Forget punctured air mattresses and leaky tents, raise the bar on a happy glamping holiday Down Under.
11 Aussie spots that make camping easy
Forget punctured air mattresses and leaky tents, raise the bar on a happy glamping holiday Down Under.
Forget punctured air mattresses and leaky tents, suggests Philippa Macken, and raise the bar on a happy glamping holiday Down Under.
It’s the stuff of treasured childhood memories. Musty tents with siblings crammed together like giggling, cocooned caterpillars, and that delicious feeling of waking with the kookaburras, nothing but a canvas wall between you and the outdoors. We all want to recreate the same unforgettable memories for our kids, but, for some, the thought of roughing it under the stars has lost its appeal. Enter glamping.
The global trend in eco-luxury offers the best of both worlds: long days frolicking in nature, complemented by private bathrooms and a proper mattress to sleep on. Check out five of the best family safari tents in Australia.
Wollamia, New South Wales
Camping with the kids doesn’t have to mean sleepless nights and mozzie infestations. Paperbark Camp’s cosy canvases, near Jervis Bay, may well have inspired the ‘glamping’ craze in New South Wales. Spend lazy days snorkelling off Huskisson and Hyams beaches, the latter boasting the whitest sand in the world. Explore Booderee National Park on hiking trails tailored to even the tiniest member of the family, and picnic at Currambene Creek while being serenaded by a happy chorus of crimson rosellas. Paperbark’s Gunyah Restaurant serves up delicious breakfasts and dinners, with gourmet picnics on hand for lunch on the fly. The minimum age of children is six.
families who appreciate little luxuries. The stylish tents capture the sea breeze, and come with top-quality amenities, including soaps and lotions. The King Deluxe safari tent is the ultimate in family camping, accommodating up to six people. For something more economical, the “original safari tent” sleeps two adults and two children, and the Deluxe Safari Tent sleeps three. Children must be at least six years of age.
Werribee Open Range Zoo
Whether you’re five or 55, roasting marshmallows around a campfire to the spine-tingling roar of a lion nearby is a moment you’ll never forget. The Werribee Open Range Zoo, 30 minutes from Melbourne, redefines camping with its Slumber Safari experience. Think comfortable tented lodges, African-inspired cuisine, nighttime walks and exclusive animal encounters. Wake the kids early and step out onto your tent’s viewing balcony to witness the glorious elephants and giraffes rise and shine for a new day.
animal-lovers of all ages. The tents overlook the Werribee River and the zoo’s African savannah. This is a fully hosted experience, with drinks and dips at sunset, and exciting nighttime activities. Kids will get a buzz out of staying up late to feast on jam, scones and marshmallows around the campfire. Congregate in the Safari Dining Hut for breakfast before setting out to meet the animals. With only eight tents available, you’ll feel like you own the zoo. The Slumber Safari experience is available during school holidays.
Wilpena Pound Resort
Flinders Ranges National Park, South Australia
Introduce children to Indigenous art and storytelling at one of Australia’s favourite glamping destinations: Wilpena Pound Resort. Off-the-beaten track, 430 kilometres north of Adelaide, Wilpena Pound is for the true Aussie adventuring family. Learn about the Adnyamathanha people and local Aboriginal culture on recently launched tours. Kids will love the Marri Mita (Bush Buddies) experience, a one-hour guided walk with an Adnyamathanha guide. They will explore the biodiversity along Wilpena Creek and hear traditional stories about the breathtaking countryside. They will also be introduced to arts and crafts using natural materials they’ve collected along the walk. When the sky is full of stars, snuggle up in one of 15 ensuite tents in the resort’s Ikara Safari Camp. Set among river red gums and native pines, this is one glamping experience the kids will be begging to go back to.
families who love staying close to nature and for curious minds, young and old. If luxury accommodation isn’t for you, Wilpena Pound also has 46 powered sites, as well as permanent tents. Plus, there are some great tours for mums and dads (and older children), including a guided stroll to the Old Wilpena Station.
Beachcamp Eco Retreat
Fraser Island, Queensland
Fraser Island is a true bucket-list destination perfect for a multi-generational, 4WD family holiday. Beachcamp Eco Retreat offers a little bit of civilisation on an untamed island, where you can relax and wash the pristine white sand out of your swimmers after long days exploring this remarkable World Heritage Site. Take in the sweeping ocean views, cook up a barbecue feast or stoke the wood-fired pizza oven, and enjoy a campfire singalong under a starry night sky. Each glamping tent features a bathroom, linen, towels, and blankets.
nature-loving, down-to-Earth families. Book a six-bed bunk tent or leave the teenagers to their nighttime antics and take the queen tent next door for privacy and a good night’s sleep. Beachcamp Eco Retreat is set 100 metres from the beach, tucked safely behind the dingo fence.
Karijini Eco Retreat
Karijini National Park, Western Australia
The second-largest national park in WA is a wonderland of gorges, waterfalls and crystal-clear pools surrounded by rocky desert that blooms with wildflowers come spring. While the environment is rugged, your accommodation doesn’t have to be. Karijini Eco Retreat offers the first and only glamping experience in the 627,000-hetare national park, inviting families to venture out by day and relax by night. There are 40 ensuite and 10 dorm-style semi-permanent eco tents designed with the fragile landscape in mind, offering natural ventilation rather than air conditioning, and a licensed al fresco restaurant where you and the kids can enjoy a taste of outback hospitality.
families in search of exploration and adventure. There are a limited number of Deluxe Eco Tents that sleep up to four guests, comprising one king-size bed and a set of bunks. These family tents are only available by calling or emailing, and be sure to book well in advance.
Banubanu Beachfront Eco Tents
This eco-escape, hidden in the northeast coves of Bremer Island in Yolngu Sea Country, will leave the stresses of daily life far behind. Kids will love exploring the natural wonders of the bush and the traditional culture of East Arnhem Land in spacious beachfront tents with ocean views, private decks and ensuites. Three meals a day are included, plus return aircraft flights and an exciting mud crabbing tour, guided by a local.
This is an island camping experience where kids can learn more about Australia’s traditional owners and the lands we are lucky to call home.
This may be the only accommodation in the world that simultaneously offers campsite bonfires and harbour views. Located in Sydney Harbour, this makes for an easy outdoor experience without the work; simply catch the ferry to enjoy a campsite all ready for you to use, hot showers and all. There’s a communal camp kitchen with barbecues, fridges and microwaves, or if you’re feeling a family dining experience, Societe Overboard offers kid-friendly options like burritos and burgers. While you’re there, take the all-ages Haunted Histories tour, which is a thrilling and valuable lesson in Australian history.
Harbour Bridge views, history and kid-friendly activities at campground prices.
Scamander Sanctuary Holiday Park
The bell tents at Scamander Sanctuary are a sight to behold; hanging plants, a coffee machine, kitchenettes and spacious decks are just a few of the features in these charming (but enormous) tents. There is a communal kitchen and bathroom, equipped with showers and hot water. Overlooking the nature reserve, you’ll wake to the sound of crashing waves from the warmth of your electric blanket-equipped bed, and the East Coast of Tasmania waiting to be explored.
Nestled between the Bay of Fires and Wineglass Bay, this is the perfect gateway to Tasmania’s stunning landscapes.
Sanctuary by Sirromet
Mount Cotton, QLD
Encased in lush greenery only half an hour from Brisbane, Sanctuary by Sirromet delivers all the tranquillity its name evokes. Tented pavilions offer the kind of comfort that will endear the experience even to the fussiest teen, with spacious interiors, bedding, lounges, power and even free Wi-Fi. Never fear; the pavillions are still completely secluded by bushland from their location on the grounds of Sirromet Winery and offer views across Moreton Bay and easy dining; award-winning wines are an extra perk.
Perfect for families looking for comfort, stellar views and privacy with the convenience of a nearby city.
BIG4 Bellarine Holiday Park Victoria
Marcus Hill, VIC
Not far from Victoria’s prime beach holiday hub, Ocean Grove, BIG4 Bellarine Holiday Park offers a safari tent to rival all others. At its porch entrance, you’ll find a potted plant and a wicker egg chair, oozing summer vibes. Beside this is a bath tub overlooking the surrounding greenery. Inside, a four-poster bed is veiled in white, and there are rustic timber bunks for kids. There’s also a dining table, lounge, bathroom and kitchen, plus luxe additions like split-system heating and cooling.
A tent with its own bathroom, electricity and a prime location, plus on-demand holiday park fun.
Zoofari Lodge Taronga Western Plains Zoo
Dubbo, New South Wales
Fifteen impressive African-style lodges bring a whole new meaning to a room with a view, 10 offering prime vistas of the zoo’s African Savannah environment. Wake to the sight of giraffes and zebras grazing just beyond your door as you take in the sunrise on your private deck, or relax in your own double bath. Each lodge includes a private ensuite, mini-bar and fridge, with all linen and towels provided. Nearby, a guest house offers dining, a bar and lounge, plus a saltwater swimming pool.
African-inspired decor? Pretty cool. Waking to the sound of roaming antelope? Priceless.
Browse our selection of great family accommodation options around the world