It’s no secret we’ve got an almost unlimited supply of pretty spectacular spots for camping. But now, swifter than you can unravel your swag, glamping is staking its claim on the great outdoors and even the royal family are jumping on board. Wills and Kate will reportedly enjoy their own romantic glamping experience, sans baby George, during their time in Australia this month.
Picture all the joys of camping, without any of the hard yakka – luxury linen sheets, plush beds, timber decks, the odd ensuite or two, and the requisite canvas walls, and you’ve got an idea. And the best bit? Like its more traditional campsites, glamping in Queensland comes with multi-million dollar views of beaches, bush or rainforest. So come prepared for some pampered camping.
Cape Tribulation Camping
Rainforest. Beach. Reef. One of Queensland’s most northern glamping sites can be found nestled among this tantalising trifecta at Cape Tribulation Camping. Apart from the traditional tents and 4WDs, are six luxury safari tents, each able to house two people.
Replete with all the mod cons such as fans, lights, a timber deck and chairs, you’ll sleep like the dead to the nightly cacophony of the rainforest. Just when you think things couldn’t get any more glam, there’s also a wood-fired pizza café on site, which reputedly also serves a half-decent coffee.
Jabiru Safari Lodge
The Mareeba Wetlands, west of Cairns, is the ideal setting to cop a squat and wildlife watch. Here, a daily Wildlife Safari, which is included in your tariff, reads like a Who’s Who of the Australian bush. All the usual suspects can be spotted such as emus, wild pigs, wallaroos, wallabies and kangaroos. And then there’s the feathered friends not to mention the frogs, reptiles and mammals.
Other activities include canoeing and cruising on Clancy’s Lagoon. Choose from three deluxe ensuite African-style safari tents or two ensuited eco cabins. In the safari cabin, you’ve event got your own fridge. Perfect really, for chilling the champagne to take to this glamp-site’s heated spa set in the bush.
For those who like to throw in a bit of Robinson remoteness with their glamping, look no further than Haggerstone Island, 600 kilometres north of Cairns in Cape York. There are only six structures on the island and that’s counting the jetty. Not that you’ll be slumming it by any measure. Select from the Lagoon Hut, the Kwila Hut or the Beach Hut, each of which come with little luxuries. Spend lazy days fishing, sand boarding, bird watching, snorkelling or taking a helicopter adventure.
Agnes Water Beach Caravan Park
Absolute beachfront is the drawcard at laid-back Agnes Water Beach Caravan Park, five hours north of Brisbane and one-and-a-half hours away from Bundaberg and Gladstone. This venue takes the concept of glamping to a new level, offering a variety of chalets with sweeping ocean views. Choose from the treetop, breakers or the honeymoon chalets, all of which are equipped with private ensuites, flat-screen televisions and even air-conditioning. This is glamping with a capital G.
Gilligan himself would have been emerald with envy at the offerings on Wilson Island. Under the mantra “Shipwrecked in Style” this speck of coral cay off the Gladstone coast aims to deliver the ultimate in luxury camping. A maximum of 12 guests are welcome on the island at any time, in one of six safari-style tents.
A king-size bed, mandatory binoculars for all the nature-watching and a hammock overlooking the ocean are just some of its trademarks. Better yet, there’s even a chef serving fresh food and premium Australian wines.
Rainbow Beach Hire-A-Camp
The ultimate in languid luxury can be found on the Fraser Coast at Rainbow Beach Hire-A-Camp. Here, a group of camping specialists who call themselves Campingologists will “pitch and pack” your campsite for you. Among its popular packages, this company will provide a beachside location for up to four people (two adults and two children) with tent, stretcher beds, chairs, table, gas stove and bottle, esky, barbecue, water container, crockery and cutlery.
Sure, it’s not quite glamping in the traditional sense, but if your idea of luxury is having someone else do all the work, this is for you. And it frees you up to go surfing, swimming, four wheel driving, boating and golfing.
How could anyone resist glamping it up at a place named Alure? Picture a four-poster bed, mood lighting and fluffy heated towels at the end of your day of wine tasting in Queensland’s Granite Belt country. This is just not any old safari tent. In the ensuite bathroom, replete with double sinks, you’ll discover toiletries, a hairdryer and even a hair straightener.
This sprawling Aladdin’s Cave is built with front and back timber decks, an eco-fireplace, and reverse cycle air-conditioning. But the piece-de-resistance here, as if it could get any better, is your very own private heated outdoor spa under which you can soak, sip some of the state’s finest wines, and gaze at the magnificent Southern Cross.
Spicers Canopy, Maryvale
Perched up on the Scenic Rim where the air is just that little bit crisper, sits ten luxury tents known as Spicers Canopy. Bushwalking is the activity of choice on this property, which sits adjacent to 3200ha of Australian bush and mountains. But a typical day here might include a walk to the waterhole, mountain bike riding and laser target shooting.
Your private chef will create magic from fresh regional produce and serve it up with great wines, all included in the cost of your stay. After dinner, listen to some bush poetry by the fireplace, or retreat to your luxury tent and its king-size bed, plush armchair, polished floorboards and timber deck.
Ketchup’s Bank Glamping, Boonah
There’s only two luxury, eco-tents on this secluded property in the Scenic Rim so you’ll feel like you have the Aussie bush all to yourself. About two hours from the Gold Coast and an hour from Brisbane, Ketchup’s Bank Glamping‘s luxury lodgings have queen-sized beds and self-contained private camp kitchens including barbecues with condiments thrown in. A special touch is the complementary daily kitchen cleaning and dishwashing, so you can concentrate on more important matters, like watching the wallabies pass by.
Nightfall Wilderness Camp, Lamington National Park
It sounds like the name of the next James Bond movie and at nightfall you can really feel like a celebrity among the multitude of stars – the celestial kind, that is. Location plays a big part here with nearby Christmas Creek and its private “beach”, and your own day bed one of the highlights of your stay.
Sunset drinks punctuate the end of the day at Nightfall Wilderness Camp, followed by organic food and hand-selected Australian wine. All that’s left to do is to sink into your king-sized bed where you can choose to lift the canvas walls for a deeper connection with outdoors.
Carnarvon Gorge Wilderness Lodge, Carnarvon Gorge
To put it bluntly, this place is gorgeous. Little wonder really, when you’re glamping at the foot of one of Queensland’s most mystical places, Carnarvon Gorge. The gorge itself winds 30 kilometres through this 120 hectare national park which boasts an Aboriginal history of 19,000 years and has 12 significant Indigenous sites to visit via 22 colourful creek crossings.
The lodgings themselves are pure luxury. Picture a bit of Hemmingway’s Africa and throw in the cackle of a kookaburra and you’ve got the story. Best of all, the water in your private bathroom comes from the creek which has only dried up twice in the past 70 years and is reportedly the cleanest H20 in the country.
Other Glamping Experiences:
Castaways, Moreton Island
Murphy’s Creek Escape, Lockyer Valley
Lake Somerset Holiday Park, Lake Somerset