We celebrated the arrival of 2012 at a bush doof — a dance rave party that’s set in a rural location where revellers camp and the djs keep music playing all day and all night. We found the location, the atmosphere and the music a fun combination for our family’s first doof experience.

Our friend Luke is a keen dancer. He’s introduced us to some of the contemporary djs on the Australian music scene, and there was no way that he would miss one of the biggest parties of the year. When he invited us to join him at New Psycle, we thought we’d come along and check it out.

The location of the bush doof was kept a secret until the day the event started. I believe this is because the organisers don’t want revellers to converge on the spot until they’re ready for them. This year’s party was north of Newcastle, on private property that is an operating camp ground for people who would like to holiday in the bush.

After we arrived, it took several hours for David and me to adjust to the new environment. After months of peaceful bush camping, it was a shock to be surrounded by hundreds of other campers with loud, electronic music blasting in our ears.

New Psycle, New Year's Eve, 2011
Our first camp is alongside the main camping ground and within sight of the main stage.

New Psycle, New Year's Eve, 2011
As the first day comes to a close, the campgrounds are quite full. Several thousand people have converged on this location for the party — most camp within tents, although some are staying in their vehicles.

Toilets at New Psycle, December 2011
Rows of portable loos are set up in strategic locations around the camp to cater for the campers. A strings of lights is draped over the top to provide illumination at night.

New Psycle, New Year's Eve, 2011
The dj operates his equipment from the front of the main stage, and people dance in response to the beat.

New Psycle, New Year's Day, 2012
Some enterprises have set up pavilions from which they sell their wares.

Looking at animals, December 2011
David takes the girls to explore our surroundings. Our first stop is to greet a huge, friendly pig.

Patting the horses, December 2011
Horses are available for riding or escorted walks.

Duckling, December 2011
This duckling is on the cusp of adulthood and although it's a fair size, it's still wearing its soft, baby feathers.

Andrew and Gaby, January 2012
Our hosts are Andrew and Gabby, who cheerfully handle hundreds of the same enquiries from the campers who are using their property.

After scouting around, David found us a better location to park, away from the main stage. Our new spot is private and peaceful, although still not far from all the activities.

New Psycle, New Year's Eve, 2011
Our new camp is on the other side of the animals, away from the main campgrounds. It's quieter and we're surrounded by the sights and sounds of the friendly Australian bush. We only have one set of neighbours — a lovely couple that have driven up from Sydney for the rave.

David making a fire, January 2012
Our own personal camp is a peaceful place where we can make a fire and let our children play.

Camp-fire, January 2012
While we sit in front of the fire, we can hear the music playing in the background. It goes all night, but it doesn't disturb our sleep.

Brioni and Calista pretending to be turtles, January 2012
While playing with the things around our camp, Brioni decides to put a plastic shopping basket onto her back and become a turtle.

We all went to bed fairly early, but David and I woke again before midnight. I fed Elijah and then David and I went to the main stage to dance a bit and count down the arrival of 2012.

The dj on stage at the time was Daheen, who is famous for his stage presence as well as his fun music. We saw him change costumes to fit each song — wearing elaborate wigs, masks and outfits to complement the music that he was remixing.

New Psycle, New Year's Day, 2012
When it gets dark, the ever-changing light show keeps the dance floor illuminated.

New Psycle, New Year's Day, 2012
Some of the djs are particularly charismatic. We are familiar only with the ones introduced to us by Luke.

There are several other private parties happening on this same property, and two of those set off fireworks after midnight. So after the ubiquitous Auld Lang Syne to a techno beat, we turned around and watched fireworks lighting up the night sky in two different locations. It was a fun, memorable way to greet 2012!

In the morning, David and I took the girls back to the main campgrounds and stage area so they could see the dancing, watch the people walking around and gain an understanding of how a party can be a fun, safe event for everyone!

David carrying Elijah, January 2012
When we set off to have a look around, David carries Elijah in the sling.

Aisha patting a horse, January 2012
Our first stop is to greet the animals again.

New Psycle, New Year's Day, 2012
Not everyone is dancing. People are relaxing on blankets in the sun or the shade, watching the action.

New Psycle, New Year's Day, 2012
Our girls love these pretty paper parasols. They're a beautiful accessory, but I can't imagine that they would last very long with our boisterous lot!

New Psycle, New Year's Day, 2012
This over-sized Jenga-blocks game is played by whoever happens to be walking past at the time. The mood of the players is friendly and light, and their laughter draws other people to watch and encourage the players.

New Psycle, New Year's Day, 2012
Many people are happy relaxing after dancing during the night.

New Psycle, New Year's Day, 2012
Beanbags in the shade provide a great spot to sit and watch the action.

Greeting Elijah, January 2012
Elijah receives greetings from a new friend. Seeing that he's our first son after four daughters, strangers pour blessings upon him and rejoice with us for his birth.

Feeding Elijah, January 2012
We buy some cold drinks for the girls, and I take the time to give Elijah a drink as well.

New Psycle, New Year's Day, 2012
There's a little food stall operating here which sells curry and rice meals as well as chai, fruit salad and cake. They use a mish-mashed collection of secondhand dishes to provide the food, and customers wash up their own bowls.

Our girls eating mango, January 2012
The owner of the food-stall brings over some mango seeds for our girls to suck on.

New Psycle, New Year's Day, 2012
Not everyone wants to dance, but the main stage serves as congregating area for friends to hang out.

New Psycle, New Year's Day, 2012
We see many people in fascinating costumes, like this bee-lady. I think it's great to have a venue where people can dress up freely, and our girls love to get ideas from the clothes and accessories they see on the women around them.

New Psycle, New Year's Day, 2012
Huge sound equipment provides the rocking sound in a large shed that serves as the secondary stage. Music played in here sounds great in the pool yard.

After visiting the main stage, the girls were very excited to return to the pool. We set ourselves up in the shade and spent most of the day at the water, making new friends and watching our daughters’ antics.

New Psycle, New Year's Day, 2012
I'm thankful that despite all the crowd of revellers, the shade shelter in the pool yard is vacant for us to use as a base for our family.

Elijah sleeping, January 2012
Elijah is content to take his naps on a blanket in the shade.

Brioni at the pool, January 2012
Brioni is delighted to be in the water again. We let the girls wear this life-jacket as a swimming aid, although Brioni and Aisha can swim proficiently without it.

In the pool, January 2012
The pool offers a sloping "beach entry" and a nice shallow end which is perfect for Delaney and Calista who don't like to enter deeper water.

In the pool, January 2012
At one corner of the pool, a little waterfall cascades down the rocks. People sit under the stream for a cool massage.

Jumping on the trampoline, January 2012
A trampoline is also sitting in the pool yard. Bigger kids use it to jump into the pool, but our girls are content to bounce straight up and down.

Garven, January 2012
Garven is from Mauritius and shares many positive stories about the places he's been to in his travels.

David carrying Elijah, January 2012
Later, David carries Elijah is a borrowed sarong and cools off with his feet in the pool.

Brioni and Aisha in the pool, January 2012
Brioni and Aisha like people-watching. They speculate together about the relationships of the people they see.

Lukey in the pool, January 2012
Luke joins us at the pool to cool off after spending hours on the dance floor. There's a secondary stage not far from the pool, so we can hear the bass notes pounding from where we're chilling.

Lukey and Brioni, January 2012
Our girls love their special connection with Luke and continue to play freely with him.

Luke and Brioni playing at the pool, January 2012
Luke takes Brioni on his shoulders and mounts the diving platform. Instead of jumping off into the water, he dances with her to the amusement of his watching friends.

This has been a great place to camp and hang out, and we’ve enjoyed being introduced to a different way of celebrating. David and I desire to present a range of experiences for our children, and a bush doof is certainly a colourful way of integrating music, dance and camping together!

Happy new year, everyone! May your year be filled with many sparkling adventures too!