In February self-confessed Wildlife Warrior Bindi Irwin went to visit her extended family in the US with her mum, Terri, and brother Robert (10). The 15-year-old daughter of crocodile hunter Steve Irwin might live in the Aussie outback, but she loves the snow. She tells suitcases&strollers why Oregon is one of her favourite family holiday destinations and why it’s a fantastic place to travel with kids.
Let it snow! Think winter in America and now think about what the dream weather would be for Australian kids…who don’t live in a cold climate…coming to America. Naturally the only conclusion you can make? Yes, that’s right, a dusting of powdered sugar across the streets, the houses, the roads, the signs. We are talking snow! And that is exactly what we were blessed enough to receive.
For both me and my brother, Robert (10), our main goal was to see some snow. I think we asked Mum 8,526 times if there would be snow for us to see when we got there.
We have seen snow in the past but being kids who live in a climate where it never snows, let alone freezes, this was a big deal to us!
The trip from Queensland, Australia to Oregon went really well and we really didn’t have any problems. We all love flying internationally because it gives us a chance to sit down, sleep and watch some movies! Although, our landing into Eugene, Oregon got a little challenging for the pilot due to the fact that the visibility wasn’t so great due to the cloud and fog. But thankfully we had an amazing pilot who landed beautifully.
And what did we discover the minute we landed?
We saw millions of little white snowflakes falling onto the already snow-covered town of Eugene.
How positively thrilled we were to arrive into Oregon looking so breathtaking. Immediately we wanted to just jump out of the plane and run for the snow. When we finally collected our bags and walked outside to pick up our rental car, we remembered just how cold the snow could be! Coming from summer in Australia, as soon as we left the warmth of the airport we felt our bodies freeze. I started scrambling for more clothes in my bag: gloves, a scarf, anything because I was frozen!
Then we had to try and scrape the snow off of our rental car. You forget that when snow falls it covers everything including your car. Which is exactly why I thanked my lucky stars that I brought my water resistant gloves, as I was crowned “car wiper”, removing any snow from the windscreens and doors. How fun!
It is funny packing for a cold climate during summertime. You feel like you completely over-pack with warm weather gear and then don’t realise until you arrive that you haven’t packed enough. My motto when it comes to clothes in the cold “the more you pack the less you shiver”. Words to live by!
Even with all the clothes I packed, we ended up buying snow boots and snow pants because Robert was desperate to go sledding. He loved it. He found a giant hill and practiced his extreme sledding skills. He got so good that he started to stand up on the sled like a surfboard and ride it down the hill! Truly hilarious to watch when he fell off! I don’t think it helped that we would watch the Winter Olympics each night; I think they just gave him ideas for more extreme tricks on his little sled!
Although we could’ve played in the snow forever we also got to do lots of other fun things while we were in Oregon. After Eugene our next stop was to the Oregon Coast. And our visit wouldn’t be complete without going to Newport, Oregon, home to one of the best aquariums ever.
The Oregon Coast Aquarium is gorgeous, filled with very passionate Wildlife Warriors. In fact my dad, Steve Irwin, did some filming a few years ago at the aquarium for his show New Breed Vets. This trip we got to see all of their amazing animals including an octopus that’s so clever it can put together a jigsaw puzzle! I was blessed enough to get to kiss a chubby harbour seal! That was extremely special…and a little fishy. Harbour seals actually really remind me of potatoes with flippers, they are so adorable.
After all that fun on the coast we headed inland and spent a few days in Sunriver, Oregon. For the best snow, that’s where you gotta go! (Apparently I’m now writing poetry!)
But in all seriousness, Sunriver has brilliant snow in the wintertime. It’s super deep and covers everything – sign posts, cars, even basketball hoops! During our visit we all ended up having snowball fights and amazing hot chocolate next to a fire when our fingers started to freeze. Sunriver is one of those places that you visit once and you want to keep going back any time of the year. For fun bike riding in summer and sledding in winter, we really love it.
If you have never been to Oregon, my advice is to go! Right now! Book a flight. It’s one of my favourite places in the world and I know it will become one of yours too.
We felt like we were so blessed to be able to see our family and play in the snow while we were visiting. It’s like all our wishes came true at once. I really think that snow is magical.
When I was little I thought that snowflakes were made by fairies and dropped down to earth.
I think I still do….
By Bindi Irwin; Images: Robert Irwin
Bindi Irwin is a regular contributor to suitcases&strollers. To read more of her thoughts on travel, type her name into the Search bar on the suitcases&strollers website.