Another week on the road, another week packed with incredible experiences hidden within the walls of our great southern home.
From the cool, salty air that danced across our sun-kissed skin on the NSW coast, to clear, crisp and unforgiving mountain air that dances into your lungs and fills you with life… We’re now in the Snowy Mountains of NSW – more specifically – Kosciusko National Park.
My prior knowledge of this region was limited. One school trip to Perisher during the peak snowy months when it seemed every second family in Australia made the pilgrimage to the ski fields to embrace temperatures that don’t generate sweat beads or heat rash… So with that in mind, visiting the region in April was a very different experience and one that absolutely should NOT be overlooked when you’re planning your next trip.
Never did I expect to set up camp in the mountains alongside a river flowing generously with near-freezing water which was white snow just weeks earlier… Three layers of warmth wrapped around our bodies to shield from the frosty temperatures in the mountains once sun was down. Three layers, a generator-powered heater and hot water bottles… I had to be eased into it…
Turns out the mountains in Autumn are a special sight – the leaves are browning, the campsites are quiet and the ski villages are deserted – however there is no shortage of warm food and cold brews and breathtaking adventure experiences to celebrate this vast mountain region.
Mt Kosciusko was a rare gem in a lifetime of treading through lush peaks found in what (for me) has mainly been tropical high country… The 13 km round journey took its toll on myself, who hasn’t kept up the fitness since our nuptials last September, but this magical height of snow-dotted landscape and barren hills was not going to wait, and we pushed forward to the summit peak of 2,228 metres above sea level.
Kosciusko’s top was riddled with tourists celebrating their efforts and Ben and I chose to delight in some two minutes noodles and black tea to toast our perseverance. This was a special day. And as the sky emanated its richest blue and the sun belted out its brightest daylight, I couldn’t help but feel emotional up there – a rare feat many Australians bypass for something they believe is more extravagant overseas – only this experience was more moving than many natural wonders I have experienced in my short life so far, and I’d say to anyone – no matter how young, old, unfit, or uninterested – this is an experience you can’t leave behind.
From busy mountain climbing to lazy days spent sunning ourselves in the chilly breeze by Three Mile Dam further north… We have experienced the Snowy Mountains at a time many will choose to forget it. The sun is warm enough to flush my skin light pink, and the nights are cold enough to turn my nose numb, but the sunrises and sunsets are out of this world and the terrain is abundant with wildlife – which is enough to make us pinch ourselves.
Only this morning, Ben had a rare brush with a herd of brumbies as we strolled around the banks of the dam warming our bodies before breakfast. About a dozen of these stunning creatures shuffled their way into camp, coming extremely close to keen campers who had also braved the morning frost to get a glimpse of their beauty. Ben managed to brush the nose of one of the foals with his fingers – clearly these brumbies hang around here a lot!
At a time when NSW kids are on holidays, we expected to find it hard to snag a good camp and some peace and quiet, but it’s strangely still here in the mountains in autumn, making it the perfect time to visit such a fascinating region if you’re anything like us and enjoy the seclusion.
The landscape is beyond beautiful and no photo or video or explanation could ever do it justice. The wildlife is vast and quite inquisitive – we’ve had visits from deer, ducks, brumbies, kangaroos, possums, kookaburras and rabbits in the past few days alone…
My advice to you as I sit here breathing in that crisp mountain air and again counting my blessings for having the means and the courage to embark on this special journey, is to consider the Snowy Mountains when most others would not.
I am someone who would take stinging-hot sand and coconut oil over scarfs and thermoses any day – but so long as the fire is blazing and the billy is boiling, my body and my heart is warm – and I suppose I have Ben to thank for that, but those fellow summer babies out there can do it too. I promise.
Pack warm and come ready to embrace adventure. There is no shortage of activities up here, everything from bush walks, to mountain bike trails, to wildlife experiences and fishing, to endless free camping spots WITH toilets – all here to give you the taste of nature in the mountains that every Australian so very much deserves.
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Journalist by trade, writer by hobby. Writing fuels my soul and I promised myself I’d string words together more often, so here I am.
A collection of pieces that describe the inner workings of my mind.