It’s the world’s smallest continent and sixth largest country, spanning an area of some 2,941,300 square miles. It has tropical rainforests and deserts, but it’s said to be the flattest country in the world. So, what about mountains?
Only about six percent of the land in Australia rises above 2,000 feet, yet this does include mountain ranges. Chief among these are the Australian Alps. Somewhere between 130 and 160 million years in the making, these are not the jagged, craggy peaks of the Hymalayas or the European alps. They are a far softer, more rounded affair and devoid of glaciers. It is here that one finds the highest mountains in Australia.
So, what are these rare Australian mountain peaks? Let’s find out, starting with the tallest mountain in Australia.
1. Mount Kosciuszko: The Biggest Mountain in Australia
Height: 7,310 feet | Range: Australian Alps | State: New South Wales
The highest point in Australia’s mainland is located in the biogeographic subregion known as The Snowy Mountains. Mount Kosciuszko, one of the Australian Alps, rises to 7,310 feet above sea level. It’s found in Kosciuszko National Park in the southeastern state of New South Wales.
It was a Polish explorer, Paul Strzelecki who gave the mountain its current name back in 1840. He named it after the iconic 18-19th century Polish figure Tadeusz Kosciuszko, a statesman and military leader.
However, note the use of the word “mainland” in the first paragraph. There is another, much taller mountain, technically a volcano, within Australian territory; the Australian external territory of Heard Island to be exact. Located over 2,500 miles southwest of Perth, it’s one of the world’s most remote places and home to Mawson Peak. An active volcano rising to the impressive height of 9,006 feet, this is – if not geographically then politically – the tallest mountain in Australia.
2. Mount Townsend
Height: 7,247 feet | Range: Mount Townsend | State: New South Wales
Back to the mainland and New South Wales, where Mount Townsend is the next biggest mountain in Australia. Just 2.3 miles north of Mount Kosciuszko and also within the Australian Alps, it reaches a height of 7,247 feet.
3. Mount Twynam
Height: 7,201 feet | Range: Australian Alps | State: New South Wales
Mount Twynam rises to a height of 7,201 feet above sea level, qualifying it as the third highest point in Australia. Whilst within the state of New South Wales, it’s close to the border with Victoria. Those who reach Australia’s third highest peak are rewarded with stunning views of the Western Falls.
Australia’s Highest Peaks By Topographical Prominence
So far, we’ve looked at the highest mountains in Australia by elevation. That is, by their summit’s height above sea level. There are several measures of mountain size, one of them being prominence. This is a measure of a mountain’s drop, or how distinct it is as an independent mountain.
Mount Kosciuszko still tops this list with a prominence equal to its elevation. However the second and third most prominent mountains are Mounts Bogong and Buller at 1,233 and 844 feet respectively. Still part of the Australian Alps, they are in the subrange known as the Victorian Alps and are located in the state of Victoria.
The Highest Mountains in Australia
So there you have it. It may be among the flattest countries overall, but Australia’s highest peaks are natural wonders in their own right.