NSW ski resorts to open in 2020

The NSW ski season will be going ahead, with COVID-19 restrictions in place. But before we get into those, put June 22 on your calendar for Thredbo and June 24 for Perisher.

At Thredbo, the daily capacity will be reduced by up to 50 percent, meaning fewer people on the slopes and in lift lines. Unfortunately (and understandably) there’ll be no season passes, and guests will need to pre-purchase lift tickets. There’ll be 1.5-metre social distancing measures enforced in lift queues, and only two people at a time allowed on quad chairs and in the Merritts Gondola, and one person per t-bar.

If you need a Thredbo lesson, you’ll have to book a private one, with group lessons unavailable. Thredboland is also currently off the cards, although watch that space. All eateries will have the NSW Government social distancing measures in place in regards to seating, while there will be regular sanitisation of chairlifts, gondola cabins, and hire equipment.

Perisher skiers and snowboarders will also see social distancing and enhanced cleaning measures in place around the resort, with more details expected closer to the season start.

Caravan croque monsieur

I was on a mission: to create a campsite sandwich to rival all others. It would be indulgent; it would be more-ish; and my son and husband would devour it. There was no contest. I was on a mission to create my first croque monsieur, and where better to do it than on the stove-top of my tiny 12-foot Viscount?

We were camping at Point Plomer, on the Macleay Valley Coast of New South Wales. The wind was blowing hard, the ocean was a choppy mess and darkness was descending. Still, croque monsieur for dinner it would be. So, juggling an increasingly hungry toddler and a newborn fighting witching hour, I somehow managed to whip up this French staple as the tin ‘van rattled in the wind in front of an Aussie beach. Here’s what you need to know:


Serves four


  • 8 slices of French-style sourdough
  • 1.5 cups Gruyere cheese, grated
  • 1 cup Parmesan cheese, grated
  • 30g butter
  • 2tbsp plain flour
  • 2 cups cow’s milk
  • 8 slices of shaved ham
  • Dijon mustard to your liking


  1. Melt the butter in a saucepan and then add the flour, stirring until combined. Slowly add the milk while continuing to stir until the sauce is smooth. Remove from the heat, add half the Gruyere and all of the Parmesan. Stir until the cheese is melted and set aside.
  2. Butter the bread and pan fry each side on the caravan stove top.
  3. Spread mustard on four slices of bread, and then top with ham, the Bechamel sauce, the remaining Gruyere and the other four slices of toasted bread. Voila.

(Interesting fact: The croque monsieur is believed to have made its debut in Parisian cafes in the early 1900s.)

Take 3 launches eco hub

The popular Australian campaign Take 3 for the Sea continues to grow, with the non-government organisation launching a sustainability hub and community work space.

Volunteers, business people, family, journalists and local councillors attended the launch in Long Jetty, on the New South Wales Central Coast in March. The office and sustainability hub will be a learning space for the leading conservation minds of the future and become the home base of the local and larger environmental community.

It’s been 10 years since Take 3 founders marine ecologist Roberta Dixon-Valk, youth educator Amanda Marechal and environmentalist Tim Silverwood began spreading their simple message of cleaning up Australia’s waterways. Since then, the movement has gained traction around the world, with the social media hashtag #take3forthesea being used in 129 countries.

Working with councils, schools, community groups and surf clubs, Take 3 is an educational program that encourages people to pick up three pieces of rubbish when they leave the beach, riverside, lakes, creeks and forests. To learn more, click on the video below.


*Featured image: Ocean rubbish, credit Nick Pumphrey (cropped image). Second image: Tim Silverwood with plastic, credit Tom Batrouney (cropped image)

An eco friendly mosquito repellent

From the depths of the rain-soaked Tropics to the stagnant creeks of little-known campsites worldwide, the mosquito is pest enough to see you douse yourself in toxic creams and unknown chemicals. Better that than malaria, we tell ourselves. But you don’t need to resort to coating your limbs in DEET to ward off the pesky insects.

Vanilla Mozi, a cream developed by Lea-anne Crawford from Victoria, is not only DEET-free but is made with a mix of natural oils, shea butter and beeswax. Other ingredients include coconut, olive and avocado oils. This makes it a safe option to use for adults and kids, including babies, which can be prone to allergic reactions to itchy bites.

I came across Vanilla Mozi by accident when on a work trip to the Whitsundays, Queensland. Known for its tropical islands, heavy but fleeting downpours, and cyclone season, it seemed fitting to first try the cream there. Not one itchy bite later for me or my two-year-old and I was quietly impressed. I tested it again on another trip to humid Ho Chi Minh City in southern Vietnam, where I toured along the Mekong River and ventured down city laneways in sticky heat. Again, not a mozzie to be slapped.

Since then, I’ve travelled with it all over Australia, liberally rubbing on exposed limbs, necks and faces while camping beside creeks, in forests and among mountains. The reason it works so well is largely because of its natural vanilla scent, plus the use of pure spearmint essential oil. I’m convinced Vanilla Mozi is such a great repellent that I’ve already recommended it to numerous friends, especially those with more susceptible young children. It’s safe and it works; that’s enough to get my vote.

Cost: $19.95 for a 125ml tube of Vanilla Mozi Skin Cream.

Verdict: I highly recommend it and will be pre-ordering my next tube when my supply dwindles.