Still being nervous about the car engine issue, we took inspiration from Cook and dumped as much weight from the van and 4WD as we could to help our ‘Endeavour’ get off the reef. Therefore all non essential books, bikes, stone guards etc. were left at the farm at Tarcutta. As the crow flies it wasn’t very far but the roads were windy and the hills steep and seemingly interminable. On the way to Jindabyne to rendezvous with our friends the Blanches, we visited Australia’s highest town at Cabramurra, 1488 m ASL. This was a very pretty little place with great coffee and a well presented live feed overview of the whole snowy hydro network on several big screens.
Not knowing how busy any of the camp sites would be, we all opted for the closest camp at ‘Thredbo Diggings’ first. To say it was busy was an understatement. This free camp was jammed solid with vans, tents, camper trailers and motor homes. Apparently all here for one thing, mountain biking. After finally finding a spot for both our vans jammed in next to the drop loo, Alex and I did a quick 11 km loop up to the next camp at Ngarigo. It too was full. Even though my beloved dual suspension bike is safely locked away in storage and I only have my trusty 19 year old hard tail ‘banger’, the single track here was brilliant fun. It confirmed our mutual yearning that we would definitely squeeze in a days downhill biking at Thredbo.
Thredbo Diggings camp.
It was decided that the next morning, Monday 28th December, would be our best shot at the summit of Kosciuszko. You can access the summit either from Thredbo or from Charlotte Pass. We opted for Thredbo, cheating with a lift pass to save us 4 km of walking and 500 m of climbing! With lots of encouragement, all of us, four adults and four kids aged from 4 to 11, made it to the summit, which was packed with dozens of like-minded walkers.
The 7 km trek to the summit of Kosciuszko.
I remember coming here in the seventies. The car park then was about 1.5 km from the summit, not the 16 km return walk it is today. Kris’s uncle Robert later told me the summit car park used to be even closer, just a few hundred metres from the summit! With clear skies, wild flowers abounding and temps hovering just below 20, the day was spectacular. I was even able to hold to my promise of snow in the Snowy Mountains! We found a patch from last season and chucked a few obligatory snow balls at each other.
On top of Australia!
After conquering the summit of Australia’s highest mountain at 2228 m (it is one of the 7 peaks on 7 continents you know), Alex and I abandoned our families the next day and headed to Thredbo for some down hill madness. I was understandably nervous. Two years ago I had very nasty crash coming off a jump here. Thankfully we both had a brilliant injury free day, even giving the black diamond run a cautious nudge. To remove the 40 odd kilometers of downhill dust, we both braved the 16 degree Thredbo River back at the camp for a scrub before dinner and some well earned medicinal beverages.
Down hill mountain bike mayhem at Thredbo…