I didn’t really know what to expect on this circuit walk up Mt Tate (2068m) in Kosciuszko National Park, but it turned out to be one of the better walks I’ve done on mainland Australia. The views from the summit of Mt Tate are particularly good, and include looking over the rocky plateau of the Main Range towards some of Australia’s other highest peaks. The route through colourful and varied alpine scenery is unmarked, and for much of the time there’s no track, but navigation is easy in good weather, and you might have the place to yourself, as I did even on Easter Saturday.
It all feels quite remote, even though the circuit is a comfortable day walk from Guthega Village. And it certainly offers better scenery than the probably crowded ascent up Mt Kosciuszko. Perhaps the only downside is no clear route down from the East Ridge through scrub, but I managed well enough despite being used to nice clear tracks. If you want to extend the walk you can trek all the way over to Mt Twynam, and return to Guthega from there, but that will definitely be an all day affair. Track notes at the end.
Mt Tate Circuit: The Scenery
A few shots from when I did this walk again the following summer (December 30th, 2019). The wildflowers were in bloom, although I liked the overall colour scheme more in Autumn. Summer was mostly green.
I used track notes in an old copy of the Geehi Bushwalking Club’s book, Snowy Mountains Walks, and there are notes for the longer circuit via Mt Twynam on the Bushwalking NSW website. If you have a contour map then you can work out the route easily enough.
From Guthega you cross Guthega Dam, continue for a short while on a fire trail that switches back up the hill, then find a footpad which heads roughly north up the ridge through low scrub. On higher ground the track runs out, so navigate your own way north and then north west through alpine scenery, (avoiding the bogs and fens), to Consett Stephen Pass, and from there climb south (left) to the rocky summit of Mt Tate. Continue on southwards along East Ridge, eventually turning east to descend steeply from East Ridge down to the northern end of Guthega Pondage, where there is a footbridge over Guthega Creek (although you can easily cross the creek on rocks north of this spot). This descent may be through sometimes thick scrub, but better through this vegetation than the very delicate (and wet) bogs and fens.
December 2019 update: I did this walk again with Sophia and managed to find a much better route down, avoiding the worst of the scrub. We stayed on the East Ridge for longer, bypassing the bowl like depression I descended into in April, and dropping down from some rocks which provided a vantage point of the area. We came across large metal poles which once formed part of ski-lift equipment, and used them to guide our descent until near the bottom, when we veered left a little to arrive at Guthega Creek at the crossing. This route avoided the worst of the scrub and also boggy ground. Basically try and stay out of any little valleys or sunken ground.
You’ll need to park your car in Guthega, and then the walk starts at the dam wall…
5 thoughts on “Mt Tate Circuit, Kosciuszko National Park NSW”
Thank you. We completed this walk today.
Completed in the opposite direction to you! We used the poles as direction to start.
We must admit to reading the geehi club book notes and expecting an “easy 11 km”. Amazing walk free range is wonderful but the “ easy” rating we would challenge… more like a trumpism than truth. Thank you for you lovely notes we felt slightly more validated with your notes and how they aligned to our feeling of satisfied exhaustion.
Hi Caroline. Doing it in the opposite direction was probably a good idea. Would make navigation a bit easier through that overgrown section. Glad you enjoyed the walk. I felt it was a fair bit easier the second time I did it. Familiarity helps rather. But the first time was the best. More adventurous!
I completed this yesterday. I carried a pair of skis and boots out there so I could get a few runs on the remaining snow after missing the season due to Covid lockdown. There definitely are some thick areas of heath that make it hard to ascend. The old SMA lift line is a great guide to finding some sort of a track back down. So nice spending a whole day out there and not seeing one other person! Great place.
Sounds like a good day out John. Did you get to ski?
It was a great day. A dozen runs or so on about 150-200m patches – not much, but the only runs I’m likely to see this year!