One of the most amazing things you are sure to see in Kosciuszko National Parks are the Alpine lakes.
Not only are they geographically the highest lakes in Australia but these pristine water bodies are remnants from the ice age which ended over 10,000 years ago. During this time, parts of the Australian Alps were covered by layers of slow-moving ice known as glaciers. While the coverage in Australia was minimal compared to other parts of the world, the long-lasting effects of the ice age have had significant impact on the glacially carved landscape of Kosciuszko National Park.
Lucky for us, one of the most stunning results of this are the four alpine lakes – Blue Lake, Club Lake, Lake Albina and Lake Cootapatamba. These are the only cirque lakes Australia and the good news is they all live within hiking distance of each other in the Kosciuszko National Park!
The biggest and most well-known Alpine lake is Blue Lake. This beast is roughly 40 acres in area and 28 meters deep, yikes! Known for its majestic sparkle and aptly named for its deep blue color, this is one you don’t want to miss. Blue Lake can be reached in a day hike (9.3 km return) from Charlotte Pass car park following the Main Range track. Despite its significant depth Blue lake is also frozen over for approximately 4 months of the year.
This one has to be my personal favorite – simply because it looks like a giant dinosaur footprint. Exciting! The smallest of the four alpine lakes, you can view this one from Carruthers Peak on the Main Range Track.
The third Alpine Lake, Albina, is located in a ravine to the east of Mt Townsend (Australia’s second highest peak). Following the Main Range trail on from Carruthers Peak is the best way to view Lake Albina.
At 2048 meters above sea level, Lake Cootapatamba is officially the highest altitude lake in Australia. Smaller in size, this lake is 40 meters long with a depth of up to 5 meters. Lake Cootapatamba is frozen over for up to 5 months each year. Arguably the most accessible Alpine Lake, you can view this one from Cootapatamba Lookout, a moderate 4km walk from the top of the Mount Kosciuszko Chairlift.
Take me there!
Want to see all of Australia’s alpine lakes? Luckily, they are all in relatively close geographical location so an overnight hike will take you to all four. The best access is by following the Main Range track which takes you past three lakes, and including a small detour to Cootapatamba lookout. Don’t want to go it alone? Australian Summit Tours can take you there. On our Mt Kosciuszko Summit Walk and Ten Summit Challenge our expert guides will share their knowledge of each of the four alpine lakes, alternatively you can book a private tour for dates that suit you.