Another school term has passed, and we are in the midst of school holidays again. The school term had been busy. With lots of homework and extracurricular activities, our two big school kids were looking forward to a break. Since our kids had never seen snow, we thought a trip to the snowy mountains of Mt Selwyn, together with their best friends would be just the perfect plan for these winter holidays.
And so began the countdown, and the planning! I was getting a little worried just thinking about where to buy affordable snow gear for myself and the kids (hubby already had snow gear) as well as the amount of things I needed to pack! Luckily, Aldi had their annual snow sale coming up. When sale day arrived, I braved the crowd early in the morning on my own and stuffed my trolley with anything that had the correct sizes labelled on them for myself and the kids. Note to self next time: “Do Not Use A Trolley! Bring Several Giant Bags Instead!” OR “Bring Someone With You!” These are important tips because I was either blocking everyone’s way with my giant trolley, or being blocked because of my giant trolley – and it made my shopping experience 100x more exhausting.
Luckily, I eventually emerged alive with a trolley of… too much of everything really. Hey, that’s better than not having what I needed (wanted), right? And consequently, over the next few days, I had to make several trips back to Aldi to return the items I didn’t need. But boy was I glad to be able to now tick off this huge to-do task off my list!
Ok, let’s cut to the chase. The day of our trip has arrived, and we are off to the snow! Kids were uber excited and woke early. After a quick breakfast, we squeezed our luggage and ourselves into our car and headed off towards Canberra as our first stop. There, we met up with our friends for a lunch break and set off to our destination together afterwards. When we finally arrived, after a total of about 8 hours on the road with several breaks, we stopped by at a local snow gear hire shop to hire some skis before heading off to our apartment units, at the Talbingo Tourist & Caravan Park. Our units were wonderful, warm and clean with a fully equipped kitchen and laundry. Everything we needed for a comfortable stay. We unpacked and made a quick dinner and then got the kids to bed soon after to recharge their energy for the next day.
We aimed to wake and leave early to make the most of our day. The drive to Mt Selwyn was almost an hour away and the views were beautiful and scenic along the way. When we arrived, I was slightly disappointed to see only patches of snow and that the slopes were covered with mainly man-made icy snow. We tried to organize ski lessons for the kids but were unfortunate that they were all booked out already. So we spent the morning getting basic lessons from our friends who were skiers and managed to get hubby, who is a snowboarder to pick up enough skills to supervise and teach our kids. Unfortunately, I didn’t get the chance to ski as I had Mr. 2 to look after so hubby had the difficult job of learning to ski himself and also teaching our two kids to also ski.
Lunch was a few sandwiches we had packed as well as some food we bought from their cafeteria. The cafeteria food was average, but luckily not overly expensive. After lunch, we played some more in the snow, snow fights, snow angels, building snowmen, and a few more runs down the slopes before calling it a day and heading back to our accomodation.
Ski lessons were booked for the kids for 9am, which meant we needed to leave by about 7.30am to arrive on time. Unfortunately, during the night, I noticed Mr. 2 had developed a fever (in hindsight, I noticed that he was not his usual loud self the night before). I gave him some Panadol and had him in my bed to keep a close eye on him. The fever lasted most of the night but luckily had subsided by the morning. However, he woke up groggy and not his usual self. It was raining in the morning, and the weather was forecasted to rain for the entire day, so I decided to be safe rather than sorry and keep him here with me rather than rush him off to the cold rainy mountains when he was not looking and feeling great.
Hubby, Miss 7, Mr. 5 and our friends all left and we started our day slowly with a nice relaxing breakfast in the warm comfortable apartment. After breakfast, I noticed he was starting to look better and act more like his usual active and cheeky self. In between breaks in the rain, we went for a walk towards the river and mountains which was the stunning view we had in front of us. The scenery was breathtaking and the cool air was nice and crisp, not too cold. Brief shimmers of sunlight peeped through the rain clouds. But the brightness left as quickly as it had come so we headed back to keep him busy with some art and craft I had brought along.
After lunch, we got him ready for an early nap so that he would be re-energized by the time everyone returned. Our family returned first by about 2.30pm and by then, Mr. 2 had already had a decent nap, so we all decided to go down by the river again and have a walk around. By now, the rain had gone and the sun was out. The kids played by the river throwing and skimming rocks across the water and together we stayed and watched til the sun set behind the mountains. Little do they realize this, but this was the first time watching the sunset together as a family and it was a beautiful moment to be cherished. Our friends returned not long later, and we all returned to our units and got ready for dinner.
It was time to head back home. The kids were a little sad having to part with their friends already. We decided to leave early and make several stops along the way to have lunch and check out some tourist spots (say, winery). We stopped at a cute little town called Yass, and had lunch at a cafe called Trader & Co. After that, we continued on our journey home and made another stop at Centennial Vineyards for some wine-tasting. Well, for the dads anyway. The mums and kids went to the restaurant next door and had some delicious scones for afternoon tea, and let the kids run wild on the beautiful picturesque lawn. When the dads had finally finished more wine than they should have, we said our goodbyes the final time and we all parted ways to make our own way home (with the mums driving of course).
And that was the end of our first snow experience as a family. The snow wasn’t as great as expected but was perfect for beginners. Unfortunately, we had rain on our third day, and Mr. 2 developed a fever and thus was unable to join the others on the snow. Overall though, we had an amazing time. Our best friends were there, the kids laughed, and played, and the younger ones cried and fought over toys, of course. This was just another beautiful chapter to be added to our memories.
So now, what to do with all that snow gear I fought so hard for and spent so much on to buy? Perhaps another trip to the snow come winter time in the Northern Hemisphere? We shall see…
These are some tips I gathered from my experience traveling to the snow with little ones:
- Bring medicine! I brought Panadol, Anti-histamines, and Ventolin
- Bring walkie talkies if you are traveling in a group – there is no reception outside of your accomodation
- Book ski lessons early, not on the day
- Shop online for cheaper chair lift passes prior to your trip – we managed to get about 50% off from Groupon
- Pack snacks, food and drinks with you to the snowy mountains. There is only one cafeteria at Mt Selwyn with average tasting food
- Keep an eye on the annual Aldi sale for great quality and affordable snowgear
- Bring as much food from home as you can or buy from a supermarket along the way. The town’s supermarket may not have a great selection of fresh food and groceries
- Consider bringing and using instant heat packs (I got them from Daiso). I actually forgot to use them. At one stage, the kids’ hands were freezing as their gloves were all wet from the ice and snow. It would have been a perfect time for them to use to warm up their hands. See picture below.
- Final tip – enjoy yourselves, and don’t forget to take lots of photos!
** This is the 3rd time we’ve been to Canberra in two years! To read about how we spent NYE in Canberra last year, click here.