoban. Note: Difficult

Australia's highest public toilet was built at this pass in 2007, to cope with the more than 100,000 people visiting the mountain each summer.[16]

The peak and the surrounding areas are snow-covered in winter and spring (usually beginning in June and continuing until October or later). The road from Charlotte Pass is marked by snow poles and provides a guide for cross-country skiers and the track from Thredbo is easily followed until covered by snow in winter.

North Ramshead
Kosciuszko summit, obscured by clouds
Etheridge Range
Mount Clarke (Mount Townsend is behind it)
Kangaroo Ridge
Snowy River headwaters
Looking north from the summit towards Mount Townsend


Topographic map of Mt Kosciuszko including the approaches from Charlotte Pass and Thredbo.

Kosciuszko National Park is also the location of the downhill ski slopes closest to Canberra and Sydney, containing the Thredbo, Charlotte Pass, and Perisher ski resorts. Mount Kosciuszko may have been ascended by Indigenous Australians long before the first recorded ascent by Europeans.

Each year in December, an ultramarathon running race called the Coast to Kosciuszko ascends to the top of Mount Kosciuszko after starting at the coast 240 kilometres (150 mi) away. Paul Every, who is credited as being the one who thought of holding such a race, was the inaugural co-winner in 2004.[17]

Higher Australian mountainsEdit

Higher peaks exist within territory administered or claimed by Australia, but outside the continent are Mawson Peak (2,745 m or 9,006 ft) on Heard Island and Dome Argus (4,030 m or 13,220 ft), Mount McClintock (3,490 m or 11,450 ft) and Mount Menzies (3,355 m or 11,007 ft) in the Australian Antarctic Territory.

Higher peaks in the region, but outside the mainland continent include:

In popular cultureEdit

Australian rock band Midnight Oil performed a song called "Kosciusko" on its 1984 album Red Sails in the Sunset, referring to the mountain. The spelling was updated to "Kosciuszko" for the group's 1997 compilation album, 20,000 Watt R.S.L.


See alsoEdit


  1. ^ Kościuszko was also a national hero in Lithuania, and Belarus, and hero of the American Revolutionary War


  1. ^ a b "James M. Spencer, The Highest Point in Australia". The Sydney Morning Herald. National Library of Australia. 18 February 1885. p. 7. Retrieved 22 February 2014. ; cited in Alan E.J. Andrews, Kosciusko: The Mountain in History, O'Connor, A.C.T, Tabletop Press, 1991, p. 50.
  2. ^ a b c d "Mountain Kosciuszko, Australia". Retrieved 28 May 2015. 
  3. ^ "Kosciuszko National Park". Australian Alps National Parks. Australian Government. Retrieved 13 June 2009. 
  4. ^ a b c "Mount Kosciuszko". Geographical Names Register (GNR) of NSW. Geographical Names Board of New South Wales. Retrieved 27 May 2015. 
  5. ^ Kosciuszko: Reflections on YouTube
  6. ^ "Mountain systems of Australia". Year Book Australia, 1901-1909. Australian Bureau of Statistics. 
  7. ^ "Eugene von Guérard: North-east view from the northern top of Mount Kosciusko 1863". National Gallery of Australia. Archived from the original on 4 November 2008. 
  8. ^
  9. ^ "Strzelecki's Kosciusko by E. Axford". Retrieved 23 October 2017. 
  10. ^ "Australian Geographical Name Derivations". 8 April 2011. Retrieved 18 June 2012. 
  11. ^ Yallop, Colin, ed. (2005). Macquarie Dictionary (4th ed.). Melbourne: The Macquarie Library. ISBN 1-876429-14-3. 
  12. ^ Geology Page: Geologists discover how Australia's highest mountain was created | Geology Page, accessdate: February 17, 2017
  13. ^ a b Erfurt-Cooper, Patricia (2014). Volcanic Tourist Destinations. Springer Science & Business Media. p. 273. ISBN 9783642161919. Retrieved 24 April 2017. 
  14. ^ National Parks' 'Southern Kosciuszko walking tracks factsheet'
  15. ^ Hamill, Mike (2014). Climbing the Seven Summits: A Comprehensive Guide to the Continents' Highest Peaks. The Mountaineers Books. p. 275. ISBN 9781594856495. Retrieved 24 April 2017. 
  16. ^ "The rush to complete Australia's highest dunny" (PDF). Department of Environment and Climate Change, NSW. 3 May 2007. pp. 6–7. Archived from the original (PDF) on 9 November 2014. 
  17. ^ "Coast to Kosciuszko". Retrieved 18 June 2012. 

External linksEdit