Pam­pered camp­ing

The Press - Escape - - CAMPING -

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.

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