Loves going out and about in Canberra and writing about her adventures! Also addicted to coffee, high teas, escape rooms, and dressing up.
Published July 25th 2018
Nine ways to get through the remainder of winter
Winter can be brutal in the Bush Capital. With temperatures plummeting to as low as minus seven degrees at night, spectacular frosts, biting winds, and the cold that can chill you even right through your thick woolen layers, winter is definitely not every Canberran's mug of hot chocolate.
Unfortunately, winter lasts a long time in Canberra, and many of us feel like hibernating until we can smell Floriade in the air. Like many newbies, I didn't cope very well at all with my first few winters in Canberra. But now with eight winters behind me, I have to say that it's now my favourite Canberra season. I've learned that I can hate winter and be miserable about it, or I can learn to love winter and see it for what it is: part of the cycle of nature and of life.
We're well and truly into Canberra winter now and we may as well get used to it. But if you're finding it just a little too hard to love winter as much as I do, then here are some ideas to help you get through the rest of the season.
1. Go for a winter's walk. The nights may be freezing and the mornings incredibly frosty, but the days are dry and filled with sunshine and bright blue sky. So when you can, rug up and go for a walk, whether in your local neighbourhood or a nearby park or nature reserve. See, breathe, and feel winter all around you. The trees that were bursting with gold or red leaves in autumn are now bare and spindly and skeletal looking. But I think these bare winter trees are beautiful in their own way.
The ACT government website has a comprehensive list of all the parks and nature reserves in Canberra. To find one near you for your winter's walk, go here.
2.Keep active . It's all too easy in winter in Canberra to stay indoors and hibernate, but there's no better way to keep the winter blues away than to get moving. Whether you enjoy walking, cycling, jogging, swimming, going to the gym, dancing, playing soccer, doing martial arts, gymnastics, lawn bowls, yoga, or walking the dog, it's important to keep our bodies moving in winter.
My 4 year old continues with his weekly swimming lessons throughout winter at the Canberra International Sports and Aquatic Centre in Belconnen, and he also does gymnastics at Canberra City Gymnastics Club. If you are looking for something different to try, then why not give gymnastics a go? Canberra City Gymnastics Club offers classes for both children and adults. And it doesn't matter if you've never tried gymnastics before in your life. Qualified coaches help you develop your skills, and it's a great way to stay fit during winter, have fun and meet new people. See here for details.
3. Have a movie night at home. Yes, it's important to keep our bodies moving in winter, but winter is also the season for being at home, and there's absolutely nothing wrong with that! So get the family or your friends together, pop some popcorn, make hot chocolate, snuggle up on the sofa and watch your favourite movies together.
4. Curl up with a good book I love nothing better in winter than curling up in front of our fireplace with a glass of wine and a good book. That is, after our four year old son has gone to bed! For me, winter is the perfect season to read fairy tales, and classics such as the Narnia Chronicles, The Lord of the Rings, The Iliad and the Odyssey, the Harry Potter series, and everything by HG Wells. I also love reading a good murder mystery in winter. Visit your local library to find your winter reads.
5. Celebrate Christmas in winter Tis the season to be jolly and to deck the halls with boughs of holly. The wintery images of Christmas-for example, Santa Claus, reindeer, snowmen, dashing through the snow in a one horse open sleigh, mistletoe and holly, chestnuts roasting on an open fire-never made much sense to me, and continue to not make much sense to me, in our sizzling hot and fiery Australian Christmas. But they do make sense in winter time, especially here in Canberra. So if you love Christmas as much as I do, then why not celebrate Christmas not just in July but throughout winter?
Put up your Christmas tree (I've had mine up since early June), play your favourite Christmas tunes (I've been playing them since early June too and driving my husband and son (chest)nuts!), and watch your favourite Christmas movies. And why not have a Christmas in July/August dinner at home? Invite the family, neighbours, and friends over for a winter's feast. Wear your Santa hats (they've got to be around somewhere!), sing carols together, play board games, watch a Christmas movie, and roast chestnuts or marshmallows on your open fire (if you have one). Children (and adults) can also have fun making snowmen out of marshmallows or building the tallest marshmallow tower.
If celebrating Christmas now is just all too much for you to handle, you can still stock up on Christmas decorations at the Christmas Factory in Fyshwyck or take the trip down to the amazing Bredbo Christmas Barn.
6. Indulge in a winter high tea at the Hyatt. There's nothing quite so elegant and special as a high tea, and there's no better place to indulge in one than at the Tea Lounge at the Canberra Hyatt Hotel. Afternoon tea is something of a tradition at the Hyatt. The high tea menu changes each season and you are sure to keep warm with their winter treats.
See here for my article on high tea at the Hyatt.
7. Warm up with good food and wine at the Fireside Festival. Celebrate the last month of winter with good food and good wine by the fireside. The Canberra district celebrates the Fireside Festival each August with various events happening at various locations over two weeks. You can warm up with mulled wine and spicy pizza at the Four Winds Vineyard, meet the winemakers of Bungendore, enjoy a fireside lunch with music by George Huitker and Junk Sculpture at Tallagandra Hill winery, you can enjoy a bonfire night at Lake George Winery, and lots more. See here for details.
8. Play in the snow. If you want to build a snowman and go tobogganing with the kids but don't feel like taking that journey to the big snowfields, then the winter wonderland that is Corin Forest is still open throughout August. There are 2.5 hour snowplay sessions 3 times daily at 8:30AM, 11:00AM and 2:00PM. Book here online to avoid disappointment!
Winter may not be your favourite season in Canberra but there are many ways to enjoy it. So rug up in your winter woollies, enjoy that steaming mug of hot chocolate or that glass of red wine by the fire, and dream of spring and Floriade and the warmer days to come!