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Ultimate glamping guide: camp around Australia in style

Welcome to Campstay’s ultimate glamping guide for Australian campers! Have you ever wondered if your glamping game is strong enough? Is your camp mattress soft and pillowy? Do you have enough camping gadgets? Have you perfected your tent’s temperature and ventilation?

Hang on a minute… are you still staying in a tent?

Cristal Bubble inflateable tent
Instead, you could be staying in this inflatable dome. Source: http://www.coolthings.com/cristalbubble-is-a-giant-inflatable-shelter/

There are a few things you need to know about glamping if you want to take your road trip to the next level. Campstay is headquartered in beautiful Brisbane, Queensland. Therefore, this glamping guide will focus on planning an Australian camping trip. However, we won’t stop you if you’re inspired to take a glamping holiday anywhere in the world. The more glamping, the better!

In our ultimate Australian glamping guide we will reveal:

The history of glamping
The benefits of glamping vs traditional camping or staying in a hotel

How to glamp – including:
Choosing Australian glamping accommodation, whether you stay at a caravan park, rent a motorhome, choose a unique campsite or do it yourself
What to eat on your Australian glamping holiday
How to afford a glamping holiday
Our fun “What kind of glamper are you?” quiz

If you find these kind of guides useful (or at least entertaining) let us know, so that we can create more like this one.

Without further ado, here is our ultimate glamping guide for a luxurious Australian camping trip.

A brief history of glamping

If you’re reading an online glamping guide, you probably know a little bit about glamping (glamorous camping). For city slickers and comfort lovers,  glamping offers a connection to the natural world with a touch of luxury.

However, no ultimate glamping guide would be complete without a quick summary of this wonderful trend’s origins.

You may be under the impression glamping is a modern phenomenon. Wrong. People have been jazzing up their campsites since at least the 16th century.

Some claim the Ottomans popularised glamping with their luxurious Bedouin tents. These featured silks, luxurious couches and even chandeliers, all to make life a little more comfortable for sultans and other important travellers.

Personally, I’m certain Homo Sapiens were putting a few nice throw furs and decorative pendants in their tents at least 40,000 years ago.

Glamping continued to be popular throughout the centuries. This was particularly true in the 1800’s, when it was trendy for rich travellers from Europe and the Americas to “explore” Africa. There is at least one Agatha Christie book I can think of which involves a luxury safari tent.

While glamping has been happening forever, the term didn’t enter common vernacular until it emerged in the UK around 2005.

The noughties are known for popularising portmanteaus (combinations of two words to create a new one). Other examples include TomKat (Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes) and hangry (hungry and angry). Glamping, as mentioned above, is a portmanteau of glamorous and camping.

As glamping took Europe by storm, Australia followed suit, with fashionable glampsites popping up all around the country.

Now you know the history of glamping, it’s time to find out why you should take a glamping holiday!

Why you should go glamping

Glamping is the perfect compromise

My way or the highway

Common questions camping enthusiasts ask about glamping include “What is the point?” and “Doesn’t glamping defeat the purpose of camping?”.

On the other hand, luxury lovers ask “Why should I go glamping when I could stay at a nice hotel?”.  And “Outside… isn’t that where bugs live?”.

Like all great rivals (e.g. Hatfields and McCoys, Montagues and Capulets, Blues and Maroons), comfort lovers and campers have been at war for centuries.

However, the wonderful thing about glamping is that it builds a bridge between the needs of each group.

Households and friendship circles often include people with a range of interests and holiday preferences. If you’re struggling to get your kids, friends or partner interested in taking a traditional Aussie camping trip, complete with sleeping rough, glamping may be the solution.

Alternatively, if your family enjoys the outdoors while you prefer lying by a heated pool, see if you can convince them to give glamping a whirl.

Glamping offers the best of both worlds

Source: Tourism Australia.

It is very rare to find a luxury hotel right on the beach, or in the middle of one of Australia’s most beautiful national parks.  If you do find such an establishment, your stay is likely to be incredibly expensive. Glamping, while not necessarily as cheap as traditional camping, is a reasonably priced way to access the best of both worlds.

One oft cited benefit of camping is the opportunity to get away from it all and go off-grid. No social media. No calls from the boss. Heaven, right? However, this has traditionally come at the price of “roughing it”. Glamping provides an excuse to switch off your phone without physical suffering.

Glamping is eco-friendly

Eco glamping AUstralia

Ok, so this one really only applies when you compare glamping to traditional accommodation options. I can’t deny traditional camping is also eco-friendly.  If you love it, go for it! And while you’re at it, stop stalking this glamping blog…

However, if you’re tossing up between a family holiday at a motel and a glamping trip, glamping wins hands down. Here’s why:

  1. Glamping accommodation consumes fewer resources. Even if you stay in the most luxurious glamping yurt in Australia, it is likely to use fewer (or less environmentally destructive) resources in its construction and maintenance than a hotel room. You’re more likely to see locally crafted furniture and recycled materials here. You’re also more likely to enjoy natural airflow and consequently, use less air-con.
  2. Glamping enhances environmental awareness. Do you feel “meh” about this whole save the planet thing? Well, you’ll feel a bit less meh after spending a week in a glorious Aussie national park. Trust me. Getting closer (but not too close) to nature helps us appreciate its intrinsic value.

How to glamp

So you’re totally sold on this whole glamping thing. Now you need to know how to go glamping!

How to select the right glamping accommodation

I’ve already shared my feelings about traditional tents on the Campstay blog. Needless to say, there are many other accommodation options which offer a luxurious experience with a camping vibe.

 Option 1: Caravan parks

Consider staying at an Australian caravan park. Caravan parks often occupy prime real estate close to the beach, bush or other attractions. Some also offer schmick cabins, glamping tents  and even yurts designed for this kind of experience. Minibar included.

For your convenience, we’ve compiled a list of our favourite glamping caravan parks in every Australian state and territory.

QLD | NSW | ACT| VIC | WA | NT | TAS | Skip to the next section

Best Queensland glamping caravan park – Rivershore Resort

The Campstay team has had the pleasure of touring this fabulous caravan park on QLD’s Sunshine Coast.  This newly built, resort-style park was designed with glamping in mind.

They have an amazing onsite café and restaurant. Plus, a secret squirrel told us a spa might be in the works. Most importantly, their glamorous safari tents are to die for!

Best New South Wales glamping caravan park – Valla Beach Tourist Park

One word. Yurts. Yes, you can sleep in a yurt at Valla Beach Tourist Park. Who doesn’t want to sleep in a cool octagonal cabin complete with air-con and TV?

The park also offers dining and dancing in their historic woolshed. Sounds like a unique glamping experience to me!

Best Australian Capital Territory glamping caravan park – Alivio Tourist Park

Alivio Tourist Park is a deluxe caravan park with features galore. Their well appointed cabins offer a more traditional glamping experience, while their many activities (tennis courts, swimming pools and so on) will keep you and the family entertained.

Bonus: Alivio is only 10 minutes from parliament house, just in case you feel like rubbing shoulders with our nation’s leaders.

Best Victorian glamping caravan park – Jubilee Lake Holiday Park

Jubilee Lake Holiday Park offers a gorgeous secluded bushland setting with all the mod cons. It’s pet friendly and they allow open fires. Absolutely perfect for a bush themed glamping holiday!

Best South Australian glamping caravan park – Ceduna Shelley Beach Caravan Park

Mediterranean style beachfront villas in South Australia! Need we say more? The location is unparalleled and Ceduna is described as the oyster capital of Australia. You can even buy your oysters at reception! Now that’s luxury.

Best Western Australian glamping caravan park – WA Wilderness Glamping

When glamping is in the name of the campsite, you know you’re on the right track. The team at WA Wilderness Glamping will set up your glamping tent for you. All you need to do is show up and enjoy the pristine Western Australian bushland.

Best Northern Territory glamping caravan park – Katherine Holiday Park

Just 5km from Katherine, this holiday park will help fulfil your outback fantasies in comfort and style. The gorgeous Safari Tents at Katherine Holiday Park provide access to the best parts of nature, while keeping the worst parts at bay.

Best Tasmanian glamping caravan park – Big4 St Helens Caravan Park

St Helens has been awarded Tassie’s best caravan park a whopping six times, and it’s easy to see why. They offer a range of deluxe cabins and park facilities. However, their location is what truly sets them apart – they are situated close to the world renowned Bay of Fires, one of the world’s best beaches.

Have you stayed at a glamping campsite in Australia recently? Do you have any caravan parks you’d like us to add to this list? Let us know in the comments!

Option 2: RVs, caravans and other accommodation on wheels

Nothing says glamping like not having to pack up every time your location changes. If you don’t have your own caravan or motorhome, and you can’t borrow one, renting is the next best thing.

Star RV has motorhome rental branches around Australia, and has a range of luxurious RVs  to choose from. The opulent Pandora model includes my all-time favourite feature – the electric drop down bed. I demoed this on a Winnebago at this year’s QLD Caravan Show.

In most motorhomes and campervans, you set up your bed each evening by converting the dinette to a level surface. Then, you place the mattress, or mattress sections, on top.  The electric drop-down bed eliminates this process without also eliminating the dinette area.  If you’re uncoordinated and/or lazy like me, this is a real bonus!

However, even if you don’t rent a motorhome as luxurious as the Pandora, an RV or towable of any description will improve your living conditions.

If you’re not keen on renting from a commercial camper hire company, check out Camplify. They offer caravan and motorhome rental from private owners throughout Australia. Some of their caravans are even specifically set up for glamping holidays.

Option 3: DIY

Look, it sounds like a lot of work to me (see aforementioned laziness), but you can definitely create your own camping wonderland. There are infinite ways you can set up your glampsite, depending on your personal preferences and how  elaborate you want it to be. However, a successful glamping trip always comes down to three simple things:

  1. Start with the foundation of good sleep, comfortable bedding. You need a good, thick, and preferably real mattress. Or, at the very least, a blow-up with a pillow-top. Bring along your pillow from home, some soft sheets, and you’re all set.
  2. Comfort is king. Protect yourself from the elements with a weather-appropriate tent and clothing. If you are wet and uncomfortable, you aren’t glamping. Bonus tip: Set up a tarp over your entire campsite to reduce tent condensation dramatically.
  3. Bring along extras which mean “luxury” to you. This is different for everyone. For me, these items help make a camping trip more comfortable and luxurious:
  • A three-way fridge to keep my fancy food cold, even in remote locations
  • A chainsaw to make starting the campfire a breeze (make sure firewood collection and campfires are allowed at your site)
  • A speaker to play my favourite tunes
  • A kindle so I can read by the campfire
  • Warm socks and super-comfortable footwear
  • Convenient toiletries such as facial wipes and hand sanitiser
  • Copious amounts of chocolate
  • A real wine glass (they make unbreakable ones these days)
  • Oh, and some wine

The ideal glamping setup. Source: Winnebago Australia

Option 4: Find a totally unique Australian campsite

There is a lot of overlap between glampers and those who seek new experiences in general. By reinventing the classic Aussie camping trip, we create unique memories which will last a lifetime.

There’s something very special and, dare I say, glamourous about being one of the first to experience something. For example, check out this incredible new tree-top hammock camp on the Gold Coast Hinterlands. Breathtaking. Surely literally sleeping amongst the stars counts as glamping!

Tree glamping Gold Coast
Source: The Urban List.

What to eat on your Australian glamping holiday

If you’re staying at a full-service caravan park with a camp kitchen, the possibilities are almost endless. However, you can do so much with limited utensils too.

My tips for great camping meals boil down to the following two pearls of wisdom:

  1. Quality ingredients. Even if you don’t have a fridge or a full utility block, you can still eat fancy food. Think gourmet baked beans, herbs and spices and a bottle of red wine (is anyone noticing a theme?).
  2. Prior planning. If you get to Katherine NT, with nothing more than a bag of flour and three muesli bars, guess what you’ll be eating? Nothing beats a good meal plan. If you can cook some meals ahead of time, even better!

I am by no means a potential Masterchef Australia contestant. Therefore, I’ll leave the recipes to you. Do you have any favourite breakky, lunch or dinner recipes which might work on a glamping trip? We’d be happy to publish them on the Campstay blog, or add them to this glamping guide (with full credit to you).

How to afford the ultimate glamping trip

I’m sorry to tell you there’s no silver bullet here. If you’re after a budget holiday, this kind of camping trip may not be for you.

Fabulous Australian glamping accommodation does come at a higher cost than pitching up a tent at a standard campsite. Staying in a purpose-built safari tent at a caravan park can set you back just as much as a hotel. When you look at the quality of some of the safari tents and cabins, it is easy to see why.

As discussed in the “Why go glamping” section, people don’t necessarily glamp to save money. They glamp to bring peace to warring tribes. Or, for the unique opportunity to get close to Australia’s stunning natural wonders while enjoying the comforts of home.

However, if you follow the DIY path outlined in our glamping guide, you should be able to keep costs down. This may mean you stay at a powered site and rig up your own fancy tent. That way you can have the fridge and bar access, without the big price tag.

Your glamping identity

What type of glamper are you quiz

Now you know the history of glamping, why you should glamp and how to create the ultimate Australian glamping holiday. You’ve even considered the true cost of glamping (sigh). All that remains to find out what kind of glamper you are. Take our fun glamping quiz now! (P.s. I’m a “Classic glamper”).

Summing up

That just about zips up this intents glamping guide (ba boom tishhhh). Now, over to you! Was this ultimate glamping guide ultimate enough? Is there anything I missed? Tell us in the comments!

 

 

Do you need a little help planning your next holiday? Campstay can help you find, compare and book holiday parks and campgrounds. Check out our website here, or download our android / itunes app. You can also follow us on Facebook, Instagram, or join our group – Holiday Park recommendations Australia.

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