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I'm a nomadic mama with four lovely daughters. We're travelling Australia in a small housebus — meeting inspiring people, learning lots and re-thinking everything. I feel passionately about travel, good design, alternative education and conscious parenting.

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17 January 2015, 20:48

The putalina Festival celebrates Indigenous music and culture and is a gathering of people from across the state who are united by blood and/or purpose. The Tasmanian Aboriginal Centre organises the music festival each year, providing a terrific line-up of local artists for the crowd who today battled the sun, wind and rain (sometimes simultaneously) to show their support.

Aboriginal, Indigenous Australian flag, flying at putalina, Tasmania, January 2015
As an annual event — putalina Festival — celebrates the Tasmanian Aboriginal community’s reoccupation and reclamation of this Oyster Cove site in 1984.

putalina land, Oyster Cove, Tasmania, January 2015
A short drive south of Hobart, putalina is a beautiful location on Oyster Cove just north of Kettering. It was originally the site of mistreatment of Indigenous Australians by European settlers, but the current generations of Tasmanians have transformed the land's energy to infuse it with good memories and hope.

We arrived a bit late, and judging by the number of cars parked for kilometres up the road, arriving earlier would have been better! We first assessed the children’s entertainment (deliberately avoiding the ice-cream vendor who was parked close by — much to Lana’s chagrin).

putalina Festival, Oyster Cove, Tasmania, January 2015
A couple of children's rides are operating to one side of the main stage area.

Lana and Brioni at putalina Festival, Oyster Cove, Tasmania, January 2015
Lana enjoys the ride while Brioni spins the cup by twisting the wheel in the centre.

Cali and Brioni playing at putalina Festival, Oyster Cove, Tasmania, January 2015
And then they're off into the bouncing castle!

Once the girls were comfortable with the procedure of the rides and the layout of the festival, I set up our blanket in front of the main stage to watch the acts. The girls could come and join me for the entertainment or return to the games.

putalina Festival, Oyster Cove, Tasmania, January 2015
"We're all about that bass, 'bout that bass, 'bout that bass," this group sings, and half the crowd sings along.

kanaplila-ripana dance group at putalina Festival, Oyster Cove, Tasmania, January 2015
The first performance by the kanaplila-ripana dance group is about escaping from the boogeyman.

Performer at putalina Festival, Oyster Cove, Tasmania, January 2015
Taylor Hughes wows the crowd with her voice and presentation.

The weather was extremely schizophrenic, alternating between brilliant, burning sunshine and icy rain. Some spectators were prepared with raincoverings and umbrellas, but other moved locations according to their comfort levels.

Picnicking at putalina Festival, Oyster Cove, Tasmania, January 2015
During the rain, we take refuge under a tree to one side. At the top of the site, the elders are protected from the sun and rain by marquees.

putalina Festival, Oyster Cove, Tasmania, January 2015
A free barbecue lunch is on offer — with kangaroo sausages and wallaby steaks being served alongside more conventional fare.

putalina Festival, Oyster Cove, Tasmania, January 2015
The spectators move back into the sun after the rain.

We left mid-afternoon when the girls complained about being cold (despite wearing their snow jackets). I felt disappointed to a couple more hours of the eclectic range of performers but now that we know about putalina Festival, we can add this to our calendar of events for next year!

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16 January 2015, 19:58

It’s the classic hero’s journey. After circumstances beyond his control erode his current comfort level, Sinbad is launched into a life of taking risks and embracing adventures because he has nothing more to lose. On the way he discovers his own strength of character is enough to keep him safe and rescue his friends.

Sinbad the Sailor, performed by Big Monkey Theatre, Hobart, Tasmania, January 2015
This original play by Les Winspear is based on the story from Arabian Nights. It contains songs, choreographed dances and musical instruments — all with a cast of just five!

We visited Hobart’s Royal Botanical Gardens this morning to watch Big Monkey Theatre’s production of Sinbad the sailor. Written by Australian playwright Les Winspear, Sinbad is performed by a cast of five on a very simple stage under the trees at the garden. Props are minimal, but several of the costumes are amazing.

Sinbad the Sailor, performed by Big Monkey Theatre, Hobart, Tasmania, January 2015
I was quite startled when the instruments first came out and the cast burst into song. It simply wasn't what I was expecting.

Sinbad quickly enchanted the girls and the other children sitting around us. While the script contains elements clearly aimed at children (fart jokes, slapstick humour), there are enough choice cultural puns to keep the adults laughing.

Sinbad the Sailor, performed by Big Monkey Theatre, Hobart, Tasmania, January 2015
The props are subtly modified to create new sets, and at various times new characters emerge in different costumes and with different accents. I liked the captain's Caribbean accent.

Sinbad the Sailor, performed by Big Monkey Theatre, Hobart, Tasmania, January 2015
A monkey in a life-jacket? Again, this inclusion was a complete surprise and was met with general hilarity from the audience.

Sinbad the Sailor, performed by Big Monkey Theatre, Hobart, Tasmania, January 2015
Forty-five minutes into the production, a neat intermission is offered by moving the audience to a new location within the botanical gardens.

Sinbad the Sailor, performed by Big Monkey Theatre, Hobart, Tasmania, January 2015
The actors occasionally moved to the side to provide sound effects with live instruments. I enjoyed the homage to Indiana Jones that was played on a melodica.

The musical numbers within Sinbad are full of clever puns and cultural references. The cast sometimes play instruments or beat-box the rhythm while others sing the main parts. The songs were short enough to keep us entertained without boring us.

Sinbad the Sailor, performed by Big Monkey Theatre, Hobart, Tasmania, January 2015
The appearance of a pair of cows quickly became a crowd favourite. The simple headdress is enhanced by exaggerated bovine acting to complete the illusion.

Sinbad the Sailor, performed by Big Monkey Theatre, Hobart, Tasmania, January 2015
The complexity of the ogre's costume reveals the professionalism of this little production company. (When he turns around, the top of his green bottom crack is visible!)

Sinbad the Sailor, performed by Big Monkey Theatre, Hobart, Tasmania, January 2015
By standing still and presenting the ogre with the smell of fresh cowpats, the humans foil its hunting attempts.

Sinbad the Sailor, performed by Big Monkey Theatre, Hobart, Tasmania, January 2015
A serpent costume is beautifully carried off.

The cast of Sinbad performed impeccably, with only a few falterings in the delivery of lines, and most are quite good singers. They changed their accents along with their costumes, which made it easier to believe the simple clothes-change resulted in a new person.

Sinbad the Sailor, performed by Big Monkey Theatre, Hobart, Tasmania, January 2015
Of course, the resolution at the end is a cheerful affair.

Sinbad the Sailor, performed by Big Monkey Theatre, Hobart, Tasmania, January 2015
And it all ends as it started — with a song-and-dance routine.

I loved Sinbad, and the girls did too. If you’re in Hobart and looking for a fantastic entertainment experience, this is probably your current best value for money. The unusual setting, the clever story, the professional cast and costumes and the entertaining songs will get you laughing and clapping as you marvel at the talent Tasmania has to offer.

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15 January 2015, 19:04

The short walk from the carpark to Junee Cave reminds me how casually much of the Tasmanian bush wraps itself in astounding beauty. We walk along mossy edges, past treeferns bigger than giants and alongside a clear creek that is almost too frigid to drink.

On the pathway to Junee Cave, Tasmania, January 2015
Although it's so beautiful it should be declared a national treasure, much of Tasmania's forest remains under threat, and we've driven past clear-felling sites to reach this location.

Junee Cave is part of an extensive underground labyrinth that includes caves, sinkholes, swallets and tunnels. Intrepid spelunkers have discovered the system stretches for over 40 km under the forests around Maydena in the Florentine valley of Tasmania’s southern centre.

As soon as we arrived, the girls were attracted to edge of the swiftly-moving creek that is the headwaters of the Junee River. The waterway flows directly out of Junee Cave — seemingly appearing from nowhere.

Lana drinking from the creek on the pathway to Junee Cave, Tasmania, January 2015
Lana tastes the water which runs clear and cool.

On the pathway to Junee Cave, Tasmania, January 2015
While pausing at the small bridge that crosses the Junee River, we have no idea that we're going to see the visible start of this waterway just a kilometre up the track.

On the pathway to Junee Cave, Tasmania, January 2015
Once we get off the gravel forestry road, the pathway is soft underfoot and the trees are frosted with moss.

On the pathway to Junee Cave, Tasmania, January 2015
The pathway ends rather abruptly at the mouth of the cave.

Junee Cave, Tasmania, January 2015
From the depths of the rock, the creek flows in a constant stream. Visitors who have the right gear and experience can start exploring the extensive cave system from here.

Junee Cave, Tasmania, January 2015
I love the lush vegetation that surrounds the cave. Although it's priceless, this section of wilderness is only considered a nature reserve and remains at the mercy of the successive government agendas.

Visiting fragile and beautiful places like this is enough to turn anyone into a conservationist. I’m so glad I have the opportunity to see lush locations like Junee Cave with my girls, and I hope that it’ll be preserved so they can bring their children to it too.

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