with thanks to Andrew and Kerri from Pure Chalet for hosting us. The room and facilities were beautiful and comfortable, the breakfast was delicious and served with a view and both Andrew and Kerri were so warm and welcoming.
We arrived at Thredbo and checked into Pure Chalet, where, from the balcony, we could see the alpine village dozing under the Australian sun, without a cloud in the sky. The runs which were snow-covered and swarming with skiiers and boarders just months ago now shone green. The chairlifts - all but one - hung still in the summer air.
Within minutes from Pure Chalet, we were at Valley Terminal, purchasing our 2-day passes for the Kosciuszko Express. I let out a big exhale as we glided up and over the valley towards Eagles Nest, leaving behind cars and walls for the day. From above, we watched mountain bikers slice their way down towards the village . Mountain biking is the biggest summertime drawcard for Thredbo but for me, I couldn't wait to turn over the legs and stand on the roof of Australia.
By now, though, it was 2pm and the last run was at 4.30pm. We didn't have enough time to summit. In hindsight, I wish that I had researched Merritts Nature Track, which is only a 2-2.5 hour walk from the top of the chairlift back to Thredbo Village. This way, we could have been on the highest peak of Australia for golden hour before hiking back at dusk. Instead, we only walked to Kosciuszko Lookout for our first afternoon in Thredbo, in order to catch the last chairlift down.
It was still well worth it. As soon as we stepped past Eagles Nest, it was although we entered another world; endless alpine meadows littered with boulders, crisscrossed through here and there by rivulets and dotted with bright little wildflowers. The geology is something to behold; stacks of granite of all different sizes with some looking like small piles until you walk up close.
We spent the rest of the day by the Thredbo River. We strolled past handfuls of people playing golf, playing tennis and skateboarding. The vibe throughout was chilled and laidback - an atmosphere distinct of alpine villages. That evening, we picnicked under a wonderfully clear and darkening sky. I went to bed that night with only one real regret...that we hadn't had enough courage to wade into the chilly alpine flows of the river!
We woke up to a fresh, delicious breakfast spread, looking out to gum trees and those vibrant green ski runs...but the pristine blue skies of the day before were gone.
When we got off the chairlift at Eagles Nest, the wind howled and battered at our drawn up hoods. Even still, I was in high spirits, that only lifted even more, as we steadily moved towards 2,228 metres. I loved when the wind died down enough to hear the sound of water rushing under the grasses. I loved picking out various types of wildflowers - the only splashes of colour amongst an otherwise dry landscape. I loved crossing paths with all different sorts of people and groups; young couples, elderly couples, families with small children, groups of friends speaking foreign languages - not every mountain hike can be suitable to such a wide range of ages and capabilities and so this is most certainly a big tick for Mount Kosciuszko.
Most of all, though, I loved the vastness and ruggedness. The open space unshackled me from all the worries and deadlines from this year. The resilient landscape humbled me; I thought of how many times the clouds must roll over each day, how constantly the streams flow, how many people pass through and yet, the terrain and rock hold firmly, changing inconceivably to the eye.
Our time on the summit was super brief, due to the wind, but just as special as the first time I stood on Mount Kosciuszko; watching a fiery sunrise on one chilly morning in late autumn.
That evening, we tried two of the many establishments in Thredbo Village - The Local Pub at Thredbo Alpine Hotel and Après Bar at The Denman Hotel. At both places, we exchanged smiles with people we had seen earlier that day on the mountain.
For our final morning in Thredbo, I woke up early to stroll along the Thredbo River again, revelling in the solitude, the meditative hush of the water and that fresh, crisp air that you can only get in the mountains. I inhaled it all in and left carrying a newfound love of summertime in the Snowy Mountains. We had barely scratched the surface of all that there is to do here in these warmer months...and so I'll just have to come back soon xxx