BBC

Sydney

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.

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!” 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.”

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.