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Life Happens The adventures of Nora Dunn & Kelly Bedford, Professional Hobos. Nora writes, Kelly makes music. Together, we are on a lifelong journey to...wherever.

It's Not S-s-so C-c-c-cold

AUSTRALIA | Saturday, 21 June 2008 | Views [3691] | Comments [1]

In researching our World Nomads Ambassador trip in Australia, we knew that we would be charging headlong into winter. And after having avoided the frigid winter of mainland North America by being in Hawaii, I had started to think that maybe we would never see winter again. We could somehow manage to travel around the world in a way to permanently avoid winter.


Not so.


“Australia doesn’t get cold,” Kelly reassured me. “Heck – they surf all year around.”

“Yeah, and they surf in Halifax during the winter too. Doesn’t mean they’re not crazy,” I replied in my typical skeptic form. I don’t like the cold. Period.


No really. I don’t like the cold.


Either way, we are here, and driving (of all directions) south in the southern hemisphere, during the winter. As other travelers and residents we meet are moving north en masse, they eyeball us strangely and tell us to stock up on “woollies” and “jumpers” for the cold. If only I knew what a woolly or jumper was.


So the question needs to be asked: Are Australians just woosies when it comes to winter weather, or is it really that cold down south? If our time in Springbrook National Park was any indication, I’m stocking up on woolies and jumpers.


We froze our way through our tour of Springbrook National Park. The daytimes weren’t so bad, especially in the sheltered canyons we were most often hiking through. But camping at night in an unsheltered vast campground on the high plains was torture. The layers started coming out. By dinnertime, I had donned no less than 4 layers, hats, gloves, and boots. And I was still shivering.


The wind was blustery and cold. The van provided shelter from the gales, but not from the ever-dropping temperature. As we shivered our way through the night, I began to have serious second thoughts about continuing our southward drive.

“We’re still near Brisbane and I have most of my layers on! What the heck are we going to do when we get further south?” I said in a panic.

“Don’t worry, Nora. It doesn’t get cold in Australia like it does in Canada. They don’t even get snow,” Kelly continued to reassure me in his well-rehearsed fashion.

“Liar! They get snow down south! Sure, they say it doesn’t stay on the ground aside from in the mountainous areas, but we say that about Toronto too! And you know what? We’re lying when we say that about Toronto! Melbourne is the city of four-seasons-in-a-day – we’ve heard all about it. Four seasons. Four. In a day.”




“What is the temperature right now?” I asked, hoping that my temporary respite from shaking was a sign of my acclimatizing to the frigid cold we were experiencing.

“18 degrees,” Kelly said, as surprised as I was at the number.

“You’re kidding. We’re freezing our bloody butts off, and it’s 18 degrees?!? This is a joke, right? What the heck are we going to do when we drive further south and it actually gets truly cold? Our tropical asses won’t be able to cope.”


And so began the intense conditioning regiment we are going through in order to acclimatize ourselves for the cold weather to come. After more than a year without a day under 20 degrees, we need to regain some of that Canadian toughness in preparation for the oncoming winter. A little shivering now in the absence of too many layers will make for less shivering when it’s legitimately cold and there are no more layers to put on.


As an aside, we thankfully discovered that once we were out of the highlands of Springbrook and on our way to the coast, the temperature rose dramatically. We may yet be able to wear sandals a few more times before relinquishing ourselves to the winter to come.


Snow or not, we’re in it now. It’s winter in Australia!



Tags: ambassador van, camping, springbrook national park, winter camping, world nomads



Heh - it's true that Australia doesn't get cold like Canada. But it still gets cold enough. This morning, it was frosty and minus 3 degrees C here (Canberra, in the inland south-east).

And we get plenty of snow in the mountainous areas in the south. Just that not many people live there, so you don't hear about it that much.

  Wade Jul 4, 2008 3:04 PM

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