Nature Festival Unveils Unmissable Cultural, Culinary, Community Program for 2023

Nature Festival, returning to South Australia from October 1 – 15, unveils another program of stunning breadth, boasting over 300 events across the state. Promising an extraordinary two weeks, the festival will feature immersive dinners, creative workshops, captivating talks, family adventures, Aboriginal culture, art, music, and dance.

“As a whole, the festival celebrates the foundational role nature plays in the identity of South Australia, and the 2023 theme ‘Nature of Home,’ explores how our patchwork of memory and connection to place evolves over a lifetime. This theme investigates the intricate interplay of geography, hues, sounds, and tastes that forge our relationship with the natural world,” explains Ryan Hubbard, Festival Director.

Officially opening the 2023 festival will be a special free family picnic at Carrick Hill on Saturday the 30th of September. Festival Cultural Ambassadors Ngangki Warra will welcome attendees with dance and ceremony, and a selection of festival hosts will present tasters of events from the festival program. Fork on the Road will be presenting tastes from homes around the world, and there will be activities and live music throughout the day.


Connecting to Nature through Food

Spread across the full school holidays, festival goers are in for a treat, none so much as food enthusiasts, with an array of culinary-focused workshops, discussions, and dinners. Collaborations such as Poh Ling Yeow’s partnership with Andre’s Cucina at Lost Phoenix Farm for André & Poh – The Nature of Home, Through Cuisine, promises an immersive gastronomic expedition, interweaving guests’ cultural journeys with a culinary discovery.

Celebrated Afghan food authority and cookbook author, Durkhanai Ayubi, joins forces with The Seed Medicine Garden’s Keitha Thủy Young in Plant Kin: Tracing Home through Food, Seed and Medicine to intertwine tales of cuisine and seeds, elucidating the intricate tapestry of flavours and traditions through both a discussion and intimate workshop.

Rebecca Sullivan and Damien Coulthard, founders of Warndu and authors of First Nations Food Companion are producing a captivating series of experiences, including Vera Mai: Moon Feast: a collaboration among more than 15 indigenous-led food businesses. MC’d by ABC’s Costa Georgiadis, the event features Bruce Pascoe serving bread and telling the story of the first mandadyan nalluk (“dancing grass”) harvest in 200 years and renowned outback astronomer Greg Quicke giving a tour of the Southern Sky to accompany the dining experience. This event is produced in collaboration with WellFest and AEDA.

Enthusiasts of fine teas are invited on the enchanting Tea Trail Journey, which is supported by The Office For Ageing Well. A distinctive tea experience, including Warndu teas with traditional damper, this experience will be available both in-person at the festival and through personally delivered at home packages for those who have health or mobility restrictions.

For those drawn to interactive encounters, Warndu: The Nature of a Conscious Home, facilitated by Rebecca Sullivan and Costa Georgiadis, offers an engaging evening of crafting bathroom, bedroom, and beauty essentials, propelled by a fervent commitment to sustainability.


Connecting to Nature through Art and Music

There will be a World Premiere of a spectacular new composition and performance inspired by connection to country and the cycle of the seasons. Kaurna Yerta – The Seasons The Bowerbird Collective & Taikurtinna, led by Jamie Goldsmith is a one-hour cinematic concert featuring stunning visuals, immersive soundscapes, song, dance and ceremony, as well as new music for string quintet and traditional instruments by David John Lang.

The festival’s artistic dimension dazzles with workshops and installations that captivate the senses, exemplified by Heidi Kenyon and Henry Wolff’s Observance, an immersive meditative workshop with Australian-grown ceremonial-grade cacao, allow participants to discover anew the Adelaide Botanic Gardens through a “heart-opening” experience.

Additionally, the return of Rosina Possingham will see poster designs cover the city, while James Tylor’s appointment as Forestry SA’s 2023 Artist in Residence further enriches the festival’s artistic fabric, with James delivering an audit of first nations rock art and series of trail walks.

The 2023 Festival underscores a significant respect for First Nations culture and Indigenous creativity. Guided by Cultural Ambassadors Jack Buckskin and Ngangki Warra, the festival unveils compelling offerings such as the Buckskins’ Journeying Home Through Language a collaborative endeavour with the South Australian Forestry Corporation, engaging audiences in a profound exploration of Indigenous heritage and traditions.

An array of community groups and councils significantly expand the festival’s horizons. Indigenous tours, bird- themed engagements, immersive arboreal explorations, and conservation discussions underscore its diverse appeal. The beloved Seed Dating (50+) returns, fostering connections among mature green-thumbed enthusiasts.

This year the festival and partners are investing to support 30 community events with a special focus on growing events in regional SA. The 2023 community grants were generously supported by the RAA, Hills and Fleurieu and Murraylands and Riverland Landscape Boards and Green Adelaide; events include a walk and discussion with Ngarrindjeri/Ramindjeri elder Mark Koolmatrie in Deep Creek National Park, the Kangaroo Island Wildlife Carnival, an interactive underwater experience in Whyalla, and an incredible outback experience for the whole family in Roxby Downs.

“As always, it was wonderful to see how many diverse and imaginative event ideas were submitted by the South Australian community and fantastic to see the Festival’s reach across the State growing with the support of our partners. There is no doubt that South Australians love the nature of their home and want to share that with others. Increasingly the challenge will be how to get to everything of interest in the program” commented Vicki-Jo Russell AM, Festival Chair.


Community Collaborations

Nature Festival transcends conventional expectations through collaboration with councils, organisations, and regional groups, encapsulating a spectrum of ideas that encompass curated dialogues, lantern festivals, and odysseys through hidden gardens.

Distinguished ornithologist and the 2023 Nature Festival’s Bird Lover in Residence, Professor Hugh Possingham presents Birds of Home with Zoodle at RiAus a comedic escape into the lives of birds with Hugh and Comedian Boo Dywer. For those of us who get out of bed early enough, Hugh will be hosting a number of walks with birds across Adelaide and in the State’s south east, emphasizing our feathered friend’s significance in the natural milieu.

The Botanic Gardens of South Australia will curate immersive tree walks and spotlight plants from around the world while emphasising the imperative of conserving rare and endangered flora.

Moreover, Green Adelaide presents the Pickle Party in Marion and Tea Tree Gully. Featuring Grow it Local and Paul West, participants will be given produce and taught how to pickle and ferment in this interactive workshop that fosters a connection between people and their domestic green spaces, nurturing a culture of self-sustenance.

Speaking of whom, the Nature Festival is proud to welcome back Principal Sponsor Green Adelaide, Adelaide’s first dedicated urban environmental specialist organisation supporting a cooler, greener and wilder metropolitan city and suburbs. They spearheaded the campaign that showcased Adelaide’s credentials and saw our city become Australia’s 1st, and the world’s 2nd National Park City.

The Festival is also pleased at the return of AEDA, the City of Adelaide, Hinterland, and the Office for Recreation, Sport, and Racing as Major Sponsors.


Diverse Family Adventures

The inclusion of over 300 different events across South Australia, including outdoor adventures, workshops, and children’s activities widens the engagement spectrum, ranging from enriching dialogues and lantern festivities to celebrating Heysen’s legacy and embarking on secret garden expeditions.

Like nature itself, the Festival offers something special for us all.

For more information and to explore the complete Nature Festival 2023 program:

More green updates