Geological Sites of NSW banner

Mt Kosciuszko banner

Visitors enjoy a rest on top of Mt Kosciuszko
Rams Head Range
Rams Head Range

Mt Kosciuszko - Kosciuszko National Park

Latitude -36.455917, Longitude ,148.263588

Located in the Snowy Mountains Region of NSW, nearest town Thredbo



Link to Detailed Map

Mt Kosciuszko is Australia's highest peak at 2,228 metres (7,310 ft) above sea level. Formed of granitic rocks in the Ordovician to Lower Devonian periods (490-355 million years ago) the landscape has been altered by prolonged periods of uplifting, faulting, folding and erosion. The landscape is different from other mountain ranges, like the Andes and Himalayas, due to the geological processes from which it was formed (see Formation of Australian Alps on this site). It is now a low profile mountain range defined by ridges of hardier erosion resistant rocks and divided by streams like the Thredbo River which have etched out deep valleys. One outstanding and renowned feature of this range is the "mile high" drop from the crest of the Main Range to the Geehi River; this is a resulted of a combination of uplift and dissection.

The One Mile Drop viewed from Scammells Lookout


Great climate change occurred in this area during the Pleistocene period (the last two million years). Cold conditions some 70,000 to 10,000 years before present day resulted in the formation of glaciers along the crest of the main range.

The scattered rocks and sharp crags of Rams Head Range adjacent to Mt Kosciuszko formed when cracks in the indigenous granite were invaded and weathered by water and ice. Some boulders remain where they formed, others slipped downhill on the saturated soil.

Lake Cootapatamba, a cirque lake just below Mt Kosciuszko's peak, was formed by glacial ice spilling from Mount Kosciuszko's southern flank. It is the highest lake on the Australian mainland. (a cirque lake is a circular bowl shaped lake created by glacial action scraping a profile in the native rock)

Getting There

Mt Kosciuszko is located in Kosciuszko National Park and can be accessed from Cooma and Tumut via the Snowy Mountains Highway. Take the chair lift from Thredbo to the top of the hill. The Kosciuszko track leads to Mt Kosciuszko and back via a 13 kilometre return walk. Much of the track is on an elevated metal grate to protect the vegetation and lessen erosion. It is a slow climb most of the way, so a reasonable level of fitness is required. Carry water and clothes as weather conditions can suddenly change. Make sure you wear comfortable, strong soled shoes as the metal grating is hard on feet.

© Copyright Cartoscope and Others