Glamping it up
A NEW trend in Australian travel that is flourishing right now is 'glamping' - glamorous camping - the comfortable high-end way of experiencing the great outdoors.
"We have noticed a distinct new style of travel emerging amongst our customers which we playfully call glamping," says Abercrombie & Kent's managing director, Sujata Raman.
"It's what takes travellers out of their comfort zone and off the beaten track to experience beautiful landscapes and wilderness areas in an active and adventurous way. It is also about bedding down in these often-remote areas in comfort and with all the expected elements of a luxury journey with A&K. The A&K team responded accordingly by seeking out the best locations and involving our select partners to deliver this new offering - it's camping at its classiest!"
A typical 'glamping' experience might feature accommodation in a spectacularly located luxury canvas tent furnished with all the essential home comforts - full sized mattresses, fine cotton sheets, plump pillows and duvets. The camp will most likely be in the midst of pristine wilderness where only the most eco-sensitive accommodation is appropriate. With just a canvas or screen to separate guests from the bush, it's likely that they will fall asleep gazing at the stars, wake to sunrise over a billabong or take an afternoon nap with the sound of the water lapping on the sand.
Most glamping trips involve a level of outdoor activity such as hiking and kayaking but comfort at the end of a day is paramount. Every detail is carefully considered and included for the 'glamping' guest. Luggage is transported, expert guides carry drinking water and snacks, and quality gear is used including first aid equipment and satellite phones in remote areas. Nothing is left to chance.
Finally great food, wine and hospitality are a focus of the glamping experience. Guides and hosts amaze guests with culinary creations unexpected in remote locations. Add candlelight, good company and it becomes an experience to remember.
Here are A&K's favourite glamping adventures:
The Maria Island Walk
For stunning scenery and an active challenge the Maria Island Walk on the east coast of Tasmania is a winner. Walking terrain covers eucalypt forest, pristine beaches and mountain trails and accommodation is in eco-sensitive wilderness camps and a heritage listed historic home.
Arkaba Wilderness Safaris
The arid Flinders Ranges of South Australia is outback wilderness at its finest. This adventure takes place on remote Arkaba Station, a 60,000 acre working sheep station with Wilpena Pound right on the property's northern boundary. This is the pristine outback delivered in style and comfort as guests walk up to 14km each day through breathtaking landscapes and retire to luxury swags and alfresco meals under the stars each night.
Bay of Fires
Another active Tasmanian adventure, which comes highly recommended, is the beautiful Bay of Fires Walk. This stretch of coastline in the east of the state is breathtaking. There are white sandy beaches, coastal forest and scrub, red lichen covered boulders and crystal clear waters. Walkers bed down in a comfortable beach camp and a cosy eco-lodge. Fine dining is an important part of the experience.
A&K has launched a specially tailored Larapinta Trail, combining activity with comfort. Accessible from Alice Springs, the adventure includes only the most spectacular sections of the famed 233 km trail and includes private bush camping, expert guides and gourmet meals. Hours walked each day is up to five and a reasonable level of fitness is recommended. Highlights include breathtaking Serpentine Gorge, the Ochre Pits, Ormiston Gorge and Standley Chasm.
Western Australian wilderness
Sal Salis Ningaloo Reef is an exclusive safari camp hidden in the white sand dunes of Western Australia's Cape Range National Park. Nine spacious wilderness tents sensitively nestled in the dunes provide accommodation complete with supremely comfortable beds, 100% cotton linen (500 thread count), a choice of pillows, soft bath towels and an en suite bathroom. A team of expert hosts is on hand providing delicious meals and activities such as kayaking, snorkelling and hiking. Guests visiting between late March and late June have the opportunity to swim with the Whale Sharks at Ningaloo Reef.
Sal Salis is featured in A&K's Pristine Waters of Ningaloo Reef.