I must admit that camping does not come easy to me. I have two boisterous boys aged 9 and 11 and the thought of pitching a tent while they run riot in nearby woods, while I must deal with poles and tent stays and inflating blow-up mattresses, fills me with dread.
I used to caravan with my parents as a child and have fond memories of lazy (and rather cloudy and wet) days in the countryside of southern England where I grew up.
You can see why the lure of so called ‘glamping’ holds appeal for me. Glamping is on the increase with the market up 7% and so at the beginning of April just ahead of the rush for Easter, I headed south from Perth to Walpole to experience luxurious camping in upmarket tents at the Coalmine Beach Holiday Park.
The weekend trip did not start well, just south of Mandurah, my car started making funny banging noises. Recovery Assist came to my rescue, but it delayed our journey and we didn’t arrive until 11:15pm.
Entering a tent in the dark, then switching on a light (yes, these luxury tents really do have light switches) to reveal, what I thought was a rather marvellous, stylish upmarket hotel room, was unexpected.
“Hey Mum”, one of my boys shouted, “there’s a heated blanket on your bed,” – now that was a very welcome addition.
The Coalmine Beach Holiday Park installed four of these luxury tents in December and throughout the summer months they’ve all been virtually booked out.
The next day I meet with Lisa and Stephen Brockway, a nurse and lawyer who are visiting from East Perth and in the next-door glamping tent.
“We are going to Albany and we wanted to break the journey up, we came with our tent, but we thought we’d try glamping here. Trouble is we’ve tasted luxury and won’t want to pitch our tent now.”
“It’s got all the hotel trimmings, pots and pans, luxurious shower, and modern wash basin and microwave. We brought an esky but there was no need, there’s even a fridge. What a great way to wake up listening to the wild birds and kookaburras,” she said.
These tents manufactured by Perth based Eco Structures are the brain child of Australian company owner and developer Karl Plunkett. This luxury tented accommodation is being utilised around the world in China, the Virgin Islands, Saudi Arabia and South America as well as Australia.
“Camping is a lot of fun, as long as there’s no suffering – the problem is sand gets into everything and when it rains you’re stuck inside the tent thinking I’m not going to do this again,” said Mr. Plunkett.
“When you’re glamping you walk into a perfect, spotless tent and get into a bed more luxurious than the one you have at home.”
Michael Triplett is the General Manager of the Coalmine Beach Holiday Park and has received very positive feedback.
“It’s a different type of accommodation and so many see it as a novelty. We’ve had quite a lot of walkers who are taking a break from the Bibbulmun Track and want something more upmarket”, he said.
“People are coming here and seeing the tents and they think “Why would I tow a caravan or camper trailer when we could stay in one of these?” he adds
That’s just what Peter Charushenko, his wife and two older daughters are doing as they inspect a four-berth tent. I talk to them as they take a sneaky peak.
“Yes, we’re just having a quick look, we come to this caravan park about four times a year with our Jayco pop-up camper as we like sailing. We were here in December and saw them being installed, I’d definitely come back and stay in one.”
I myself, certainly enjoyed the experience, with solid furniture and proper beds, it certainly is high-end camping. My boys were suitably impressed, playing on the decked area and having a beach within a two-minute stroll.
As for my fellow luxurious campers next door, Lisa and Stephen Brockway they said they’ll be back for more.
“It’s just given us time to chill as a couple, no television and back to nature, I’m buying newspapers, and what’s more I have the time to read them. Yes, this break has really made us relax and the standard of this tented accommodation has been superb. Problem is I am not looking forward to pitching our own tent in a few days’ time.”