Australia

Snow delights Australians amid cold snap

Craig and Cooper Hecht snow play on the toboggan during a cold snap on July 11, 2015 in Mount Buller, Australia. Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The unusually cold weather delivered some of the ski season's best snowfalls

South-east Australia has shivered through some of its coldest weather in decades, thanks to an icy cold snap.

Strong winds and snowfall hit Victoria, New South Wales (NSW), and even the "Sunshine state" Queensland saw snow.

Ipswich councillor Paul Tully drove three hours across the border so his son could see snow for the first time.

"We got up at 2.30am in the morning because there'd been a number of false starts in the past to take him to see his first snow," Mr Tully told the BBC.

Image copyright Paul Tully
Image caption Paul Tully (right) took his 13-year-old son James (left) to see snow for the first time

He said hundreds of cars made their way up Mount Mackenzie in northern NSW over the weekend, including one family who drove for more than seven hours through the night from Bundaberg.

"Everyone was actually excited it was a joyous occasion, people just felt really good."

Jason Eimbrodt posted a picture on Instagram from Sunny Corner, west of Sydney saying: "I didn't go down to the snow this weekend. But the snow came up to us instead!"

Image copyright Jason Eimbrodt
Image caption Jason Eimbrodt and Donald Baker at Sunny Corner, west of Sydney

The cold snap has been dubbed the "Antarctic vortex" by Australian media, but the Bureau of Meteorology said the name was not actually accurate.

"It's fun to say," forecaster Sean Fitzgerald told the BBC, "but [an Antarctic vortex] is actually a weather system over Antarctica that doesn't shift."

Image copyright Ken Kato
Image caption Some of the first snow fall in Queensland near Stanthorpe

More unusually cold conditions are expected this week.

Barry Hanstrum, regional director at the Bureau of Meteorology NSW, said the conditions were associated with a series of cold fronts that moved through the states.

The low pressure system that caused the cold fronts is expected to last for much of the week ahead.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The heavy snowfalls came in time for the school holidays in Victoria

Severe weather warnings are in place for Victoria and NSW, and icy conditions have closed some major roads, including parts of the Great Western Highway.

Alpine regions and ski resorts saw good snow fall at the weekend with a light dusting also experienced in the Central Tablelands region of NSW.

Image copyright Wendy Frew
Image caption The cooler-than-normal waters did not deter surfers at Bondi Beach

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