Christmas in Australia! Very hot, steamy and sunny weather, totally normal for Australians. It is something you definitely have to get used to if you are used to a cold winter Christmas yourself. Woodford Folk Festival on the other hand doesn’t need any to get use too, this cultural music festival is magical. Also, time for another road trip. This one with no camping adventures (and less accidents), but visiting family and lots of friends, going to many places where David grew up / spend his childhood, including ‘Heron Island’ (we will devote a separate blog post about beautiful Heron).
This year, for the first time in many many years, David spent Christmas with his extended Australian family. On the 22nd we drove slowly up to Brisbane, with some nice stops along the way, spending the night with David’s Aunt Bernie (his mothers sister). We had a lovely afternoon and a delicious turkey for dinner.
The next day we visited David’s cousin Jessie at her new home, before we drove to Aunt Kathy (David’s fathers sister) who lives in Cooran, 150km north of Brisbane. The rest of the family (his other aunt from his fathers side and most of David’s cousins and their spouses) arrived over the course of this day and the next. It was great to see them all, and we shared a lot of food, laughs and good times.
We also played a bunch of card games, giant Jenga and got a bit up to speed on each other lives. Christmas with everyone was very ‘gezellig’, and we ate a lot of yummy food, but on the 25th after a left over BBQ breakfast, it was time to head of to Woodford.
Woodford Folk Festival
What is it? It is a 6 day festival, with 2000 acts, music spread over 12 stages, with 53 cafés and restaurants shared with 100,000 people. Also, it is extremely hot and also rains a lot, every year. What’s not to love? Generally, to really get the best out of Woodford, you camp on site for the duration of the festival or just a couple of days. They have showers and toilets, it is quite well set-up. We stayed for the entire length of the festival. We managed to get a great camping spot, with a breeze and view. We only got rain (buckets of water falling from the sky) ones, which was unfortunately during the beautiful opening ceremony. Most of the days it wasn’t to hot either, apart from getting steamed out of your tent in the morning at 6.30 am everyday.
Our family friends Mick and Chris Barker arrived on the 26th at Woodford. We set our camp up together, putting the most amazing camp in the history of Woodford 😉
For six days we walked around and listened to talks, went to workshops, listen to amazing bands and singers and of course danced the 6 days away! For Tamar it was her first Woodford (for David his fourth) and she really loved it. All the different kind of yoga classes, dance workshops, excellent singers/bands, great dance performances and very interesting talks. If it is up to her she will go from now on every year to this festival.
David left the festival for one day to go to a 20/20 cricket game in Brisbane with one of his mates. They had lots of fun and the next day Josh came with David to Woodford to enjoy the festival and celebrate New Year with us.
We stayed until the 2nd of January, and finished our Woodford experience with watching the amazing fire event on New Years day. But, er is een tijd van komen en een tijd van gaan (Dutch expression saying ‘even though you are having lots of fun at what you are doing, there will be an end coming to it), so after the fire ceremony we went to our campsite and went early to bed as we wanted to leave early in the morning for our last journey of 1,5 week travelling along the Australian East Coast.
As we had a long drive ahead we drove of from Woodford early in the morning. After 3,5 hours, we thought about buying something to drink and found out that we left our wallets with money and bankcards and our passports in the safe of the campervan of David’s parents. We turned on our Australian phone and saw many miss calls from David’s mom Trish. Shit, what to do now? Driving all the way back would have been madness, but without money we couldn’t pay for food, fuel or our trip to Heron island…. HELP! We were lucky. Chris and Mick were only 10 minutes away from Woodford when Trish called them to tell we left our wallets and passports. And coincidentally we were going to stay at Chris and Micks place for a couple of days after our visit at David’s grandparents. Pffff, saved again.
We spent two night with David’s lovely grandparents (parents of his mom) in Mt. Morgan. It had been a long time since he saw them last. When we arrived late in the afternoon, David’s uncle Bill and his two children Cassie and Will were there too. We had some chill time with everyone at the veranda and then had a lovely BBQ meal. We finished the evening with watching the movie “Satellite boy” about an Aboriginal boy that goes on an adventure through the outback to find his mom. The following day Bill, Cassie and Will left early and we had a tour through the big garden of David’s grandparents. After that they gave us a tour through the town of Mt. Morgan and David’s grandpa told us a lot about working in the mines.
As we wanted to go to Byfield for a swim, we left early from David’s grandparents place the next morning and headed to Yeppoon (the town were David spend most of his childhood). Unfortunately it started raining (in Queensland it is still terribly hot even when its raining) on our way to Mick and Chris place (our home for two nights) so we decided to settle town a bit first and then wonder of into Yeppoon itself. And so we did. We checked out childhood houses and playgrounds and we picked a lot of fruit (mangos and passionfruit) on our journey.
That evening we had dinner with Morgan. A childhood friend of David. Arran (another childhood friend) and his girlfriend also came for dinner. Morgan cooked some amazing vegetarian Indian food and we played the Dutch game “Pesten” (owned by Arran and Shannon) all night and had lots of fun.
Lucky for us the next day the sun was shinning again, so we could go to Byfield for some swimming and relaxing in our hammock. When David was young he used to go to these swimming area’s a lot, but of course they quite changed since then (in a positive way).
In the evening we had dinner with Ben and Ryan (more childhood friends of David) and their partners. We had another lovely meal and then went home for our last night on the mainland.
Next stop Heron Island 😉 The magical Island on the Great Barrier Reef where David lived with his family for three years.