22 Aug 2017
The temperature has dropped, the dark has descended and the dingoes are howling into the long night. Yet that doesn’t mean it’s an excuse to hibernate. The truth is that the cooler months are the perfect time to travel and explore this beautiful land of ours. Lakes, rivers and mountains metamorphose under the changes of winter’s mantle. You may know and love the world-famous Australian summer, but isn’t it time you experienced the majesty and breathtaking splendour of our winter?
Brrr, it’s cold outside.
We’ve chosen an itinerary that will have you shouting the praises of an Aussie winter adventure into the clear, cold sky. Whether you start out on the Sapphire Coast and head inland to the aptly named Snowy Mountains, or begin your adventure from the inside out – this is one trip you won’t forget.
We begin inland, wending our way along the mighty Murray River at Maiden’s Inn, straddling New South Wales and Victoria. The next stop takes us to the base of the stunning Snowy Mountains, at ski haven Jindabyne. Lastly we end up at heaven on earth – or at least Eden on the gorgeous Sapphire Coast.
Maiden’s Inn, Moama
The mighty Murray River has a place in the heart of many Australians – it’s an iconic part of our history and a vital life force. On its fertile banks between the borders of New South Wales and Victoria sit the twin towns of Echuca and Moama. This historical jewel is an essential touring holiday stopover, with Discovery Parks – Maiden’s Inn, Moama. The stunning surrounds will leave you feeling like you’ve travelled back in time to our early colonial history. Paddleboats ply the river, with high tea a specialty – it feels like a world away from reality. There are plenty of family-friendly activities, wineries for the adults and the nostalgia of days gone by at the Holden Motor Museum.
Did you know that Echuca was founded by Australia’s version of Charles Dickens’ artful dodger? Ex-convict Henry Hopwood was a cheeky hustler – known for his dalliances with the ladies and dodgy activities. The Port of Echuca Discovery Centre is a must-see destination. Discover the history, explore the oldest working paddlesteamer in the world and visit the heritage red gum wharf.
The charm of paddleboat cruising should never be underestimated – you can close your eyes and imagine what it must have been like a century ago in this gorgeous part of the world. One-hundred-year-old riverboats cruise the waters of this beautiful setting, allowing you access to secluded spots of our great Australian river landscape. It’s brilliant fun for kids, too.
Holden Motor Museum
Even if you are not a car or motoring enthusiast, this fascinating museum is well worth a visit. The Holden is a part of Australia’s heritage – you might not realise how much until you visit. One of the largest one-brand car museums in Australia, it makes for an especially poignant visit as Holden wraps up operations in Australia.
Whether you are a mad keen snow bunny or just wanting to take in the spectacular vision of the Snowy Mountains during winter, this Discovery Holiday Park destination is a must. Jindabyne is an ideal location to explore the region and is basecamp for adventure holidaying year-round. There’s no business like snow business, however, and this little town is a magnet for fellow snow lovers who flock to nearby Thredbo and Perisher–Blue ski fields. If the snow-related activities aren’t your idea of fun, fear not – there’s horseriding, cave exploration, fishing, mountain biking and (literally) breathtaking hikes.
Gaden Trout Hatchery
From little fish, big fish grow. Discover the journey from hatchling to sports fish at the Gaden Trout Hatchery, located on the Thredbo River near Jindabyne.
Take a boat, canoe or kayak out for a frosty morning activity like no other on Lake Jindabyne. Apparently, if the water is low enough, you can even see the church steeple from the drowned old town. Bursting with brown, rainbow and brook trout, the fishing is year-round, 24/7 on Lake Jindabyne. It’s a fishing lover’s paradise!
The Yarrangobilly Caves in Mount Kosciuszko National Park are a must-see when staying in Jindabyne. There are easy to difficult walks and hikes you can do, in addition to the cave walk. For an amazing day trip out – or if you’re feeling all the bruising from your ski antics – then a soak in the naturally heated thermal pool could be just the ticket.
The aptly named Sapphire Coast is ‘beautifully uncivilised’, and is one of Australia’s premier coastal wilderness areas. Crystal-clear blue waters hug a rugged coastline, filled with natural wonders and historical man-made delights dating from colonisation. Eden, in particular, is internationally renowned, thanks to its world-famous whale-watching season. One of the few places in the world where migrating humpback whales stop to feed and fatten up on their journey, it’s known as the ‘humpback highway’. A fundamental part of Australia’s history and a gloriously beautiful setting to boot.
Oysters and Fishing
From fresh oysters, mussels and prawns to monster tuna and kingfish – Eden is a seafood lover’s paradise. The deep harbour (one of the deepest in the southern hemisphere) means that it’s a renowned fishing port, with a fleet of trawlers and vessels operating from Snug Cove, so you can get the pick of the freshest catch in the country.
Hiking in Ben Boyd Park
The rugged and wild Ben Boyd National Park is one of the biggest draw cards of the region. For both short walks and long coastal hikes, this is a fabulous part of our country. With walks for all skill levels, it’s a family-friendly adventure that you’ll remember down the years.
Considering its history as a whaling town, it’s no surprise that one of the main tourist attractions is now the whale-watching season. Discover more at the fascinating Killer Whale Museum.
It doesn’t matter which way you choose to do your Aussie winter adventure – as the cliché goes, it’s all about the journey, not the destination! So you may start out steeped in history on the New South Wales coast, chasing whale tales and making your way to the lifeblood of the Murray River and Maiden’s Inn, Moama before heading further inland to the mighty Snowy Mountains. Or you might do it in reverse – think of it as a choose-your-own-adventure story. It’s about embracing the stunning and wild beauty of this incredible country, revelling in its seasons in all their glory. At Discovery Holiday Parks, we’re all adventurers at heart.
This travel feature was published in G’DAY Magazine.