As we (Ina and Herman) have already written in the previous report, we had received an invitation from Australia shortly before planning to go by car to Leba in Poland to fly a kite in Bondi the following weekend. So we went by plane because otherwise we would not be able to be in Down Under on time.
So last night we left Leba at 2:00 am for Schiphol to catch the plane to Sydney. After a flight of 24 hours we arrived in Sydney around 9 am and it was not long before Karin Greg and Eileen had “found” Snee from the organization. It was a warm welcome and after we had the luggage we headed for Hotel Bondi. This was our home until and during the Festival of the Winds. The hotel was built in 1915, so a hotel with character (https://www.hotelbondi.com.au/). The room was perfect and had a balcony overlooking Bondi Beach. There was no Jetlag, but after a journey of 48 hours (from Leba) it was nice to take a shower and then enjoy the view from the balcony. After having had lunch we walked to the famous beach where the kite festival would take place, Bondi Pavilion (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bondi_Pavilion) and explored the area a bit. Thursday we walked the Bond to Cogee Beach Walk after a good night’s rest and breakfast. A beautiful route along the cliffs and different beaches with beautiful places with great views along the way.
Festival of the Winds is an international kite festival that was organized for the 40th time this year by the Australian Kiteflyers Society and Waverley Council on the famous beach Bondi-Beach
Friday and Saturday it is free to fly kites as a warm-up for the public and the press.
Sunday is the big day. Then there is not only flying but there is a very cultural program around the kite festival with many performances and stalls and the thousands of visitors come from far and wide.
This is also a special day for families with children, because only this day is allowed to fly on the beach, the rest of the year this is forbidden. The beach is not that big but has a beautiful promenade mat as eye catcher the Bondi Pavilion and on the beach the watchtower of the Bondi lifeguards where also a reality TV program “Bondi Rescue” is recorded
Friday we woke early, had breakfast with Karin and the participants and we were ready for the 40th Festival of the Winds. The festival is not what we were used to. Friday and Saturday free kiting for the press and public, but Sunday is the big day we were told.
It was not really beach again but with full we had to put the kites in the air and we spoke to the other participants. The first visitors quickly came to look at the kites, but we noticed that this was not THE day for them. On Friday evening we, the participants and the tourism office were invited to the Pavilion. The organization had set up an exhibition in one of the halls about 40 years of the Festival of the Winds and here the chairman of the Australian Kiteflyers Society and Waverley Council gave a speech with a reception after that time. All in all a nice day with nice conversations and new contacts.
Saturday morning we looked outside and saw a cloudy sky with a strong wind. Not what we had hoped for (sunny day with good wind) But spring just started here, so we know the type of weather as Dutch people. The kites were unpacked again and we all made it a fun day again. Nice interactions with the visitors, including some Dutch people who did recognize the Twentse Ros and appealed to us, how small the world is. In between kiting, there was another election for the Australian kite club among the club members in the Pavilion. The jury was dressed as brightly as the colors of the kites, the winners were announced on Sundays. Around 5 p.m. we packed everything up and prepared for the evening. The participants were invited to participate in the dinner at the Bondi Hotel. While we were having dinner we had some nice conversations and we were invited to come to Newcastle for a few more days. For dessert the anniversary cake was cut and then it went to the Pavilion for a workshop by Donna Tayler and Herman was asked to give a presentation for the Office of Tourism and the other attendees about how we organize our kite parties. Herman had prepared a PowerPoint and asked those present not to wait to ask questions but to immediately interrupt him so that there was a nice interaction. That was not said to deaf ears, many questions were asked and tips were asked. The chairman eventually had to ask Herman to complete the presentation because there must also be enough time for the workshop.
Donna had prepared the workshop, the intention was to make a vane for the beach. Of course we also participated and Karin made her sewing machine available. For Herman it was the first time that he attended such a workshop and it was a nice sight for the others to see him fanatically. It was a nice evening but it was time to go to bed, the next morning was the big days we wanted to be fit on the beach.
Sunday morning, got out early and we looked out the window. A beautiful blue sky, sun, surfers on the water and there was already a kite in the sky. Overslept? No, someone had released a kite very early. Quick breakfast together and to the beach. Craig and Debbie Hansen already had the first hitchhiker with a whale shark in the air but it didn’t take long and the beach where they could fly was full. The public became more and more crowded and the quay was full all day and the beach was looking for a place. There was plenty of action on the kite field, it was all day work. Not only the line decorations and kites change, but the wind also turned in all directions. The pilots were regularly put together, but as it should be, the pilots helped each other so that there was enough to see in the air again soon. We soon saw that this was the big day from the many visitors, photographers and cameramen with their reporters. Everything was recorded and interviews were conducted for the radio and TV. We heard from the organization that this year was a record number of visitors. More than 100,000 people had visited the kite festival.
Around 4 p.m. we were asked to come to the organization tent, our kites were taken care of. When we arrived there, the organization was waiting for us and the other participants. Throughout the day, visitors could vote for the pilots who had put down the most beautiful display. The choice was on us and our horses and was allowed to receive the audience prize from the chairman Ramonde Allen Wong. This was a surprise for us and we are also very proud of it. We would have liked to fly for hours, such a nice atmosphere and interactions with the public. But unfortunately the day came to an end and the things had to be packed. After freshening up for a while, we went to the pizzeria in Bondi to conclude a great day. The kite festival we had been looking forward to was already over and we said goodbye to a few participants who left home early the next morning.
We had planned a week in the back, when we were in Australia we wanted to see more than just Bondi Beach.
The organization had offered us to show the area and much more after the kite party. Among others the Busch, the Blue Mountins the Three Sisters, the vineyards (incl. Tastings) at Newcastle. We also visited the regular kite spot of their association (Wollongong). But we will not tell you further about this, because this website is about kite flying.
But we want to thank Karen, Eileen, Tony, David, KKKKKK very much for the hospitality and the effort they have taken to show us everything.
After these busy days we stayed in Sydney for a few days and enjoyed the people and the beautiful city.
All in all it was a great experience, we didn’t want to miss this for the world.
(Translated with Google Translate)