Just because we’re caravanners doesn’t mean we can’t enjoy a little bit of luxury every now and then while we’re out exploring this great land. From breathtaking beach views to ballooning experiences and dining under the stars we’ve chosen some camping locations where you can treat yourself to something special – go on you deserve it.
Healesville and Yarra Valley
Less than an hour from Melbourne, the Yarra Valley offers endless luxury experiences including but not limited to quality local food and wine, breathtaking scenery, romantic hideaways and indulgent adventures.
The BIG4 Yarra Valley Park Lane Holiday Park in Healesville is the perfect base from which to explore everything that the Yarra Valley has to offer.
In addition to traditional caravan and camping sites surrounded by stunning natural bushland, other accommodation options include studios, cabins, glamping pods and tents which are the perfect retreat among the trees for couples and families.
Glamping accommodation includes linen and towels, kettle, toaster, tea and coffee making facilities and electric blankets if the nights get chilly.
Relax with the local wildlife under a gumtree or by the lake, or hit the swimming pools, bike pump track, giant jumping cushions, playgrounds and more.
There are so many things to see and do in the Yarra Valley including the many world-class wineries, but for something a bit different put the Yarra Valley Chocolaterie and Ice Creamery on your list.
Indulge in free chocolate tastings, watch talented European chocolatiers at work and purchase some of the 300 different varieties of hand-crafted chocolates to take home with you. There’s an all-day cafe providing breakfast, lunch or a decadent treat. Join a tasting session or hands-on which can be booked via the website.
Kalbarri, Coral Coast
Cited as Western Australia’s outdoor holiday playground, Kalbarri is sits where the Murchison River meets the Indian Ocean and is surrounded by the soaring inland and coastal gorges of Kalbarri National Park, and protected swimming bays like the Blue Holes, superb walking trails, and more than 1000 species of wildflowers.
The town is encircled by two distinctly different landscapes, to the east of the town the 400-million-year-old gorges of the Kalbarri National Park and to the west the towering Coastal Cliffs which plummet into the ocean below. Kalbarri offers a wealth of activities and attractions from swimming, surfing, hiking, fishing and whale watching.
For caravanners there are plenty of accommodation options including Kalbarri Red Bluff Tourist Park, Kalbarri Tudor Holiday Park, Murchison Caravan Park and Murchison House Station which offers unpowered Homestead and bush camping 15 minutes from town.
For more information: www.australiascoralcoast.com
Enjoy a dinner beneath the stars at the Kalbarri Skywalk which takes place twice a year (November and March). Guests enjoy a three-course gourmet meal at the Kalbarri Skywalk precinct in the Kalbarri National Park, coupled with drinks, entertainment and stargazing opportunities. Return coach transfers between the town and Skywalk are included.
Cairns Coconut Resort, Cairns
It’s been described as the ultimate Aussie caravan park, and it has a host of facilities including the biggest jumping pillow in the southern hemisphere. There’s a waterpark, resort pools with activities including aqua aerobics and snorkelling lessons, mini golf, pedal karts and an adventure playground.
Just seven minutes’ drive from Cairns’ CBD, Cairns Coconut is an 11-hectare landscaped tropical oasis which holds its own against Cairns’ popular visitor attractions.
Accommodation comes in a few shapes and sizes – with cabins, condos, villas, caravan sites and camping grounds available – all with the same access to the plethora of facilities offered in the park.
Base yourself here and explore the many attractions that Cairns has to offer.
Visit the Reef Magic pontoon – the newest and largest activities platform on the Great Barrier Reef launched in April this year.
Reef Magic operates day trips from Cairns to the all-weather pontoon which is the most technologically advanced pontoon on the Great Barrier Reef and is designed and built for a sustainable future with 18 solar panels and three wind turbines. At more than 1003sqm, and a capacity of 450 guests, numbers are kept to a maximum of 250 so our guests can escape the crowd and enjoy the reef.
With loads of activities for all ages, you can snorkel in the sheltered coral lagoon, join Reef Magic’s marine biologists on a guided snorkel safari, try scuba diving or even sea trek helmet diving. The pontoon boasts a one-of-a-kind water entry point for swimmers and snorkellers featuring an easy step structure for guests with different abilities. If simply relaxing and soaking up the tropical warmth is more your style, then take time out on the spacious sundeck.
Barossa Valley, Tanunda
One of Australia's most visited tourist destinations is also the home of Discovery Parks - Barossa Valley, just a few minutes from the centre of Tanunda. This is a great base from which to explore the vine-covered plains and hills that surround charming townships and Lutheran churches, with their distinctive square spires dotting the rural landscape. And, of course, there are a few wineries to visit.
Accommodation includes houses, cabins, powered and unpowered camping and caravan sites and new deluxe safari tents set in a private area of the park with exclusive access to an outdoor lounge, barbe space, firepit, heated swimming pool and spa.
A first-class glamping experience, the eco-luxe tents are set among native gum trees with vineyard views as far as the eye can see. The entire 12-tent section of the park can be booked for special events such as hen’s weekends and special birthdays. Or, with no kids allowed, it’s the perfect excuse for a romantic getaway for two.
In the family section of the park, kids can enjoy the ‘splashtacular’ waterpark complete with three slides, gigantic tipping bucket and more splash zones than you can count.
Head a few kilometres down the road to Nurioopta and hop aboard a Balloon Adventures Hot Air Balloon for an unforgettable experience floating over the Barossa countryside as the sun is rising.
After landing and pack up, you’ll head back to base to relax and chat with fellow passengers and pilot about the morning’s events, sipping sparkling wine and indulging in a breakfast of the best Barossa produce.
NEW SOUTH WALES
NRMA Ocean Beach Holiday Resort, Umina
Nestled between the bush and the beach, Ocean Beach Holiday Resort is just 90 minutes from Sydney on the Central Coast.
The facilities in this NRMA resort are second to none – particularly for kids with two resort style pools, adventure playground, pedal karts, year-round kids’ club, pancake breakfasts, soccer games, outdoor movie nights and much more. They can even enrol in the Bear Grylls Academy, an action-packed four-part survival and adventure program which aims to take kids out of their comfort zones with fun, challenging and interactive activities and obstacles surrounded by nature.
While the kids are being kept busy, mum and dad can relax by the pool or enjoy refreshments at the Beach Kiosk and cafe. Why not hire an e-bike and explore the surrounding countryside or take a surfing lesson on Umina Beach.
NRMA Ocean Beach Holiday Park has a wide variety of accommodation types, ranging from villas and cottages to camping sites and caravan park areas and even luxury glamping safari tents for those looking to camp in style.
About half an hour down the road (via Woy Woy), the pristine waters of the Hawkesbury River are home to the only pearl farm on the east coast of Australia. Broken Bay Pearl Farm specialises in growing the rare akoya pearls, prized around the world for their outstanding lustre.
Visitors are welcome to explore the Shellar Door and browse the unique collections of pearl jewellery, created using the finest quality, locally grown pearls. Join one of the many guided experiences and taste fresh local oysters as you take in the breathtaking views of the water from the outdoor seating area.
Take the ultimate experience private four-hour tour which will immerse you in the intricacies of pearl farming. Enjoy the breeze on your face and a grazing lunch as you take to the water to see how pearls are grown and harvested, before returning to solid land to learn how the value of each pearl is assessed. You will even get hands-on experience grading pearls yourself, before choosing a pearl of your own to take home.
Bay of Fires
Lining Tasmania’s north-east coast, the Bay of Fires is a perfect combination of clean white beaches, clear azure seas and granite rocks splashed in orange lichen, without the crowds.
It is a place to enjoy simple luxuries – take time to follow a beach track, order seafood at a fish shack, fall asleep with an ocean soundtrack. Take a deep breath of salty air and wander along one of those secluded beaches or hinterland forest tracks. Slurp an oyster plucked straight from the sea. Eat fresh crayfish. Chat to winemakers at their cellar doors.
There are seven campgrounds strung along the short road from St Helens to The Gardens and there is equally spectacular camping at six designated campgrounds in Mount William National Park. The campgrounds along The Gardens road are free, while fees apply in the national park. Camping goes glamping at the Bay of Fires Bush Retreat, with 10 bell tents set in bush behind the main Binalong Bay beach.
And just 10 minutes away is the award-winning St Helens Caravan Park which is only 300m from the waterfront in St Helen.
The East Coast Whale Trail is a series of 14 trail sites scattered along the coast from The Gardens in the larapuna/Bay of Fires area near St Helens in the north, to Eaglehawk Neck on the Tasman Peninsula. At each Whale Trail site, you will find a sign with information and stories about them and big sea views to search for signs of whales. There are binoculars installed at two of the Trail sites to help you get a closer view. Whales can throw their fins and flukes, or even their bodies, high out of the water, making great explosions of foam on the sea surface than can be seen from far away. Sometimes they come within a few hundred metres to shore.
Ayers Rock Resort
The Ayers Rock Resort boasts a range of accommodation options but most caravanners will head straight for the campground, located 20km from Uluru.
Hook up your caravan, campervan, motor home, or camper trailer at one of the powered campsites, or pitch your tent under the shade of native desert oaks and sleep under the stars.
The camping ground also provides a range of services and facilities including a swimming pool, playground, barbecue facilities and outdoor kitchen and self-service laundry facilities to make the great outdoors truly enjoyable.
Hop on the complimentary shuttle bus for access to the Resort's restaurants and bars, shops, a well-stocked IGA supermarket, petrol station, Tour and Information Centre, and art galleries. Participate in a range of free daily activities including guided garden walks and Indigenous bush yarns.
The critically acclaimed Field of Light Uluru by the internationally celebrated artist Bruce Munro is on display and due to popular demand, has now been extended indefinitely.
The exhibition, aptly named Tili Wiru Tjuta Nyakutjaku, or ‘looking at lots of beautiful lights’ in local Pitjantjatjara, is Munro’s largest work to date. Overwhelming in size, covering more than seven football fields, it invites immersion in its fantasy garden of 50,000 spindles of light, the stems breathing and swaying through a sympathetic desert spectrum of ochre, deep violet, blue and gentle white
The award-winning ‘Sounds of Silence’ dinner under the outback sky offers magnificent views of Uluru at sunset, a three-course bush tucker menu, premium selection of Australian wines and beers, fascinating star talk and a self-guided walk through the Field of Light art installation.
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