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GLAMPING - What's it all about?

October 24, 2019

The travel industry is full of buzzwords and jargon. From bleisure to babymoons, open-jaws and overrides, the lingo of travel can be hard to get your head around. New 'products' or experiences and terms to describe them pop up all the time.

One that's pretty hot right now is 'glamping'-camping with a bit (or a lot) of glam. So, what's it all about?

Image: Glamping at Turon Gates, Blue Mountains. Credit: Turon Gates Retreat.Image: Glamping at Turon Gates, Blue Mountains. Credit: Turon Gates Retreat.

Glamping is upmarket camping. Think uber-luxe 'tents' bedecked with luxurious creature comforts aplenty in stunning, remote locations. It's a classic best of both worlds scenario as it delivers real experiences in wild places and the comfort and services of hotels and resorts.

Even though the term is a modern mix of 'glamorous' and 'camping', glamping itself isn't a particularly new thing. Fancy camping has been around for centuries. In fact, probably the most extravagant example in history was the 'Field of the Cloth of Gold'—a diplomatic summit in northern France in 1520 between Henry VIII of England and Francis I of France. It's a matter of historical record that some 2,800 tents and marquees were erected, and fountains ran with red wine.

Image: Field of the Cloth of Gold. Credit: Getty.Image: Field of the Cloth of Gold. Credit: Getty.

That combination of opulent tents and red wine works just as well today with contemporary glampers. Not much of a camper? Perhaps glamping is for you.
Treacey Dowd-Hamilton from ATAS-accredited Swagman Tours in Geelong is something of a glamping aficionado. In fact, she's lost count of the number of luxury camps she's attended across southern and East Africa over the last 25 years or so.

 Image: Savanna Private Game Reserve, Sabi Sands, South Africa. Credit: Swagman Tours.Image: Savanna Private Game Reserve, Sabi Sands, South Africa. Credit: Swagman Tours.

"The magic of glamping is that feeling of being embraced by nature, wild & wonderful, knowing you're completely removed from civilisation yet not having to sacrifice the comforts of a good shower or a cosy bed," says Treacey.

"Those additional creature comforts make glamping a wonderful, adventurous option for anyone with even the tiniest sense of adventure," she adds.

 Image: Tintswalo Lapalala, Waterberg, South Africa. Credit: Swagman Tours. Image: Tintswalo Lapalala, Waterberg, South Africa. Credit: Swagman Tours.

There is, however, one thing Treacey says all first-time glampers should know:

"Canvas walls allow all the bush noises into your tent, which can be extremely loud especially at night-time. You'll be completely safe, but that first evening can be disconcerting," advises Treacey.

If you're planning a glamping holiday, consult with an ATAS-accredited travel agent for great advice, prices and a huge range of glamping options around the world.

You certainly don't have to travel as far as East Africa to get your glamping fix. There are plenty of glamping options closer to home.

Image: Glamping closer to home at Glenayr Farm, Mudgee. Credit: Glenayr Farm.Image: Glamping closer to home at Glenayr Farm, Mudgee. Credit: Glenayr Farm.

Rachel Gibson White opened glamping operation Glenayr Farm in Mudgee, New South Wales, in early 2019.

"We had our very first booking in 2019," says Rachel. When asked about their guest profile since them, Rachel describes is a pretty broad mix.

"We've had a real mixture—mainly group bookings who take the whole farm. Typically, they're girls' weekends, boys' weekends, families or a group of couples seeking a getaway with close friends. Oh, and plenty of couples who stay for a romantic weekend away. It's really taken off," says Rachel.

So, what's driving this interest in glamping?

Rachel reckons more and more urban folk are looking for an environmentally friendly way to get back to nature, disconnect from their everyday stresses and reconnect with each other.

"Soaking up wonderful, uniquely Australian landscapes without sacrificing luxury or comfort is clearly appealing. What's not to love about leaving the city to spend lazy hours in a hammock? Or evenings under the stars beside the campfire and the decadent privacy of your tent? We're close to Mudgee, too, and all of the wonderful wine, dining and hospitality that the town is famous for," adds Rachel.

No matter who they are, where they’re from, or why they’re visiting, there’s a common response from all guests at Glenayr Farm. “The view, the sunset and the stars. Even though they know to expect something special, they are still blown away by how amazing they are,' notes Rachel.

It's a heady mix that also draws guests to long-established Turon Gates Mountain Retreat in the Blue Mountains west of Sydney.

"People are overstimulated and staying too connected. They are realising they need more nature and less modern life but they don’t want to go too far out of their comfort zone. It’s a nice compromise within a few hours drive of home," says Turon Gates' Michael Lunoe.

 Image: Glamping at Turon Gates Retreat, Blue Mountains. Credit: Turon Gates Retreat.Image: Right in the comfort zone at Turon Gates Retreat. Credit: Turon Gates Retreat.

So, who's staying at Turon Gates?

"Our guests are seeking isolation, nature, a little quality time with their partner, fresh air, and a break from their friends-family-phones-kids-dog-apartment. Most have never lit a wood burning stove. “We also have the Turon River running right past all the tents so there is canoeing and fishing. We have 6000 acres and horses, so riding and hiking is a big appeal, too", adds Michael.

Even though glamping is a relatively new offering, guests have been staying at Turon gates since 1973, so they've plenty of repeat visitors over the years. But through all those years, first timers are consistently surprised by a couple of things.

"The attention to detail, for one thing. And that’s rolled over into development of our glamping operation. We really wanted our tents to be next-level luxe. They’re very special—big bathtubs, Danish designer wood stoves, custom furnishings, and we use the same mattresses as the Four Seasons,” says Michael.

Image: Right in the comfort zone at Turon Gates Retreat. Credit: Turon Gates Retreat.

Image: Right in the comfort zone at Turon Gates Retreat. Credit: Turon Gates Retreat.

Whether you're planning a romantic weekend away with your someone special, or a fun-filled getaway with a group of friends, or the African adventure of a lifetime glamping might be just the ticket. Chat to your favourite ATAS-accredited travel professional - experience you can trust.

Looking for more insights from ATAS-accredited travel agents?

Read more travel tales on our blog like these posts about how travel agents can help turn travel mishaps in happy travels, top tips for travel to Greenland, and Australia’s uniquely indigenous tourism experiences.

Categories - Glamping Leisure Travel

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