For those who don't want to get all the way back to basics.
Camping is a wonderful idea — reconnecting with nature, breathing 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. Packing all that stuff, unpacking that stuff, erecting the tent and praying that the thin synthetic material is enough to protect you from an impending storm or the swarming mosquitoes out to get your blood.
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.
Camping in the heart of Melbourne never sounded remotely attractive until the guys behind St Jerome's Hotel came along and plonked twenty luxurious bell-shaped tents on the roof of Melbourne Central.Now you can nestle under the lights of the city, all cosy on your pillow-top bed, drinking local craft beers from your esky, eating complimentary yums and feeling pretty damn smug.
An hour out of Melbourne are the beautiful surrounds of the Mornington Peninsula, where soft sea-breezes roll across the ocean and long stretches of beach invite good times. Happy Glamper not only pitches and packs up your campsite, but also gives you a range of nifty choices. Choose from cosy couples bell tents to tents fit for small groups, or go all out with their Airstream or vintage caravan. You can select your abode, choose your camping location and bonus extra goodies like a bar fridge and picnic kit.
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.
Sand, surf, little fairy penguins habituating closeby and a restful sleep cocooned in stylish canvas — what more could you ask for? With all the mod cons and an air mattress, have a cosy weekend of romance or relaxation close to the beautiful beaches of Phillip Island. Simply choose where you'd like your tent to be pitched and leave it to the Phillip Island Glamping gurus.
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, heater and fridge. You've earned it.
Goose down quilt? Check. Queen bed? Check. BBQ, esky and communal fire pit for adventurous MasterChef-worthy campfire cooking? Check. Stunning views across the Macedon Ranges? Yep — you guessed it — check. With two glamping locations in Daylesford and Blackwood, 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. That's pretty handy too.
Over four hours from Melbourne, and nestled below the Snowy Mountains, this environmentally conscious and sustainable tourist glamping site is in the perfect location for exploring the ancient limestone caves — with a touch of luxury, of course. If keeping your head above ground is more your thing, meander along many of the hiking tracks and enjoy the freshest air you've ever breathed, or simply enjoy the spoils of the countryside from your timber deck.
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 on 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.