We flew to Sydney and rented a car for the next leg of our trip in the Australian Alps. It was the first time both Christian and I tried driving on the other side of the road. All went well, but there is more to it than just staying on the left side of the road. What you don’t think about is that you have to shift into drive, reverse and park with your left hand, you have to put on your seatbelt from the right and the indicator is on the right side. Christian and I were both constantly putting on the windshield wipers every time we changed lanes or turned! Overall, it is very fun to drive on the other side of the road, we both have a renewed excitement about driving.
Once we got out of the Sydney traffic, we had a wonderful little road trip – 5 hours South-West into the mountains. We were so delighted to see several kangaroo and wallaby in some fields on the side of the roads as well as the usual suspects – horses, cows, sheep and ram. I’ve been told the landscape is beautiful in this area but I thought it wouldn’t awe me because I am spoiled with amazing scenery in BC. I was wrong. As we approached our destination, we entered an area with silver-white barked eucalyptus forest and then rolling grassy fields with incredibly giant rocks. And then a perfectly placed kangaroo in the middle of my lane. I had to stop the car quickly. The kangaroo and I looked at each other for a few seconds before she jumped away. It was just enough time for Christian to pull out his phone and snap a photo. What a perfect day!
Our Airbnb apartment was awesome. We had a 3 bedroom / 2 bathroom duplex with an awesome view in a neighbourhood not too far from the shops and restaurants in Jindabyne. The prices were reasonable because summer is not a busy time which is shocking because they have amazing bike riding / hiking / water sports etc. We discovered our new home did not have any sheets or towels or wifi. I immediately called the Airbnb host and he told me that they don’t supply these things in the summer and that we would have to go out and buy these items and sign up for a wifi plan. We were miffed at first because the ad clearly stated sheets, towels and wifi, but we made a choice to laugh at this inconvenience and make it work. Our $200 wifi was a constant struggle in this little home but everything else was perfect!
Christian went to the lift access bike park in Thredbo while the kids and I rode an xc trail lower down. Our ride was OK, but the hills were too big for the kids and there were so many bugs! Our plan was for Christian to ride the 2 blue trails in the gravity park and decide which one he will take Blake on, then I would go up when they were done (Jaida was not interested in the bike park so we had to take turns). After Christian completed the 2 trails, he said that neither were suitable for either Blake or myself. He loved one of them but it was too difficult for us so I just went on my own to a different xc trail in the valley. Then we all rode the bobsled and went home.
The next day, Jaida and I went horseback riding. This area, otherwise known as the snowy mountains was made famous by a movie called “The Man From Snowy River”. I haven’t seen this movie but it appears to have a horse back riding theme. So we figured they must know what they are doing. It was Jaida’s first time on a horse and she loved it. I’ve gone riding on various family trips like Texas and Dominican Republic but I’ve never been through such a hilly single track forest before. It was beautiful. I think she is hooked, she asked if we can do it again very soon.
There is an epic cross country trail around the lake in Jindabyne. Christian and I took turns exploring the trails and it was a highlight of our time there. The terrain was not steep but not boringly flat. I’m not even sure how to describe the fun flowy track that seems neither up nor down. The lake was visible and grassy rocky flowery hills surrounded us. The photos don’t do it justice.
We celebrated Christmas Eve dinner at the only restaurant we could find that was open – Namaste Indian. It was awesome! Interestingly, many restaurants in Australia do not have a liquor license so they do not sell wine or beer – however, you can bring your own. So we had to test out the culture and we brought our own bottle of wine.
Christmas morning, we had a few little gifts for the kids under the Christmas tree Jaida brought along (the very same tree we traveled to Costa Rica with 6 years ago). We then headed back to Thredbo, up the gondola and hiked to the summit of the tallest mountain in Australia. With said tree.
Mount Kosciuszko is the tallest mountain in Australia with the summit at 2228m. The Thredbo chairlift dropped us off 300m below that and there was a beautiful easy path to do the 13km journey to the summit and back. Most of the trail is a metal grate hovering above the ground so as to preserve the ecology up there. We told Blake he had to stay on the path so he doesn’t squish any plants or bugs. He asked if it would be ok if he stepped on the rocks that were accessible from the set path and we agreed. So he pretty much jumped on every rock that he could off the path the entire way. I’m not sure why he has trouble walking in a straight line, he must be part puppy.
We had planned to open 1 gift at the top of the mountain and the previous day it was decided that we would open the gift from the Romano’s. So when we arrived at the top of the mountain, the little Christmas tree came out and the kids opened their gift. They were super excited to get tickets to see The Unbelievables at the Sydney Opera house in just a few days. It was perfect!
When we got back to the chalet at the top of the chair lift, we stopped in for some hot chocolate, beer and garlic bread. The chalet was cozy and reminded me of the little chalets in the Dolomites.
When we got home we ate some Australian meat pies and salad and more wine and we played games and watched some Christmas episodes of the Simpsons.
Oh, and I forgot to mention we mailed another bag of stuff home. It’s good to go light!!