Monday, November 16, 2009

Climbing Kosciuszko

As mentioned in our previous posts we planned on climbing Mt. Kosciuszko, the highest point in Australia on our roadtrip from Brisbane to Melbourne. Well, we're happy to report that we succeeded!

Continuing from our last post, we drove south down the coast toward Sydney and camped at Crowdy Head National Park, a secluded ocean-front park. We had to drive about 10 miles on a dirt road to get to the camp ground and since we didn't see any other vehicles we thought we'd have the campground to ourselves. We were surprised when we turned into the campground and it was pretty full. And they charged $10 per person per night! This is in contrast to US National Parks which almost always charge only per site, and never more than say $20. But, there were free showers which we took advantage of the next morning. We also enjoyed watching the kangaroos interacting with the other campers:

The next morning when we drove around Sydney we got stuck in quite a bit of traffic. There are a few toll roads in Australia but very few of them take cash; you need a transponder in your car to ride on them. Since we didn't have one we had to take surface streets around Sydney. Eventually we found our way out of the city and started heading west toward Mt. Kosciuszko.

We camped at a rest stop outside Australia's capital, Canberra, which is also near some of Australia's wine country. We were able to visit a winery on our way the next day but some of the other wineries we tried to visit were closed, as was a brewery! I guess it's sort of "shoulder season" here between Winter and Summer.

We got to the Mt. Kosciuszko area which is a National Park, even though there are several ski resorts inside the park. (As a side note, you have to pay per day to enter the park, which was $16 per day per car. Unlike the USA where paying a National Park entry fee generally allows you to stay for seven days.) We parked the van in a secluded spot where we had kangaroos and pygmy possums visiting us during the night.

We drove up to Charlotte Pass (one of the ski areas) to start our hike. It was a pretty easy hike, walking along a flat trail that used to be a car road. The hike was 18km (about 11 miles) round trip with about 468 meters (about 1500 ft) of elevation gain. It was really beautiful scenery. Here we are at the top:

It seems most people who climb Kozi (as they call it here) take a chairlift part of the way up. But not us. Plus, it cost $29 each to take the chairlift!

The drive from Kozi into Victoria and Melbourne took us another day and a night. We camped by a river and after a long day of driving today arrived in Melbourne in the afternoon. We're staying in Williamstown, a cozy suburb of Melbourne at the grand parents of Yael. They're super nice and plan on showing us a few sights around here the next few days.

Here's a link to the rest of the pictures of our Kozi hike.

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