The festive season didnt feel very festive at first for us as not realising untill it was not here that the cold is a big part of Christmas. The Christmas trees where going up around Sydney but so was the heat... at least the rain had slowed. The first bit of special Christmas fun we had was on the Visy Christmas harbour evening cruise that Visy put on for it customers (Unilever). We met with fellow Unilever workers Samuele, Ineke & boyfriend Chris, Emily and David. Andrew was also an honoury Unilever worker for the evening.... did some one mention free drink? The cruise set off meandering around and along Sydney harbour and we felt special! The boat was very nice with teak decking and green velvert furnishings and nice wine or beer in your hand as soon as it was empty. As the sun set the trip became more special as the lights of Sydney City shone and the wine was starting to work. We were then fed roast meats, shrimps and oysters and salads. After trying oysters for the 2nd time I still dont see what all the fuss is about. We finished a great night dancing on the back deck as the boat took us home.
For Christmas we had decided to head to the snow, can't have the folks in the UK having all the snow fun. We hired a car and on Christmas Eve headed South West for the Snowy Mountians. The drive took 5 hour to our hostel in Jindebyne, passing lots of bush and open farm land. It was refreshingly cooler on arrival. On Christmas Day we headed for Thredbo which is very much like an alpine village in Europe. The only thing different is the forests of dead tress covering the mountian sides from the 2003 bush fires - looks scary!! Thredbo was the start of our Christmas Day walk in the attempt to tackle the highest peak in Australia, Mount Kosciusko at 2228M. We began the walk up from the village and were weary of brown snakes as we had been told about these the night before in the hostel. A couple of hours into our walk I catch up to Andrew who tells me 'don't come any closer' with a slight seriousness that makes me think that perhaps he's not having me on and should do as he says. He points down and I see a fairly big unhappy spider and on the floor with it's front legs in the air begging for Andrew to have a go if he thinks he's 'ard enough... Aka a funnel web whose bite can be fatal. Andrew slowly backs away from the beast that was stood right next to his foot and I come a little closer but not too close to have a good look.
Onwards and upwards we plod now weary of anything that moves. We get to the top of the chair lift and we get our first glimpse of snow. The path now is much easier and in most cases is metal or woodern platforms so you dont even get any dirt on your shoes. Before the last leg to the top we see a snowman and throw a few snow balls, it's all a little surreal after such warm temperatures in Sydney the day before. The cloud starts to come in and on goes the woolly hat, it's cold by our now soft standards... probably around 5-10C. As we corkscrew the summit to the top it feels very similar to many Scotland summits - cloudy, cold, damp and can't see anything.
Christmas dinner back at the hostel is made up of chicken with a tasty sauce and roasted veg along with the good company of a couple of guys from Sydney who like to fish but not catch anything. Odd.