Originally it was going to be the Austrian Alps: extended time in Europe for me, extended time skiing for R = recipe for happiness. But we ended up in the Australian Alps instead. Sure, it’s not quite as glamorous, but I am nonetheless grateful to be here.
It’s been six weeks since we moved to Jindabyne.
We found a lovely, light-filled granny flat up on a hill with glimpses of the lake. Or rather, the owners of the granny flat found us.
Accommodation is tight come ski season and we had joined many other desperate seasonal workers begging for a room on the “Jindabyne Accommodation Share Page” Facebook group. We narrowly missed out on a flat we interviewed for, because the owner felt pressured to rent it to an essential worker instead of us – a ski instructor and his work-from-home wife aren’t quite essential enough.
At this point, we were only a couple of weeks away from the start of the season and R’s first day of training. He started looking at campervans.
Fortunately for us, being too old for working holiday visas in Europe meant being more desirable to landlords. We discovered that many of them are sick of renting to the young party animals who make up the vast majority of Jindabyne’s winter residents.
Our home is a 10-minute walk from cafes, the grocery store and post office; a 20-minute drive from the skitube that takes you up to Perisher Valley Ski Resort. The streets are quiet, the lakeside is quiet. With the exception of a warm couple of days earlier this week, it’s always black puffer jacket weather here – but mostly sunny days. Sometimes it’s windy.
The hills surrounding Lake Jindabyne are arid yet beautiful, especially in combination with the dark water and blue skies. It’s truly a divine palette. We’ve gone on a couple of drives and a couple of walks by the lake.
Now that I’ve been working my new job remotely, I’m beyond relieved we didn’t end up in a campervan. I’m comfortable at my desk in our sun-bathed living room. In the middle of the day, I’ll sit outside with my lunch or go for a walk. But I have to remind myself to do this – there have been days I haven’t been out of the house at all.
I have ordered a flat white at six of the eight-odd coffee shops in town. The coffee is mostly decent, a couple I’d rate as good. I paid $8.50 for a muffin the other day and knew for sure this was a holiday town with holiday rates to match.
We went once to one of the two churches in town – the only one with an evening service – but the experience made us miss our Sydney home church and we haven’t been back.
The bowling club by the lake runs trivia every Thursday night. Last week there were 29 teams; the week before there were 37. The place was packed, with the dinner line snaking all the way out of the bistro area. The kitchen ran out of buzzers and the one girl at the till came out at 7.30pm and told us that it would be at least an hour before we’d get any food. So I ordered beer at the bar instead.
Somehow my table of locals and seasonal workers I’d literally just met managed to come third in the trivia, winning a $100 food and drink voucher. The locals kindly took the vouchers and gave the rest of us their value in cash, so I’ve now got a tenner sitting in my desk drawer.
And the skiing? I’ve now done almost more skiing in the last six weeks than I had in my entire life prior to this winter. It’s not quite as enchanting as Japan’s snowfields are, as I imagine ski resorts in other parts of the world are. But Perisher Valley is still beautiful, full of different trails and runs to explore.
We’re here until the end of September, so do let us know if you’re ever coming through!