Glamping (glamorous camping) is a wonderful way to explore Australia's natural beauty in style.
By Jac Taylor and Allie Metz
Glamorous camping: it is not only possible, but an ideal way to see many of Australia's great sights without sacrificing comfort. You swap a sleeping bag for a bed with plump pillows and fine linen, and campfire food for three-course meals. The only thing that stays the same is that you're in a tent. This is truly a five-star way to enjoy the great outdoors.
Nightfall Camp, Lamington National Park
A solar-powered camp in Queensland's spectacular Scenic Rim, surrounded by renowned national parks, Nightfall has only a handful of handmade canvas safari tents with timber floors, private bathrooms and rotating fireplaces. There is a maximum of eight guests at any time, so you can truly escape the chaos of everyday life. Relax with a massage alongside the river rapids, dine on fully organic camp cuisine and enjoy complimentary sparkling wine and espresso coffee.
Spicers Canopy Eco Lodge, Scenic Rim
Ten luxury safari tents are dotted in the wilderness at Spicers Canopy Eco Lodge. The glamping tents here are reserved for group bookings, or as part of the Scenic Rim Trail guided walk. Hearty meals are cooked in the fire pit and outdoor wood-fired pizza oven under a blanket of a billion stars, and the tents include a hot water bottle turndown service. Outside, guided walks of the magnificent Scenic Rim region await.
Longitude 131, Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park
In an enviable location only 19 kilometres (12 miles) from the famous Uluru monolith in Australia's Red Centre, Longitude 131 blurs the lines between five-star resort and camping experience. Curved timber viewing decks and floor-to-ceiling glass windows looking towards Uluru contrast with giant tent canopy ceilings over 16 decadent tents. Watch the changing light transform the landscape from your private balcony, or even from the comfort of your bed, as you feel the profound sense of place that Australia's spiritual centre provides.
Wildman Wilderness Lodge, Mary River National Park
On the Mary River floodplains, just two hours east of Darwin, guests of Wildman Wilderness Lodge glamp in luxury safari tents, enjoy breakfast in the open-air restaurant, savour sundowner drinks on the wide timber patio alongside the fire pit and experience fantastic boat, car and walking tours of the surrounding wilderness. You'll find exotic wildlife and adventure around every turn when you stay in this lush environment.
Bamurru Plains, Kakadu National Park
The astounding Mary River floodplain, near Kakadu National Park, is home to so much Australian wildlife that it has been called Australia’s answer to Africa's Okavango Delta. Watch buffalo, wallabies and dozens of bird species go about their daily life from one of ten luxury safari bungalows at Bamurru Plains. The camp is just a three-hour drive from Darwin, or opt for a 30-minute scenic charter flight over some of the most spectacular wetlands in the world.
Sal Salis, Ningaloo Reef
Swim with whale sharks or even migrating humpback whales as you stay in total luxury among the sand dunes at Sal Salis Wilderness Camp, where the remote outback meets the turquoise, wildlife-filled waters of Ningaloo Reef. If you have time, road trip north from Perth along the Coral Coast (about 13 hours) or take the short flight directly to Exmouth. Choose from an eco-luxe wilderness tent, including ensuite bathroom and handmade timber bed, or the four-poster bed of the romantic honeymoon tent.
Mile End Glamping, Margaret River
In Western Australia's premier wine region (about a three-hour drive south of Perth) you'll find the luxurious, if quirky, elevated domes of Mile End Glamping. They include luxury bathrooms, king-sized four-poster beds and full kitchens. Decks have spa baths and barbecues so you can enjoy the beautiful surrounds of this stunning area. The domes, with Hamptons-inspired decor, also have air-conditioning and heating. Head out to discover the wine and produce Margaret River is famous for, or stay close to base and have gourmet hampers and meals delivered to you.
Kooljaman Camp, Cape Leveque, Kimberley region
Kooljaman at Cape Leveque in the Kimberley, 220 kilometres (137 miles) north of outback beach town Broome (you can fly here from Perth), is jointly owned by local Aboriginal communities. It welcomes guests to swim from footprint-free beaches, learn about spearfishing or traditional bushfood, or simply explore one of the most remote places in the world. Spend your days swimming or snorkelling in the turquoise waters, fishing from shore, spotting migrating whales or enjoying leisurely walks along the expansive beach.
Ikara Safari Camp, Wilpena Pound, Flinders Ranges
A stay in one of the 15 glamping tents at Ikara Safari Camp at Wilpena Pound Resort (a five-hour drive from Adelaide) makes a visit to the Flinders Ranges extra special. The incredible rock formations, mountains and gorges of Wilpena Pound are spectacular and this is the only resort within the national park. You'll find two-person and family tents here, making the stay comfortable and accessible for everyone. Book a scenic flight over the Pound, a 4WD tour with an Aboriginal guide to see the landscape at sunset, or just relax and watch the outback sky fill with stars.
Cockatoo Island, Sydney Harbour
Sydney Harbour's largest island, Cockatoo Island, has tents, bedding and even toiletries provided for guests who want to glamp right in the middle of one of the world's most famous and beautiful harbours. You can even glamp here on New Year's Eve, in front of Sydney's famous fireworks. No matter what time of year you stay here, you're guaranteed to wake up to a very special view: no less than the Sydney Harbour Bridge.
Paperbark Camp, Jervis Bay
Classic Australian bush provides the backdrop to Paperbark Camp, a quiet escape (and multi-award-winning glamping institution) just a 2.5-hour drive south of Sydney. The camp is tucked away in a peaceful bush setting but also conveniently located less than a 10-minute drive to the stunning white sand beaches of Jervis Bay. You'll be treated to fine food and wine, cosy accommodation and incredible nature right at your doorstep.
Roar and Snore, Taronga Zoo Sydney
Knowing where the animals are is the key to a great safari experience – and it’s particularly easy in a zoo! Enjoy the beautiful city sights over Sydney Harbour at Taronga Zoo Sydney's unusual accommodation, where guests can meet the animals, enjoy a night safari, sleep in glamping tents and wake to an early morning behind-the-scenes tour of the zoo. Roar and Snore operates every weekend and during Australian school holidays.
Bubble Tents, Capertree, Mudgee region
Bubble Tent Australia's unique accommodation is located 200 kilometres (124 miles) to the west of Sydney’s centre, overlooking the Capertree Valley. Take a break from the city, marvel at the panoramic views of rolling hills or see the sky ablaze with millions of stars. Head into nearby Mudgee to discover a quaint country town with lots of charm. Stock up on fresh produce and visit fantastic wineries to create the perfect picnic basket for your night under the stars.
Bruny Island Long Weekend, Bruny Island, Tasmania
Combining farm gate visits, guided wilderness walking and luxury glamping each night, the three-day Bruny Island Long Weekend experience combines three days of hiking through Bruny Island's magnificent surrounds with sampling local gourmet produce and sleeping in luxurious glamping tents each night. Over the course of the itinerary you'll enjoy slow-cooked pork from a farm, harvest fresh oysters directly from the water and indulge in some of the creamiest, handmade cheese Tasmania has to offer. With no light pollution on the island, you may be lucky enough to spot the Southern Lights.