Thredbo Valley to Ngarigo Campground
Also known as the six bridges walk, this track criss-crosses the Thredbo River (Image 1), taking you through some majestic alpine country, before reaching the Ngarigo campground.
Walk Rating: Easy to Medium. Although just over 20 kilometres, this is a relatively easy walk with only small sections of incline (both ways of course). We turned around at Ngarigo Campground, but you could go further to Lake Crackenback. This walk will eventually connect to a longer trail to Jindabyne.
Directions: From Canberra, take the Monaro Highway and travel travel to Cooma (one hour), Berridale (another 30 minutes) and then to Jindabyne (about 30 minutes). Once in Jindabyne, head south on the Kosciuszko Road and then turn left onto the Alpine Way. It's about 30 minutes to Thredbo. The car journey is around 2 hours and 30 minutes, but it is generally a little longer if you stop for coffee or refreshments.
The Walk: This was a walk that I had often seen on Thredbo Village information boards, but was never really interested in doing. Mainly because I was in Thredbo and therefor, the Kosciuzsko National Park! When in this great part of Australia, I tend to look further afield, striving to get up onto the main range and beyond as my main bushwalking goals.
However, I changed my mind about this walk when I recently heard on radio, that the Federal Government had provided $10 million in funding to extend the walking track from Crackenback to Jindabyne. This essentially means that a 62 kilometre walk would be created, taking you from Jindabyne to Dead Horse Gap (depending on which direction you took).
In addition, another walking track has been funded to the tune of $17 million dollars to develop a walking track from Charlotte Pass, via Guthega, via Perisher and finishing at Lake Crackenback. I am firmly apolitical, but I’ve got to give a big thumbs up for this! Link to media article below.
Image 1 - One of the 'six' bridges that criss-crosses the Thredbo River.
Image 2 - Lot's of information signs in Thredbo with details of various walks.
Image 3 (above) - The sign indicating the start of the Thredbo Valley walk after coming up a short incline from the Thredbo Village road and Image 4 (right) - The track junction after about 800 metres. Take the track on the right of the marker.
Back to the walk…
The new proposed walking track got me thinking. I started to ponder about the various walks in Australia that already are, or go onto become iconic, in terms of scenic attraction and that sense of achievement that you get, having achieved a longer walk . Walks that attract people from all over the country and the world.
I continued to ponder this question during this walk and concluded that a 62 kilometre walk that passes by Lake Jindabyne, Lake Crackenback (and resort) as well as two separate campsites (therefor providing mid walk accommodation options), finishing at such a relatively well known location, is sure to be added to the iconic walks list. After all, this is some of the best scenery in Australia.
For this reason, I really wanted to check out the current walking track from Thredbo to Ngarigo Campground, which will form part of the longer walk from Jindabyne and see for myself what was going to be on offer in this future, potential iconic walking track.
This particular walk is named ‘Thredbo Valley Walk’, but is also referred to as the six bridges walk, named after the six suspension bridges that criss-cross the Thredbo River (montage of bridge images at end of article). You can start at the Thredbo Village visitors centre and head towards Friday Flats (northerly direction from the village on the main road) and just beyond Friday Flats, you will see a sign on the left that for the Thredbo Valley Walk indicates you are at the start of the walking track as well as providing information about other locations and disctances (Image 2).
At this sign, head up a slight incline and you will reach another smaller sign, which indicates the start of the Thredbo Valley Track (Image 3).
It’s not long after you leave Thredbo, that you find yourself in the alpine bushland, accommodated by the always flowing Thredbo River (on this walk). Probably worth noting that the actual walking track is a shared track, meaning that mountain bike riders will also be using the track. Pedestrians have right of way, but this never really works unless both show equal amounts of courtesy. We did so, and found the interactions very pleasant and the riders very appreciative of being allowed to pass us by in both directions. Watch the blind corners though!
We were only a short distance into the walk as the beautiful scenery began to unfold around us, a promise of things to come! Also noticeable, was the quietness, particularly after having just walked out of a fairly bustling Thredbo Village!
We continued down a well formed track for about another 800 metres and came to a junction in the track. The junction is signposted so it's fairly clear as to which way to go and we headed to the right, which is the main track.
However, if you did go to the left, the track simply heads up a short incline and loops back around onto the main track. I think this 'detour' is more set-up for the mountain bike riders though, as we encountered the first two who headed to the left and disappeared from site, only to appear back on the main walking track a short distance later (Image 4).
The track then meanders through a peaceful forrest of Eucalypts (Image 5) and it's not long before you come to the first of the suspension bridges (Image 5). It was very impressive and we of course stopped on the bridge to take in the surrounds and enjoy the Thredbo River flowing under our feet (Image 6).
Image 5 (top left) - The first of the suspension bridges that cross the Thredbo River and Image 6 (top right) - I stopped to enjoy the scenery and enjoy the tranquil sound of the flowing Thredbo River.
At the end of the bridge, there is an old chairlift chair that has been adapted for use as a seat (Image 7), not only a reminder of which part of the country you're in, but also a great re-use of something that was probably destined for scrap. Nicely done!
We continued our way along the track, and the majority of the walk from here is really stunning, as it criss-crosses the river giving you different perspectives of the surrounding landscapes. As you get further along the track, the mountains below the Main Range present you with a stunning forest of magnificant Alpine Ash.
Although a lot of the area was badly damaged by the 2003 fires, there are substantial areas of undamaged landscape and here in particularly, the Alpine Ash seem to be thriving. I am always impressed by the size of these trees as they tower over the surrounding landscape as if standing guard. This was such an impressive and peaceful part of the walk.
There are a couple of sections of the track that have more of an industrial feel as the track passes alongside utility access roads together with power lines overhead, but generally the majority of the walk is away from this.
We continued to cross bridges at fairly regular intervals (I've provided a montage of photo's at the end of this article), always stopping to enjoy the river and views.
After walking for just over 10 kilometres, we came to the very busy Ngarigo Campground where we stopped for lunch. It took us awhile to find a picnic table to sit at, as everyone that camps there, tends to erect their camp next to a table. But we persisted, and eventually found a spare one right next to the river.
We sat and enjoyed our lunch (Image 7) , whilst taking in the surrounds of the campground. Mountain Biking is a very popular pastime here and Ngarigo Campground was a hive of activity with people using it as their base for biking throughout the area.
Although we had decided that this would be the halfway point of our walk, you could continue for another three kilometres and reach the Thredbo Diggings Campground, another kilometre to the Crackenback Resort and a further 1.5 kilometres to the historic Bullocks Hut and that's pretty much where it will end.
Images 8 and 9 (below) give you a general idea of the walking track and beautiful surrounds that you will experience on the walk.
Image 7 - A re-used chairlift chair, now providing a rest spot for walkers and cyclists on the Thredbo Valley Track.
Image 7 (above left) - Lunch at the Ngarigo Campground. Image 8 (above centre) and Image 9 (above right) - part of the walking track between Thredbo and Ngarigo Campground.
After lunch we headed back to Thredbo, following the same track and occasionally stopping for a chat with some of the Mountain Bike riders. We arrived back in Thredbo in the afternoon and managed to fit another smaller walk in, on the Meadows Nature Track at Thredbo. That evening we sat on the Balcony enjoying a glass of wine and thinking about the Thredbo Valley Walk and what was possibly to come once it was extended all the way to Jindabyne. I have to say that I had mistakingly put this walk off for many years and in summary, the walk was a rewarding experience and I should have done it a lot sooner.
I pondered how the track will be viewed once it has been extended to Jindabyne and becomes a multi-night trek for those who wish to do that? If the longer version is anything like the current track, I think it is destined to be a sort after walk for many people, not only in Australia, but right around the world.
A longer multi-night track is something I've always dreamt of for Namadgi National Park also.