The glamping (glamorous camping) movement has well and truly made it to Victoria, with luxe camping businesses popping up all over the state in scenic locations.
Camping is a wonderful idea — reconnect with nature, breath in the ambience of peace and quiet and the fresh non-city air. It's the perfect escape from the urban jungle of life. But the logistics of camping are difficult.
Thankfully glamping, the luxurious older sister of that other activity, provides a classy alternative to simply roughing it outdoors. Combining both the beauty of nature with the mod cons and comfort of a hotel means you can have your wilderness experience and goose-feather down quilt too.
ST JEROME'S HOTEL, CBD
Camping in the heart of Melbourne never sounded remotely attractive until the guys behind St Jerome's Hotel came along and plonked twenty-one luxurious bell-shaped tents on the roof of Melbourne Central. Now you can nestle into your pillow-top bed, soak in the 360-degree views of the city and enjoy the complimentary breakfast (complete with tea and coffee) and your own esky filled with free beer and cider. If you want to feel extra zen, there's also guided meditation on weekends. St Jermone's rooftop glamping will end on Wednesday, April 25, 2018 — so book your visit now if you want to visit before it closes. Visit stjeromesthehotel.com.au
HAPPY GLAMPER, MORNINGTON PENINSULA
Pristine beaches, famous wineries and lush hiking tracks await visitors to the Mornington Peninsula; but we reckon you’ll find it hard to leave the campsite that Happy Glamper will set up in time for your arrival. These glamping gurus make every experience feel personal, with colourful bunting, fresh linen, board games and books and magazines. If you’re not a tent person, then they also have a vintage Airstream or restored ’50s caravan named ‘Miss Myrtle’. Happy Glamper not only pitches and packs up your campsite, but also gives you a range of nifty options. Choose from a cosy couples' bell tent or an emperor tent fit for up to six people. The best part? Happy Glamper will set up your tent — complete with magazines, mats, boardgames and chairs. You can also pay for extras, such as a picnic kit. Visit happyglamper.com.au
SLUMBER SAFARI, WERRIBEE OPEN RANGE ZOO
Does a rhino get bed hair? Are giraffes grumpy in the morning? What does a lion eat for breakfast? Spend a night in your safari-styled tent fitted with all the creature comforts at the Werribee Open Range Zoo and find out all of these niggling questions that no amount of Googling can ever answer. Slumber Safari also includes delicious snacks, dinner, a night walk, campfire and the mandatory marshmallow experience.
PHILLIP ISLAND GLAMPING, PHILLIP ISLAND
Just 90 minutes from Melbourne is a little island famous for its natural beauty: beaches, hiking and of course, penguins. What better way to embrace it all than by camping, where you’ll tread lightest? Phillip Island Glamping takes all the work out of camping: you book the spot, and they’ll set up a beautiful canvas bell tent, complete with an air mattress and bedding, towels, kitchen appliances and even outdoor table and chairs.
With comfy mattresses and linen, heaters and kettles, you can have a cosy weekend of romance or relaxation close to the beautiful beaches of Phillip Island. Simply book in your tent, choose which campsite you'd like it pitched in and leave it to the Phillip Island Glamping gurus. Visit phillipislandglamping.com.au
WILDERNESS RETREAT,VARIOUS NATIONAL PARKS
The Prom is one of Victoria's favourite national parks, and is a not-too gruelling three and a half hour drive from Melbourne. The 50,000 hectares of reserve is a magical realm of native wildlife, pure rivers, granite mountain-tops and lush valleys. Spend the day slogging one of the challenging hikes in the area before collapsing in a glam safari-tent at the Wilderness Retreat, complete with a queen size bed, ensuite bathroom, timber furniture and BBQ. Or head over to the Buchan Caves Reserve in the Snowy Mountains — where Wilderness Retreat's other glamping tents are. Here you can explore the ancient limestone caves, then take in the countryside views from your deck. Visit wildernessretreats.com.au
COSY TENTS, DAYLESFORD
Here in a serene camping spot in the Macedon Ranges, you'll wake up to the sounds of birds and the breeze through gum trees. Open the flap of your large canvas tent and you’ll find a box filled with milk, bread and fruit. After breakfast, all of the Daylesford region is yours to explore; treat yourself to a massage at one of the town’s many spas, or soak into the natural mineral waters of the nearby Hepburn Bathhouse.
Goose down quilt? Check. Bose speakers? Check. BBQ, esky and communal fire pit for adventurous campfire cooking? Check. Stunning views across Hepburn Shire? Yep — you guessed it — check. Cosy Tents is the perfect weekend getaway to explore the smorgasbord of gourmet food, wineries and award-winning restaurants in the region. Oh, and it's right near the spa capital of Australia.
THE YURT ALPINE RETREAT, KING VALLEY
Not only is saying the word 'yurt' over and over again fun, but staying in one is pretty fun too. Providing the only yurts — which are Mongolian round tents — in the magnificent King Valley wine region, the Yurt Alpine Retreat is smack-bang in the middle of a cattle and sheep farm overlooking the mountains. A glass dome ceiling makes late night stargazing a pleasant pastime — as well as spending time spotting the abundance of local roos and wombats. Visit theyurtalpineretreat.com
BALGOWNIE ESTATE, BENDIGO
Spend your next weekender sipping top-notch wines on an outdoor lounge on your own private deck, soaking up sunset-flooded rural views — smack-bang in the middle of lush vineyards at Balgownie Estate. The tents, of which there are 15, are also set up with rugs, lighting, furnishings, aircon, tea-and-coffee making gear and bar fridges. One even has its own hot tub. There are three tent types on offer (with increasing levels of luxury). The Bell Tent, the Bell Tent Twin and the Luxury Safari Tent — which is probably bigger than your CBD apartment — comes with an indoor couch, a four-poster queen-sized bed and a kitchenette. Visit balgownieestatebendigo.com