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The best mountain climbs near Sydney

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Mt Kosciuszko

Australia’s highest mountain and not the faint of heart, Mount Kosciuszko is 2,228 metres above sea level. Located on the Main range of the Snowy mountains, the National Park offers snow sports, walks and mountain biking. Visitors can go camping, explore caves, climb Australia’s highest mountain. With 7 different areas in the park, the gateway to Mount Kosciuszko is via the Thredbo-Perisher area.

From Thredbo, the iconic walk to conquer the summit will take a couple of hours and you’ll arrive at Australia’s highest point where you can soak in the epic views. The track is generally snowbound in winter (June to October). Visitors can get to Mount Kosciuszko on cross-country skis or snowshoes but there are no snow poles marking the route.

In the warmer months, you can start at the top of the Kosciuszko Express chairlift at Thredbo and the  popular day walk will take you to the rooftop of Australia. After the scenic chairlift ride, you'll travel past the rocky granite outcrops of Ramshead Range, and through alpine wildflowers (spring). Stop at the lookout for views of the country's highest mountain. The track crosses the headwaters of the Snowy River, before climbing above Lake Cootapatamba and on to Rawson Pass. From here, it’s a gradual climb to the summit of Mount Kosciuszko (2228m). The sweeping 3600 views across the Snowy Mountains and Victorian High Country are sure to wow you. Stay a while to soak in the fresh alpine air, pack a summit snack, and wallow in your sense of achievement, before returning along the track to Thredbo.

If you want to get a sense of the walk before committing, you can take a virtual tur of the Kosciuszko walk (Thredbo to Mount Kosciuszko) captured with  Google Street View Trekker.

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Burning Mountain, Scone

A mountain of fire located in Wingen, New South Wales, ‘Burning Mountain’ is the common name for Mount Wingen, a stunning natural wonder. It takes its name from a smoldering coal seam which runs underneath the sandstone. A trail with information panels runs from the parking lots to the site where smoke emanates from the ground. The underground fire is estimated to be at a depth of 30m underground and it is estimated that the fire has burned for approximately 6,000 years and is oldest known coal fire.

European explorers and settles to the area believes the smokes was volcanic in origin and it wasn’t until 1829 that was identified as a coal seam fire.

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 Pigeon House mountain / Didhul, the Bundawangs

Completing the iconic Pigeon House Mountain Didthul walking track near Ulladulla in Morton National Park rewards hikers with amazing panoramic views of the area.

Pigeon House Mountain Didthul walking track is considered one of the best walks in Morton National Park and on the south coast. The walk is in the park’s southern section. The walk is pretty steep in parts, but terrific views make it worthwhile. Adventure seekers will hike through forest, heathland and age-old sandstone before being greeted with a series of ladders that lead you to the summit and the view.

Take in the captivating sight of cliffs and gorges within the Budawang Wilderness, all carved by the Clyde River. On clear days, you may be able to see as far as Jervis Bay and Bermagui. Lucky hikers might spot lyrebirds along the final portion of the track where they can also check out rare Pigeon House Ash eucalypts. When you get to the top of the mountain, enjoy some lunch with the killer views in the background or head back down to the picnic area at the start of the walk for a well-deserved lunch.

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The Castle, the Budawangs

One of the iconic peaks of Morton National Park, the Castle is a challenging day walk which will get your heart pumping. Though not large in distance, the climb of nearly 800m is capped by a series of scrambles near the summit. Hikers will need good fitness and a head for heights.

The views from the summit are tremendous and much time can be spent on the cliff edges enjoying the sights in all directions. Most parties should carry a 20m rope or tape in case fixed ropes are not present. Tracks in general are not signposted, and in places there is a confusion of tracks. Parties need to be confident with route finding.

The walk is best from late autumn to early spring, as the cool weather allows for a more pleasant climbing temperature.

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Pieries peak, Mount Royal National Park

At this world heritage-listed Gondwana rainforest at Mount Royal National park, close to Barrington Tops National park - you can hike, 4WD and picnic til’ your adventurer’s heart is content. The walking track allows visitors to hike from Youngville campground to a scenic lookout across the Hunter valley and Lake Saint Clair.

The peak is a gentle rise compared to the other mountain tops on this list. On your way to your top you will come past a narrow ridge out to the peak with a marked difference in vegetation from the east to the west slope. Once you reach the top, look west and south to see Bayswater Power station and Muswellbrook. After coming through the forest, the ridge continues onto a bald peak with rainforest on the steep eastern slope. To the back, you’ll be able to see Mt Royal and to your east you will see Mount Carrow.

Careys peak, Barrington Tops National Park

Offering scenic mountain views, picnicking, birdwatching and historic heritage in the sub-alpine region of Barrington National Park. Carey’s peak is one of the higher points in this National park and is in the Williams Range. The peak is at the edge of the Barrington Tops plateau, within the declared wilderness of the World Heritage Gondwana Rainforests of Australia.

 Wilderness streams, such as the Allyn River and Williams River rise nearby. On a clear day, the higher peaks of the Blue Mountains may be seen. And looking south east, the sands of Stockton Beach on the coast may be viewed. The scenic appeal of the area is well regarded. Particularly the large dark stands of rainforest and snow gum wilderness. Careys Peak is a popular camping and bushwalking destination. The surrounding area is heavily forested and sub alpine woodland grows on the plateau.  On the escarpment, Cool temperate rainforest is dominated by the Antarctic beech. Other interesting plants nearby include the snow gum, southern sassafrasand broad-leaved pepperbush.

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Mount Boyce, Blue Mountains

Standing at approximately 1,093 metres, Mount Boyce is situated as one of the highest points on a plateau within the Explorer range part of the Blue Mountains. It’s a spur off the Great Dividing Range and approximately 300 metres west of Mount Boyce, the land drops sharply in cliffs and steep slopes to the Kanimbla Valley.

Mt Boyce is made up of 9 cliffs consisting of both sport, mixed and trad climbing. An excellent winter crag with the sun hitting the cliffs for the majority of the day.

Mount Piddington

A favourite amongst rock climbers, Mount Piddington is a mountain in the Blue Mountains village of Mount Victoria. It has a lookout, restrooms and a picnic area at its summit, surrounded by a loop road, Mount Piddington Road, which runs from the summit to Mount Victoria village. It is also the starting point of several bushwalking tracks that descend to the cliffs of Hornes Point and the Fairy Bower reserve. Notable sites on the slopes of Mount Piddington include Coxs Leap and Bushranger Cave.

It is accessible from the village via a loop road, and is the starting point of several bushwalking tracks leading to beautiful caves, rock-climbing areas, and the valley floor.

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Monica Limanto