IN WINTER, MANY people head north to catch the warm weather. But if you have to stay in the southern half of the country, there are some unusual places where you can keep out of the cold.
Here are five of our favourites, all of which will add some fun to a cold day.
Conservatory, Hobart, Tas
It tends to be cold in Hobart in winter, but you can find a spot of spring warmth at the Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens, www.rtbg.tas.gov.au. The Conservatory in the gardens was built in 1939 and is designed to keep the plants warm. As well as escaping the cold in this elegant greenhouse, you can see colourful displays of flowers almost all year round. In the gardens you can also see the historic Arthur Wall, an internally heated brick wall that was built by convicts in 1829 to provide a warm environment for growing fruit trees. Unfortunately, it won’t warm you up because it is no longer heated.
Steam Workshops, Yarloop, WA
Working steam museums are another place to catch some warmth in winter. We recently visited Yarloop Steam Workshops near Waroona on the South Western Highway, WA on their monthly Steaming Sunday (see www.yarloopworkshops.com.au). It was a cold, wet and windy day, but inside the steam house was a different story. Huge boilers provide for the vintage steam engines, keeping the building cosily warm at the same time.
Melba's Chocolates, Woodside, SA
If you are a chocaholic, winter is the perfect excuse to indulge your passion. We visited Melba’s Chocolates and Confectionery (see www.melbaschocolates.com.au) and found that it is heaven for chocolate addicts. After all, who could resist the amusingly named chocolate cow pats, or the chocolate-coated peanut sheep nuts? The chocolate factory is housed in a heritage-listed, early 20th century cheese factory, which is now richly perfumed with the delicious smell of chocolate.
Mining Hall of Fame, Kalgoorlie, WA
Another way to escape the elements on a cold day is to head underground, where temperatures are fairly constant all year round. At the Kalgoorlie Mining Hall of Fame (see www.mininghall.com), there are several ways to warm up. We went on the Hannans Underground Tour and also attended a gold pouring demonstration. The sight of the glowing molten metal being poured by a man wearing a heat-reflective suit certainly made the day feel a bit warmer.
Christmas in Katoomba, NSW
Of course, the other option is to tough it out. In Katoomba, they turn their icy winters into a tourist attraction with the annual Yulefest celebration (see www.yulefest.com). Visitors can enjoy the bracing mountain chill in the day, and then relax beside an open log fire in a hotel or restaurant. There are many seasonal activities such as Christmas dinners, carol singing and Yulefest cabaret shows.
With so many ways to warm up, there’s really no excuse for being cold and miserable in winter.
WORDS AND PICS Susan and Keith Hall
Check out their blog here