Hi from southern New South Wales. Daughter Jessica and I are about as far south in southeastern Australia as the road goes. It has been raining hard for the last five days, and we have had to look through the mists and clouds as we drive through the Snowy Mountains, a part of the Great Dividing Range that splits the populated east coast off from the less populated interior “Outback”.
There are still some patches of snow up in the Snowy Mountains as Australia moves toward late spring.
It is mid-November now. Jessica and I are bundled up in coats and rain gear, but down in the valleys the weather is warming up It has me wondering how Santa will get around in his sleigh during the hot part of December.
The ski resorts are closed. They are small looking things and Jessica has been wondering if there are anything other than green or easy blue runs here.
It is windy and cold and rainy, and the trees are stunted here in the Alpine regions. Mostly, the trees are a variety of small eucalyptus called Snow Gum.
We have done some small hikes in the Snowy Mountains, coming to lookout points where we can see small streams and cliffs way down in the mists.
We drove down to Melbourne, going through a tremendous traffic jam which reinforced my strong dislike for cities, and we went on down to Phillip Island which is about as far south as a person can go without jumping over to Tasmania. We have had a great time here, and have found lots of koalas sleeping in the big gum trees.
Sometimes one will wake up and yawn and look around lazily. They eat the equivalent of a bowl of cereal a day (all of it eucalyptus of course), and on such a limited diet it is hard to be very active.
Last night we went to see hundreds of cute little penguins coming home from the sea where they had spent the entire day gorging on fish. They fought the surf as they came out of the ocean and, once they had gotten their little feet on land, they went waddling up the hillsides to their burrows where their babies waited patiently for some regurgitated fish to eat. Yum, warm food.
We are headed for the state of Victoria today. I hope the weather warms up.