Eye fillet on the barbecue, a hot shower and a log burner in every tent. This is what camping should be. Forget inflatable mattresses and sticky sleeping bags, glamping – ‘‘glamourous camping’’ – has hit Canterbury and makes regular camping look positively Third World.
Harriet and Lloyd Chapman have set up the latest Canopy Camping glampsite on part of their 1000-hectare farm on Banks Peninsula.
It is high-end, for campers who want a little luxury in their lives after a long day on the farm’s secluded beach.
Laverick’s Bay, right next door to Le Bons Bay, is part of the Chapman working sheep and beef farm.
It is a two-hour drive from Christchurch, with places like Little River and The Hilltop for pit-stops.
The site is tucked on a hillside, a short walk from the beachfront and surrounded by the farm’s livestock – fenced off, of course.
With three young kids at home, Harriet leapt at the chance to set up a business for herself close to home. The camp site caters to two couples (and a couple of kids, if you really have to).
It’s a stone’s throw from the main house, but hidden from view, so you have your privacy.
It is quiet, cosy and seriously cute.
Driving over the hilltop into Laverick’s Bay, there is nothing but a turqoise ocean spread out in front of you complete with golden sand beach. Lambs bounce past in front of the car and the descent into the valley seems almost surreal.
Overseas tourists couldn’t help but be smitten.
The campsite itself exceeds expectations.
Let’s start with the tents. They’re huge. Each has a proper double bed, complete with quality linen, a wood-burning stove, vintage paraffin lamps and you live on raised exposed wooden floors.
In summer, with the tent flaps open and the sea breeze coming in, it will be an oasis of calm and comfort.
We are visiting on a cold, wet and windy weekend, something to be feared by the regular camper, but when you are glamping the weather is almost an insignificant concern.
The in-tent log-burners give off more than enough warmth on a stormy night. Think wine and cheese and amoody fire.
Between the tents, the Chapmans have put together an amenities block, complete with covered kitchen, hot water and a proper bathroom.
Carrying a lantern to the bathroom is a novelty for city slickers and nothing says luxury like a hot shower. It’s all the perfect mix of lux designing with a kind of, back to basics feel. A great combination, preserving the intention of camping with the extras thrown in.
Despite the cold, the opensided kitchen space is warmed by the barbecue and it’s all very intrepid. We pass on the outdoor clawfoot tub, because of the cold, but I can easily imagine lying back in bubbles with a clear starry night above and a glass on wine perched on the side.
A collection of classic board games passes the time in the style of our parents’ generation when television wasn’t even an option. They even have Jenga.
We are reluctant to bring our mini-break to an end and there is already talk of booking again in summer.
Sun trap: The outdoor deck catches the sun and views across the fields.
Glamour spot: Tents never looked so good at night.