Australians don't 'do winter' very well. Even those of us who live in regions prone to severe and prolonged cold tend to be less prepared and less resilient than Europeans or North Americans who live with much longer and colder winters than our relatively short ones.
Somehow the cold weather seems to take us by surprise. Never mind that it might be mid-June, that first morning when we turn on the taps to find the pipes frozen comes as a shock. Oh, is it that time already?
Similarly, the first warnings of a dire flu season catch us unawares, and the first sign of a cough or sniffle sends us bolting to the doctor or the pharmacist.
There are some tricks to staying warm and healthy during the winter.
The Heart Foundation has recently published some tips for maintaining optimal health during the colder months. These include keeping fresh, seasonal fruits and vegetables in your diet. Grapefruit, kiwifruit, mandarins and oranges are in season and high in vitamin C to ward off colds. Cauliflower, broccoli and carrots are great in soups or on their own. Pumpkins from last summer's harvest should have stored well and be available for soups, stews and roasts. Check out what's available at the local farmers market and take advantage of the cool climate produce.
If outdoor winter sports are not your thing, the Heart Foundation recommends an indoor exercise program to counter the extra calories we tend to consume by eating more carb-heavy foods, not to mention hot chocolate and sticky date pudding! Join a gym or a take a yoga or aerobics class. Bushwalking in some of our wonderful national parks is a great way to enjoy winter weather.
If the spectre of astronomical heating bills gives you cold chills, have a look at what you're wearing. In winter we don't need to walk around inside in shorts and a t-shirt. Put on a jumper, invest in some good quality thermal underwear and thick socks. Put flannelette sheets on the bed and get a hot water bottle instead of chewing up power with an electric blanket.
How well insulated is your house? Close doors inside the house so you only heat the rooms you're using. Double glazing is expensive but there are cheap temporary insulating films that can be put over windows as an effective alternative.
Enjoy the cold while it's here. Before we know it, it will be summer and we'll be complaining about the heat.
Did you know the Goulburn Post is now offering breaking news alerts and a weekly email newsletter? Keep up-to-date with all the local news: sign up below.