Photo Courtesy of Bamurru PlainsWe already told you about five ultra-luxe glamping experiences across Australia ranging from tiny Pacific coral cays to desert tents in the Red Center. Now itís time to take a look at five more fabulous nature experiences with one just a few minutes from the center of Sydney, and others that are in some of the planetís most isolated spots.
New South Wales1. Tandara: Donít have time to get to the Outback? You can still have an authentic Australian glamping experience just a few miles from Sydneyís iconic Harbour Bridge at this new luxury camping experience in Lane Cove National Park.
The tents here feature all the modern conveniences including flat-screen TVs with Blueray and DVD, iPod docks and even outdoor kitchenettes with refrigerators and barbecues. They have king-size or twin beds, and full en-suite bathrooms with dual vanities, deep soaking tubs and separate double walk-in showers; plus a covered outdoor deck with a sitting area and a dining table and chairs. Guests can hang out on their private decks, bicycle through the park, go on bushwalks, or kayak around the harbor. Rates start at $390 AUD per night and include a continental breakfast.†LCRTP.com.au
Northern Territory2. Bamurru Plains: One of the pioneers of truly luxurious glamping in Australia is Bamurru Plains. It offers an unparalleled array of guest amenities even while taking guests into the heart of some of Australiaís wildest settings.†Located near Kakadu National Park, a few hoursí drive from Darwin, Bamurru Plains has just nine rustic-luxe safari suites ó no TVs or iPod docks here ó but all construction and soft materials are organic, including the cotton linens and chemical-free bath products.
The tents donít have walls, but thatís so guests can feel like theyíre part of nature as they look out their screens into the heart of the Outback and listen for the sounds of the abundant wildlife who call the area home. During their stay, guests can take Aboriginal tours of the Kakadu, go airboating over the Mary River Wetlands, take river cruises to spot crocodiles, water buffaloes and some of the 236 species of native birds, and go on 4WD safaris or scenic helicopter flights. Rates start at $930 AUD per person per night with a two-night minimum stay. BamurruPlains.com
Queensland3. Spicers Canopy: This camp of ten luxury tents is located at Spicers Peak Station, a working cattle ranch in the Main Range National Park about a 90-minute drive southwest of Brisbane, and next to Australiaís largest private nature reserve. The retreat itself is a permanent campsite on a grass-covered hill consisting of 10 guest tents with either king-sized or twin beds, fine linens, hardwood floors, wicker armchairs, and rustic-chic bedside tables and lamps. Bathrooms are a short walk from the tents, and each tent has its own private washhouse with solar-heated water.†
The communal dining area has a huge stone fireplace and a custom-made communal table where guests can enjoy gourmet dinners, and informal Australian barbecue. During the days, guests can go on guided nature walks to see koalas and kangaroos, explore local bat caves, and take a swim in hidden swimming holes, as well as booking massages, taking horseback rides and using the complimentary mountain bikes. Rates at the camp, which is usually rented as a whole for groups, start at $275 AUD per person per night. SpicersGroup.com.au
Western Australia4. Eco Beach Wilderness Retreat Broome: This award-winning eco-retreat holds pride of place along the Indian Ocean, an hour-and-a-half south of the town of Broome in Australiaís stunning Kimberley region. This glamp is a little bigger than some of the other properties on our list, with 25 deluxe Eco Villas and 30 safari-style Eco Tents, as well as two beautifully appointed Beach Houses for groups of up to six.
The one-bedroom Eco Villas front the Indian Ocean and were designed with earth friendly features such as solar power, energy-efficient lighting and air conditioning (and an energy-monitoring system so you know how much you're using), louvre windows, sustainable bamboo floors and composite decking. They encompass a spacious 700 square feet of interior space, with 375-square-foot outdoor decks and are outfitted with king-size beds, wardrobes, bedside tables, lamps, a powerful ceiling fan and an en suite bathroom, as well as a living room furnished with a large leather sofa bed, a kitchenette and small dining table.
The spacious safari-style tents, right on the sandy paths leading up to the beach, all have small front decks with views of the Indian Ocean or the Kimberley landscape, and almost 300 square feet of interior space. They contain king-size or twin beds, nightstands with reading lamps, en suite bathrooms, coolers (no fridges), and just enough electricity to light your lamps and charge your iPhone...but probably not at the same time. The Beach Houses, meanwhile, have two bedrooms and two bathrooms each, linked by a timber deck living area with barbecue, while the interiors have the same amenities as the Eco Villas.
The activities here include self-guided bushwalks, fishing excursions, bird- and whale-watching, kayaking, four-wheeling, sailing, spa treatments†and complimentary morning yoga classes. The meals arenít included, but they are easily arranged (and not too unreasonably expensive) at the resortís ocean-front Jackís Restaurant, which serves up a seasonal array of produce and fresh-off-the-boat seafood. Rates start at $165 AUD per night for the tents, $250 AUD for the villas and $1,000 AUD for the Beach Houses. Note, the retreat is closed during wet season from mid-January to the beginning of April. EcoBeach.com.au
5. Karijini Eco Retreat: This new wilderness retreat is one of the founding members of Ecolodges of Australia, and a portion of your room fees goes toward conservation efforts in stunning Karijini National Park, where it is located. Each of the deluxe eco tents is also semi-permanent so it was constructed (and can be removed) with a minimal, non-invasive impact on the ecology. They were also built with recycled materials and a host of conservation features like gray water recycling. Though the tents arenít air conditioned, they are said to be quite comfortable and temperate thanks to specially designed roofs that create a breeze, even in the hottest conditions.
Each tent is equipped with a king-size bed or twin beds dressed in all-cotton sheets, and had the deluxe tents have their own ensuite bathrooms, while the standard tents share facilities. Guests can also dine at the Alfresco restaurant on simple fare. While at the camp, guests can indulge in activities like nature hikes, exploring gorges, waterfalls and swimming holes, and rock climbing. Rates start at $149.50 AUD per night. KarijiniEcoRetreat.com.au
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Water buffalo and birdlife in the Mary River Wetlands at dusk near Bamurru Plains.
One of the deluxe tents at Spicers Canopy in Queensland.
One of Tandara's fully equipped spacious tents.
Tandara's tents feature full baths.
One of Karijini's eco tents.
Some of the stunning Kimberley scenery near Karijini.
Eco Beach Wilderness Retreat Broome from above.
One of Eco Beach Retreat's Eco Villas.