As a winter snow lover, I have been going to the snow on a yearly basis for almost a decade now. My first place of snow play was in Thredbo. Having visited it for so many years in winter, I have been itching to visit Thredbo in summer to see the (depressing) mountain without its white cover.
The journey was from Great Ocean Road via Melbourne as we continued from the road trip through Victoria, up to Glenrowan, into Wadoonga with the visit to The Army Museum (more photos later) and Timber Tussle bridge (more photos later). The road through the mountain via Khancoban was a dense sub alpine forest with winding road that were stepping the cliff and cut through rocks. It was very pretty and enjoyable for the first 15min, then you start to realise that there was still another 45 minutes to go. Luckily the first half of it was still day light.
By the time we got to Lhotskys Apartments in Thredbo to meet up with our friends (Ed and Will) it was about 9:30pm. We try desperately to find food in Thredbo at that time. The bistros were closed, half of the shops were shut, and finally we managed to squeeze the last order of two pizzas in at T-Bar Restaurant. It was two medium pizzas at the cost of $60.00AUD!! But that was to be the only food left apart from water, so we got them. As it turned out, it was not bad. Pleased with ourselves, we started to plan the next day. The weather was saying that it would be raining, windy, and cold. A great combination to have while doing an alpine high altitude walk for 6 hours – NOT. We decided to wait and see.
Morning came, it was foggy, windy, raining and a little chilly. So we decided to cancel it and move it to the following day. (I forgot to mention that Mandy and I were planning to do the walk a week earlier on our forward journey to Victoria but it was raining so we moved it to this weekend. It had been sunny all week as we kept track of the weather and now it’s RAINING again!!) The day was spent by going down to Jindabyne. After fueling our supply (so that we did not have to spend 60 bucks on pizzas again) we drove back up the mountain stopping at the steak house along the was to try our luck at the MAZE. The steak house had built this giant maze at the back of the property. It is $2.00 per person to get in. There were kids and adults doing it. We all did it. Mandy in theory solved the maze as she navigated her way through it and got almost to the end when i called her over. I happened to overhear a mum shouting to her kids on how to solve the maze., so I did what she said, found Mandy and got out while Will and Ed were still inside. (you can email me if you want to know how to solve it) There is a elevated platform so you could see what is going on in the maze and direct people. It took our mates another good 20 mins. to get out.
After that we drove around to see parts of the Thredbo River to work out which are worthy of photos. We ended up back in Thredbo and decide to do a walking tour instead. We trekked up Thredbo river near the golf course.
Dinner was cooked by the lovely Mandy. Menu was a family recipe of beef stroganoff and jasmine rice.
The mountain was covered with fog. You can still feel the chill in the morning. Breakfast and lunch were prepared by Ed and Will.
We checked out and drove the car to the parking lot only to realise that the lunch was missing!! Frantically looking in the boot, backseats, under the seats, etc we could not find it. Ed and Will had to drive back to the apartments to check. They got back to tell us that Will had put it in the glove box of Ed’s car!! Nice one WILL! (To see the day in a whole new perspective. “Will.I.Am”, please click here)
We met up with our guide and about 15 other walkers in our group at the chairlift at 10AM and began the walk.
The first part was a chairlift ride up to the top at Eagles nest (1900m). For the first time, all of us were actually on the chairlift overlooking the mountain full of GRASS! There were no snow in sight. There was a bit of a chill from the wind, a windproof/waterproof jacket is a good thing to have as the weather can turn pretty quickly on top of the mountain. But a normal jacket would work too as it didn’t rain and it was pretty hot on top.
The walk itself was at an easy going pace set by our guide, there were a mix of people walking the track. I would STRONGLY recommended good THICK soled walking shoes as the metal grate and the rocky pebble road can be a little rough on the feet if you do not have proper shoes – we all went with our sport joggers. I would also recommended walking with the guide (you only pay $6.00 more, but there is someone there to point things out and answer your questions – well worth the six bucks extra!)
It was a relaxing walk with a stop about halfway to enjoy the high country view. The day was turning out to be a great blue sky sunny day in contrast to the day before (from what we were told) it was raining with sleet coming down and it was windy.
There were historic huts, glacial lakes, wild flowers, etc to see and photograph. To our pleasant surprise, there were still patches of snow dotted around the place. From far away it just looked like sand banks from golf courses as it had turned from white to reddish gray from the red dust storm a few months earlier. How could you have gone and walked the Snowy Mountains without seeing the snow right? =) We got to the top just a little after 1pm. There was a line up to stand on the highest point in Australia – on top of the obelisk! People were pulling out their national flags, kids trying to climb, middle age guy struggling to get down. We all did it and settled down to have lunch with the highest view in AU.
After about 30mins, the guide found us and said that she would resume the walk back soon, we could join her or just walk back at our own pace later. It was a nice stroll back down with mini rest along the way. By the time we got down it was around 4pm.
The drive down to Jindabye was pretty painful as we were all half asleep, tired from the walk. At dinner in Jindy, we did have to bully Will a little for him to take a day off work the following day. Because Will could not drive manual, therefore Ed was the only driver in the 2nd car. There was no way that Ed would be able to drive back by himself. So the question was posed to him, asking if he thinks he could stay awake for the whole journey with Ed. He said “NO”. So, then how did he expect Ed to stay awake and drive with himself happily snoozing off next to him.
With the laptop and mobile internet at hands, we booked accommodation with http://www.wotif.com.au. an hour prior to check-in at Jindabyne Lake Side Hotel. It was for $125.00 AUD. To our surprise, the room could sleep up to 9 people with breakfast included – BARGAIN!!
It was overall a great day to walk the mountain, well worth experiencing it ($37.00 – chairlift and guided walk). For me, it was not the walk itself that was more memorable. It was on our downward journey when all of us were laying on a large bolder to have snacks. Make sure you do try this;
1. find a large bolder over looking a valley.
2. lay down, close your eyes.
3. leave your eyes closed for a few seconds.
4. open your eyes and look past your feet.
It was like a dream, only the endless view was real!