Have you ever stumbled upon a truly special place, somewhere that makes you feel whole and happy in a way you've never felt before? The Snowy Mountains with the surrounding Snowy River region is my special place. As soon I leave the city and follow the Brindabellas down the Monaro Highway my heart begins to feel lighter. At the crest of Jindabyne Road where you get that first big glimpse of the glistening lake below, my worries melt away like ice in the sun and I am free.
Last weekend we packed up a 4WD and headed south to a little place 15 minutes outside of Jindabyne. Moonbah Huts, built in the style of original cattleman stone slab huts, are owned and run by the lovely Brett Smith with the help of his son, Ted. The level of craftsmanship and attention to detail in each hut is astounding and you get a sense that they were a real labour of love. Brett is a cracking photographer too - you can find him over on Facebook.
As we were travelling with friends we stayed in the larger River Hut which overlooks the Moonbah River. I know how breathtaking this part of the world is, and think of it often, but it was wonderful to watch our friends experience it for the first time. There is no TV, mobile phone reception or internet connection at the huts so instead we turn to long conversations, play card games, wander by the river or simply sit in silent contemplation. Buster the friendly sheep dog often calls by to play fetch or curl up next to you on the porch.
The week leading up to our stay saw a metre of snow drop in just 48 hours so after our pancake breakfast we called into the Snowy Region Visitor Centre at Jindabyne to purchase a Kosciuszko National Park entry pass and made our way up to Thredbo Village. As we climbed higher along the icy Apline Way the snow started to fall quite heavily. I love the way snow can magically turn adults into big kids - we spent most of our time throwing snowballs and making snowmen. A joyfully exhausting morning.
After lunch we returned to the hut for cups of hot cocoa, a long soak in the bath and a comforting meal lovingly cooked in the wood fired oven. An early night after a big day and a deep sleep for all. My husband would like it to be known that he fairly trounced us all at Monopoly before we hit the hay.
We woke late to a glorious day and enjoyed a hearty breakfast of eggs, bacon and sourdough aka Boomey Bacon Butties. Everyone took their time to pack up and say one last goodbye to the hut, the river and Buster. No one really wanted to leave but unfortunately real life beckoned. The drive home was quiet and I pondered when I would next return to the mountains, to Moonbah.
Photos 1 and 5 taken by @vineyardcottage.