Hoogtepunt in Australië!

Hoogtepunt in Australië!

door Alex Fok

ON THE TOP OF AUSTRALIA FOR THE 2007 CHRISTMAS and NEW YEAR.

HAPPY AND HEALTHY 2008 FROM ALEX FOK

Als je nu in Sydney leeft (right next to Sydney Harbour Bridge) waar ga je dan naar toe voor New years Eve…..? JA je ga naar Mt. Kosciuszko, het hoogste punt in Australia 2229 meter.

Better known as the Snowy Mountains in Australia, Thredbo on the foot of "the Snowies" was our base for a week during the festive season.

Dutch friends were more than happy to look after our apartment in Sydney and have a first class view of the Fire works on the bridge whilst we walked and climbed some of Australia's most beautiful country side.

The Snowies are a much underrated Australian experience during summer.

During the fifties and sixties the Australian government identified this high country as an ideal spot to built Hydro Electricity infra structure. Over a 25 year period (similar to the large Delta works in Nederland) The Snowies were built and now service large sections of the Australian community with clean affordable energy.

In addition to providing Hydro Electricity, The Snowies also provide lots of fun for the tourists. The landscape is littered with chair lifts and T bars mainly used during the snow skiing season. However the main chair lift that runs between Thredbo and Mt Kosciuszko is open all year round.

Thredbo is the equivalent of Interlaken in Australia and at its busiest during the snow season. However, the summer period is also a beautiful time of the year to walk the tracks that during winter are used for the down hill runs. The ground is covered by flowers of every possible colour and shape, the trees, scrubs and grasses have a fantastic colour and the birdlife is out of this world.

We spotted birds I remember from my early years in Nederland such as Rootborstjes en various other typical Australian cold climate birds.

On the commercial side of our visit, the accommodation cost at this time of the year is only a fraction of what is charged during the winter season. As an example, we stayed at The Lantern apartments for a week at a cost of only $150 per night. The Lantern apartments are right in Thredbo Village on top of the hill overlooking Mt Kosciuszko and the chair lift (see picture)

The apartments are fully self-contained, fitted out with kitchen, lounge room, large bedroom, bathroom and laundry. You can cook yourself or eat at any of a number of restaurants during your stay. All facilities are available in the village so there is no need to bring anything with you.

On the way to Thredbo is the township of Eucumbene right on Lake Eucumbene part of the Snowies Hydro Electric scheme. This village has developed into a large centre with the kind of services that are available in the larger cities. Eucumbene is also the last town you go through before you drive into the Kosciuszko National Park. The National Park requires an entry permit available at the entry to the park for a payment of $16 per day (single days) or better rates if staying longer.

New Years Eve in Sydney might be exiting and the fireworks fantastic however The Snowies provide relaxation and exercise opportunities during the summer season at the opposite side of the spectrum.

General information and have to do's:

* Thredbo is approximately a six hour drive from Sydney or three hours from Canberra.
* Accommodation during the summer season may be obtained through a number of sources, e.g. the internet.
* The temperature in Thredbo Village during our stay was between 15 degrees early in the morning to 27 degrees in the afternoon. This temperature is a few degrees lower on top of the mountain at this time of the year.
* We walked some five walking tracks during our stay. Walks varied from the difficult climb to the easy Snowy River stroll and vary from 1 hour to two days overnight.
* Must do: take the chair lift to the top of Mt Kosciuszko and have lunch at the Summit Restaurant. Chair lifts operate between 830am and 530pm during the summer weather conditions permitting.
* Must do: take the chairlift to the top of Mt Kosciuszko and walk the 13km round trip to the summit. Make sure you start at 830am sharp to beat the rest of the field. That way you are on your way back when every body else wakes up.
* Must do: have a snack and a short rest on your return to the Summit restaurant after your summit experience. Now tackle the * Merritts walking trail all the way down the hill. The Merritts walk adds another 5km to your track but is a beautiful downhill path following waterfalls and the river all the way back into the Village.

Active or passive, ENJOY THE AUSTRALIAN HIGH COUNTRY THE SNOWY MOUNTAINS.

ALEX FOK December 2007

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