WHILE IT’S HARD TO BEAT THE ROMANCE OF CAMPING, SOMETIMES YOU NEED A LITTLE MORE STAR POWER... AND A HOT TUB
New South Wales
Bush retreat Turon Gates recently added six riverside glamping tents to its 2400ha Blue Mountains property. Couples can enjoy laid-back luxury with a four-poster bed, lounge area, a bathroom with tempting tub for two, kitchenette, Nespresso coffee machine and a Danish wood-burner stove for maximum cosiness. Other thoughtful touches include a welcome gift of local wine and honey, and in-tent magazines, books and board games. Turon Gates owner Kirsten Lunoe says the outdoor experience is tailored to urban escapees.
“A scenic road trip of about three hours from Sydney immerses you in the great outdoors where you’ll be sharing the ’hood with kangaroos, wombats, platypus and echidnas. Our guests love that they can choose to go horse riding or have an in-tent massage. Katoomba, Mudgee, Bathurst and Lithgow are within easy reach, but the magic of Turon tends to stop the urge to venture elsewhere.” Turon Gates is solar- powered, but if you’re not down for a digital detox, Wi-fi is available around the glamping sites.
Go to turongates.com
New South Wales
Calling all stargazers and daydreamers – there’s nothing between you and the view in a clear, inflatable bubbletent. Three see-through tents are perched on the edge of the world’s second-largest canyon to capture a vista tailor-made for two. Sitting pretty on a rolling hill with valley views, the Leo has its own Swedish wood-fired hot tub, while the clifftop Cancer features a floating bed. While you’ll definitely want to bring your camera, they supply just about everything else from a telescope to check out the astro action to hot water bottles, slippers and a cheeseboard.
The off-grid experience takes place on a working farm between Lithgow and Mudgee.
Go to bubbletentaustralia.com
BAY OF FIRES BUSH RETREAT
There’s an art to campfire cuisine, but it helps to have an expert on your side. This boutique camping experience is run by Tasmanian chef Thomas Dicker, so you know you’ll never be stuck with cold baked beans. While you can DIY dishes in the well-stocked communal kitchen, the two-course chef ’s choice dinners and hearty breakfasts are a highlight of bunking in the beautifully styled bell tents. There’s a feast for your eyes too. The retreat is on the doorstep of photographer’s paradise Bay of Fires and a wonderland of white sandy beaches stretches from Binalong Bay to Eddystone Point. Fill your days with surfing, swimming, hiking, mountain biking, fishing and yoga.
Go to bayoffiresbushretreat.com.au
SAL SALIS NINGALOO REEF
Sleepovers in the world’s special places are usually reserved for light-treading campers, but the privilege comes with creature comforts at Cape Range National Park near Exmouth. Sal Salis’ 16 wilderness tents are hidden in the sand dunes where the outback meets the reef, providing an eco-luxe base for seasonal swims with their most famous neighbour – whale sharks. As well as the giant visitors, the UNESCO World Heritage listed Ningaloo Reef is home to more than 500 species of colourful fish, 250 coral species, rays and turtles.
Designed to blend with the natural environment, the safari-style tents sit on raised platforms surveying the ocean. Handmade jarrah beds are swathed in quality cotton sheets and guests can swap charcoaled marshmallows for chef-prepared canapes and wine-paired three-course dinners.
Go to salsalis.com.au