It’s late winter and we are after a new challenge.
My friend, a professional abseilor suggests some canyoning. Perfect I say!
We struggle to find places to freelance abseil but stumble across a little known place on the way to Springbrook. It called Back Creek Gorge at Beechmont (Killarney Glen) and you will have to google to find it but we did, so no doubt you will too.
We were expecting an abseil into a single pond but what we discovered was way more incredible!
The Back Creek Gorge is a a six hour adventure traveling down loads of water falls, all with varying challenges and degrees of difficulty. Even with my still broken toes, I have a ball.
The only way out, as night falls, is straight up through the bush. Starting to realise that our food rations might get put to the test, and an overnight stay in the wilderness is on the cards, we both forge on. Up, scratched and out.
I have a ball and would do this type of adventure again and again. BUT I would suggest only going with an experienced abseilor. You needed to know your knots and not lose your cool. Not for the faint-hearted.
” The Gold Coast is bursting with things to do…” I read on my GC website. Unfortunately I didn’t find the “things to do” and bursting with boredom I have resolved not to go “into Surfers” again for as long as I can.
Yes Surfers Paradise is a mecca for surfers but sometimes I think that is all.
Today I have my children and we are eager to find things to do.
I thought/hoped/wished that there was something to do in the heart of the city, Surfer Paradise, but there was not. Despite there being a sand sculpture festival being on and a bigger than life, Green Octapus art sculpture coming out of a building. Which ended up being the highlight.
Aside from these mild distractions there was nothing.
After Kathmandu last week, I was really keen to find something similar…. live entertainment , music, art, tactile things for the kids, anything but the streets were far from bustling in the streets and exceptionally low in energy,
It costs an arm and leg to park in town, even the G train is expensive ($9.60 one way for myself and two kids) and nothing much to do. There is nothing but expensive food chains offering the same rubbish food as food courts and shopping centres. I would recommend to save your money and head to Coolangatta, Byron or Brisbane on a rainy day!
Timidly I set off on my first P & O Cruise with my two youngest kids.
I had been on a cruise in the Mediterranean years ago but that was different. That was just me, heaps of new exciting places and no kids.
P & O had not only my kids on board, but hundreds of other children (and their parents). I was worried.
The lining up like sardines and processing on mass wasn’t too bad. I am not good with being herded as my natural instinct is to do the opposite but I found things moved reasonably well and before I knew it we were being ushered past the first of our many “photo opportunities”.
The weather forecast was disgusting and when on board the captain very quickly brought everyone up to speed. “It was some of the roughest seas he had ever seen…” ” get sea sick tablets, go to bed early” and “hang on to the walls when you walk“. Fabulous. Nothing like a BIG fat storm to get everyone sea worthy.
I ushered the lambs to bed very early but stayed up myself to watch Steddy Eddy – a long standing comedian, who I had wanted to see for years. He was hysterical and helped sleep come so much easier.
But I did wake multiple times thinking the massive ocean liner was going to capsize. Whoosh this way, whoosh, creak that way. I have no idea how it didn’t roll over. Anyway it didn’t , the lambs slept, and fortunately day light came soon enough.
The kids were stocked. I was letting them eat all sorts of things we don’t eat on shore. Things like bread (we have a mostly gluten free house hold), cereal, ice cream, deserts, and on it went for the kids like some fantasy camp.
I tried to enforce the 3 vegetable thing with every meal but decided as long as they ate with me at the a la carte restaurant once a day and not buffet central, they wouldn’t become too nutrient deprived over the week.
I had mixed feelings about the cruise.
I was disappointed to see the way people panic around food. Panic and pant… that was the general line up at the buffet. The foodie in me cringed at the human behaviour. BUT the food was actually a really high standard and really varied. It was good.
The A La Carte restaurant was excellent. I ate there every breakfast and had my all time favourite, black pudding. I ate most of my dinners in a La Carte, chilled in the adult-only zone and saw shows, comedians and even art auctions!
It’s hard to believe in hind sight that the cruise was only 7 nights. Really great holiday as far as low-maintenance parenting goes. High value for the kids, and heap of fun and relaxing activities for the grown-ups. We will be doing another cruise soon. Maybe another liner – like carnival?
On the first day Woodford Festival I was dazed: bands, bars, brazilian meat and bush pantomimes. It’s only on my second day that I start to pause longer in tents and absorb what is happening.
Zenning out at the start to the Labyrinth at Woodford
The Festival is a place for all people, including myself. It’s like a adult version of Willy Womka’s Chocolate Factory – a total sensory smorgasbord. It’s delicious, daring and fun!
Pretty much everything you would like to try in the arts is here and more.
You would need a full day just to take in the art works. I even recognise a few pieces from the popular Swell Sculpture Festival on the Gold Coast.
The impromptu sculptures scattered throughout were breath-taking and fun.
This face mask lit up at night and was really cool.
As side from the physical arts, there were performing arts.
Pop-up tents teaching people how to chant, and sing, jewelry making, how to dance, all sorts of yoga, lantern making, workshops on making didgeridoos and more.
The full arts and craft programme is impressive and most people book one or two of their arts/craft sessions when buying their tickets.
From the outside it is a grown up creche but for the academics in social behaviour it is a perfect way to foster connection, teach new skills and let people connect left and right hemispheres of their brains. I have written a separate blog on the positive hormone changes it creates on my naturopath page.
The cross breeding and propagation of free thinking is beautiful to experience.
Over the days, I am privy to hear Prof Ian Lowe on environmental issues, talk to people about coal seam gas and be inspired by one of the land’s best orators, Noel Pearson.
On New Year’s Day people make the morning pilgrimage to watch the sun rise. Thousands of bodies lie together watching the new year unfold. This photo was the second after a massive bubble had popped.
Each morning kicks off early – around 8am. On New Year’s Day I find myself singing with The Voice sensation Darren Percival . His voice is incredible and his sessions so much fun. His presence is very angelic and worth seeing if you find him on the “menu” in 2016.
Many people go for the music and it is second to none. I felt a little like being back in New Orleans where there is music on every corner. Woodfordia is a little like that.
Music is played into the early hours of the morning. No curfews and lock out and no rowdy crowds, just folks having a fantastic time.
There are so many funky bands that it’s hard to remember them all.
My favs are Tijuna Cartel (photo above), CC The Cat, Benny Walker, Andrea Kirwan, Lauren Kate, The Hot Potato Band, Briggs and more!
Comedy shows are hysterical and leaving me howling in laughter and smiling from ear to ear. I love this place!
Interestingly my body is craving yin foods and detoxing.
It is easy here. Detoxing, nurturing your body and eating vegetarian and vegan is easy. The food stalls are awesome and most of the food is reasonable and it is certainly plentiful, even at midnight!
Juicing is easy !
This van was my favourite, and the green smoothie (made on Almond milk is the best).
I am not surprised when I hear a few people saying this is their annual detox.
It would be a perfect way to detox and cleanse… camp and simplify life, have massages and cold showers, sleep whenever you feel the urge, see bands, do art, listen to inspiring speakers and do yoga. Juice, eat vego and cleanse your mind… voila there you have a very cheap health retreat for 5 days!
A big part of Woodfordia is respecting and protecting nature. You can buy trees to plant which is done in June each year at the Planting Festival.
After a few days at Woodfordia I am feeling incredible love. Like many, I will be waiting eagerly for the next one in 360 days .
Sensory immersion, ecclectic diversity and beautiful people being not doing. If you are into music, arts so or simply expanding your being, put Woodford Folk Festival on your bucket list.
A place where your taste buds are tingled, your eyes teased and your body is tickled!
It’s the most ecclectic fun I have had in a while.
I am not even sure where to start.
Execpt I know that upon reflection day one is the most extraordinary mind blowing experience and then day 2 you get the jist of it all and by day 3 you are really finding your groove.
I think and in no particular order that the first day ran a little something like this…
Arrive at Woodfordia camping grounds and find myself pulling into the Priaries in a lush paddock full of newly woken Woodfordians rubbing sleep out of their eyes. I pitch my tent (all by myself) and find my way along Lois Lane to the festival. My tent is pitched in “Goneamy Way” street, which is beside “ Bombsaway” and “ Let’s go this Way”
Up dales, down dales, past fairies and unicorns, the whole place is incredible.
After a chilled wine, which we are trusted to sip while walking around various venues (so mature), I find myself listening to a talk with Noel Pearson (what an incredible soul and orator) on environmentalism and helping minority groups such as indigenous, become self reliant through eco systems, permaculture etc.
Woodfordia self regulates. There is a definite non-code of consensus in some areas – dress, beliefs, singing, being etc but a definite code of “we don’t tolerate closed minds, non tolerant, critical people. Leave your rules, and laws at the front gate. Or don’t bring them up at all. Namaste, thank-you, bless”.
The art is stimulating and is a like a living art gallery.. stills, scultpure and acting arts (singing, pantamine and more).
The music is awesome. Blues, Jazz, funk, hip hop, folk, regae rock. It is endless.
We are all talking a similar language and defintely similar vibration. No angst, no stress and the only time commitment is working out how quickly you can walk the distance between two tents to see the next gig, comedy or talk.
People are muttering the same things too…
” How long have you been coming? Isn’t it wonderful!”
” I wish this was how we lived all the time”
The community is strong and self regulated. No BS, no over the top rules and great freedom.
People are gathered up in a wave of love and collective conscience of beauty and gratitude. This is a festival worthy of an annual visit!
This visit I am priveledged to catch up and see my friend’s band, CC The Cat playing. A funky five piece that play mellow, groovy reggae tunes perfect for an open air gig or a jammed hyped crowd. I dig their tunes and love the band.
I will write more about the labyrinth, the fire festival on subsequent blogs….
For now it is 330am, and I realise that it’s time to let my body drift to another Woodforia… cloud land. A glorious walk over the hills into Woodfordia and I am here in my beautiful nest to sleep with all the other “ villagers” in a very happy prairie vale.
It’s exactly what I expected without having any expectations and I love it.
My favourite sort of day.. blue skies, Hot House Flowers, adventures, kids and The Farm.
Having heard so much about The Farm at Byron Bay I was feeling remiss that I hadn’t been there. Today was the day.
It’s a Saturday, and most people are getting wrapped up in Christmas shopping and the like but I grab the kids and decide to head off to explore The Farm.
There is something very therapeutic about the drive to Byron, or even Brunswick Heads… I’m not sure exactly what it is or why it happens but the transformation takes place roughly on the bridge over the Tweed River
I am in a haze of calm.
As always Mr Warning gives me a wink.
I love the vibe immediately at the Farm. It reminds me of Daylesford in the Cottswalds and that’s a great thing!
The kids take off to the swings and I start to scuffle my shoes along the white dusted drive way lost in day dreams… I’m digging The Farm!
I feel like its a wanderlust trip back in time. Back to my childhood growing up in Tasmania where there were endless fences to follow, paddocks to play in and dodge bulls in and creeks to sit by.
The space at The Farm is relaxing and I am so happy they are sharing it with all.
There is total calm at the farm (except maybe my city slicker kids who can’t get enough). A guy playing guitar, the beautiful back drop prattle of laughs and chit chat. Vineyard ambience, hipster dress code and I am really digging The Farm.
After a thirty minute wait, which should be mandatory, so you can check out the property and meander around, we are seated.
Yummy food, gluten free, dairy free, the menu is ticking a few of my boxes!
Organic, preservative free wines an even bigger tick!
I order fish of the day: Wahoo, with zucchini, almonds, quinoa, wild rice and macademia cream. Oh yes, quite delicious. Definitely worthy 9/10. Something different, healthy and stimulating! Well done guys.
The kids have a BBQ steak with roast veggies and a BBQ sausage on Sour Dough. YUM! Ticking more boxes.
Suck up the air, let go of the city bustle CHILL out.
The Farm has met my expectations and more. It is the space, the food, the friendliness of the staff and of course the swings.
Worth a day trip from any where just to find calm at the Farm. I love it.
There’s a special clarity in the air at Coolangatta that sends me into holiday mode every time I hang out down there. And it is a hang-out. Coolangatta (Coolie) lines side by side by some of Australia’s most gorgeous beaches; Snapper, Greenmount, Kirra Beach.
The water is always blue-green and pristine.
Clear waters, safe beaches and golden sunsets.
My friend is staying in an apartment on the beach and I am pretending I am in the south of France – why not?
Today was typical Coolie stylin’.
Small little waves rocking into the beach.
The long beach had just the right mix of children playing, random people sun baking and people lapping up the water. NOT Bondi-stylin’ nor Surfers styling”…. just Coolie-Style. Even a man with a metal detector wanders around!
Did I mention the azure blue waters.. Hypnotic, delicious just like a blue parfait.
This is a picture of the water… Yes I ramble but the bubbles in the water jingles down here, like fine crystal.
Off to George’s Paragon for lunch. Long standing restaurants generally get things ok. This time started off rusty but came good. Not great but good.
Seafood restaurant and I order steak?! Hey I was craving meat. It was good. The garlic prawns on top just enough. 5/10..
The raw caramel slice on the way home was perfect and the Geisens topped off a perfect afternoon.
When ever I am here I feel away.
Long walks, dopey walks, golden sunsets.
Coolangatta is GOLD. Cheesey but I think it puts the ” Gold” in Gold Coast.
A day trip to Brunswick Heads is always light relief, reconnection and inspiration!
I have been traveling to, staying and pausing in Brunswick Heads for years. It seems to have been gracefully, healthily stuck in the 80s with its town feel and community.
It’s here that I love going to the local primary school marveling at their awesome garden. To me, it is the best way to infuse health and nature into children’s lives. They seem to have an inherent love for nature and exploring and well, mud and dirt really makes their funky clothes look even cuttier!
These pics are from this school garden
Grass Roots UP!
Why am I such a huge foodie and garden lover for children?
Edible gardens that involves little fingers, small shoes and open minds – make sense! Sense in every single way.
Sense in that we can teach children the value of our solar system and weather patterns. Why the moon, rain and sun are critical elements for life and why we need to understand and protect nature bio and science- rhythms.
Food can teach children its beauty and power – how do you feel when you eat corn from your own garden? Can you taste its sweetness, does it pop in your mouth, does it make you feel good?! YES they will all say, and then you don’t have to explain why mass produced, genetically modified food tastes radically different. It’s because it isn’t food.
And running around in a garden, pulling weeds, digging holes, chasing worms, surely has to be the best way to exercise.
I have some great pictures of my kids from a few years back when I took them on a day trip to Summit Organics at the back of Tyalgum. It was the best day and my favorite memories was the “soil tour.” I remember Rod saying the soil usually sits around 37 degrees. And is a living organism and you can cook eggs in it on a hot day! My little brain exploded with ideas that day!
Whether it’s in schools or homes, I love seeing children playing in gardens!
Why Wategos, Byron and Fishheads are my happy place
A favourite of mine is Byron Bay, especially Wategos Beach around under the light house. It’s one of my “happy places” where time stands still, where dolphins break the water and the sun always beams (even on rainy days).
Today was a perfect start with a stretch (like a blue sea dragon searching for pearls) and a push towards the sky (like a crane stretching it’s neck) doing Tai Chi on Burleigh Hills.
It just is an incredible way to start the day and to feel like alive. It’s so cool pretending to be a monkey or a crane… my imagination loves the play!
Tai Chi is better for me personally compared to yoga especially as it is outdoors.
My car seems to know it’s why to Byron which is handy and today I thought I would try Fishhead’s in town. I haven’t eaten there for ages but apparently everyone knows they don’t serve before noon because it goes from ghost town to busy town in minutes. At five minutes past noon the place is pumping.
I take my boyfriend’s mum there (she’s over from Wales) for the Seafood Platter. No batter, no gluten ridden bread crumbs just pure unadulterated seafood – they way I like it and the way good seafood should be served – virgin.
The oysters are meaty and salty. So fresh and yummy! But of course not everyone’s desire. The BBQ prawns even more flavour some and the calamari melts like butter. My sides were starting to bulge but I find some space for an alfogatto with Khaluha. Perfect meal.
The ONLY way to cap off a day like this is a swim or surf at Wategos. I love the views, the waves, the vibe – it is my happy place. So off we went to lie with the myriad of other nationalities bathing in the winter’s sun, staring out to sea, talking of wild adventures and dreaming of fantasies.
One of my favourite local day-get-aways is a visit to Point Danger and Coolangatta south of the Gold Coast.
I always feel on holiday when I am in the neighbourhood and worries from home seem distant.
A popular cafe and casual dining spot is Cafe D-bar.
The views are spectacular and sitting up stairs makes you feel on top of the world. Open air, gentle breeze and usually yummy food.
I often order the coffee martini and today tried the Gravelox salmon. Maybe I don’t know my graveloxes but it wasn’t as good as the salmon I have sampled in Monaco and the south of France but fortunately the view makes up for the food today.
The breakies are generally good. But they can get overwhelmed and quite busy and today my meal and drink came in dribs and drabs.
Overall it is generally a safe bet, good location and a good spot to take visiting guests.