When most people think of Australia, they do not imagine tall mountains. Instead, they tend to think of the Outback, the flat and desert-like interior of the country. Yet, Australia does have some mountains, especially in the southeast part of the nation. While none of the mountains are the tallest in the world, they have high elevations. Today, we’re going to examine the highest point in Australia. Find out where this area is located, why calling it the highest point in the country is controversial, and the animals that live in the area around the mountain.
What Is the Highest Point in Australia?
The highest point in Australia is Mount Kosciuszko, a mountain that measures 7,310 feet high. This mountain is in Kosciuszko National Park in New South Wales, Australia. This area is in the southeastern area of the country in a mountain range called the Snowy Mountains.
Sir Paweł Edmund Strzelecki, a Polish explorer, named the mountain in 1840. The name comes from General Tadeusz Kościuszko, a Polish national leader and war hero during the American Revolution. Strzelecki saw a resemblance between the mountain and the Kościuszko Mound named for the same man back in Krakow, Poland.
The initial maps of the mountain were created using records from Strzelecki’s journey. However, some of them mislabeled Mount Kosciuszko. The issue stemmed from the fact that the nearby Mount Townsend, the second-tallest peak in mainland Australia, was incorrectly identified as Mount Kosciuszko. However, future editions of the map got the two peaks’ names right. Mount Townsend is 7,247 feet high, just 63 feet shorter than the official height of Mount Kosciuszko.
Controversy over Australia’s Highest Point
Some people correctly point out that the highest point in Australia is not actually on the continent. Technically, Mawson Peak on Heard Island is taller, measuring 9,006 feet. So, why is this not listed as the highest point? Well, Mawson Peak is over 2,400 miles away from Australia, far to the southwest of the mainland in the southern Indian Ocean.
Heard Island and McDonald Islands is an external Australian territory. Technically, the land is Australian. At the same time, it’s about as far away from the mainland as the landmass is wide. Thus, the highest point in Australia should be the highest on the mainland because that is what most people would be interested in knowing.
Even so, Australia also claims parts of Antarctica as its territory. Two even higher peaks exist in that territory. So, putting Mount Kosciuszko at the top of the list may seem misinformed, but most people would rather know the highest point in the country than its territories.
Where Is Mount Kosciuszko Located on a Map?
Mount Kosciuszko is located in New South Wales within the Kosciuszko National Park. This area is about 100 miles from the eastern coast of Australia. The mountain is not as remote as the tallest peaks in other countries. In fact, people can drive to the Thredbo Alpine Village, a ski village located in the Kosciuszko National Park. From there, people can take various paths up the mountain.
The mountain is easy to climb for people accustomed to hiking, and many people have ticked this mountain off their list of mountain summits to climb. For most people, the entire hike takes about 4 to 6 hours from Thredbo Village to the summit and back.
Aside from getting to see stunning views along the way, there is an elevated walking track along the entire path to the top of the mountain. The journey to the summit is enjoyable for people that are prepared for a long walk.
How Does Mount Kosciuszko Compare to the Tallest Mountains in the World?
Mount Kosciuszko may be the tallest mountain in Australia, but it is not one of the tallest mountains in the world. Take a look at some of the highest peaks from various parts of the world and see how they compare.
|Mount Everest||Asia||29,032 feet|
|Mount Aconcagua||South America||22,837 feet|
|Mount Denali||North America||20,310 feet|
|Mount Elbrus||Europe||18,510 feet|
|Mount Kilimanjaro||Africa||19,341 feet|
|Mount Kosciuszko||Australia||7,310 feet|
Australia is lagging behind many other places in the world. The highest point in Australia is a little over a quarter the height of the largest mountain in the world. To be fair, the vast majority of the highest peaks in the world are in Asia, so the rest of the world has a limited representation of the top highest mountains.
What Animals Live Near Mount Kosciuszko?
Kosciuszko National Park is a protected area in Australia, and it contains many different animals. Some of the creatures dwelling in the region are endangered while others can cause harm to people. It is important to engage in safe practices whenever a person is hiking in this region. That typically means being aware of one’s surroundings and leaving wildlife to its own devices.
Some of the animals that a person can encounter in this park include:
- Spotted grass frog
- Eastern striped skink
- Short-beaked echidna
- Common ringtail possum
- Red-necked wallaby
- Lace monitor
- European fallow deer
- Sambar deer
- Wild boar
- Eastern brown snake
- Red-bellied black snake
Many of the animals in this national park will simply flee at the sight of people. Still, it is a good idea to keep a lookout so you do not accidentally start a confrontation with potentially dangerous animals. For example, although they may seem plain-looking, the eastern brown snake has some of the most potent venom of any terrestrial snake.
These snakes want to avoid human interactions as much as possible, though. If a person gives them space, they’ll flee rather than stick around. Watch where you’re stepping and look out for the wildlife for an uneventful hike.
The highest point in Australia is a mere 7, 310 feet tall. At least, that is the highest part of the mainland. Australia has a few territories that possess higher mountains but counting them toward the record would be counterintuitive. All in all, Mount Kosciuszko is an accessible and relatively easy mountain to summit compared to other high mountains in the world.
The photo featured at the top of this post is © iStock.com/chengwaidefeng
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