Surely, any day tripper will say a good breakfast and first tracks is too much to ask for!
There’s no better way to enjoy the snow than staying in on-mountain accommodation. It means a 7am wake-up allows you to be first on the mountain after a leisurely breakfast and the only traffic to contend with is the enthusiastic skiers at the bottom of the first lifts to open.
We stay at Kahane Lodge in Perisher, which is a Southern Alps Ski Club lodge. It’s a beautiful lodge full of warm and friendly people. The resident managers cook delicious breakfasts and dinners and the views from the windows are beautiful.
Kahane lodge sits opposite the Lawson, Blaxland and Wentworth T-Bars, and (with the amount of snow we’ve had this year) they’re just a short ski over the creek away.
Skis on at the lodge, with the t-bars a short ski away
Ultimate reason to stay on snow: easy first tracks
Of course, it’s a bonus if there’s perfect weather and a day on the mountain when you don’t have to drive home in the afternoon lets you ski a little bit harder.
Beautiful blue morning
View of theFreedom Chair at Guthega
David ready to take on Olympic
Mum and I on the top of Sun Valley T-bar, loving the view
Enjoying the (short) road home
My favourite times on the mountain are early morning and late afternoon – beautiful light and no lines. I like to chase the lifts as they open and run from them as they close.
Once the sun drops over the back of the mountain, the lifts close and temperature drops, it’s time for Après-ski a.k.a schnapps (butterscotch and apple from the Wild Brumby Distillery).
The best part of staying on snow? Getting to do it again the very next day!
The snow is the best day trip from Canberra. We have made it 10 weeks in a row and have got it down to an art.
The day starts at 4:30am when Mark and I wake up to I just can’t wait to be king from the Lion King (trust me, it’s a great way to start the day in a good mood, I couldn’t stand waking up to a buzzing alarm).
We throw on our ski gear, make a coffee (frothed milk and all – I love our Aldi coffee machine) and take our gear down to the car.
I have my car fitted out with far more gear than I had at the start of the season and it makes the drive a lot easier (and safer). Ski racks on the roof give us plenty of room in the Rav4 and driving lights brighten the dark morning drive.
Light starts to break through the horizon about 1.5 hours into the drive at Cooma, and it’s beautiful.
I love the landscape at Cooma – it looks like a Fred Williams painting. The trees could be inky squiggles and the rocks ink blots.
Once the light is up over the beautiful landscape it doesn’t take long (pending any powder-day traffic) to get to the ski tube. We jump on that, and just before 8:30am, we’re on the snow. Everything going well, we can get from bed in Canberra to skis-on in Perisher in 4 hours.
This Saturday was supposed to have bad weather (rain/snow) come over during the day, so every moment of sunshine felt stolen. We got the absolute most out of every fair-weather run.
We started marking the perfect corduroy in Centre Valley. Since we’ve been skiing every weekend, my legs don’t hurt/get tired anymore, so I gave myself the challenge of making my muscles ache for Sunday. We headed over to Mount Perisher as soon as it opened and had some amazing runs. It’s so much easier to ski aggressively when you can see the snow in front of you (not the terrible visibility of last Sunday which made me feel like an
uncoordinated baby deer trying to stand up). With the confidence of sight, I surprised myself with how fast I was skiing and how good my turns felt.
As soon as Olympic opened at 10am we were on the T-bar. When did they start grooming the side of Olympic? I don’t know who made this decision, but I want to give them a giant hug and buy them some chocolate. You’ve heard my enthusiasm for long, steep runs (i.e. Parachute, which is now unfortunately closed), and now I have another run to pine for all week. I don’t know what this run is called, and I don’t care. It’s seriously beautiful.
No time for a break, we headed over to North Perisher and then Blue Cow to make the most of the mountain. I love the runs off the Ridge Chair, but equally I love riding it and watching the mogul skiers. If doing the moguls isn’t impressive enough, they do flips! Check out this video.
At the top of the chair the beautiful views fill in for the entertainment, and then long, scenic, leg-burning runs take me down to the bottom.
Being human and all, Mark and I took a break for lunch. We met up with some friends and I suggested we eat at Guthega Pub. I had talked up the food and the view, but when ee went there at 1:30pm, the staff said the weren’t taking any more lunch orders. We didn’t want to miss out on the great view, so ordered some German beer and mulled wine instead. The liquid lunch filled the belly, and as usual, good company can make up for almost anything!
We skied until we got kicked off the mountain and jumped on the tube home. I met my challenge – my legs were sore. The long, dark drive home was broken up by a delicious dinner at Bredbo Woodfired Pizza. The pizzas were delicious, and being the first solid food we’d eaten since breakfast, they were demolished. We were home by 8:30pm and crashed on the bed. We get a lot out of our 16 hour day trips to the snow.
After a long year of honours, and not doing much fun together outside of the occasional TV break, Mark and I decided to hire a wonderfully colourful campervan and drive around the South Island of New Zealand.
I’m going to keep my stories about this trip mainly explained by photos. Click on the photos to see the captions that elaborate on the visuals.
In essence, New Zealand is amazingly beautiful and we had a wonderful time. For example, we made a toilet stop at Kaikoura, where we stumbled across snow-capped mountains, pebbly beaches, turquoise water and seals. A toilet stop!
Windy road heading into Kaikoura
How often are snow-capped and turquoise water visible in one view? Enter Kaikoura.
Our hippy van “Sunny” looking out over Kaikoura.
We were driving along trying to spot a seal…
We saw one seal
And then they were everywhere!
Chilling out at Kaiteriteri beach with our awesome van
Kayaking toward Abel Tasman National Park
Split Apple Rock – the third most photographed rock in the world… so here’s another one.
Mark, a cave and crystal blue water
Hello split apple rock (or “split epple” as our guide said).
Weaving through rock caves
Caves and clear water
Little prawns in rock pools
On a lovely round rock!
Our kayaks chilling on the golden beach.
The beaches are golded because of rusted iron in the soil
Another photo of that famous rock
Cuddle on the beach, view from our van
Driving up Takaka Hill – hill?! It’s 791m high!
A beautiful Fox Glove that lines the already beautiful landscape.
There is so much to say about my eye-opening trip around Nepal and India that I don’t know where to begin… and as I have since flown back into my wonderful but incredibly busy real life, I will need to keep my blogs brief if I ever want to get them done. I plan on relying on the saying that a picture is worth a thousand words and overloading you with my photos with just a bit of textual commentary. So… recap: Mum and I went to Nepal and India on a Gecko’s tour. It was amazing. Now I’ll drop you right into the thick of it with a photographic explanation of our time in Nepal’s capital of Kathmandu. Actually, I should provide some introduction. As we were flying into Kathmandu we were chatting to a lady from Australia who is currently working as a music therapist in Nepal. She said that (and I really mean to cause no offense), “Kathmandu is a bit of a shithole, but it’s the nicest shithole you’ll ever find. Something about it keeps bringing me back.” When we landed, I got some idea of what she meant. It was dirty. There was garbage, mud and rubble everywhere (seriously, I have never seen so much unexplained rubble!). Amoungst all this though were some wonderful smiling people who continually offered me tea and who genuinely love their country. When i tripped on the uneven street outside a man’s shop and burst open my toe, he brought me in and bandaged my toe without asking me to buy anything from him (I did anyway, he made lovely pants).
Mum and I just landed in Kuala Lumpar International Airport after an 8.5 hour flight from Sydney. the flight was good and I actually managed to sleep for a couple of hours… which is good because the flight time did include normal sleeping time! As soon as we walked off the plane we found free internet kiosks, and walked a little further to find free ipads on a big stand thing, which is what I’m on now. I think I should go though, as in the short time I’ve been typing this blog, mum has managed to put her phone number in whilst trying to log into gmail and subsequently ended up in someone elses email account, or been scammed. Wish us luck!
Update: crisis averted. Mum just had to identify herself in some way as we are in Malaysia, the same way I had to identify photos of friends in Facebook to prove o was me. Mum even figuredhow to lLPG out, better than tjebfuu whose account she accidentally got into… and according to his emails he was applying for a PhD scholarship! We logged him out too. Now to hang around for another 3 hours at 5am with no money…
This is my 100th post – what a milestone! When I started this blog in August 2011, I did not expect it would become such a big part of my life! I also never expected that after a huge trip to Canada and the U.S. would I be able to keep such a large amount of travel. I wonder if having a travel blog has in some way actually encouraged me to go on more trips than I would have otherwise. If it has, I recommend you all get one! I think it is fitting to use my 100th post to announce that in June-July I will be travelling around Nepal and India for two weeks!
Embrace your inner hippy in Kathmandu. Order a plate of fried momo, practice some yoga, get a massage, marvel at the Bodhnath Stupa and use this time to reset your body clock
Pre-departure meeting for the Nepalese part of the trip takes place this evening, as well as an optional group dinner
Visit Bodhnath Stupa, one of the biggest Buddhist shrines in the world
Swing by the most famous Hindu temple in the country – Pashupatinath
Enjoy free time for sightseeing, more temple-hopping or just plain relaxing
Day 3-4 – Chitwan National Park
Explore the jungle on elephant-back, searching for Bengal tigers and the Indian rhinoceros. It’s basically The Jungle Book come to life.
Catch a morning bus up the rim of the Kathmandu Valley
Ride elephants into the jungle
Try and spot Indian rhinoceros, sloth bear, deer, a multitude of different birds and rare tigers
Stay in a lodge overnight
Day 5 – Lumbini
Buddha lived here until he was 29. In that time he founded Buddhism. What have you done lately?
Pay a visit to a multitude of temple complexes, constructed by Buddhists from Japan, China and Myanmar
View the Ashoka Pillar and Maya Devi Temple
Sleep overnight in a jungle camp
Day 6-8 – Varanasi
Watch thousands of Hindu pilgrims cleanse their sins in the Ganges as you take a boat ride at sunrise. We won’t lie, it’s pretty moving stuff.
Experience an early morning boat ride on the Ganges
Explore Varanasi’s back lanes and crowded alleyways on a guided tour
Board an overnight sleeper train bound for Agra
Day 9 – Agra – Taj Mahal
Boyfriends take note: Emperor Shah Jahan spent over 20 years building this shrine to his second wife. How long has it been since you’ve bought anyone girlfriend flowers?
Visit the renowned Taj Mahal
Perhaps take an optional trip to Agra Fort
Day 10 – Tordi Garh
We stumbled across this tiny village years ago, and everyone loved it so much we put it on the itinerary. The kids will adore you, the locals will feed you and you’ll go to sleep in a 16th century palace.
Get to know the locals in Tordi Garh – a remote village that few travellers make it to
Visit the fortress and ruined temples that lie slightly further afield
Spend the night at the palace in Tordi, with it’s owner as your host
Day 11-12 – Jaipur
Haggle to your heart’s content in the bazaars and backstreets of the Pink City. Jaipur is famous for textiles (think table runners and made-to-measure suits), precious and semi-precious gems and blue pottery.
Travel to and become acquainted with Jaipur’s colourful streets
Visit the medieval Amber Fort
Explore the Old Bazaar and The Palace of the Winds
Enjoy plenty of free time to explore Jaipur at your own pace
Day 13-14 – Delhi
Watch one of the world’s greatest shows unfold as people, traffic, cows and kids all work together in a kind of organised chaos. Grab a chai, put your feet up and let it all soak in.
Visit the old city’s market area – Chandni Chowk as well as Connaught Place
Perhaps view the Red Fort, the Jama Masjid and the Raj Ghat during free time