Yes, I’ve skipped a fair bit of action in the middle of my trip but I thought I’d finish sharing about my time in NSW first. I came back into Canberra after my time in PNG on a Sunday afternoon – which I shall eventually have time to write about, yay! – and my friend’s husband came to pick me up at the airport. We were driving out to the Snowy Mountains since they had recently purchased a caravan (Aussie way of saying trailer) and were spending a week on the skihill. Definitely a strange concept to wrap one’s head around in August for a Northern Hemisphere girl.
View towards the Snowy Mountains on the way back to Bombala. Sort of looks like the prairies. I say sort of because the mountains are indeed smaller :P
On the way to Jindabyne, we saw a rather serious looking car accident being cleaned up on the side of the road, and Y., who is a paramedic, stopped to see if he could be of assistance. The road from Canberra to Jindabyne is a two-lane undivided highway and there was quite a bit of traffic returning from the mountains = high potential for collisions. He ended up driving the ambulance so that the two paramedics on the scene could treat their patient, which meant that I was asked to drive the car on the wrong side of the road (for me) on a busy highway and find my way around Canberra to meet back up with Y. once he’d driven to the hospital. Let’s just say I was grateful for the practice drive which I had had before I left for PNG, for the bus which had passed the hospital on my way into Canberra to leave for PNG, and for a phone with internet and maps :P A useful combination to assist me in finding the hospital without a hitch, and then we continued on our 3.5 hour drive to the caravan park in Jindabyne. Definitely much colder in NSW than in PNG!
with miss R. on the chairlift
Our first day to the ski hill was not very efficient. It took a while to get organised with lunch making, getting dressed, feeding baby and renting equipment for me. We actually arrived in time to eat lunch or maybe even after lunch at the actual lodge. Which is different than in Canada. Many of the ski hills here just have restaurants rather than a seating area for those who bring their own food or those who choose to buy at the cafeteria. Anyhow, it was the tuesday when I got out for a day of snowboarding, my first experience in the the southern hemisphere. The temperature was not too cold – in fact once you got moving it was actually quite warm – and the snow conditions were somewhat similar to spring skiing in Alberta. While there was a base of fresh snow, they do also make a lot of their snow and groom most of the tracks. All up and down the adjacent hills you can see rocks, trees and bushes popping out of the thin coating of snow and then as you get farther away from the ski hills there is no more snow to be seen.
On the chair – as you can see how the hills around the ski runs look
View towards Mt. Kosciuszko, Australia’s highest peak at 2228m
I was having a good time trying out a couple of blue runs in the morning and I liked a particular run enough to want to do it again. As I was going back down, I slowed down because I saw someone wiped out further and I did a quick check to make sure the way was clear above me to proceed on. Unfortunately, I didn’t see what was coming and I was knocked down by an out of control skiier who had fallen further up the run – and who continued to slide down the hill another 10-20 feet before stopping below me. Some other skiiers stopped right away to ask if I needed ski patrol, but apart from feeling a bit shaken up and a little bit worse for wear, I laughed off their question and said the adrenaline would keep me going. I got back up and made my way over to the lodge thinking I’d like to have a short break to compose myself again, but my friend R. was out for a ski and so I chose to head back out with her for the rest of the morning.
Apart from being a bit sore, I didn’t realise that my accident was more serious until the Wednesday evening after another day of boarding when I realized that I couldn’t feel part of my leg :S I thought it was an injury muscular in nature, so I tried to do some stretching on my own and didn’t go skiing the next day. Despite my home remedy-ing, I was in a lot of pain, so we managed to find a physio in Jindabyne and I went to see them. They assessed me with a potential herniated disc and a pinched nerve – and they ended up being pretty close to the actual assessement by the doctor – which, in passing, I think is nice to know that physiotherapists are very knowledgeable too.
Watch out for the wombats!
Watch out for the ‘roos or the ecidnas!
And we even spotted one on the side of the road – good eyes R. ;) This my Canadian friends, is an Echidna
Robin, baby and I stayed back in Jindabyne on the friday, we went for a short drive to Thredbo after dropping of Y. & J. at the ski tube ( a glorified train whose track cuts through the mountain to get over to Perisher resort) and we even saw a wild emu along the side of the road. Not to mention all the dead kangaroos that just lie there because no one come around to clean them up, neither humans nor scavenger animals. Mmm.
I admit I like taking pictures of food. R. and I discovered some pretty tasty nachos in Jindabyne mmm
And I have the privilege of introducting baby L. What a handsome little man :)
Newbie shot from before :)
Being injured, I was grateful for the expertise and help of Y. in navigating the Australian system. He helped me get a doctors appointment on the Monday, then got me a referral for a CAT scan when I left the appointment empty handed, and organised the CAT scan for the next day in Bega as we would be passing through to take me to the bus for Sydney. (I was flying out of Sydney early wednesday morning). I wasn’t sure how much would have been possible had I been left to myself and knowing how little time was left in Australia. I even was able to get the results of the CAT scan on x-ray and DVD to take with my on the plane.
I realised fairly quickly that it would be wise to go through my travel medical insurance to pay to see a doctor, etc. and even the telephone call to Canassistance proved to be somewhat challenging with my sim card not allowing international credit to be charged and the international credit of Y.s phone being depleted quickly when I did manage to contact them. In the end, the contact was made and my consultation with the doctor plus the CAT scan the followed were nominally approved, phew! I say nominally because I’m still waiting to here from them about my reimboursement claim – and praying that it’ll go through ;)
Boyd’s Tower sign
R. and Boyd’s tower
Besides the medical adventure, we did make it out to see Boyd’s Tower and the Green Cape Lighthouse. Well, technically we didn’t go in the Lighthouse because the tour was only held once a day at a time that didn’t work for our schedule, but we still had an amazing view of the coastline and witnessed some gigantic waves :) Boyd’s Tower is on the other side of Twofold bay from Eden and was constructed by a Ben Boyd in the 1830s, who intended it to become a lighthouse for ships. His tower was never approved by the state and instead they had the Green Cape Lighthouse constructed. It was a beautiful spot though very very windy on the day we came, and somewhat rainy. I could have stood for hours watching the waves crash upon the rocks. Here’s a short video to show what the waves were like.
Green Cape Lighthouse
Cool panoramic view
With little miss J.
View towards Eden from near Boyd’s tower
On the way to the bus in Canberra we stopped in Cooma to eat lunch and to visit the Snowy Mountain Hydro info centre. It was quite interesting to learn how their system of tunnels and man-made lakes was organised to provide energy to the region and to help with the accessibility of water in that part of NSW. Quite complex. My trip to Sydney would not be complete without me forgetting my CAT scan results in the car, which I realised as we were pulling out of the bus station and saw on my phone that my friends had tried multiple times to call me. I sort of panicked and called out from the middle of the bus to the driver asking him to please stop the bus – of course everyone is looking at you, ahh – and fortunately, he stopped a couple of blocks away from the bus station so that my friends could get them to me. Another young man even offered to run back to the station to grab it for me. I’m not sure I want to imagine how we would have tried to get a bulky enveloppe to me in such a limited time frame if we hadn’t figured it out right then. Definitely a mercy.
Snowy Mountains Hydro scheme
Map of hydro layout
It’s always hard to say goodbye, especially to close friends, and especially when you aren’t sure how long it will be until you see them again in person. I was so blessed to spend just over three weeks with them during my trip, and grateful for their generous welcome and the time we had exploring some of their different haunts. So thanks to my friends for selling of their part of the world well enough that I just might have to come back again some day ;)
with R. again near Boyd’s Tower
view down the coast
More to come later! Thanks for reading.