Lefties on location: if you go down to the woods today…

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…you’re sure of a big surprise!

Last weekend, a break-out faction of Keep Left’s content production team headed out to Kinglake National Park, north of Melbourne, to undertake a secret task for our outdoorsy client Kathmandu.

Mission ‘Hidden Retreat’ had been months in the making, with the busy bees at Kathmandu and the Keep Left team arranging clandestine calls, photo shoots and site recces in the lead up to the big day.

The idea?

Set up the ultimate campsite in a secret location somewhere in Australia for the public to find. Those who could break Kathmandu’s cryptic clues on social media and uncover their Hidden Retreat would be in with a chance of winning the ultimate campsite set up, worth over $4,000, along with an excellent range of runner-up prizes.The concept was the brainchild of Thomas Rennie, our Art Director and magic ideas machine. When we asked him what the inspiration was for the Hidden Retreat, Rennie told us that as a kid he used to make forts in the woods near his house. “I liked the idea of someone else coming along after me and finding this place all set up and waiting for them. There’s something quite Hansel and Gretel about it!”.
A tent in the woods at Kathmandu's hidden retreat

With the help of Account Director Jasmin, Consultant Mary and the Keep Left team, Rennie’s vision was brought to life.

The set up

An ultimate campsite doesn’t just set itself up. Under the cloak of two inconspicuous rental vans, with Jasmin and Mary at the wheels, our team of Lefties and an audacious amount of bug spray departed the big smoke in the direction of the countryside.

“I’m an outdoors kind of guy”, Rennie tells us, as though we didn’t already know. “There’s nothing like the satisfaction you get when you put the final guy rope in place, but it was a bit different with the Hidden Retreat. We sat back after we nailed the first tent, and realised we had seven more to put up! We paid a well-earned visit to the Kinglake Pub that night.”

The ultimate campsite at Kathmandu's hidden retreat

Blood, sweat and tears, alright.

But there’s no rest for the wicked. At 5.00am the following day, the team were bright eyed and bushy tailed, and back on the campsite to put the final touches to the Hidden Retreat.

The Keep Left team puts the finishing touches to Kathmandu Hidden RetreatA few hours later, and with Jasmin in a high-vis vest doing her best bouncer impression, over 100 happy campers arrived at the site keen for some competition.

After a spot of clue trivia and a gruelling game of quoits (the athletes’ game of choice), the overall winners were announced. Congratulations to Jamie and Mark, who had driven over two hours to get their hands on the prize – here’s to many happy camping trips!

The winners of Kathmandu's Hidden Retreat Challenge with their prizes

The after party

But the festivities didn’t end there. With the secluded spot in the woods packed with hungry competitors, it was time for the great Aussie tradition of a cook out. “We’d set up seating areas and games so people could enjoy the sunshine, and having food meant that the runners-up also had a fun day out with their family, so it wasn’t all about the winning,” Jasmin told us.

“It was just like a big family picnic,” Rennie added. “That BBQ, too – the food was homemade by a local caterer, and those were the best burgers I’ve ever eaten.”

Given the number of burgers Rennie has put away in his life, that is some accolade.

Keep Left sign at Kathmandu Hidden Retreat

Quick facts

WHAT: Kathmandu Hidden Retreat
WHERE: The Gums, Kinglake National Park
WHEN: Saturday 24th February 2018
WHO: Jasmin, Rennie, Tash, Jacob, Mary, Ben and Johanna from Keep Left + Wombat + the Kathmandu team + 100 happy campers

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