Glamping in NSW
Camping is one of the great get-away-from-it-all experiences. But not everyone relishes the idea of sleeping on the ground, billy tea or trudging to campground amenities blocks.
This is why glamping (“glamorous camping”) is the perfect alternative – you get to enjoy nature in all her raw beauty and experience time slowing down, but with all the comforts of a hotel. Most safari tents come with queen-size beds and stylish en suites, transforming the camping experience into a sumptuous retreat. It’s rejuvenation without the hefty price tag of a luxury resort.
From intimate getaways under the stars to safari-style tents surrounded by lush forest, here’s the best of NSW’s good-for-the-soul glamping.
Paperbark Camp offers a luxury sustainable glamping experience in a bushland setting in the Shoalhaven region, a 2.5-hr drive south of Sydney. The 12 safari-style canvas tents sit strategically among native eucalypts, have lovely decks and feature hotel-quality linen and amenities. You can canoe, snorkel, cycle or swim in the crystal-blue waters of Jervis Bay, and later head to dinner at on-site treetop restaurant Gunyah, spotting native wildlife along the way with your torch.
Also in Jervis Bay is The Cove, which offers glamping in bell tents alongside more traditional cabin accommodation. The tents feature a king-size bed and outdoor furniture to take an alfresco perch, and there’s a very schmick communal kitchen and communal bathroom (think timber and black corrugated iron).
Further south, between Tathra and Bermagui and surrounded by Mimosa Rocks National Park, is Tanja Lagoon Camp. As the name suggests, the camp sits on the fringes of a coastal lagoon and is a short walk to stunning Middle Beach. The four safari tents have well-equipped kitchens, a lounge area and en suites, as well as decks to sit and enjoy the silence. Enjoy a breakfast of local produce and then canoe or kayak on the lagoon. Batteries recharged? Tick.
Sierra Escape, just 20mins from Mudgee in central west NSW, is a magical place to unwind and recharge. The four luxury safari tents are set on 110 hectares of rolling countryside, which you can take in as you loll on your deck, sipping a great local wine or toasting marshmallows if the weather is cool. Soaking in your indoor or outdoor freestanding bath is about as good (and rejuvenating) as it gets.
On the other side of Mudgee, Glenayr Farm is completely off-grid. The 130-hectare sheep farm is home to four luxurious bell tents with queen beds, as well as a comfortable communal area with a kitchen and fireplace, plus a picturesque wood-fired hot tub. The sunsets here are legendary.
Or opt for an eco-tent at Evamor Valley, set on an 80-acre farm property alongside Mudgee's Cudgegong River. While away the hours enjoying a self-guided walk, relaxing by the fire pit, sipping on sunset drinks on your private deck, picnicking on the jetty, or simply cosying up in your plush king bed and taking in the bushland views.
Nashdale Lane Glamping is part of the Nashdale Lane Winery, which occupies 25 hectares of fertile grape-growing land in the highlands of Orange, also in the central west. The wooden, steel and canvas tent structures have a distinctly Aussie flavour and are rustic, yet luxurious. With sweeping vistas of the leafy green canopy of the vines, crisp mountain air and a range of Nashdale wines to sample, it's relaxation personified.
North Coast & Central Coast
There are a number of beachside glampsites along the North Coast near Byron Bay including a handful of holiday parks such as Suffolk Beachfront Holiday ParkTweed Holiday Parks Kingscliff North, where you can choose between safari tents, en suite caravans and luxury cabins.
Glamp by postcard-perfect Cabarita Beach at The Hideaway. The bell tents here come in two versions – the Deluxe, which sleeps two in a king-size bed, and the Family Deluxe, with a queen bed and two singles. The tents also feature lovely soft furnishings, an air-conditioner and mini-fridge.
The Mid-North Coast has options for both romantic stays or a trip with the kids: Amaroo Escape is an adults-only luxury riverfront eco-glamping experience on a lush valley in the Barrington Tops region; Hunter Valley winery Boydells offers a premium African safari tent overlooking their vineyard; and the Port Stephens Koala Sanctuary has deluxe four-star glamping tents that sleep up to four people.
On the Central Coast, a 90min drive north of Sydney, In2thewild’s Kookaburra Ridge glamping site features two well-fitted-out bell tents, each with a large deck and bath, and a ‘tavern’, a covered communal space with a bar and barbecue.
Blue Mountains & beyond
There are few better places in NSW to watch the world slow down than Bubbletent Australia, which comprises three clear inflatable domes on a 400-hectare working farm overlooking the Capertee Valley, between Lithgow and Mudgee, 200km west of Sydney.
The three transparent spheres sit atop raised wooden decks and provide a spectacular view of the stars at night and the vast valley during the day (Capertee is one of the world’s largest canyons). Inside, you’ll find a chic set up with a queen bed, while outside, stairs lead to a lower deck with an outdoor kitchenette and a seating area, an ideal spot to drink in the views. To make your stay even more rejuvenating, opt for the tent with a wood-fired outdoor hot tub.
Twice a year, stylish glamping tents pop up in the grounds of the sublime Mayfield Garden in Oberon. Hosted by Simple Pleasures Camping Co, the 15 bell tents are available for a month in spring and autumn. Enjoy dinner and drinks, stargaze by Obelisk Pond, relax around the fire pit and then sleep soundly in a queen-size bed.
Turon Gates Mountain Retreat has an enviable location on 2,400 hectares of unspoilt bushland – including a gurgling stretch of the Turon River – in Capertee. The solar-powered tents are all about indulgence, with king-size beds, a sitting room, log fire and en suite, and a 25sqm balcony with barbecue and fire pit.
With no mobile reception and no Wi-Fi, it’s a real opportunity to disconnect from the world, reconnect with yourself and feel life really slow down. Your only neighbours? The kangaroos, wombats, echidnas and possums which also call Turon home.