A writer and editor with interests in travel, adventure, permaculture, music, arts and lifestyle.
Where nature and music mingle
Wallaby Creek Festival 2013 - Blue Ulysees
It's that time of year again folks that like folk. The calendar count down is on to Australia's best kept festival secret. This is the biggest little festival Australia has seen. There are several factors that make it so. The recipe is as follows:
1 cup of unspoiled World Heritage rainforest 3 parts pristine swimming spots A pinch of food truck fare A good handful of Australian local talent A tablespoon of international artists A Jamie Oliver dash of historical happenings
A pound of colourful, spirited and creative people 250ml of workshops and activities A dollop of native flaura and fauna
A teaspoon of camping
And a smattering of quirky market stalls
Mix all the ingredients together: knead, thump, pound and stir vigorously until you have yourself a fantastic batter: the little-known Wallaby Creek Festival. Let me be the one to introduce you to your future festival favourite. Wallaby Creek is located north of the Daintree Rainforest in a small community called Rossville, which was famous for tin mining back in the day. You can choose from two equally scenic routes to get to Wallaby Creek from Cairns - via the Mulligan Highway for a stark look at Australia's outback, or travel in your beasty 4WD through creeks and rivers and lush rainforest by Cook's aptly named Cape Tribulation Road.
Basking in the sun at the second pool of the falls
There are many elements that make Wallaby Creek Festival special. The festival is organized by the locals with passion and spirit. The grounds host two massive dams, both invitingly turquoise and there just for your swimming pleasure. Wallaby Creek snakes around the Home Rule precinct; it is deep and dark and the perfect family area for a dip (take your rubber tire with you). The piece de resistance of swimming spots comes at a bit of a price. Depending on fitness levels you have a 20-45 minute hike uphill to the waterfall, a gorgeous three-tiered pool, a swimming enthusiast's haven. All this abundance of water will go hand-in-hand with this year's festival theme: water sharing and global water cooperation. This will be blended with a sense of community and common unity, marking the twelfth year of the festival as something very exciting.
You might be thinking, yeah but what about the music? The line-up is set to be a TKO. The dub and world music will be on with OKA, Chilean roots reggae legend Quique Neira (just try and pronounce it) will bring the sexy Latin rhythms, ska and reggae will feature predominantly with Freida's Boss and if you are feeling the blues we've got it covered with The Mason Rack Band comin' at ya! Add to that fine list the likes of Rapskallion, a jazzy Moochers Inc, Enth Degree, indigenous genius Bunna Lawrie and the Whale Dreamers, and local legends, the Hillbilly Goats and the Barefoot Belles. Sitting on your backside won't even be an option with these heart-starters. And there is more to come. Check out the full list of gypsy travelling bands here.
There are two main stages and a small intimate tent called Jam & Brackets. Here you can write your name on the chalk board, grab your ukulele and get wailing on the stage. Or sit back on a hay bale and let some of the more experienced artists share their stories with you.
Wallaby Creek Festival grounds at Home Rule Rainforest Lodge
An opening ceremony hosted by the Kuku Yulanji people will bring traditional song and dance and a smoking ceremony to cleanse away the bad spirits. Lounge in a chai tent, grab some delicious kofta balls from the Hare Krishnas or join in The Poet's Breakfast. The market stands offer all kinds of exotic jewellery, hats, locally crafted fashion and art and hand-made chocolates.
A dragon bonfire
In the evenings you can expect more than music with circus acts, fire twirling and belly dancing shows. Music plays well into the night and Jam & Brackets is the place to be when the main stages close. There is also a fully licensed bar. Camping and amenities at the Home Rule Rainforest Lodge are great by any festival standard, but who needs a shower when you can wake up and refresh with a jump in the creek (please don't take your soap on a rope with you). September heralds some of the best weather in the far north, which heightens the unbeatable ambience of summer, tunes, friendship and the great outdoors.
The Pied Piper Parade
With all the wide open space and swimming attractions this is a children's paradise. Let them run wild and care free or take a look at the special program of activities on hand just for the kids. At the end of the festival they can parade their own costume designs, made with creativity, over the duration of the festival. What a way to spend the school holidays.
This intimate three day festival releases only 3000 tickets annually. You can purchase them at the festival gate or online through Ticketlink. Camping is free with season tickets set at a meagre $95 pre-booked. Day passes are also available. Volunteers are happily welcomed too. Applications can be made via the website.
Don't forget to see the other local places and historical sites while you are in the region. Check out this Weekend Notes write up on a Cooktown 4WD excursion.
Storytelling at Wallaby Creek Festival
Shade sails and solar systems at Wallaby Creek 2012
Last year 2012 was sweet with ebb and flow of lovely people away in an awesome property that allows private camp spots with a huge dam to swim in. Kayak, lilo around or be a bushwalker to the falls and clearwater. Super, better than woodford x 2... see you there, cam on suzuki 650 loaded...