Glamping the night away in luxury is an ideal way to enjoy the NSW bush, writes Vanessa Wu.
When we arrive at our campground to see a bell tent bathed in the glow of fairy lights sitting in a corner, we cross our fingers it is ours for the weekend. Our hearts leap when the lock pops open with the code that was sent to us.
Inside our moodily-lit tent is a deluxe queen foam mattress, made up with 1000 thread-count Egyptian cotton linen and strewn with pillows and cushions, as well as blankets, rugs, lanterns and two stools that serve as bedside tables. There's even a solar-powered USB charging bank for phones and devices. Outside, a chair is placed by either door, for us to sit and enjoy those starry nights around the campfire.
Voila! We now have a cosy bedroom right in the middle of the bush. This is my style of glamping - short for glamorous camping - a luxury stay among nature that comes with plenty of creature comforts.
We booked our bell tent through Glampr which takes care of setting it up before you arrive and taking it down after you leave. It's perfect for urbanites like me who barely remember how to pitch a tent and don't mind skipping the laborious bits of camping.
Glampr will set up a tent in a location of your choice in the Sydney region, but also recommends several sites, including Narrabeen and Glenworth Valley.
The weekend away manages to land in the sweet spot between camping and comfort: it is luxurious enough that you don't miss home but not so much that you forget you're camping.
My first glamp was at Bents Basin Conservation Area and the magic of rolling out of bed and right into nature has kept me coming back for more - this time at Cattai National Park. Both are beautiful locations by the water and they also have toilets and showers with hot water.
Bents Basin has an inviting waterhole just a 10-minute walk from the campground, so start with a morning walk along Caleys lookout track and cool off with a swim in the tranquil waters.
Meanwhile at Cattai, you'll be sharing the campground with plenty of kangaroos. Catch the mob either basking in the morning sun or gathering on the grass of an evening. And don't be surprised to meet one up close as you step out from the amenities block.
The riverside campgrounds offer the opportunity to take a dip or watch the passing kayaks. Both also have barbecue facilities and plenty of space for games and activities, or you can simply enjoy your luxury tent for the day. And don't fret if you run out of wine or fancy another barbecue on the second night as the nearest supermarkets are only a 15-minute drive away from either campground.
Glampr's luxury bell tents are easily the belle of the campground and you might find fellow campers turn up at your door to ask for a tour of the tent. Look out for Glampr's new shelter designs for picnic and chill-out spaces, coming later in 2020. Add them to the bell tent suites and you'll draw even more envious looks from fellow campers.
Drive: From Sydney, Bents Basin is about an hour's drive west and Cattai is about 90 minutes north-west.
Stay: From $200 per night in a Luxury Queen Suite (two single beds available if preferred). Book a Friday and Saturday night, and Glampr will throw in Sunday night for free (use code: FREESUNDAY).
Pack: The campgrounds Glampr recommends all have barbecues but you'll need to bring your own food, drinks, plates and utensils.
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