17 May ‘WWOOFERS’ SPUR THE BUILDING OF NIGHTFALL – LUXURY TENT ACCOMMODATION, SCENIC RIM
(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 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.
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’s Christmas Creek frontage, Lamington National Park and our local events -including last weekend’s Lost World Art’s in the Olives Fesitval.
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)