Sydney Opera House

Sydney Opera House

Patricia Newell-Dunkley photographs Reginald J. Dunkley


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Greetings from down under as we drift towards spring, with cool brisk days and bright sunshine but sadly not enough rain.

Christmas in July, also known as Yuletide or Yulefest allows us in the Southern Hemisphere to celebrate in the coolness of our winter and enjoy all the trimmings of a traditional winter Christmas and an excuse to bring family and friends together. It is extremely popular and one of the favourite locations is Thredbo.

Thredbo is home to the longest ski run in Australia, but its main claim to fame is its off-piste skiing.  Warm fires and schnapps, eleven ski-in ski-out restaurants on the mountains, shops galore, cafes and bars in the village. Thredbo has it all and is located in Kosciusko National Park New South Wales.

It is a picturesque alpine valley that is shrouded in snow during the winter months and a cosy village full of hillside chalets, homely restaurants and friendly pubs, with plenty of hotels to suit every style and budget.

Bird female wren

Bird female wren

Perisher New South Wales is the best venue for long trips and intermediate level skiers, with four different locations, Perisher Valley, Blue Cow, Smiggin Holes, and Guthega, it is Australia’s largest ski resort.

Perisher caters more for families with self-sufficient lodges that contain their own restaurants and bars.

Charlotte Pass, New South Wales is the location for beginners and is the highest resort in Australia, and accessible from Perisher. Christmas in July is celebrated all across Australia from Perth, Queensland, Canberra, Gold Coast, Queanbeyan, Hunter Valley, Geelong in Victoria.

At the Rocks in Sydney they hold a special market with quaint wooden chalets set up along the street and the stalls are full of festive presents, food and vats of mulled wine. The event is played out to a soundtrack of carols to add to the occasion. Traditional Christmas lunches are served in restaurants.

Bird Lorikeet close up

Bird Lorikeet close up

Pop-up ice skating rinks appear in city centres, these open air ice rinks offer world class entertainment magical lighting, music, fantastic rides and ice slides, jumping castles and delicious food.

In fact July is a favourite month on the calendar. In Queensland venues all over the state get out the tinsel and trees and The Kookaburra Showboat puts on Christmas Cruises with festive buffets and live entertainment.

Queanbeyan holds the Winter Dream Festival at the showground, with 200 festive market stalls, selling everything from hearty food to art.

In Melbourne the eateries of The Dandenong Ranges put on Christmas Festival every year, serving up turkey with all the trimmings, plum pudding and other tummy-busting treats.

Closer to home The Hunter Valley turns on a festival of activities, skating, tobogganing, snow play zone, 9D snow adventure, live entertainment, and face painting.

In Oz we celebrate Christmas twice a year, once in the cold of July, and traditionally in the heat of December. It is as simple as that

Here at Shelly Beach all is well, it has been very cold but nothing stops the surfers, there have even been some whale sightings as they head north.

The garden is full of birds waiting for their breakfast, Lorikeets, Magpies, Yellow Wattle, Kookaburras, but the white Cockatoos have flown north. Princess Pixie the Pomeranian is as vigilant as ever and on the look out for the blue tongue lizard, however it is a bit cold for him just yet.

I had the pleasure of reading Harry Pope’s ‘Hotel Secrets’ which I thoroughly enjoyed and can highly recommend.

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

Cheers.  Patricia