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 and living in the city means you get accustomed to certain levels 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. But when I heard about the new glamping experience pretty close to home — the old spark was relit. Combining a comfy bed with electric blankets and a coffee machine inside the tent, with the magic of sleeping under the stars which the kid version of me used to enjoy, seemed close to perfect.
We arrived at Porepunkah Bridge Caravan Park, 320km north-east of Melbourne, around lunchtime and were greeted by the friendly staff, who offered us a glamping hamper as a part of the experience. Now, I LOVE local produce, and every time we go away I try to taste as much local cheese and wine as I can, have breakfast at a local bakery and dinner somewhere that serves organic locally-sourced 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.
And we were not disappointed! Under the excuse of it being ‘lunch’, we munched on delicious olives, cheese, quince paste generously spread on Beechworth Bakery bread — the tastiest bread I’ve had in years! In something of a food coma, I looked at the packaging and read “Worth the drive” and thought, yep, they're not wrong.
We were lucky with the weather and even though it was still cool, the sun was out and so were the birds. We went for a quick walk down the creek, took some photos and started to let go of our stressful city lives. 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. It’s being in this sort of comfortable environment that encourages free conversations about the philosophies of life, the distant dreams of the future and joyful laughter reminiscing some of the past moments; this is what I had missed being tied up in life in the city between traffic trams, stressful work and endless friend and home duties on the weekend.
I couldn’t say how much time we spent stargazing, but 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. Stepping inside, I thought that if the weather had not been so kind, encouraging us to stay outside, we could’ve spent time among the myriad cushions tastefully laid out to the side of the bed. They looked really inviting, and I almost felt like pulling out a deck of cards for a game, just to sit there for a while.
Having crawled into the electric blanket pre-heated bed, however, I didn’t regret anything. I fell asleep almost instantly and woke up at sunrise, feeling very well rested – something I hadn’t felt in a long time. It must be something about the country fresh air that makes you feel that way. A morning coffee strengthened my enthusiasm — I was ready to conquer the world. Bring on the day in the mountains!