The Natural Phenomena Conference - a Nature Education Conference in the outdoors

The Natural Phenomena Conference The Natural Phenomena Conference

18th – 20st November 2022

 ~ a Nature Education Conference in the outdoors ~

The Natural Phenomena Conference: Empowering you to bring the wonder and joy of nature to young children.

Imagine spending an entire weekend listening to world leaders and inspirational speakers. All the while connecting yourself to the beauty that surrounds you.

Join a growing worldwide movement of educators, parents, playscape designers, academics and policy makers who believe nature is a powerful teacher and experiencing risk is its ally.

There’s something for everyone. Creative workshops, informative workshops, discussions. and the speakers. Wow. I take away so much and it’s always heartfelt. This is the place to be!”

Niki Buchan, Keynote speaker 2019

“This is the conference I had always dreamed about, only I didn’t know I was dreaming it”

Rusty Keeler, keynote speaker 2010

The Natural Phenomena Conference You’ll experience 2 ½ days of:

❉ World class speakers & presentations

❉ Engaging practical and nurturing workshops

❉ Thought/practice/life-changing conversations

❉ Delicious lunches and dinners served al fresco

❉ A majestic venue and the earth beneath your feet

❉ Hands-on workshops

❉ Play and creativity

❉ And plenty of heart and magic!

“A must do! Next time I’ll bring my team. Food for my soul that I can pass onto our mokopuna/tamariki.”

Delegate 2013

The Natural Phenomena Conference What you’ll take home

❉ Techniques to help you implement nature-based play/projects in your centre, school, home and environment

❉ The latest research of why getting children into nature is so important

❉ Replenishment on a professional and personal level

❉ Memories of a unique conference experience, the only of its kind in NZ

❉ Connection with a community of educators and parents you can relate to

❉ A relationship to nature you may not have felt before

The Natural Phenomena Conference Registration fees 2022 Conference 18th – 20st November 2022 (all incl GST)

Early Bird Registration
$490 (Early Bird closes August 31st)
Standard Registration
Student Discount
$100 discount off any of the above options for a Student enrolled in a Full Time course – Proof of student ID required
Group discount
Four or more from the same centre – 7% further discount to above prices!!
Scholarships open now

directions to the Natural Phenomena ConferenceThe Wild Woods

Kiripaka, Whangarei, New Zealand

Kiripaka is a rural area about 6.5 kms from the outskirts of Whangarei. The address is 592 Ngunguru Road. (click on the map to get directions)

The conference is conducted outdoors in an ancient stand of trees known as the Wild Woods, down the drive past Open Spaces Preschool.
Most of our delegates prefer to camp at the venue adding experience to theory. Don’t worry the showers are hot!
Read here the notes for campers

Wild Woods - location of the Natural Phenomena Conference

The Natural Phenomena Conference Accommodation – camping

Camping is extremely popular amongst the delegates, and most people choose to camp. You get to truly experience the wonder of the wild woods, and are able to stay in the energy of the conference.

camping2camping1 camping3

We wholeheartedly encourage camping at the venue as it a worth while experience.

We provide good campground facilities with hot showers and toilets, please supply your own camping equipment.

The cost for the camping is $30 per person for two nights.

Read here the notes for campers

Other accommodation close by:

Lupton Lodge, 555 Ngunguru Road, Glenbervie, Phone +64 (0)9 4372989

Twin Lakes, Glenbervie

Pacific Rendezvous, Tutukaka

Sands Motel, Whangaumu Bay

Oceans Resort, Tutukaka

Some more under:
Book a bach website



Hello Campers,

We are looking forward to meeting you and providing a unique camping experience at the conference venue.

Here is a little bit of information for you about the camping facilities and what you may wish to bring. The campsite is on the edge of The Wild Woods, so essentially a grassy paddock with a stone wall.

So the key point is you need to bring everything you may need for camping.


  • A Tent + Hammer for tent pegs
  • Something to sleep on
  • Sleeping Bag
  • Pillows
  • Torch with functioning batteries
  • Food for breakfasts (your morning tea, lunches, afternoon tea and dinners are provided for the duration of the conference – please refer to the program for more details)
  • Food for midnight snacks
  • Plates, Cups, Utensils you may need for breakfasts or cups of tea and coffee. (And if you bring all that, something to wash things in)
  • Chilly Bin (with Ice) to keep food/milk cold.
  • Sunscreen
  • Insect Repellent
  • Warm clothes, sun protection, rain protection
  • Personal toiletries
  • Towel

There is water at The Wild Woods, but you will need water bottles.

Showers and Toilets
We are providing toilets and there will be an ablution block in the camping area for showers (yes they are hot). We have a lot of people choosing the camping option this year, so we need to ask that you be considerate when using the showers and limit your shower to 2 mins each.
In the mornings there will be queue for the shower so either use this opportunity to chat to someone you have not met before or if you are pressed for time, put your towel in line, nip away for your breakfast, while your towel holds your spot.

Quiet Hours
To be respectful of everyone that is camping we please ask that you are quiet between the hours of 10pm and 7am. Be careful of slamming toilet doors. If you would like to socialise you are very welcome to sit in the Main Marquee or around the bonfire.

And last but not least B.Y.O some beautiful summer weather and a big smile.

The Natural Phenomena Conference FAQ

The Natural Phenomena Conference Frequently Asked Questions

Is the conference only for early childhood educators?
The conference is of interest to anyone who is involved with children of any age and those involved in land- and play-scape design. The subject matter has a broad base and would appeal to those interested in the positive role nature has in our lives.

If I fly to Whangarei is there transport to and from the conference venue?
Yes. Just let us know when you are arriving. We run a pick up and drop off service from the airport or bus station in Whangarei.

I really want to come. When do I have to pay by?
Upon registration you will be automatically invoiced, this is due by the 20th of the following month.

Direct Deposit into our bank acc 12 3093 0271064 00 with your Name or Organisation Name and Invoice Number as a reference.

What if something comes up and I can’t make it or it is cancelled?
Natural Phenomena Inc – Cancellation Policy
Should you need to cancel your registration, you are welcome to reassign it to another person.
If you are unable to arrange a replacement, a refund less a $150 cancellation fee will be made, provided notification is made prior to 15th of October 2021. After this date, refunds will be at the discretion of the Organising Committee.

We acknowledge these are uncertain times.  Should we have to cancel  or postpone The Natural Phenomena 2021 for any reason we will transfer your full registration to 2022 or offer a full refund less $20 admin fee. 

Is the campsite far from the venue?
The camping area is adjacent to the venue and a short walk through the trees. Parking is nearby.

Click here for more details on camping.

What about other accommodation?
The venue is about halfway between the city of Whangarei and the beautiful Tutukaka Coast. Please see our accommodation link for further options.

Is there cell phone reception and wi-fi at the venue?
Cell phone reception is patchy. There are areas on the perimeter of the venue where you can get reception. There is no wi-fi. Part of the charm of camping and being in nature is having a tech holiday. Enjoy the peace!

Can I bring my campervan?
Yes. The camping charges are the same for tents and campervans/caravans.

What if it rains?
Of course we have booked in marvellous weather for the weekend, but since there is “no such thing as bad weather, just bad clothing” please come prepared. Days can be hot (or cold) and nights can be cold too.

I have special dietary needs
Upon registration, let us know your requirements and we will make sure you are catered for.

I have a question that’s not here
Please use below form to email us and we’ll get back to you as soon as we can.


As the conference from 2021 has been postponed to 2022, our scholarships will roll over. We look forward to meeting our successful applicants.

We delighted to award two complementary scholarships for a Full Registration to full time students living in New Zealand.  So send us your application telling us why we should sponsor you to the conference. You can send us an email to: Also, sign up to our Newsletter or join our Facebook Page and we will keep you informed of progress.

Scholarships close on the 1st of July 2021.

Previous Scholarship Winners Feedback
We have had a large number of amazing applications over the years, and we wish that we could have give everyone a scholarship!

❉ Tara Solomon, Warkworth
Feedback from Tara: “The Natural Phenomena Conference was inspiring, enriching and thought provoking, and I hope that my experience will enhance my ability as an educator.”
❉ Sally Edgar, Wellington
Feedback from Sally: “Looking back since then I can say with certainty that the conference has had a significant life-changing impact upon my life, and teaching practice and pedagogy.”
❉ Cheryl Thomas, Auckland

2014 Scholarships
We had a large number of amazing applications in 2014, and we wish that we could have given them all a scholarship! Unfortunately there were only 2 available. The successful applicants for the 2014 conference were:
❉ Bridget O’Leary from Nelson
❉ Susan Bailey from Wellington
The winner of the Northland Complimentary Ticket was
❉ Ranee Bell from Kaitaia.
Congratulations to all three of you and a big thank you to all that applied.

2013 Scholarship Winners
Our winners of last years scholarships certainly appreciated their experience. See some of their feedback:
❉ Anna Tripp, Taipa, Doubtless Bay
“An awesome & powerful grounding experience for teachers, educators and parents. Bring forth your soul”
❉ Anna Wilson, Arohanui Early Learning Centre, Kerikeri.