Australia in a Campervan – Winter Fun

Kosovo_Skiing

White sandy beaches, perfect waves for surfers, kangaroos and a lot of sun block; that’s the image of Australia. But did you know Australia also has snowfields?

An Australian winter holiday is a well kept secret. Many Australians have never even seen the snow, yet it does exist. You just have to know the right places. Lucky you, because this article will reveal all.

The best times to travel to the snow are June, July and August, because that’s the low season. But the season can last until October in some places.

Hiring a motorhome for your snow holiday is a great experience, something totally different and definitely recommended to all the snow lovers out there. You will be free as a bird because you can take your motorhome or campervan anywhere you like, which means you will be able to experience a broader area than if you just stayed at a resort. Make sure you stay on the sealed roads and always be careful while driving, because snow can be dangerous.

Three out of six States of Australia provide ski slopes. All of them are located in the southern states of Australia – New South Wales, Victoria and Tasmania. In New South Wales there is even an alpine region called “The Snowy Mountains”.

The alpine region of Australia stretches through New South Wales and Victoria. Be aware of the fact that the weather can change quickly in the mountains and temperatures vary greatly across the area. Did you know that the coldest temperature ever measured in Australia was -23 Celsius? Here is an overview of the most popular ski slopes:

Perisher_Blue_-_Kosciuszko

New South Wales:

  1. Charlotte Pass
  2. Mt Selwyn 
  3. Perisher 
  4. Thredbo

Victoria:

  1. Mount Hotham 
  2. Falls Creek 
  3. Mount Buller 
  4. Mt Baw Baw

Tasmania

  1. Ben Lomond 
  2. Mount Mawson 

Hitting the slopes is a perfect family getaway. Get the whole family in the motorhome and drive towards New South Wales, Victoria or Tasmania. Build a snowman together, the best way to start your holiday! Go skiing, snowboarding, start a snowball fight, race downhill on a sledge, tobogganing, snow tubing, dog sled tour or take part in other amusing snow activities.  If you have never seen the snow and  never skied before, join a class; there is a range of learn to ski classes. You don’t have to purchase your own gear for your snow holiday, because the ski slopes offer equipment hire.

When taking part in any of those activities it is not uncommon to see Australian wildlife. Kangaroos, wallabies, wombats, possums and even wild horses (called brumbies) are seen in the Australian snow country.

Sun-block is part of the image of Australia, you should definitely not forget it when going on you snow holiday. Summer is not the only time you need sun-block. The sun will reflect off the snow and bounces 80% of its rays back at you. In addition wear your sunglasses, to protect your eyes too. Furthermore, drink enough water, it is cold and you will be active in the snow, so dehydration is a risk. Bring some good snow shoes and remember that they should be water-proof. It is important to keep your feet dry.

Hit the road  slopes Jack!

Australia in a Campervan – Our Guide to Tasmania, Cradle Mountain & surrounds

Located in St Clair National Park and part of the Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area, Cradle Mountain is a spectacular sight at any time of year. Its dolerite peaks stand proudly above the glacial lakes, grassy plains and the dense forests that conceal its abundant and unique wildlife from the elements. Only 2.5hrs away from Launceston, 2 hours from Queenstown and 1 hr from Sheffield, the love affair with Cradle Mountain is yet to wane as a quarter of all visitors to Tasmania visit this majestic beauty. Now it’s your turn!

Cradle Mountian- view from Dove Lake Boathouse

Cradle Mountain offers a number of short walks.

The Dove Lake walk is boardwalked much of the way and generally well maintained. Highlights during the 5.7km walk include Glacier Rock, the Ballroom Forest and the much photographed Boatshed. It’s a lovely 2 hour walk that requires no bushwalking experience with just a few stairs and gentle hills.

For quick walks, look at the Enchanted walk. This 20-minute circuit is suitable for all age groups and winds through a magical rainforest filled with wombat burrows.

Longer walks (2-3 hours) include Crater Falls, Crater Lake and Wombat Pool. Ranger guided walks are also available.

For those wanting full day walks, go for the ‘walk’ to the Cradle Mountain summit.  A grade 5 walk, it’s quite a challenge requiring fitness, experience and knowledge of first aid as the track is quite steep, and is rough and unmarked in parts. But the view is spectacular.  This 6 to 8-hour walk is part of the larger Overland Track, a 65km (40 mile) walk which navigates the heart of Cradle Mountain – Lake St Clair National Park.  With a variety of side trips (Mt Odessa, Tasmania’s highest peak and Lake St Clair, Australia’s deepest lake) you will see the most exciting landscapes of the magnificent Tasmanian Wilderness World Heritage Area.

Download the 60 Great Short Walks app onto your Iphone/Ipad for first-hand stories from walkers, photographs and  safety tips. There are also video/audio podcasts covering bushwalking basics, the overland track and tasmanian water life.

April is considered the best time of year to undertake any of the tracks due the remarkable changing colours of the landscape. The winter months (June, July and August) can see snow on the tracks and caution is advised. Keep an eye on the weather before you venture out and check the Cradle Mountain Webcam.  In Summer the daily temperature ranges from 6 oC to 18oC while Winter temperatures vary between  1 oC  and 7oC. At night temperatures can fall below zero.

Cradle Mountain - Crater Lake

As this is a national park the facilities are somewhat limited. All toilets are wheelchair accessible and are located at the Cradle Mountain Visitor Centre and Dove Lake. There is no reliable mobile phone reception within the park but a public phone can be found at the Visitors Centre. Limited grocery items can be purchased from the Cradle Mountain Tourist Park and Campground with the closest supermarket at Sheffield.

Waldheim Chalets offer the only accommodation within the national park.  There are 8 affordable cabins with heating, cooking facilities and communal bathroom.  Alternatively, there are a few accommodation options close by – Cradle Mountain Lodge, Cradle Mountain Wilderness Village, Cradle Mountain Chateau and Cradle Mountain Highlanders Cabins.

People are encouraged to leave their cars at the transit terminal and catch the shuttle bus.  Buses (28 seater) and campervans over 5 metres must be left at the visitors centre. A fee applies for entry to all Tasmanian National Parks and any vehicles parked inside the park without proper authority will be fined. If you plan on visiting a few parks on your stay, the holiday pass is recommended. To avoid disappointment, be sure to check the Tasmanian Parks and Wildlife website for the latest information on track closures.

Be sure to check out some of the surrounding towns for interesting activites. Five hundred metres from Cradle Mountain Lodge is Devils@Cradle; a world class wildlife conservation sanctuary which focuses on the Tasmanian Devil, Eastern and Spotted-Tail Quoll.  Other activites and towns close by include:

Nelson Falls

The most popular time to tour Tasmania in a campervan or motorhome is summer, especially December, January and February, so make sure you book well in advance if you are planning your self-drive holiday during the summer holiday period.