Walking in the Central Kosciusko National Park
We decided on this walk because we had never been to this part of the Kosciusko National Park and we thought that it would be a bit of an adventure to navigate our way through a new area. Besides, Mt Jagungal is the only mountain in the national park that really looks like a mountain – the others, even though higher, are just big mounds on the Kosciusko Plateau.
We began this walk from the Toolong Dam and navigated across the plains to the old Toolong gold diggings and then on to Millers Hut. This was a real cattleman’s hut and it had a large galvanized iron bath under the front veranda. Heavens knows how they ever made enough hot water to fill it up! There was a large party of people with horses already there, so we camped at a respectable distance and far away enough to avoid the noise, horse smell and flies.
On our second day, we navigated across country hoping to follow some of the tracks that were marked on the map and which were originally built to support the Snowy Mountains Hydro Electric Scheme in the 1950’s. Many had become overgrown or had faded away beyond recognition. However, with a bit of compass work, we found the Hell Hole Creek Fire Trail which provided us with one of our steepest ever climbs and then finished the day by camping on a little snow plain near the base of Mt Jagungal. At dusk, the smoke from our fire hovered across the entire plain at a height of about one metre in the still night air.
We climbed Mt Jagungal on the morning of our third day and then began walking back along the Round Mountain Fire Trail. We soon passed the point where we had expected to camp for the night and instead, we reached Cool Plain just as the weather closed in with fog and drizzle. We could see a hut marked on the map but after searching for an hour we found it to be a pile of rubble as it had been destroyed in a wild fire some years earlier. We resigned ourselves dejectedly to cooking in the rain, so we pitched our tent in the shelter of some snow gums and settled in for the night.
The next morning was cold and wet, but our spirits lifted as we watched a wild dingo (the first on we had ever seen in the bush) walk past our camp site. We walked on towards Round Mountain expecting to find the Thiess Fire Trail (it was very clear on the map), only to find that the further we travelled, the more it became impassible with saplings and new tree growth. We eventually found an escape route that took us past an old quarry and out to the main road which we followed for four or five kilometres back to our car at Tooma Dam.