Jindabyne and the Snowy Mountains National Park

More from the Easter Holidays…

After the short stay in Canberra we travelled further south and into the Snowy mountains for a two night stay in Jindabyne. The weather has not been kind to us during Dani’s Easter school holidays but when you are away on vacation you try to do whatever you can…

Jindabyne is the gateway town to the ski slopes of the Snowy Mountains. Like many similarly located towns in the European Alps it has enough places to buy or hire ski equipment and clothing and lots of hotels for tourists. It also means there are several decent restaurants and places to get a drink. There is nothing wrong with the town but it is basically a base to explore the Snowy Mountains. Our first stop was the caves at Yarrangobilly.

Yarrangobilly Caves

Located in the north of the Kosciuszko National Park, the Yarrangobilly Caves lie beside the Yarrangobilly river. They are the third limestone caves we have visited in NSW. (The others being at Wellington and the Jenolan caves.)

After paying the small park entry fee and cave entry fees we took the walk to the far side of the caves via Yarrangobilly thermal pool. The pool is fed by a natural spring with water staying 27ºC year-round. I was expecting a small random shaped rock pool for splashing about or sitting, but no. They went to town on this thing and made it into a full on rectangular swimming pool. Incredible sight in the middle of a secluded mountain park. Dani had a swim in the pool but his parents decided to sit it out…

Then we  followed the Yarrangobilly River back to Glory Arch walk, through the cave and back to the visitor’s centre. The cave we went in was a self guided tour (unlike the others we have visited).

The Big Trout.

I love these things. This one is another classic piece of Australiana. Or, as I recently found out, these things are also referred to as, ‘The Bigs of Oz’.

This is supposedly the worlds largest fibreglass trout. Hard to imagine people around the world striving to better is it? But still… Legend has it that a local angler was pulled into the water while trying to drink a gallon of Guinness (while fishing) and almost drowned. Naturally the man finished his gallon of Guinness and the trout was erected in honour of ‘the one that got away’.

The Big Trout – another of ‘The Bigs of Oz’
Dani and The Big Trout at Adaminaby

Alternatively it is said that the Big Trout was created by artist and sculptor Andy Lomnici (1920-1990) and was erected in this park in Adaminaby in his honour.

I prefer the former but will believe the latter.

Jindabyne

The town is a great launchpad into the two biggest ski areas of Thredbo and Perisher. But as the clouds were growing and the tops of the mountains were becoming less visible we only went so far up. Luckily we found a resort that was still mostly open. Dani tried a spot of archery for the first time. He is no Robin Hood that’s for sure but he gave it his best and managed to hit the centre of the target once. Albeit from close range!

No Robin Hood. Can he get any closer?

In the afternoon I took Dani to the nearby lake for a spot of spinning. That’s not the static bikes they have in gyms – at least that is what they are called in the UK. No. This type of spinning was fishing with a fake fish-like lure.

I taught Dani how to cast off and how to reel in smoothly. Hardly rocket science but he is a beginner. We never caught anything but he was happy to stay there quite some time and displayed surprising patience. When he does catch a fish doing that he will love it.

Fishing on Lake Jindabyne
Patiently spinning away…

Near the lake we did bump into one of Australia’s oddest animals, the echidna. It is a bit like a porcupine or a very large hedgehog, covered in spines. It is also called the spiny anteater and feeds on ants and termites. It is one of those uniquely Australian animals in that it is an egg laying mammal.

The echidna. Egg laying mammal

Parkes Elvis Festival

A Weekend at the Parkes Elvis Festival.

The 20th-24th of April saw the return of the Elvis Festival to the small town of Parkes NSW. Last year’s event was cancelled (you know why & I refuse to mention it…). This year the event, which should be held in January, was postponed till April (because of the same bloody thing). As I pointed out after my visit to Parkes in January, the event is normally coincides with “The King’s” birthday, January 8th (he would have been 87 this year). As it turned out the weather was great but definitely cooler than January. I am sure that was a great relief to those wearing the Elvis suits and wigs…

In fact, we never spent the weekend in Parkes. We had to stay in Orange which is just over an hour’s drive away because everything in Parkes itself was fully booked up. Accommodation for this festival gets booked out a year in advance (at least). We were not the only ones staying in another town. We saw several others in our motel. Still, it was a good couple of day visits and enough to leave us wanting more…

“Before Elvis there was nothing”
John Lennon

Carnival Atmosphere

There as a great carnival atmosphere all over the town. The pubs were generally packed and the two stages ran a constant stream of tribute acts either directly Elvis related or 50s/60s themed. The main stage was in Cooke Park with the smaller “Memphis satellite stage” set up on the main street through the town (Clarinda Street). All acts were free to watch as were many others playing in the pubs or just on the streets.

Elvis texting

There were some concerts that you need to book and pay for. Some of the more famous Elvis impersonators played gigs inside certain locations. I am sure these would be first class performances but they were all booked out. But because there were so many good free shows it did not matter.

Even kids bands were playing all over the town

We arrived midday on Friday. On the Saturday, being a lot closer, we arrived fairly early but still missed half of the parade down Clarinda Street. It also meant we couldn’t really get a good vantage point but it was still fun. Mostly a parade of Elvis impersonators, classic American cars (from the 1950s and 60s) and anyone who just wanted to dress up and take part (I guess).

The Parade….

Annual Theme

Each festival has a theme. This year it was the 1968 movie Speedway (which I am sure I have seen but can hardly remember). It stars Nancy Sinatra opposite Elvis. So while the men were dressed as Elvis there were many women dressed in 60s flowered dresses with white boots – like Nancy in the movie.

Self explanatory…
The women dressed like Nancy Sinatra in the Speedway movie
Previous Festival year themes on display at Elvis Central…

The Memphis Mafia Mobile

Next year the festival will be in January again so it will be hot. Visitors may be pleased to hear that the theme next year is Blue Hawaii. Or at least that is what I read somewhere in the town. Shorts and Hawaiian shirts it is then…. Ideal for a hot summer weekend in January.

Classic Pink Cadillac Coupe de Ville

Around every corner you keep bumping into people in full Festival gear

There wasn’t a shop, bank or office that hadn’t made some effort to get involved in the spirit of the Festival…

Outside the Parkes Library
Elvis custard tart. Everything and anything Elvis themed…

Elvis beermats

You don’t even have to like Elvis to have a good time – although it helps. It’s an excuse for a town-wide festival that’s part fancy dress, part booze-up, part music festival and part classic car show.

I’ll just let the photos do the talking…

One of the varied acts on the main stage
This singer came all the way from Japan and was excellent.
More of the “Japanese Elvis”

Unable to remember where this Elvis was from but he was so good.

Dani looking Elvised-out!
The “Scottish Elvis” in his tartan attire

We tried. But he didn’t want to dress up. At least he tried it on
Stage set up in the beer garden of one of the pubs
Dani and the Pink Cadillac
Great to see the young generation taking part.
This guy is called “The Kiwi Elvis”. And he was very good.

Incredible detail on these old cars

Not all Elvis lookalikes. But don’t judge a book by its cover. This guy is a good singer.
Main stage complete with large screens

See also: parkeselvisfestival.com.au