Sunday, 11 March 2012

Charlotte Pass to Blue Lake walk, Koscisuszko National Park

Blue Lake, Kosciuszko National Park
Before doing this walk, I had read a few people's thoughts on it and the consensus seemed to be that it is prettier and less crowded that the Thredbo to Mt Kosciuszko walk.

On the second count, I have to agree - during the few hours walking, we only passed about six other people compared with the Kosciuszko walk where at times it felt like jostling for position on Pitt Street at peak hour. In terms of which walk is prettier, I think that is like comparing apples with oranges - both have some absolutely spectacular scenery, the kind of awe inspiring panoramas that make you feel like a tiny speck in an amazing world!
Storm brewing between Charlotte Pass and Blue Lake, Kosciuszko National Park
Charlotte Pass is now the end of the road beyond Perisher. In times past, you could keep driving but these days you will hit a cul-de-sac come parking lot and this is where your trip begins. A few different walks start from here and there is a public toilet. There is apparently also food available at the nearby resort but I packed a picnic. The start of the Blue Lake walk is STEEP - keep in mind this is also the path out at the end and it is a killer! The start/finish also involves some hop-skip and jumping across the Snowy River on stepping stones which looked more like pebbles to my unconfident eyes. That said, I did make it although a few of them might give a little wobble just to keep you on your toes...

The walk undulates through the hills so it seems like just as your legs are really about to give up, there is a nice downhill run to pep you back up. The criticism I have of this walk is that (unlike the Thredbo to Kosciuszko walk) there is no real information about how far there is to go - there are some boards with information on the area but nothing to let you know where you are in relation to Blue Lake. It took about an hour and 45 minutes to reach the lake and maybe an hour and ten minutes back (more downhill). 
Gnarly snow gum, Kosciuszko National Park
The storm which gradually brewed overhead on the way to Blue Lake meant I only saw a fleeting glimpse of it with the sun making the water glow an amazing aqua colour but that little glimpse has made me want to go back on a clearer day because it was amazing. There is a lookout which lets you see Blue Lake at its best and catch your breath before making the homeward journey.

Important things to remember if hiking from Charlotte Pass to Blue Lake:
 - The road to Charlotte Pass closes in the winter
 - Some parts of the walk including the very end are extremely steep
 - The weather in the mountains can change very quickly so be prepared
 - You will need to buy a National Parks Pass for the drive - there is a booth on the way where you can get one of these and a map

Snowy River, Charlotte Pass

Mossy granite, Kosciuszko National Park

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