It’s not just Sydney that’s full of exciting food and drink experiences for Good Food Month this October. Drive for just over an hour out of the city to immerse yourself in a sunken forest deep inside the picturesque Southern Highlands and you’ll find what is undoubtedly this month’s essential overnight food and wine experience. As part of WILDfest, a three-night festival focused on the region’s magnificent natural landscape and produce, a limited edition, one night experience is being offered for those who want a quick and easy getaway. It includes one night of glamping on the remote private site of Joadja Old Town and access to the festival’s signature event: Wild Native Feast.
Wild Native Feast is a seven-course meal served under the stars by resident chef Damien Monley (Grand Bistro, Bowral), highlighting award-winning local produce via a partnership with fresh forage delights. Diners will be treated to live entertainment, food and wine among an atmosphere built by the natural beauty of this early mining settlement, nestled amongst the ruins which will be slightly dressed up to create a unique atmosphere. What exactly that atmosphere entails is being kept secret, but we do know that all attendees will be given some attire beforehand: a top hat and tails for the men and long gloves/tiara for the women.
The feast will kick off at 5:30pm on the Saturday, two hours after check-in opens for the glamping site. A welcome cocktail will be handed to guests as they check in to their assigned tent, which will include comfortable beds, floor rugs, welcome mats, quality linen, towels and toiletries, a luggage rack, bed side tables with solar lights, and chairs. Out in the communal areas guests will find a purpose built lounge, stocked with snacks and drinks (think cool climate wines and craft beers), as well as regularly serviced toilets/hot showers.
Before check-out on Sunday guests will be able to participate in Yoga or Tai Chi before a gourmet breakfast, which will include farm-style options like free-range local eggs, locally farmed bacon, pancake stacks with fruit and maple syrup, and freshly baked pastries. After which, guests will have the option on heading off on a guided hike around the property before they check-out at 10am and are zipped on over to Joadja Distillery for an included tour, looking at where all their whisky, moonshine, ale and other spirits/beers are made.
Not hooking you in? This year WildFEST is also planning a very unique on-the-water dining experience called Canoes, Champagne and Canapés. It involves guests heading out on a custom-built double canoe through a sunken forest along Kangaroo River via Beehive Point, spending the next two or three hours taking advantage of that big dining table built in between the two canoes, which will be teeming with local wines and snacks. The whole experience will be led by an experienced paddler. That one is being offered on all three days of the festival, with three sessions a day priced at $195pp. That price includes all food, wine and equipment.
The glamping experience is priced at a steep $1,155, but if organising your own accommodation and just experiencing the Wild Native Feast sounds more your style, then you’re looking at $345pp. Bookings for all experiences can be made by contacting [email protected].