See­ing snow for the first time is pretty ex­cit­ing for a Queens­lan­der

Life & Style Weekend - - WELCOME // INSIDE TODAY - BY Owen Jac­ques Owen Jac­ques was a guest of Des­ti­na­tion NSW. Share your travel snaps with #ilovensw

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.

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