The trip up to this year's Queensland Astrofest was a marvelous one! I drove up with a mate to share the driving. We made the trip over two days, and saw some amazing country along the way. We took three of my telescopes with us, two 12" dobs (both Marana instruments from Gondwana Telescopes) and the 17.5" (a Karee model also from Gondwana Telescopes) - all packed into the one car along with all our camping gear. That is something you just don't see, but you will in the pictures below :)
I did a presentation of Gondwana Telescopes and held two workshops. The sketching workshop proved so unique and special that I was asked to do another one. Along with my sketching portfolio, a lot of interest in astronomical sketching was created, and this encouraged me immensely.
Astrofest is organised between 6 different Queensland astronomy clubs and goes for longer than a week, spanning across two weekends. The entire event for me was a pleasure to experience, getting to meet an extraordinary lot of people all passionate about astronomy and life. If you haven't been to an Astrofest event, I certainly can wholeheartedly recommend you do so.
The grounds on which Astrofest is held also houses its own observatory which contains a beautiful 9.25" Celestron SCT. Accommodation was a choice between camping and bunk houses, and lunch and dinner were available, along with unlimited amounts of tea and coffee to get one through the cold nights. Astrofest is also geared towards families with many people taking the chance to make astronomy a whole family experience.
I ended up completing three sketches, two of which were of targets that I've long been wanting to sketch for a long time. The first two nights we were up there through up brilliantly clear skies. Fog rolled in around 2am, but that was fine by me as I had had enough by then anyway.