I’ve been in love with camping since I was a kid. There’s something magical about sleeping under the stars, hearing the owls hoot in the distance and breathing in that crisp night air.
But growing up living in the city means becoming accustomed to a certain level of comfort. Somehow, a tent and an inflatable mat don’t feel quite right; you wake up with a sore back, feel the cold off the ground... and the magic seems to disappear.
Have I become a city princess? I hope not – so I was glad when word of the new glamping experience close to Melbourne relit the old spark.
The concept seemed nearly perfect; it combined the comforts of a soft bed, electric blankets and a coffee machine with the magic of sleeping under the stars that I enjoyed as a kid.
We arrived at Porepunkah Bridge Caravan Park, 320km north-east of Melbourne, around lunchtime. The friendly staff greeted us and offered us a glamping hamper as a part of the experience.
Now, I LOVE local produce. Every time we go away I try to taste as much local cheese and wine as I can; I have breakfast at a local bakery and dinner somewhere that serves locally sourced organic food (preferably with veggies grown on the premises).
It must be a Melbourne foodie thing. Unfortunately, you don't always get enough time to go on a full-on food trail, so when I saw a hamper of regional delights already hand-picked for us by the locals, I was sold.
We were not disappointed! Under the excuse of it being ‘lunch’, we munched on delicious olives, cheese, quince paste spread on Beechworth Bakery bread – the tastiest bread I’ve had in years. Afterwards, in something of a food coma, I looked at the packaging and read ‘worth the drive’. I thought, yep, they're not wrong.
At dusk, we lit a fire in the firepit and relaxed in the comfy lounge chairs while finishing up our bottle of wine and watching the stars pop into view.
Being in this sort of comfortable environment encourages free conversation about the philosophies of life and your distant dreams for the future; it makes you laugh with joy as you reminicse past moments.
This is what I’d missed being tied up with city traffic, stressful work and endless friend-and-home duties. Glamping took this relaxation to the next level; I might have struggled to let my guard down in this way if I’d been camping, with its potential for discomfort and frustration.
I couldn’t say how much time we spent stargazing, but by the end of it, it was definitely time to go to bed. Luckily we’d turned the heater on inside the tent, so it was nice, cosy and inviting.
INSIDE THE GLAMPING TENT
Stepping inside, I thought that if the weather had not been so kind, we could’ve spent time among the myriad cushions tastefully laid out to the side of the bed. I felt the pull of their inviting arrangment, and almost took out a deck of cards just to sit there playing for a while.
However, having crawled into the electric blanket preheated bed, I didn’t regret anything. I fell asleep almost instantly and woke up at sunrise, feeling well rested – with a freshness I hadn’t felt in a long time. It must be something about the country air, oxygenated by trees and free of pollution, that makes you feel that way.
A morning coffee, prepared within the tent, strengthened my enthusiasm – I was ready to conquer the world. Bring on the day in the mountains!