They combine the comforts of the luxury of hotel rooms with the adventure of sleeping under the stars. We sent the Time Out team to review the best glamping sites in NSW – from beachside retreats to wine country getaways.
Turon Gates Country Resort is such a well-kept secret. It sits on the western foothills of the Blue Mountains, just northwest of Wolgan Valley, on the road between Lithgow and Mudgee. Look up, and you might catch a white-bellied Australian kestrel hovering above you. Look behind you as you gain altitude and you might see a wedge-tailed eagle winging across the plain below. It looks like it was cut out of a European fairy tale and dropped into the Australian bush.
Situated around 25 minutes north of Mudgee, Sierra Escape is an off-the-grid, camping-style experience that offers the comforts of a five-star hotel. Emphasis should be placed on ‘escape’ here – the dirt road from the centre of Mudgee means it’s a bit out of the way – but the journey is a small tradeoff for its secluded location. Wildlife around the camp is abundant: small green tree frogs hop along gravel roads, crimson rosellas perch in the trees just meters away from the tent, kangaroos bounce over fences and sheep, and llamas and cows graze in neighbouring paddocks and fields.
Paperbark Camp, found ten minutes’ drive from Huskisson in Jervis Bay, is the antidote to all those shoestring family camping trips (and the subsequent backache). It’s by far the most glamorous way to camp under the stars that we’ve ever experienced, from the queen bed with bamboo and cotton linen to the outdoor roll-top bath with white cotton robes and slippers. Raised above ground and surrounded by a canopy of gum trees, the tent felt more like a hotel suite with a constant breeze from the open canvas windows. Imagine camping scenes from Game of Thrones, but with less death and more WiFi access.
Roar and Snore
Roar and Snore is Taronga Zoo’s long-running overnight experience. It starts after the gates have closed on daytime visitors and continue until they open again at 9.30 the following morning. It’s one of the biggest income generators for the not-for-profit wildlife organisation, and at $320 per adult for a Saturday stay, it might seem expensive for a night under canvas – but then again, how often do you get to sleep at the zoo? You’ll meet critters at sunset; see lions, tigers, snow leopards and a sun bear fed late-night snacks; and dine at the zoo’s restaurant.
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