When Kristin, our resident Australian Ambassador offered up a story about snowshoeing in Australia I had to publish it on the website…mostly because when I think of Australia I think of bright sunshine, sandy beaches and snakes in the “bush.” Kristin did a good job of opening my eyes with this post to other outdoor adventures down under. Thanks so much Kristin!
Having grown up in Brisbane, I love warm weather and I haven’t spent much time in the snow. After living in Sydney for 15 years, I figured it was high time that I change that. In 2015, I joined a group of amazing ladies to scale the highest mountain in Australia – Mount Kosciuszko. At 2,228 metres (7,310 ft) above sea level, it’s certainly not at Diamox levels, but it’s still high enough for us Aussies.
None of our intrepid group of seven had been snowshoeing before. In fact, there were a few of us who hadn’t really spent any time in the snow at all. The trip had been scheduled for spring when the weather is more stable, but there is still plenty of snow around.
Early Friday we set off in our mini-van to make the 6-hour drive to the snowfields. When we arrived, we headed over to K7 to meet our guide and pick up our gear for the weekend.
We eagerly headed up the lift to Eagles Nest to test out our gear.
The trip up to Eagles Nest was exhilarating, as most of us hadn’t spent any time in the snow and definitely hadn’t been on ski lifts.
The view back down the valley was stunning. We figured out how to put our snowshoes on, ready to test them out before the next days ascent to the top of the highest mountain in Australia.
Pretty soon we felt that we were ready to tackle our challenge.
Saturday arrived with perfect weather and we headed out to the lift again, feeling prepared for our 13km walk in the snow.
A lot of the route was along the side of hills. With snow on the track, we realised that hills tend to have a bit of a slope and we felt a little lopsided as we walked along the route. One of our group, having one leg shorter than the other, enjoyed the “even” surface.
The atmosphere was still and silent, only broken by the excited chatter from the group.
The top of Kosci seemed a long way up, but our friend Anya made it up in no time at all.
After a celebratory summit photo and a spot of lunch in a more sheltered spot, we headed back to the lodge to sample more of Anjas gluhwein.
On Sunday, we had a half day before we needed to head back to Sydney. If anything, the weather was even better than the day before and we quickly stripped down to t-shirts and leggings to walk the Porcupine Track.
The scenery was very different to the previous day. The expansive views on the way to Mt Kosciuszko were replaced with beautiful snow gum settings, sheltered from the cool winds.
As we were lower down the mountain, we found that there was a lot more snowmelt around. It became habit to look out for snow that was melting from the heat of the creeks below.
The silence of the mountain was broken by the occasional tree branch whipping back to its normal state after the melting snow fell off it.
After lunch looking over the NSW/Victorian border, we tried to learn new skills such as walking backward down steep hills – not as easy for newbies as it sounds.
All too soon we were back on the bus to Sydney. After a thoroughly enjoyable weekend with inspirational company, we all agreed that snowshoeing would have to join our list of outdoor hobbies.
Photos copyright “The Snow Shoe Bunnies”: Kristin Smeltzer, Anja Soltau Poehlmann, Lorraine Tawse, Lile Judickas, Jacqueline Conway, Joy O’Neill, Jo-anne Barnes.