Tomorrow I leave this crisp dry air up in the mountains of the Australian Alps for the moist humidity of life on the inner harbour of Auckland again. Despite the best efforts of a heavy head cold to dampen the excitement of my visit with my cousin, she and her husband have been wonderful hosts and tour guides.
I’ve posted already about my first day, arriving in greyness and rain. By Sunday, Kath and I awoke to a clear day and I took my first extensive tour of their property, newly bought two years ago. We walked past a small cabin, followed a wombat trail, went up to the immense three car garage and barn, which has a small studio on the side. Beyond the drive is the cottage, another simple living arrangement with daffodils and blossoms just popping into bloom nearby. Then it was down the steep walk to the beach. We drove to the road up to Thredbo to a cafe there for lunch, before returning via a small supermarket to laze around the rest of the day. In the evening, to my horror a tiny bat started circling above my bed while I begged Kath to get rid of it. It took her 20 mins of careful manouvering before she caught it up in my dressing gown and threw it outside.
Monday, Kath took me up to Blue Cow, where she did some snow boarding and I hung out at the restaurant enjoying the view and taking photos. My cold was beginning to take a firm grip on me by now so after lunch on Mt Perisher, we went home and I to bed for a while.
Tuesday was the worst of the cold and I spent nearly all of it in bed, dragging myself out to greet Kath’s husband who arrived after a weekend away with the boys. He did a good job of not flinching when I emerged wild-haired and red-eyed from my room. He had brought a hoard of fresh seafood with him for us to have for dinner, and we sat enjoying the evening gazing out at some snow capped peaks and eating prawns and swordfish.
It was still, and we were the only boat on this vast lake. I took great pleasure in looking out for the buried old township, and particularly the church steeple. This was once a valley with the Snowy River flowing through it, but in the 60’s it was all flooded to make a dam for hydro-electricity. Our boat took us up to the pumping station where it is all pumped up and over a ridge and down a series of other lakes.
Rest in the afternoon, and then a trip in to Japanese restaurant with a friend of theirs along for the meal too. At 7pm, the three of us sat with cups of hot tea and turned the bright outside lights on to watch for wombats running along the trail below. Nothing. Kangaroos are prolific, though, and everytime we’ve driven out, a small group of them have scattered.
Today we will be doing a pleasant one-hour walk to the Rainbow lake, off the road leading up to Mt Perisher. Time to open my breathing passages again! Then a delicious pork roast is planned for my last night. I shall miss this absolutely stunning corner of the world – the bright, raucous birds, the odd creatures, the mountains and lake, to say nothing of my lovely easy-going cousin and her equally warm-hearted spouse. And of course, two very loved and adorable dogs, Leo the black ‘rescue’ dog and Peppa the French Bulldog. I head home via a brief look around Canberra tomorrow.