When the words camping and comfort are placed in the same sentence, it somehow seems unnatural. Camping holidays conjure images of uneven ground, sleeping bags that are either too hot or too cold, and little sleep. Not to mention tents that always seem to droop at some point during the night, no matter how well erected they are. It's quite obvious why the idea of camping isn't the most attractive one.
With that being said, it's time to banish those ugly thoughts of camping from your mind, as it may well be a thing of the past. Some smart tourism operators seem to realise that enjoying a little glamour while camping is true genius, and so it seems that more and more "glamping" destinations are popping up around the country.
With a range of styles, budgets and levels of luxury, there's no excuse not to head out and get back to nature, take a deep breath and enjoy . If the idea of a roomy tent, resort grade mattress and luxurious sheets to retire into each night take your fancy, you may be in luck. Perhaps you dream of a campsite complete with espresso machines and ensuite? We've got the stuff dreams are made of right here:
Paperbark Camp Jervis Bay, NSW: Just over 2 hours drive from Sydney on the gorgeous south coast of NSW, this camp offers a peaceful retreat nestled within an iconic Australian bush setting. Offering a choice of original or deluxe safari tents, campers are treated to their own private verandah and ensuite. With the beach not far away, it's a perfect getaway and if you'd ever dream of taking the kids glamping, they have options for that too.
Sal Salis, Ningaloo Reef, WA: As if a visit to the Ningaloo Reef isn't special enough, a stay at Sal Salis is a memory that is sure to linger well beyond your stay. This luxurious camp is nestled in the dunes of the Cape Range National Park and offers nine tents that all look out to the waters edge and Ningaloo Reef. This eco lodge generates very little environmental impact and allows you to connect with the amazing wildlife and surrounds of the area.
Alure Boutique Villas, Stanthorpe, QLD: If you've ever dreamed of a tent complete with your very own espresso machine, then a stay at Alure Boutique Villas is definitely for you. These tents are tented villas that offer all the luxuries you could expect of a 5 star resort. Eco-fireplace, reverse cycle air conditioning and a cosy bed to retreat to at night or for an afternoon nap. Surrounded by fine wineries this is a holiday opportunity like no other.
Bamurru Plains, NT: Located on the Mary River Floodplains, along the border of Kakadu National Park, this glamping experience offers a sense of adventure and spirituality that comes with visiting this remote area of Australia. The safari suites allow visitors to take in the beauty of the surrounding nature and wildlife. With a number of activities and tours available including everything from bird watching, to river cruises and helicopter flights, there's a clear option for adventure or relaxation.
Longitude 131°, Uluru, NT: Perhaps one of Australia's most famous glamping opportunities, what better way to go glamping than with Uluru as your backdrop. Use the camp as your base to explore the amazing red centre, taking in Uluru and Kata Tjuta (The Olgas). Enjoy dinner in the Dune House, or more spectacularly, under the desert skies at table 131°.
Kooljaman, Cape Leveque, WA: If you're looking for glamping in the rugged wilderness then Kooljaman is for you. This luxury camp offers a real connection with the Aboriginal culture from the region, being owned and operated by two local communities. Connect with nature, or take part in boat trips, cultural tours or a range of other activities. Alternatively, simply kick back and relax in your safari tent.
So before you plan your next holiday and opt for a hotel surrounded by other tourists all heading to the same overcrowded destinations and attractions as you, think again. There is something to be desired about taking a peaceful getaway to connect with nature and enjoy the simplicity that only camping can bring. Knowing that there's luxury on offer makes the idea even more inviting and just may provide a world of relaxation that only getting back to nature can.
Loreena Walsh is a writer, photographer, wife & mum of 3 who's a dreamer at heart. Passionate about environmental issues, coffee and finding the good in humanity you can find her over at Little Aussie Travellers and Twitter, as she chases her dreams of living a minimalist life in a caravan travelling Australia.