We said hello to the Sunshine Coast Hinterland and one enormous low pressure system and raincloud sitting right on south-east Queensland! As we made our way to the Sunshine Coast Hinterland, we watched the big greeny, blue blob on the BOM radar and just hoped that perhaps it just wasn’t that bad. It turned out that it wasn’t actually that bad, and in fact, having some slow time in the van, and in and around the Woodford showgrounds was quite nice….. even when the ground under the van turned into a swamp! Woodford is a little village in the hinterland famous for its decades old Woodford Folk Festival, The Dreaming Festival and The Planting Festival, which I’ll be a part of with School of Ants in June. Staying there gave us the chance to go and have a look around the site, which none of us had visited before. So on a lovely afternoon, while a doof doof trance festival was setting up on the site, we had a tour around by one of the Folk Festival and Planting festival managers, Mandi. The property, Woodfordia, is owned by the Queensland Folk Federation, a not-for-profit Incorporated Association and registered charity. Its 500 acres is dedicated to arts and humanities, but with a very strong sense of environmental stewardship. The Planting festival has an environmental statement that covers a lot of ground. And it’s not lip service. They have an onsite waste water treatment plant, have planted over 100,000 trees and live their philosophy on the site in every way. OK, except they don’t have a quarantine inspection service…… And then it rained. A lot. And there were frogs. Lots of frogs. And puddles. Lots of puddles. We hula hooped on our wide open space, and kicked the soccer ball to each other. We rode our bikes around and around the showground loop road and did yoga in the rain under a lovely decorated shed roof. We explored some cafes, the library and the hardware shop – we were second in line that hour for tarps. Wow, did they sell a lot of tarps that week!! So we decided to drive down the hill, and headed to Australia Zoo as one of Mia’s birthday treats! And it as sooo worth it! We really enjoyed our day there. A highlight for all of us so far I’d say. If we weren’t in awe of the Crocoseum and huge Andean condor, we were marvelling at the sheer size of the albino Burmese python they have, or talking to the red pandas, many crocodiles, iguanas, otters, Australian animals, macaws, giraffes, rhinos or zebras. We nearly tripped over the hundreds of water dragons that literally roamed free around the zoo too! I jumped with Steve, and Jez and the kids got repeatedly eaten by large crocodiles! We scaled Bindi’s treehouse and had a ride on the train through the beautiful site. We took our own food, and only bought an ice-cream in the afternoon. I think this could possibly be the only way to afford a place like this. It’s not cheap. But considering also that funds go toward conservation and the wildlife hospital, I’m happy to pay it. Mia was a bit upset we didn’t see Bindi – apparently she was there that day – but we got a photo with her nonetheless! We stayed at Australia Zoo until closing time, and joined only a handful of people running for the entrance from increasingly heavy rain! What a surprise…. So the rain forced us to the coast. Noosa for Easter – yep, OK.