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The best glamping experiences in Australia

By Gwen Luscombe 27 December 2019

If camping isn’t your style, glamping (or glamorous camping) is certainly an alternative. From sleeping under the clear skies of the outback to snuggling up in a bell tent amongst the vines, Australia offers some of the most diverse options for glamping and you’ll find a way to appreciate the great outdoors without sacrificing your creature comforts. Swap the sleeping bag for a comfy bed with cushy pillows, quality linen, and gourmet meals; here’s where you can find some of the best glamping experiences around the country.

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Paperbark Camp, Jervis Bay, New South Wales

Just a two-and-a-half-hour drive from Sydney on the South Coast you’ll find Paperbark Camp, truly ecotourism at its best. Choose between a variety of safari-style canvas tents placed amongst the eucalyptus and paperbark trees and explore the famous white beaches and national Parks of Jervis Bay. Tents are solar-powered and feature private en-suite bathrooms and a wrap-around verandah where you can sit and watch the kangaroos at dusk. The onsite restaurant, The Gunyah, welcomes both in-house guests and non-residents for dinner and breakfast.

Terindah Estate Winery, Bellarine Peninsula, Victoria

Wine lovers, you’re welcome. Only 90 minutes’ drive or a short ferry ride from Melbourne to the Bellarine Peninsula, Terindah Estate Winery offers a gourmet glamping experience set among the vines with picturesque views across Port Phillip Bay towards Melbourne.

The glamping village of 15 luxury bell tents offers the perfect escape for food and wine enthusiasts as well as outdoor adventurers. Grab yourself a gourmet picnic hamper packed full of terrines, smoked and cured meats, fresh sourdough bread, olives, cornichons, and more, and enjoy the peaceful surrounds of the vines.

Wake up each morning to a private beach and a breakfast basket delivered either to your tent or enjoyed on the outdoor deck of Terindah Estate winery. Tents are furnished and feature luxury queen or twin mattresses with linens, towels, and USB lanterns, and are perfect for couples.

Keen to explore more of the land down under? Here are a few ideas:

Longitude 131, Kata Tjuta, North Territory

Truly an unforgettable experience, Longitude 131 is located in UNESCO Heritage-listed Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, so it’s only a short distance from the iconic Uluru monolith. 16 giant canopy tents offer viewing decks and floor-to-ceiling windows looking out towards Uluru. It’s the perfect place to watch the sunset from your private balcony (or even your bed) as the sun changes and reflects the colours of the breathtaking monolith.

Private tours and bespoke outback experiences can also be organised for guests staying here. It’s not cheap, but it’s certainly an unforgettable once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Sanctuary by Sirromet, Mount Cotton, QLD

Halfway between Brisbane and the Gold Coast (about 40 minutes’ drive from either location), Sirronet Wines has opened a luxury glamping experience in the gorgeous Mount Cotton region.

Sanctuary by Sirromet consists of 18 superbly appointed tented pavilions with natural surroundings and all the comforts one could wish for, including luxury furnishings, a well-stocked mini-bar, an en-suite bathroom, as well as free WiFi. Your two-night stay includes accommodation and locally-sourced gourmet breakfast hamper packed full of treats with coffee and fresh juices.

The tented pavilions are located hillside following the natural contour down to the lagoon, which is home to a variety of native wildlife and surrounded by paperbark trees and giant scribbly gums. Each has a private balcony floating above the landscape, giving guests a ‘treehouse’ impression looking across the canopy and over the lake.

Ikara Safari Camp, Wilpena Pound, South Australia

Ikara Safari Camp, located at Wilpena Pound Resort, is roughly five hours from Adelaide in the Flinders Ranges of South Australia. The luxury safari stay offers an authentic outback experience underneath the wide-open skies.

With 15 luxury en-suite safari tents, guests are set away from the general camping area in an exclusive spot that is perfect for relaxing within the Flinders Ranges National Park. Dining in the dedicated camp lodge is in a tranquil section at the furthest point away from existing facilities and infrastructure, perfect for unwinding by the fire before your evening meal.

Tents offer all the luxuries you need, including heating and cooling, as well as daily room service and a private deck that allows you to take in the late afternoon light on the spectacular rock formations of the Flinders Ranges while enjoying a glass of fine South Australian wine.

Guests can choose from a range of touring options to explore the region, including guided walks and 4WD excursions into the area. Air Wilpena also offers scenic flights over the Pound and as far as Lake Eyre.

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Discovery Rottnest Island, Rottnest Island, Western Australia

Rottnest Island, famous for its friendly quokkas, now offers a glamping experience at Discovery Rottnest Island. This eco-tent resort is just a short ferry ride from Fremantle at the southern tip of Western Australia and is located behind the sand dunes of Pinky Beach. The 83-tent eco-retreat offers a variety of accommodation options for guests, with private en-suites and outdoor decks and even a Beach Club and 30-metre resort pool to relax and enjoy the views.

You can choose from a variety of tent sizes and barbecue facilities, BBQ packs, and salads are available to purchase through Pinky’s Beach Club. Don’t feel like cooking? The Beach Club also serves locally-inspired dishes and cocktails to savour as the sun goes down. While you’re there, enjoy the beaches and mingle with the native quokkas, which are very active during the day and aren’t afraid to get up close, especially for photos. Google for quokka selfies—you won’t regret it!

The Island also offers plenty of great spots for snorkelling and—if you’re feeling adventurous—options to try skydiving or to explore the island by bike.

Sal Salis, Ningaloo Reef, Western Australia

Luxury escape Sal Salis is the perfect spot to swim with whale sharks and migrating humpback whales while you laze in your hammock among the sand dunes of Ningaloo Reef, located just outside of Exmouth in Western Australia.

Visitors can get there by flying north into Learmonth Airport from Perth and driving roughly 35 kilometres to Ningaloo Reef, where you’ll find some of the best snorkelling around. Ningaloo Reef is home to some 500 species of fish and 300 varieties of coral, but if you really want to tick off an item on your bucket list, hire a car and make the drive from Perth to Ningaloo, where you’ll pass through gorgeous towns such as Geraldton and Monkey Mia on the 13-hour drive.

Sal Salis is where the outback meets the pristine blue waters of the coral reefs and these glamping tents offer plenty of luxury amenities, including en-suite bathrooms and super comfy beds where you can fall asleep under a blanket of stars, listening to the rhythm of the waves just outside.

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Gwen Luscombe

Contributor

Gwen Luscombe grew up in the United States before being bit by the travel bug early in life. Always on the lookout for a great new restaurant and researching her next travel destination, she now calls Melbourne home.

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