Written by: Daniel McKay- Explore Down Under
In the mountains, rain, snow, beautiful sunny weather, below zero weather, slushy ground, relentless bone chilling +65km/hr winds and an Antarctic cold front. With the right amount of most of these elements, you would be in for a spectacular weekend getaway in a Winter Wonderland! Although, for this trip, we got a double dosing of some of these. What a way to break in the new swag!
This certainly was a different sight to wake up to!
For those who have read the last few entries, it’s becoming an Explore Down Under tradition to arrive and set up in the dark, at least for myself and Caitlyn… and this trip was certainly no exception to the current streak.
We met Matt, the owner, at a nearby car park so he could quickly tell us the go with getting onto his property, before the looming clouds would inevitably open up on us. Off the blacktop and onto a slushy dirt track. Winding our way over tree covered hilltops and ridges and through small valleys, we made it to our campsite… but, of course, the rain didn’t want to wait.
Once being given the lay of the land by Matt, we decided to wait till the rain and wind backed off a bit before setting up. But, as time marched on, neither showed any signs of withdraw, we decided to start setting up. Using our 4WD as a wind and (sort of) rain breaker, we first set up the gazebo. Drenched and cold, but so far so good, everything was holding up. Next was the swag. After, we put the walls up. This is when things went a little pear shaped.
No sooner had Caitlyn got back into the car to warm up again (good luck getting a fire started in this weather) had the gazebo become unpegged from a gust of wind and pancaked itself. Snapping two or three cross arm bars and the top centre pole. At least we were able to set up the swag without it getting totally rained on!
Finally, after warming up in the car, and the rain and wind backing off a bit, we called it a night with the heavy pattering sound on the canvas. It was a great first proper night in the swag (yes, I’m guilty for sleeping in the swag in my room for multiple nights leading up to this trip – what can I say? I was excited). That was, until we both needed to do an early morning toilet run. Remembering the suspicion as I fell asleep, that the heavy pattering was snow rather than rain, we were both a little reluctant to get out… until we could hold no more.
As I unzipped the swag I soon saw, and felt, my suspicions were correct. We had snow! After having a short play and eventually remembering to relieve my bladder, it was back to the swag.
Not a bad view for a morning toilet run.
For the next 2 and ¾ hours, more sheets of snow fell and by morning, we saw that we were surrounded by it. It was certainly a sight to remember!
The fire proved to be tricky to get going with all the rain and snow
Later that morning, we set our to the front gate to let in a friend, Kathleen, who had driven down. As we made out way back through the ups, downs, twists and turns of the hills, the snow got thicker, and we were engulfed by a breathtaking, magical Winter Wonderland.
Cooking was a challenge, and after frying up some burgers, we gave up on using the gas cooker, it just took too long. As the day went on, the snow melting away the winds picked back up again, with waves of snow falling every so often.
Eventually, Kathleen had to make the decision of whether to stay for the night or to go home and, with the strong winds not dying down, making it hard to set up, she, and her two lovely dogs, chose to make the long drive home. But not without enjoying some happy hour cheese, wine and crackers in the car first! It was an early night that night, the wind howling even more than the first night.
The next day we were not greeted by the same Winter paradise as the Saturday, but an almost complete blue sky, the wind still being as persistent as ever. Perfect for drying out all the snow off the swag.
Once packed up and on the move, we were met by the remaining snow on the upper parts of the hills and could see the stunning views of the green valleys below. At the entry to Aurora, people were filling the opposing field to have their fun in the snow. Glad we weren’t stuck in the traffic going into the mountains!
Can’t wait for another snow trip like this! But the rain and consistent wind could definitely stay away! (fingers crossed).
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Thanks for reading, until next time!
Explore Down Under