Glamping isn’t a new concept but somehow it’s morphed into just another Instagram opportunity, another way to worry about what your cheese platter looks like or how many likes you’ll get when your friends see the location of your bell tent.
Nightfall isn’t about showing off.
Within an easy 1.5 hour drive from the Gold Coast and Brisbane international airports in Queensland lies a private sanctuary in a national park offering travellers the chance to get acquainted with a natural Australian setting in its purest form.
Here, five acres of beautifully manicured garden cradles four glamping tents, built skillfully by the hands of the passionate owners, Steve and Jaide, and their crew of friends and craftsmen. Deep shadows hover from the large cliffs above a running stream of clean spring water (deemed to be the second most pure water in Queensland) cuts through the centre of the property like a scene from a storybook.
Once you drive across the stream on the driveway, it’s as if you’ve entered a new atmosphere; the everyday world can’t reach you here.
This unique accommodation has been built as a “couples retreat” each tent catering for two friends, two lovers, or two family members wanting to spend time alone, in nature, reconnecting with themselves and each other.
The cleverly-designed tents are set apart so the experience is a solitary one but one you can leave the canvas walls up on, even in the rain, to immerse yourself in the surrounding forest. Decked out with all of the luxuries of a 5-star hotel, the interiors are soft and subtle, playing on the sense of being one with the surroundings. Opulent linens adorn the beds and furnishings, vintage baths provide a nurturing place to sit and soak and a large deck offers a slow spot for a morning cuppa or and afternoon glass of bubbles among the gum trees.
Rest assured, if you get bored of chilling in your tent, there are plenty of other things to do to help you unwind and get inspired. Take a stroll up the stream and into the rainforest of Lamington National Park above, swim in the natural water hole, watch the local wallabies and echidnas, or just enjoy the hospitality of your hosts with their exceptional meals and conversation.
The fact that this venture was a slow build for the owners who battled a year of torrential rainfall and major setbacks in their construction, sets a precedent for the running of the business itself. Steve and Jaide believe time is precious, and while respecting the never-ending work involved in running the show, they also respect their own work-life balance and try to set a slow-paced example for the often stressed people who come to stay on the property.
A daily ritual of a special hot cacao drink, sipped slowly, sitting by the stream every morning keeps the duo grounded and allows them to transfer that energy onto their guests, teaching the art of slowing down and switching off to take back to their daily lives.
The feelings of comfort and calmness swaddle you from the moment you arrive to the time you drag yourself to your car to leave. Guests have been known to cry.
Tent-delivered cheese platters. Wood-fired pizzas. Nights around a campfire. Red wine and home-cooked organic meals. Sitting silent under an expansive canopy of stars. Feeling blank. Re-discovering calm. Noticing the breath of the wind, the call of the birds, and catching a moment to really listen to yourself and what you intrinsically want for your own life is what this place ultimately offers.