Some people just aren’t the camping type.
The freezing cold, the boiling heat, the bad food, bugs and sore backs are just a few of the inevitable camping trip turn-offs, but a new movement is attracting even the staunchest of house-dwellers.
The term “glamping” describes camping without the creature discomforts.
Think large, Mongolian yurt-style tents, raised beds, catered meals and even electricity.
It’s an attractive option for those who want to escape the big city and get closer to nature without sacrificing urban comforts, and it’s gaining popularity, as evidenced by the emergence of local companies keen to offer the glamping experience.
Whether you’re keen to hire a bunch of fancy tents for a wedding, or simply spend a special weekend away, luxury camping is now a viable option for those willing to spend the money.
We’ve rounded up some of the best glamping experiences in Australia below – be warned though, they cost more than a nylon sleeping bag and a few packs of Maggi noodles.
Happy Glamper, Mornington Peninsula, VIC
Happy Glamper lets you choose your location (as long as it’s on Victoria’s Mornington Peninsula) and they’ll set your glamping experience up for you. The most difficult thing you’ll have to do is choose between the vintage Airstream silver caravan, Lotus Belle or belle tent. The crew at Happy Glamper will do everything else – that means you’ll arrive to a beautiful bed, plus loads of books, chairs, magazines and games to keep you occupied. From $300 for two nights, two people.
St. Jerome’s – the hotel, Melbourne, VIC
A new hotel concept in Melbourne’s CBD is taking the concept even further. St. Jerome’s is the new glamping hotel owned by Melbourne bar owner and eponymous Laneway festival owner Jerome. The ‘hotel’ aims to provide an outdoor urban glamping experience on the rooftop of Melbourne Central train station, and features luxury-style four-metre and five-metre bell tents, fitted with thick quilts, carpet, heating and other interior design quirks. Rooms start from $330 per night.
Paperbark Camp, Jervis Bay, NSW
It’s difficult to accuse these guys of following the glamping trend – Paperbark Camp was conceived by the owners in Africa in the 1980s, and opened in 1999. Built to disappear into the incredible surrounds of Jervis Bay, Paperbark offers deluxe safari tents fitted with armchairs, wicker furniture, a comfortable bed and shelves stocked with necessities. Hit up the buffet for dinner and then relax in your very own bush bathtub. From $395 per night.
Roar and Snore, Taronga Zoo, NSW
For an almost-safari experience, why not shack up at Sydney’s Taronga Zoo for the night? Roar and Snore offers lucky glampers the opportunity to stay in fully-furnished and generously-spaced tents overlooking the harbour, and wake up to the sound of trumpeting elephants. Don’t forget a buffet dinner and personal night tour from a zoo keeper to cap off the (urban) safari experience. Adults $320, children $205.
Nightfall, Lamington National Park, QLD
Perched in national park between Brisbane and the Gold Coast, Nightfall camp allows you to truly feel lost. The safari tents here just scrape through as ‘tents’ – solid timbers floors hold tasteful timber furniture, a hand-carved stone basin, rain-head shower and a fireplace for winter nights. The three 62m/sq tents each come with complimentary champagne and a gourmet platter (left in your fridge, of course). From $455 per tent.
Wilson Island, QLD
Wilson Island is a tiny coral cay island on the Great Barrier Reef. Only 12 guests can stay at one time, or visit by booking a day trip from nearby Heron Island. The “designer-inspired” tents here offer king-size beds, binoculars for nature watching, robes, toiletries, daily housekeeping and a personal chef to lead you on your dining journey. There is also a central hub offering piping hot showers (solar power, naturally). $928pp.