Australia’s annual wilderness festival is back in the Southern Highlands with activities centred on the four elements – water, earth, fire and air – to get you off the internet and connecting with nature.
For the water component there’s a three-day, two-night water voyage that navigates through the area’s best flat-water canoeing locations, and you’ll sleep in tents along the way.
If camping isn’t for you, the other end of the spectrum has a relaxing afternoon of paddling through a sunken forest, with champagne in one hand and canapes in the other.
Forest bathing is all about taking nature in through the senses as a way of grounding yourself to the earth. It’s a form of therapy that’s been shown to help with wellbeing and mental health. It draws on mindfulness and meditation practices.
The valley forage is a walk through the rugged landscape of the highland, stopping at strategically placed stations to try the region’s produce. There are options for either an eight-course meal along four kilometres, or a nine-kilometre walk with 10 courses along the way.
Food is also a major part of the festival’s fire element: there will be two feasts from renowned chefs. Firedoor’s Lennox Hastie plays with flames on the banks of the Wingecarribee River, and each course of this wild harvest feast is paired with a Southern Highlands wine.
Indigenous chef and TV personality Mark Olive will host a cooking and baking workshop that will incorporate native ingredients, encouraging everyone to work together and cook the evening’s meal.
The air aspect is all about enjoying the Highlands in comfort, with multiple overnight packages and glamping options.
Wildfest is happening over multiple dates and locations in the Southern Highlands. Events may vary in length and price.