DREAMS OF HOT-TUBS BY THE FIRE …

 

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Rain runs off the roof of a nightfall camp luxury tent

Time flies when you’re busy. It’s been two weeks since our last diary entry and, despite lots of rain days, we’re making slow but steady progress building nightfall camp’s new luxury tent accommodation on the edge of Lamington National Park in Queensland’s Gold Coast Hinterland.

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Between showers, days of drizzle and a seemingly never-ending sea of mud, Steve, Olivier and Nico – two of our much appreciated WWOOFers (Willing Workers on Organic Farms) – have worked hard to complete two more permanent tent frames.  Late last week, amid much excitement, we also successfully fitted another roof.  The next one shouldn’t be far behind.

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It’s with some trepidation that we now await the return of our builder to construct the new tent’s wire-brushed floors.  After six months of unseasonably wet weather and no let-up in sight, we’re a little concerned about the likelihood of high  moisture levels in the timber boards.  If the percentage is too high, they will need to sit awhile to dry before they can be laid — a delay we hope we will not face!

It’s also been a busy time for myself and Anna – our third WWOOFer. We’ve been madly sewing tent canvas’ and sourcing materials,  including ‘raw’ un-coated brass taps,  similar shower-heads and quality mosquito netting,  suitable for dying and crafting into the canopies above each tent’s luxurious king-sized bed.

 

 

Our vintage European tin baths also arrived on Friday.  They’re a soft silver colour, spacious at the head and narrow at the foot, cleverly reducing the amount of water needed for a hot soak, without compromising comfort.  We’re now scheming about how best to road test our lightweight hot tubs beside nightfall camp’s tumbling Gold Coast Hinterland creek waters – inspired of course by this image from Norway’s Canvas Hotel.

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GLOSSY BLACKS AND YELLOW TAILS

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(image courtesy:  Glossy Black Conservancy)

It’s a rare privilege to live in an off-the-beaten track Australian wilderness,  close to a capital city,  so,  in-spite of the busyness of building nightfall’s luxury tent accommodation,  we’re always keen to be involved in activities which help protect the environment which sustains us.

Last weekend it was time to count birds – specifically the Glossy Black Cockatoo (Calyptorhynchus lathami) which is listed as vulnerable in Queensland and a threatened species in Australia.   As part of the development of regional conservation strategies,  the annual Glossy Black Survey collates data from volunteers across the State,  recording sightings,  nesting and feeding habits of these gracious birds.  At nightfall,  we had five sightings on survey day,  which is consistent with our experience at our luxury camp at this time of year.

At the moment, as if like clockwork,  the Glossies fly over nightfall camp  at sunrise and sunset,   en-route to nearby feeding sites,  their favourite water-holes and their Eucalyptus roosts.  Next year, we hope to be able to take a group of guests into our forest to spend time observing the birds feeding in a grove of Casuarina trees of above our camp.  Glossy Black Cockatoos have large bulbous beaks, specifically designed for chewing the Casuarina cones which are their primary source of food.

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(image courtesy: Gayle Wilson, Christmas Creek, Lamington)

South-east-Queensland‘s other large cockatoo – the Yellow Tailed Black Cockatoo ( Calyptorhynchus funereus) – also dropped into nightfall camp on several occasions this week. Their distinctive raucous calls make it easy to know when the Yellow-Tails are about.   The attraction of nightfall camp: the bark of the majestic Flooded Gums (Eucalyptus Grandis), which line Christmas Creek.   It’s fascinating to watch as the birds find what appear to be the ‘good bits’,  all the while squawking away to each other and occasionally putting on a show, fanning their stunning yellow and black tails.  Now all I need is a longer zoom lens to be able to better capture their antics!

yellow-tail cockatoo, feeding on flooded gums @nightfall wilderness camp - 2013-05-16 at 15-22-07 yellow-tail-cockatoo, feeding at nightfall wilderness camp, Queensland - 2013-05-16 at 15-41-13 yellow-tail cockatoo, feeding on flooded gums @nightfall wilderness camp - 2013-05-16 at 15-41-17

The Eucalyptus Grandis, so loved by the Yellow-Tails, are part of an endangered Queensland eco-system.  Coincidently next week, at nightfall camp, we begin our part of a larger conservation program to help protect the Eucalyptus Grandis eco-system and our creek-side habitat.  The SEQ-Catchments and SEQ-Water project, in collaboration with Scenic Rim Regional Council, will build creek bank resilience in the headwaters of Christmas Creek at Lamington, contributing to improved water quality in the sub-catchment of Brisbane and the Gold Coast.  On the ground, it means lots of hard work, removing weeds, stabilising creek banks and planting trees along several kilometres of creek bank, from where Christmas Creek emerges from the main section of Lamington National Park to just below nightfall camp.   The tumbling waters of this section of Christmas Creek are already crystal clear and clean enough to drink.   We’re determined to keep it that way!

(If you’re interested in learning more about Glossy Black Cockatoos and their conservation, you might like to visit the Glossy Black Conservancy Website.   To learn more about nightfall, head to our  luxury tent accommodation homepage.)

‘WWOOFERS’ SPUR THE BUILDING OF NIGHTFALL – LUXURY TENT ACCOMMODATION, SCENIC RIM

(Arts in the Olives, with our wonderful wwoofers Giovanni, Alberta and Anna - 2013-05-12 at 16-23-24 (1)

(image L to R: nightfall hosts Heidi and Steve Ross;  Wwoofers Gionvanni and Alberta Vicario, Anna Haselroth)

If you’re a regular reader of our ‘building nightfall‘ diary, you’ll appreciate the construction of Australia’s newest luxury camping experience has been long and drawn out, not helped by ongoing unseasonal wet conditions.

At times it’s hard not to feel a little overwhelmed,  as we strive to create a dream and forge a living from our Lamington National Park hideaway.  And then, as if to the rescue,  comes light and fresh inspiration.  As I write, nightfall camp is abuzz with the passion and energy of new international visitors. They’re leaving their mark both on us and the construction of our luxury accommodation, in the Scenic Rim, a short drive from Brisbane and the Gold Coast.

The crew so far – two Italians, two Germans, a Frenchman and a Kiwi – are part of a growing movement of WWOOFers (pron.: ˈwoof .. like a dog’s bark), from an alliance creating World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms.   They come as volunteers, seeking first-hand experience in ecologically-sound growing methods, conservation and rural-life.   A thirst to explore Australia’s off-the-beaten track wilderness also drives those who’ve made the trip to nightfall’s secluded camp.

Our days are packed with work, laughter, the occasional swearing and lots of learning.  nightfall’s organic food garden is freshly weeded,  mulched and planted with the new season’s crops.  The pesky hillside weeds,  strong from months of rain and limited access with the mower, are also whipper-snipped to ground level in readiness for building an extended kitchen food garden.  The firewood is cut and best of all, with the combined man-power of WWOOFers and our community, we have stood another of nightfall‘s luxury tent frames – albeit in the rain, as appears to be the norm for building nightfall.

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But WWOOFing is about more than exchanging half a days work for food and accommodation.  It’s an immersion in Australian life,  our Lamington community, the surrounding world heritage listed wilderness and most importantly a cultural exchange.  As our guests learn English, we learn the occasional French, Italian and German words.  We swap food, jokes, stories and even politics.  It’s been both inspiring and disturbing to listen to our guests motivations for traveling and WWOOFing.  All too common is a desire to flee the gloom of the economic crisis which is deeply affecting Europe and the future job/survival prospects of these incredible young adults.  We have the same stories in Australia, but I’ve rarely heard our youngsters so-clearly and passionately articulate their prospects in the context of history,  politics and global economics.

We all treasure the evenings spent under the stars,  around a roaring fire.  23-year-old Giovanni christened the dancing flames our ‘television’.   Our ‘music’, he said, was the sound of the tumbling waters of the creek by night, and, in the morning, the chorus of rainforest birds which wakes the camp. There’s plenty of time too for exploring nightfall camp’s Christmas Creek frontage, Lamington National Park and our local events -including last weekend’s Lost World Art’s in the Olives Fesitval.

exploring Christmas Creek at nightfall camp

The common thread between us and our twenty-something-year-old visitors is a love of nature and the ‘Good Life’.  We’re hand-crafting nightfall in harmony with our wilderness surrounds and eliminating all that clutters the dream.  In some ways our young guests are going the same — after-all, they travel to far-flung parts of the world for months and sometimes years with nothing more than a few possessions in a bag on their backs.

(Photos: Erecting our latest luxury tent frame, in the rain, last weekend, with the assistance of our wonderful WWOOFers, neighbours and family)

gumboots - footwear of the day .. - 2013-05-11 at 08-44-23 With rain and drizzle comes delicious mist, swirling around the cliffs opposite - 2013-05-11 at 10-43-34 Standing another luxury tent - in the rain, again - 2013-05-11 at 09-51-14 Love the rain coat! - 2013-05-11 at 09-57-23 building-nightfall-camp-luxury-camping-queensland-scenic-rim-accommodation Alberta - another inspirational young wwoofer at nightfall at the moment Anna, one of our inspirational wwoofer helpers Giovanni, finding a view through the rain drops  Robbie Steve's mum Margaret  Our neighbour John, as the first drizzle settles on his hair Steve's dad Neil  Brad … would love to weld!

“WE’LL CARRY THE BUGGERS IN” – BUILDING SCENIC RIM LUXURY TENT ACCOMMODATION BY HAND

 

Raw simplicity is nightfall wilderness camp’s ethos,  so it was entirely fitting to last week use old-fashioned people power,  and not a machine,  to progress construction of Australia‘s newest luxury camp accommodation experience at Lamington, in the Scenic Rim,  90 minutes drive from Brisbane and the Gold Coast.

Since January we’ve waited patiently for the rain to give us a break and the forested hillside above our bend of Christmas Creek to dry —  just enough for lifting machinery to access our newly created luxury tent sites so we can continue ‘building nightfall’.  We even resorted to importing truckloads of gravel,  but no amount of rock was enough to give wheel traction to our accommodation forest clearings.

So what to do?  Our tight-knit, ever-supportive, community,  known locally  as the ‘dirt-trackers’ because we live just off the bitumen,  quickly gave the rallying call:  “if we can’t use the machine,  we’ll carry the buggers in”, they announced.  And so came what at first appeared to be a hair-brained idea to stand our semi-permanent tent frames by hand,  just as the Amish communities do their infamous ‘barn raisings’.

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Each section of our six-mm thick steel permanent-tent frames weighs hundreds of kilograms,  so,  yes,  there were a few sticky moments as we waded through the mud with the jig and then the first of four portals.   Could we actually stand the frame was the question on all our minds.  The weight of each portal made the task seem impossible,  so the decision was made to just lift the frame up a little to see if we could hold the weight.

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At that point, the prop was dislodged and the rest is history. We had no choice but to keep going and up the first portal section went.

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It was an exhilarating moment to know we were not dependent on a machine to progress our exciting new form of Scenic Rim accommodation.  As each of the other portals followed,  our sense of achievement grew and so too did the bonds which tie our community together.  Raising nightfall camp’s tent frame is synonymous with life in our secluded valley.   To overcome the tyranny of distance,  which limits outside support,  we often come together to accomplish tasks too big for individual residents.  There’s a deep sense of satisfaction in seeing the tangible results of one’s labour and a sense of security in knowing that we’re all committed to supporting each other,  as the need arises.  Equally valuable are the bonds of friendship and respect.  Put simply,  we’re incredibly lucky to live surrounded by wonderfully grounded people who are also firm friends.  We share a love for the simple life,  our mountain wilderness and its fragile ecology.  Our differences keep the conversation lively and challenging.

If you’re curious to see more, you might enjoy this clip, as we raise the third portal. I wonder if the grunting made it easier?

 

WOOD FIRES & CARVED STONE BASINS – CRAFTING A ROMANTIC WEEKEND GETAWAY NEAR BRISBANE

 

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Stone-carved hand basins and cast-iron rotating wood fires – just a few of the wonderful deliveries to nightfall camp this week as we continue building a one-of-a-kind luxury camp, perfect for a romantic weekend getaway near Brisbane.

Steve and I had been a little apprehensive,   after ordering online and dispatching thousands of dollars into the ether.   Luckily the French-made Invicta wood fire-places are perfect – solid,  with impressive vertical glass doors and ball-bearings top and bottom to allow the firebox to rotate.   Aside from the unusual design,  we also chose the Invicta brand because of its commitment to the environment.   Their fireplaces use a triple-burn system,  ensuring the smoke contains the least possible number of particulate emissions,  meeting the maximum five-star rating for Europe’s strict fireplace laws (far more strenuous than those in Australia).

Another of this week’s fulfilling milestones was running my hands over the smooth polished surface our new carved rock hand basins.   As part of nightfall’s planing and design stage,  we looked high and low for unusual quality,  preferably hand-made,  artisan fixtures and fittings.  We knew we’d found the basin when we saw an earthy rock bowl in the bathroom of a house called Callignee II, featured on the TV program Grand Designs.  Sourcing the sink was a little more challenging – at one point our lovely neighbour  began investigating ways to carve nightfall camp’s own basalt boulders in case we could not find the basins pre-made.  Luckily we did.  We love their raw simplicity – very much in keeping with nightfall camp’s raw luxe ethos and all part of the challenge to create the ultimate romantic weekend getaway near Brisbane.

What’s on the cards for the next week?

If the predicted storm on Tuesday doesn’t hit us too hard we hope to finally be able to stand our next tent portal frame.  Yes, there have been some doozies of storms this past week, with close to 100mm of rain since Easter.   But the weather is finally changing to the lovely cool of autumn.  So, fingers crossed,  the newly laid gravel will be enough to allow machine access to the wet hillside.  We’re also on track to move into nightfall‘s new staff tent … more photos next week.

PARROTS, AN ECHIDNA & A SIGNIFICANT BIRTHDAY

 

As I began to write this diary update late yesterday, we rejoiced in a short-lived moment of sunshine. The cliff face in front of nightfall camp’s new staff tent glowed strikingly gold in the dusk light, the mist swirled around its rugged rocky face and the dark and brooding clouds remained in the background.  Not long after, the heavy rain began again and now more than 12 hours later, it continues to fall across this part of Queensland.  Since January nightfall camp’s mountain site has had a total of about five days without rain or showers – we’ve given up counting, but we’re told it’s a record wet spell.  Now a wet winter is also forecast.  What to do, but keep working. Stubborn determination I think you call it!

Building nightfall camp's luxury tents, Queensland, Australia

Just before Easter we installed nightfall camp’s staff tent ceiling.  As you can see from the photo, our bespoke permanent tents have a lovely open feel which comes mostly from the angled wall design, dramatic openings and 60+ metres of floor-space.  nightfall camp’s guest luxury tent accommodation will be very similar, although the front panels are mesh and canvas, not clear pvc.  Instead we’ve used clear roll-up panels on the northern walls, including the shower, further blurring the line between indoors and out.

The new staff tent is where I spend my days sewing our other tents. I have to admit some days the birds and wildlife are a wonderful distraction – it’s almost as if the tent becomes a ‘hide’, from where you can spy on their antics.  Shy wallabies wander past looking for fresh new shoots; the occasional echidna shuffles by and the Brown Cuckoo Doves sit gracefully together, in contrast to the inquisitive red, green and turquoise King Parrots.  Their exploring ways are punctuated by a characteristic parrot-talk. In the last few days flocks of petite fairy-wren like birds have also moved in. Theirs is a high pitched fast chatter and the bushes around the tent come alive with plump little brown females and the occasional male with his bright blue cheek colouring. Maybe tonight I’ll get time to confirm their identity in the Australian bird books from our expanding camp library.

Easter was a time of celebration and a break from building nightfall camp. Steve turned 50 and more than 100 friends and family took the opportunity to come for a delightful evening, many bringing their own tents to camp for a couple of days. It was lovely to relax and catch up with each others lives. The children and some playful adults especially enjoyed tubing down the creek rapids and rock-hopping to our ‘platypus pond’. We even had a rare break in the rain.

What’s next in the adventure to craft our little Queensland retreat? Well that depends on the rain! I’ll keep sewing tents and maybe Steve will get to finally stand the portal frames which have been ready and waiting for weeks. We’ll keep you posted.

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A GREEN CAULDRON OPPORTUNITY

Exciting news for nightfall camp today.

Our luxury camp is one of three Queensland tourism business’ selected for mentoring, as part of Tourism Australia’s Green Cauldron National Landscape Experience Development Program. It’s a unique opportunity to work with industry experts, developing a world-class experience for nightfall camp guests and ultimately helping to showcase the Green Cauldron to the world.

The Scenic Rim and Lamington National Park link with northern New South Wales, Mt Warning and Bryon Bay to form the Green Cauldron — one of just 16 Australian landscapes singled out for their beauty, cultural, natural and spiritual significance.

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Mojo, ‘interpretation’ and a rescue of sorts

 

 

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There’s nothing quite so good as recovering one’s mojo – and today it happened for nightfall camp‘s construction team.  After 50 rain days in a row,  this morning under magnificent blue skies, out came the mower, the welder and the sewing machine. Together in the sunshine, these essential tools of construction purred, whirred and flashed – a special fresh milestone which filled our souls with joy: the ‘building’ of Australia’s newest luxury camp is finally back on track. (yes, I know, the wet weather is not entirely over, but we do need to look on the bright side!)

It’s been a difficult six weeks. Before Australia Day we seemed to be flying along, making rewarding progress and then bang: rain, showers and more rain!  No sewing canvas, no welding tent frames, no landscaping: no nothing, except working to stay dry, tie-up loose ends and keep our spirits intact. Perhaps focus is difficult when you can’t see much progress on the ground.  In reality, I can look back and see lots of things ticked-off from the ‘to-do’ list,  including further improvements to our www.nightfall.com.au website, finalising our camp kitchen design and ordering the nightfall’s custom-made wood-fired oven and grill. Fire-cooked organic cuisine will be a signature experience when our luxury tent accommodation opens, so your host chef Steve is chomping at the bit as he waits for his new toy.

The past few weeks have also given us time to get our teeth into the nitty gritty of completing our Eco-tourism Australia certification. nightfall camp‘s wilderness experience has been carefully designed to meet the highest ‘advanced eco-tourism’ status, but there’s a fair bit of work required to prove we’re operating at world’s best practice standard. At this top level, eco-certification is about more than running a sustainable eco-sensitive operation. It’s as much about ensuring a high-quality experience in nature, where you’ll easily be able to access and learn more about the wonders of our world-heritage setting. This ‘interpretation’ may come through knowledge shared by a local guide, a self-guided adventure, our literature and library or the comfort of your tent, as the wildlife comes to you.

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Speaking of wildlife, today was also punctuated with a little rescue of sorts, as we relocated hundreds of tadpoles whose rapidly-drying puddle nurseries were about to turn to mud. Luckily we had the perfect new home — the pond in nightfall camp‘s orchard vegetable garden. It’s exciting to watch these little guys evolve, especially the day you find them sitting on the pond rocks, finally looking like little frogs. At this point you can tell which species they are. The frog pond plays a vital part in our permaculture system — frogs and birds eat the bugs in the garden, avoiding the need to use chemical controls.

Such is the balance of nature which inspires us to protect this incredible wilderness which sustains us all.

TUSKS & BRIGHT ORANGE EYES … QUEENSLAND WILDLIFE LOVING THE WET

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(photo: orange-eyed tree frog, Litoria chloris -part of the Queensland wildlife in nightfall camp’s kitchen garden)

And the rain continues to fall,  as it’s done for weeks and weeks now.   The building of nightfall camp‘s luxurious new tent accommodation remains at a standstill and most days it’s even too wet to spend much time in our evolving kitchen gardens.  On reflection we’ve had only a couple of hours of blue sky in the past month here at our hideaway beside Lamington National Park – long-time locals are saying they don’t remember ever experiencing such a prolonged wet.

It’s not all doom and gloom though.  The trees, which dropped their leaves to make extra mulch when it was dry,  are loving the constant precipitation.  Their canopies are once-again thick and lush.

There are also a few  critters – amphibious Queensland wildlife –  making the most of this wet spell. Each night the chorus of happy frogs is testament to a good season.   nightfall camp’s orange-eyed tree frog (Litoria chloris) population certainly appears to have gone from strength to strength  –  lucky because this charming green frog, with its bright red/orange eyes,   is our personal favorite.

Excitingly, we’ve also recently had a few ‘threatened’  tusked frogs (Adelotus brevis)  around our creek-side lounge. These chunky little mottled brown frogs are  listed as ‘vulnerable’ under the Queensland Nature Conservation Act  1992, so we’re happy our Christmas Creek camp is home to a good population outside of Lamington National Park.  Conserving the riparian vegetation and leaf-litter of  their preferred habitat is  critical  –  one of a number of conservation considerations in the design and siting of nightfall camp.   Tusked frogs look a little like small toads,  but their under-belly is black and white with distinctive bright red inner thighs.  The male also has small ‘tusks’ which are used in combat with other males.

(photo below from left to right: tusked frog from above, tusked frog underside (handled by zoologist), stony creek frog)

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SURROUNDED BY WATERFALLS

 

waterfall-nightfall-camp-lamington-national-park-luxury-camping-QueenslandWow!  nightfall wilderness camp is surrounded by waterfalls,  cascading down from Lamington National Park.

As I stand looking out of our partly built  ‘staff tent’,  the cliff-face opposite is steeped in swirling mists.  Torrents of white water  dramatically gush down the exposed rugged escarpment.  The thick tangled forests are a phenomenal blend of deep,   saturated,   green,  blue and brown hues.  The rocks glisten wet.

The mist creates an air of mystery  –  one moment all  in front of us  is wiped out by white cloud and you might be forgiven for thinking our landscape was flat.   But as the mist  parts,  it reveals our  ‘in-your-face’ gorge setting  –  the cliff opposite towers more than 600-metres above nightfall camp.  At times like this it’s breathtaking and given that the rain has forced us to stop work,  I can’t help just pausing to admire the changing beauty of this raw Australian wilderness.

The wind is loud now, rumbling  high in the forests above us.

 

It’s reassuring to remember that nightfall camp’s sturdy tents sit deep in the valley,  protected and  also well above the banks of Christmas Creek.

It’s been raining and drizzling for days  – –   a big hindrance to ‘building nightfall’.   I can’t wait to get hold of a monocular telescope  –  imagine the hours which  could be spent ‘exploring’ the cliffs from the warm coziness of my tent.  Ah,  yes,  there won’t be any tents unless we get back to work ‘building nightfall’!

photo: our spring-fed ‘waterfall’,  after rain  (it’s too wet to take the good camera out today).  We’ve yet to see this ‘waterfall’ dry up,  although after long periods of without rain,  it is reduced to a steady trickle,  falling 30+ metres from the top of its little south-facing gorge  —  also home to a rare sooty-owl.

THE SCENIC RIM’S CHRISTMAS CREEK TURNS AQUA

'Beach' time at nightfall - luxury camping Qld

Image: nightfall camp’s ‘beach’ – soon to have a day bed for relaxing by the creek, as you would at the coast, but without the crowds.  ‘The beach’ is also a lovely spot for a romantic candlelit dinner

The weeks are flying by and piece by piece the Scenic Rim’s nightfall camp is beginning to take shape,  albeit a touch slower than we’d like,  after some rain delays.

We now have more than half our luxury tent platform footings in the ground,  the steel for the frames is cut and stacked and welding of the next roof and wall posts underway.  Sewing of the canvas  is also coming along nicely.  The first prototype tent should be completely enclosed in the next few days  –  the perfect opportunity to update our photos.

Our roller-coaster luxury camp adventure continues to be just that:  for me,  there are challenges in learning to handle sewing large expanses of canvas (without the pins used by seamstresses) and I have a whole new respect for the makers of clear plastic blinds.   It’s a devil of a material to work with on an old industrial machine.

Steve’s days oscillate between metalwork,  welding and landscaping.  We had about 350mm of rain in the recent big event —  enough to give  Christmas Creek a good flush,  without threatening our infrastructure,  but there are still overland flows which need to be managed to avoid erosion.

Floods are always amazing:   you know you’re safe,  well-above the raging white waters,  but the sheer force of nature is breath-taking.  Then,  three days after the surge,  the creek turns almost aqua in colour.  It’s one of our favourite times to coast the rapids in inflated tyre-tubes and also to ‘beach-comb’ looking for driftwood and other treasures among the flotsam and jetsam.

Zoe's rapid ride sequence 10

Image:  ‘tubing’ down the rapids –  achievable most of summer in an average season, but best after rain.

 

‘BUILDING NIGHTFALL’ – AND WE’RE OFF: OUR FIRST BLOG DIARY POST

nightfall camp - the cliffs of Buchanan's Fort reflect in the pools of water beside Christmas Creek, Lamington

For a while now we’ve dreamed of establishing a luxury tented camp on our magical property beside Lamington National park.   The years  it’s taken to achieve all the necessary development approvals have perhaps been a blessing –  we’ve had plenty of time to fine-tune our ideas about what it takes make a truly special visitor experience.

We’ve also had time to get a  feel for this secluded and wild mountain country:  we now know where the sun hits the jagged red cliff face on an April  afternoon,  reflecting in the rock-pools of the creek below (pictured above);  we know, in the dry-times,  we share  the shade of our giant fig trees with the wallabies as they come to nibble on the lush green lawns beside our creek.  And best of all:  we’re learning the secrets of Christmas Creek and loving our rapid-filled ‘spa’ pool.   As the mercury soars, many times each day we seek solace it the cool tumbling waters beside our Long Tin Shed gathering area,  often too at the end of a long hot day with friends and a chilled drink.

I wonder if our  soothing wilderness surrounds are what keeps us on an even keel in the madness of the roller-coaster adventure of building nightfall?   It’s an incredibly exciting time as our concepts and dreams become reality,  but there are also many anxious moments.  The tents we carefully designed,  drew and re-drew so many times have angled walls and recycled wire-brushed hardwood floors (from Brisbane’s Big Red Shed).  We weren’t quite sure how they’d look,  so to see the first frame completed,  the first floor laid and oiled and the first ‘fly-sheet’ roof fitted has been a real ‘wow’ moment.  Needless to say,  we also sleep a little better at night knowing the custom-designed concept is now proven.  Next up  —   walls  …  that means fun times for this girl and her trusty old industrial sewing machine,  while her husband and the builders work to put up the next few tents.

Photos –
The first guest sleeping platform begins to take shape.  Each luxury tent sits in its own private forest clearing.

Ready for concrete - building guest sleeping platforms at nightfall wilderness camp

The first ‘fly-sheet’ roof goes on, proving the concept and framing-up the incredible views of the rugged cliffs opposite. Lamington Plateau sits at the top of the gorge cliff-face.  When it rains,  waterfalls gush from the rock-face.

nightfall wilderness camp luxury tent retreat - building the guest tents

In keeping with nightfall camp‘s sustainable ethos,  flooring is recycled.  The wire-brush finish adds to the character.

recycled wire-brushed timber flooring - ready to install in nightfall wilderness camp's luxury tents (3)