I’ve been craving mountains ever since Nigel’s summer mountaineering trip in New Zealand. With prohibitive prices for last minute flights in the school holidays, I instead opted to spend the Australia Day long weekend in Australia’s mountain capital – the Snowy Mountains.
While not quite a substitute for the New Zealand southern alps, the Snowy Mountain region does offer a great array of walking, climbing and other outdoor activities in summer.
We are staying in Jindabyne – a lovely small town on the shores of Lake Jindabyne that is celebrating 50 years since it was relocated due to impacts of the Snowy Mountains Hydro Scheme. Today Jindabyne is a thriving tourist town with a population of about 1700 that swells during the winter ski season. The town has a lovely feel and with it’s lakeside setting is about as close to New Zealand’s Wanaka as I’ve experienced this side of the Tasman.
This morning I woke early to kangaroos on the lawn outside our accommodation at the Bungarra Alpine Centre where friends have kindly put me up for the weekend.
I took advantage of the still morning launching my kayak from the sandy beach jetty at the bottom of Barry Way on the outskirts of the town.
Lake Jindabyne is a vast expanse that you could spend the best part of a day paddling around quite easily. I opted for a loop of about 6km to get started following the bank of the lake along the town foreshore before crossing to East Jindabyne.
On the opposite side of the lake, the scenery is dominated by trees and rocky outcrops with very little man made infrastructure to interrupt which makes for peaceful paddling.
After following the shore for a period I crossed back over the lake towards town, rounded the two islands off the shore and returned to the sandy banks.
The paddling was excellent and highly recommended, although I would suggest starting early as the wind off the mountains tends to pick up during the day.