Little Melbourne Reviews
Mt Baw Baw Kids Adventure Festival Review 5/6 April, 2014
My child ran wild at Mt Baw Baw
Henry David Thoreau once wrote “You learn that if you sit down in the woods and wait, something happens’
Well up at Mt Baw Baw something definitely happened for a few hundred kids last week, but I can’t say they were sitting still. They were clambering, running, cavorting, tumbling, plunging, cycling, leaping, jumping and laughing for the inaugural Kids Adventure Fest. And their parents were their right behind them, struggling to keep up and having a ball all the same!
The two day nature based festival for parents and kids on 5 & 6 April invited participants to ‘let your child run wild’ and ours certainly did just that.
The inaugural Kids’ Adventure Festival set out to provide children and parents with the opportunity to experience a range of fun outdoor activities in a natural but safe setting, giving families exposure to the life-long benefits of activity in natural landscapes. It was specifically designed for the younger generation, with walks, runs, climbs, obstacle courses, bike rides and plenty more ‘wild’ play on tap.
Back to basics
I’ve been involved in a tonne of summer camps, outdoor festivals and family events over the years, and I can honestly say this is THE BEST family oriented outdoor adventure I have ever attended.
From the detailed session you booked into, to the attentive and so-darn-enthusiastic leaders and mentors of each activity.....it was one bowl of feel-good red jelly from start to finish. And it was no sugar rush my kids were on. It was pure high country fresh-air; adrenalin pumping activities and go-hard fun.
Combine that with a festival that didn’t sell you all the razz-a-matazz of shiny things, a lack of over-crowding and the unique location of the event.
It was the activity leaders and hosts who made it though...such sunny, positive energy folk, just great for your kids to be around and soak up the encouragement and expertise. The two junior runners in our group were eagerly mentored by their running host who took the time to give them tips and advice, and even managed to entire the teenagers i-pod ear piece away from with good humour (wish we could take him home!)
With many of the activities hosted by YMCA leaders, the enthusiastic and passionate mountain staff and volunteers and with mentors from Bushwalking Victoria and the Victorian Children and Nature Network and rangers from Parks Victoria there was a great knowledge and experience base there. There were a range of other terrific event partners too who added to the atmosphere. The event was supported by two impressive event ambassadors, Mark Collard of Playmeo who internationally recognised as an expert in kids play, and one of Australia’s most accomplished adventurer’s James Castrission.
Natural highs and natural activities
We had a 6, 9, 12 and 14yo in our group, and there was something that engaged each of them. E also share our lodge with a few families with toddlers and babies who had just as much fun wandering around and enjoying the non-booked events with their ‘Walk-Up events” tickets.
We booked our tickets early - a rigorous on-line sign up process that had our heads spinning...but taking the time to think about each kid’s interest and abilities made it all the more worth it once you were there. From Fly-fishing, Geocaching, Where’s Wally Orienteering, Mini and Maxi Trail Run, Scouts Bush Craft and Short Bushwalks....the organisers thought of everything. Our favourite? The Little Tough Kids Obstacle Course . It was a like Tough Mudder for kids, but double the laughs!
The event had plenty of walk up activities for those who weren’t lucky enough to get in and buy tickets early like the Indigenous Art Adventure, Tug of war, Abseil wall, Bungee Tramp, Native Petting Zoo, Face Painting, expo stall from the Vic Premiers Challenge and Junior Rangers and a crazily zany guy called Mark Collard of playmeo.com.au who was a cross between the silliest ipad app and a revved up scout leader. I think he developed his own fan club over the weekend!
The two day event was $140 for a family of 4 for two days. There were varied prices for extra kids, One day pass or a ‘walk up event’ only fee. Excellent value for money, and we didn’t have to continually put out hand in our pockets for more which was a refreshing change.
There’s plenty of accommodation on the mountain and Mt Baw Baw’s website directs people around. We booked Lonsdale Lodge which sleeps 18 ...perfect for 4 families to rattle around in together and great facilities for self catering.
The mountain has a restaurant and a hotel. Both offering up hot and cold fare and heartier feeds. Ur ticket included a BBQ diner on the Saturday night. A short wait to line up for burgers and snags and the kids still burning energy as we did it. Then it was back to the lodges for the much needed opening of the wine for parents!
Driving to Mt Baw Baw is easy .....and the town of Neerim South before you start the gradual climb up the mountain offers a great kids park to let them stretch their legs, as well as supermarket and yummy bakery offerings.
The only down side to the weekend was that it had to end! The kids had a ball, learnt some terrific new skills, had a go at things they normally never would have tried and breathed some pure high country air. And at the end of the day, we as a family ALL ran wild together!!!
Our Little Melbourne Guest Reviewer is The Coast Writer, Andrea Rowe and her 2 children.
Andrea Rowe runs her own boutique Copywriting & PR business Your Coastal Connection between nattering with other parents at the school gate and searching for endless lost property items!
Check her out at: www.yourcoastalconnection.com.au or www.facebook.com/YourCoastalConnection or her Coastwriter blog at http://yourcoastalconnection.com.au/thecoastwriter/ or on Instagram @thecoastwriter