Seeing snow for the first time is pretty exciting for a Queenslander
A Snowy Mountains adventure and the hunt for snow
SNOW is not something I could ever imagine. Growing up in humid Queensland summers, the closest I came to real snow was reaching into the freezer when it was in dire need of a defrost. This idea – the idea of true-to-life, powdery snow – was burning somewhere deep in my mind as I prepared to adventure to the Snowy Mountains with my wife and one-year-old daughter. We would spend days in a luxury lakeside resort, walk to the summit of Mount Kosciuszko and explore the foothills and running streams in the foothills, but I had little hope. Too often have I heard stories of travellers on a quest for snow only to experience “the one time snow hasn’t fallen in 100 years” to be optimistic.
So while the hopes weren’t strong, the plan was set. Surviving connecting flights with a toddler to Sydney then on to Canberra, we hopped into our four-wheel drive and set off for the mountains. The four-wheel-drive part of this is important.
The Mount Kosciuszko Park requires by law that all drivers have snow chains available if they head in. The exception is for four-wheel-drives. As a further fun fact, rental car agencies will charge you if you use chains and somehow damage the car. The drive is stunning. The vibrant yellows of autumn in southern Australia is jaw-dropping. Naked trees stripped of their leaves haunt the Monaro Hwy between Canberra and ultimately Crackenback, where we would spend most of our time. The Lake Crackenback Resort and Spa is four-and-a-half-star luxury and self-contained.
Our first morning we head outside as the sun rises. Coming from summery climes, I don’t bother with shoes. The grass is frosted. It’s one degree Celsius. I’m an idiot. We pack our supplies and think about how to layer our clothes. Today we conquer Kosciuszko. Today we see snow.
Up the chairlift from the brisk, breezy streets of Thredbo, we spot smatterings of white.
“Is that snow?” I ask excitedly. My wife nods. I point it out to my daughter who is unimpressed. From the top of the chairlift we head towards the summit. It’s not a difficult walk, but at a rambling pace with lots of photo
pit-stops, it takes about two hours each way.
The scenery is magic. Our pictures impressive. My darling girl feeds on her mother, and is asleep by the time we reach the top. When she wakes up, we hold hands and stomp powdery snow and ignore the teenagers who easily walk to the summit in their activewear. In the days that follow we mountain bike around foothills, we drink gin at the Wildbrumby Distillery and we sample the Thredbo Jazz Festival.
We’re spoiled at the Crackenback Restaurant Farm and enjoy the “hatted” fare at the hotel’s Cuisine Restaurant. As we return home, I’m reminded that it’s not even winter yet.
A stark mountain view in the Snowy Mountains and, top right, a hearty meal of beef goulash at the Wildbrumby Distillery.