Winter in Gippsland can be a somewhat variable affair when it comes to weather. It certainly gets wet and cold, but can also be wonderfully warm and sunny on the odd days. Being such a hilly area where we live, winter mornings often bring a rolling fog that blankets the low lying areas like a fluffy sea. The sight is quite wonderful and something I always looked forward to seeing, but rarely did, when we travelled from Melbourne to Gippsland on one or other of our camping trips. There’s something surreal about seeing a valley shrouded in fog, with hilltops poking out from the sea of white.
And when you go into the lower areas where the fog descends, you enter a wonderland of stillness and serenity. It’s quite amazing how just one place like nearby Mossvale Park changes so dramatically over the seasons and can be quite ordinary one moment and then host to music festivals the next. Winter of course is the quiet period, as everything is rather bare and sombre, unless you get one of those sunny mornings or days when the place still displays a different type of magic.
The park can also get inhospitable after a few days of solid rain, which causes the Tarwin River West Branch to overflow, such that you can’t even gain access. But oddly enough, when heavy rains are forecast for Victoria and we prepare for the worst, we often only get a smattering as the main front passes north and south of the area. That said, when the heavy rains do hit, the river really overflows and the entire valley becomes a series of lakes from Mirboo North to Leongatha. When the water eventually subsides, the park can still be problematic because the grounds turn into a soft bog, tantalisingly covered by lush green grass.
Winter frost is also a regular visitor throughout Gippsland, with open areas generously layered with a temporary coating of white icing on many mornings. It’s also been known to snow in Mirboo North; however, that tends to be in winters few and far between, but it would be nice to experience. Hail is a also a regular event, but fortunately we don’t seem to get the golf balls that warmer climes like Queensland gets each year.
And when the weather outside strongly suggests that you remain inside, there are other pleasures that come with winter.
I’m not suggesting that our weather is significantly different to what those in Melbourne and the suburbs experience, as we’re not that far removed, it’s just that our beautiful environment can make even a bleak day tolerable. In the city all you get is woeful traffic, accidents, unreliable public transport, cranky people etc, which just makes a bleak day into an unbearable day.