By FOO YEE PING
Sun, rain, sun, rain. The cycle can get dreary.
So, it was with delight that I headed for a winter escapade in New South Wales where temperatures at the Snowy Mountains had dipped below zero. And don’t discount the wind chill factor.
Snowy Mountains, billed as Australia’s only true alpine wilderness, has four ski resorts. My date with snow (not Jon) was at Thredbo and Perisher.
It started in Thredbo, with a 20-minute chairlift ride, offering stunning snowy views of Mount Kosciuszko. Despite wearing gloves, my fingers were frozen, yet some in my group whipped out their phones to capture the sights.
Earlier, we had rented waterproof jackets, boots and snow pants for our snow shoe activity. K7 Adventures offer adventure activities in Snowy Mountains, and notes that snow shoeing does not require skills and is suitable for all ages and all levels of fitness.
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Still, I was a dropout. It was snowing, the wind was strong, and not wanting to slow down the rest, I opted out after about 20 minutes into the walk. But I was keen to continue at my own pace. Acacia, the K7 guide, graciously accompanied me for another walk on a shorter trail.
That is the most beautiful thing I found Down Under – the friendly Aussies. Throughout my trip, everybody whom I encountered was helpful and charming. One K7 guide even helped to dry the socks of a participant when she returned from snow shoeing.
Put tobogganing on your fun list of fun at Perisher, which has the largest toboggan area in Australia. For lazy bums like me, it was exhilarating to slide down the slope as the only thing I needed to exert was my mouth – for squealing and laughing.
Truffle hunting is relaxing, too. We visited Turalla Truffles, a 30-minute drive from Canberra airport. We watched owner Damian Robinson got on all fours with his feisty Jack Russell named Frizbee to search for the truffles.
Robinson and his wife Lindsay spoke passionately about their farm, inviting us to their home where they served light meals using truffles.
After all that food, what’s next? Wine tasting, of course, as this is an established wine growing region. Our stops at Lark Hill Winery, Clonakilla, and Wildbrumby Distillery for schnapps tasting, were filled with comments like “gorgeous texture” and “softness to the palate”.
Need a kangaroo fix? You will encounter them as we did on our journey back. For someone used to seeing cow signages along the highway on drives back to my Ipoh hometown, it was a kick seeing signs cautioning about kangaroos and deer.
Don’t let the freezing cold put you off winter. The sun still comes out. In fact, a tube of SPF 50+ sunscreen was the first thing that Jim Tan, my host from Destination NSW, handed me at the start of the trip. Add the warmth of the Aussies and it’s the perfect antidote for your frozen state.
The media familiarisation trip to Sydney and Snowy Mountains was sponsored by Destination NSW. For more info go to www.destinationnsw.com.au.