Patricia Newell-Dunkley – Photographs Reginald J. Dunkley.

Facebook:  Patricia Newell-Dunkley Artist/Writer


Greetings from down under where Christmas in July is being celebrated all over the country. Now that winter has finally arrived it is an excellent excuse to have a traditional feast of roast turkey Christmas pudding, and all the rich heavy food which is bypassed in December in favour of seafood due to the hot weather.

One of the favourite places to celebrate “Yule fest or Yuletide” in Australia is the famous Blue Mountains, and in particular the town of Katoomba.

Kedumba or Katta-toon-bah is an aboriginal term for “Shining Falling Water” or “Water Tumbling over Hill” and it takes its name from a waterfall that drops in the Jamison Valley. This scenic location is famous for the rock formation known as the “Three Sisters”, which attracts four million visitors a year.


“The Carrington” is the oldest hotel opened in 1883 and has a rich history since her establishment, and continues in popularity. The Grand Dining Room is one of the last Victorian dining rooms still operating in Australia, featuring soaring columns, lofty gilded ceilings and stained glass. Here you can step back into the past and enjoy the ambience of wonderful surroundings whilst feasting. This “Grand Old Lady” celebrates Christmas in July until August 5th, fun nights for families and friends to share a winter-style Christmas get-together with all the trimmings.

Another favourite winter resort is Thredbo. This is Australia’s premier alpine destination. It is open 365 days of a year and is home to the countries longest ski runs, best mountain bike and hiking trails and a beautiful Alpine Village situated in a picturesque valley in the heart of the famous Kosciuszko National Park. In winter, Thredbo provides the ultimate snow experience. With Australia’s highest ski mountain providing a huge amount of snow terrain for all abilities and ages, a dedicated beginner’s area, a range of amazing lessons and programs to help you get your snow feet, tons of events and activities to enjoy and a beautiful vibrant village right at the base of the mountain with a range of accommodation, restaurants, bars, cafes and retail shops, it’s easy to see why.

What sets Thredbo apart from any other resort is that there are so many activities to do both on and off the mountain during winter. Whether it’s skiing or snowboarding, building a snowman, tobogganing, experiencing the best of the backcountry or joining in on the iconic flare run. Thredbo’s got something to keep every entertained.


Plus Thredbo Leisure Centre is the perfect place to keep active when off the mountain or on a down day. Home to a unique 50 x 25 metre indoor heated swimming pool, separate waterslide pool, mission inflatable, a world class trampoline facility, full-sized basketball court, squash court, plus a full equipped weights gym and much more, there is definitely something for everyone.

Taking a tourist chairlift ride on the Mt. Kosciuszko Express Chairlift is a must do during either summer or winter. The ride takes fifteen minutes one way and rises 560 vertical metres offering breathtaking views of Kosciuszko Nation Park.  Once at the top of the chairlift station you can enjoy a delicious meal at Merritt’s Mountain House Restaurant. They even have Santa on the Slopes.

In the night time the Village transforms into a vibrant alpine environment like no other with live music, action and stunning sights twinkling in the snow. Thredbo is extremely beautiful and well worth a visit.


Meanwhile the White Humpback Whale, known as Migaloo was spotted swimming off Australia’s Gold Coast. The whale was making its annual migration towards the Great Barrier Reef. Up to 5,000 Humpbacks migrate north up Australia’s East coast between April and August each year from waters in the Antarctic to feed and breed in warm tropical waters.

Winter is also a good time to visit Cairns, in Tropical North Queensland. Humidity is negligible, the sky is often a crisp blue and the temperatures hover around the mid 20s Celsius. It is the perfect weather for exploring and enjoying family friendly things to do in Cairns.

Sea temperatures are just right, the sun is not too hot and the morning breezes are spot on. Jellyfish season is over and the saltwater crocodiles rarely go “walkabout” during colder months. You can visit an Island, Fitzroy and Green Island are popular, besides Port Douglas, Low Isles. Visit Cooktown via the Bloomfield track. Kuranda Australia’s Butterfly Sanctuary. Cape York – the list goes on including The Great Barrier Reef.

Here at Shelly Beach all is well, the birds are feasting on everything they can find in the garden. Princess Pixie the Pomeranian is enjoying the cool weather with her thick coat. The surfers are still swimming and the sun is shining.

My books “The Complete Guide to Painting and Decorating Porcelain, Letters of a Travelling Lady, and Wallis the Woman I Love” are available from Amazon and Xlibris.

The exciting news is that friend Tammy and I are having an art exhibition at our local Shelly Beach Markets.  First time for us and it is on 29th July, so have been extremely busy.  I will let you know how it goes.
Cheers.   Patricia.