Patricia Newell-Dunkley – Photographs Reginald J. Dunkley

Water Dragon Big Boy

Water Dragon Big Boy

Greetings from down under where the weather has turned arctic for the last month.  Heavy snow has been falling and Tasmania has become a winter wonderland, likewise at Thredbo in the Snowy Mountains of New South Wales, where the temperature is -5C and it looks like staying this way for the rest of August.

For those that have been able to get out and about, it has been a wonderful escape from all the drama of present-day life. If you are still locked in put this beautiful region on your bucket list.

Thredbo-Perisher is the gate-way to Mount Kosciusko, and at this time of year you can ski or snowboard the slopes to your hearts content.

The mountain is perfect for all ages and ability. There is a specially designed area for beginners, intermediates, and advanced riders. There is fun to be had for all.

There are over thirty places to relax, sip wine and dine, cosy bars, late night spots, and dining ranging from A La Carte to B.B. Q. everyone is catered for and the food is fantastic.

As the snow melts you will discover a walker’s paradise, with tracks ranging from short riverside strolls to moderate day walks. In the summer the scenery is dazzling, with mother nature providing colourful wildflowers.

Various everlasting daisies, billy buttons, mountain eyebright, Euphrasia collina, purple, yellow, blue, and white, the landscape is full of colour.

Bird Yellow Wattle bird baby

Bird Yellow Wattle bird baby

The Australian Alps come alive in summer, Thredbo has masses of mountain meadows to explore, and the best time to do so is from December to February, with January being the highlight.

There are all sorts of guided walks available, family-oriented hikes, groups, or private tours. Whatever you want is available.

A favourite is Dead Horse Gap Hike as it is mostly downhill, with spectacular views. From the Kosciusko chair lift you descend over three hundred vertical metres.

There is an abundance of wildflowers and the twisted snow gums are spectacular.  Once at the Gap you make your way back along the magnificent Thredbo River.

Hiking in the mountains is unique with incredible alpine views, beautiful flora, and glacial lakes.

In fact, the mountain is a perfect place for holidays for all ages and ability, summer and winter alike.

Another firm favourite location to visit in winter, is the famous Blue Mountains. Here you will find exhilarating, crisp, fresh air, to fill your lungs and make you feel alive. The skies are a brilliant blue and the sun has pleasant warmth.

Greater Blue Mountains is right on Sydney’s doorstep, so to speak. It is a perfect location for a weekend away, a mid week retreat, or a month idling the time away visiting all the beautiful, brightly coloured, gardens that abound.

Everglades Historic Art Deco house and Gardens, Blue Mountains Botanic Gardens at Mount Tomah. Here you will see authentic Aboriginal Paintings, artefacts, and sculptures. Delicious food.

A winter bird walk in the Botanic Gardens will amaze you with all of the big vibrant Wattlebirds, White Nape and Yellow-faced Honeyeaters, Eastern Spinebills, and flocks of tiny Silvereyes, which have flown all the way from Tasmania.  Feasting on flowering Banksias which abound this time of year.

Join a daffodil discovery walk during the Annual Daffodil Festival, which is held in August.

There is so much to see and do in the Blue Mountains, horse riding, guided tours, day spas, pampering, health and fitness to improve your well-being. Arts, crafts, galleries and antiques, and then there is the Jenolan Caves !!

These caves are a highlight of the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area.  They are the largest, most spectacular, and most famous caves in Australia. A labyrinth of stalactite-lined limestone chasms, carved by pure underground rivers. They are simply magnificent!

 

Here at Shelly Beach all is well. The garden is full of birds every morning waiting for their breakfast.  Prince Charlie the Pomeranian likes to give chase but is not allowed.

The beach is still a favourite haunt even in the cold weather, and the surfers are still braving the waves.

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

Cheers. Patricia