A Camping Getaway for Non Campers – Melbourne Glamping
December 30, 2015
Camping isn’t for everyone, many people don’t have the equipment, transport or interest to go bush and that’s not even mentioning the creepy crawlies and long drops.
However there is an increasing range of options available for us urban dwellers to explore the great outdoors in style. Here is a little bit about my first ever glamping experience.
I’d never experienced glamping before, for a girl brought up in a national park the idea seemed a little tame. However Christmas rolled around and once again I was a long way from home.
If I wasn’t going to be with my family I wanted to do something very Australian for Christmas but without a car and my not entirely unjustified opinion that everything in Australia was trying to kill me, I decided to compromise and try just a few days in a localish holiday park.
After a bit of internet research I came across Crystal Brook Tourist Park in Warrandyte (about 40 min east of Melbourne) and they had three hard floor tents available and that was that I was officially going glamping for Christmas.
We arrived at Crystal Brook on Christmas day and as the office was closed, snagged our keys and welcome pack from the lock box and set off to find our tent.
Crystal Brook has a mixture of caravan sites and cabins with tent sites scatted about and the three hard floor tents. Our tent was as cute and clean as the whole camp, with a hard floor built up off the ground and a little veranda just big enough to seat two people. The roof of the tent was high and had plenty of room to stand upright and came supplied with 4 inch mattresses so all we had to bring was a sleeping bag and pillow.
Ok so this wasn’t high end glamping but between our luxury tent, heated showers, flush toilets, full cooking and barbecuing facilities not to mention a games room complete with video games and TV, giant jumping cushion and decent sized pool there was really nothing to complain about.
Located on the border of Warrandyte and Doncaster East the setting is pure Australian bush, with a quaint village ten min in one direction and a suburban mall ten minutes in the other. If you want to take it easy wander along the Yarra, browse in the Warrandyte boutiques and grab a bite at a café. If you want a little more action there are many walking and hiking tracks in the surrounding area and you can even hire a bike from the park. If you did have a car the welcome pack details how to get to most Melbourne attractions from the park mostly in under an hour’s drive.
Christmas day was spent eating and reading by the pool, during an evening walk we stumbled upon a baby possum who had fallen from a tree. After much awwwing we gingerly scooped it up in a shoe and returned it to the bush, hopefully to be reclaimed by its mother. Despite the small challenge of removing it from said shoe, it wandered off in the end seemingly quite happy.
That night it rained (not a little drizzle, full on Melbourne storming) this is when our faithful, fancy tent came into its own. No leaking, no flooding, no cold and no creepy crawlies joining us for shelter. Needless to say I was fast becoming a glamping convert.
The next day dawned distinctly grey with the occasional shower passing through, we decided to choose a shorter walk in case the sky’s opened again. Right next to the park is a reserve surrounding a decent sized creek. We walked up along an easy paved walkway for about forty minutes. The bush was alive with all manner of birds and I even saw a Kangaroo hop across our path at one point (I know Kangaroos in the wild are probably only a big deal to non-Australians =P) The rest of the day was spent lazing on our small deck, playing card games, eating Christmas leftovers and watching the swollen creek run by.
Our final morning we ate a leisurely breakfast and had an epic session on the jumping cushion, which should definitely taken place before the meal. We packed up our minimal gear, zipped up our tent and walked the three minutes to the bus stop to be ferried back to the real world, downtown which takes about an hour on the bus.
Here are my Pros and Cons for Crystal Brook Tourist Parks hard floor tent experience:
No car, no gear, no problem.
Camping experience with just a little extra comfort.
A range of entertainment is available in and around the park, so for a short break everything is right there, without you having to organize and travel.
Park is well maintained with friendly helpful staff.
I hate to be a Grinch but the problem with a family tourist park is you take a lucky dip on other people’s kids. The second night we were there a family camped near to us were squealing away all night.
If you’re looking for an authentic wilderness experience this is not the break for you.
A hard floor tent at $60 per night is nearly twice the price of the $35 the standard tent price though still well within the budget category.
I had always thought glamping a bit of a waste of money, when there was real adventure to be had. But this short escape so handy to the city, was very clearly easier and more comfortable than your average camping weekend that I have to admit I’m a convert. I would definitely recommend “budget glamping” and Crystal Brook to my friends trying glamping for the first time.
In fact I am aiming to organize a full glamping experience in the New Year, so watch this space to see how this backpacking girl fears with luxury camping.