Camping and romance go hand-in-hand

BY PETER NEEDHAM
Last updated 12:16 05/06/2009
IS THIS REALLY CAMPING?: Paperbark Camp offers opulent, elevated, safari-style tents, solar powered lighting, wooden decking, huge bathtubs and queen-size beds with cotton sheets.

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If you're unsure what to do for a romantic getaway, one alternative worth considering is "glamping".

The word is a light-hearted combination of camping and glamour. Glamping involves soft-adventure, often in luxurious tents or camps.

It's camping with an opulent edge. Glampers certainly don't bash their own tent-pegs in with mallets.

At Jervis Bay south of Sydney - a location known for its powdery-white sand and playful dolphins - Paperbark Camp offers opulent, elevated, safari-style tents, solar powered lighting, wooden decking, huge bathtubs and queen-size beds with crisp cotton sheets.

Voyages Wilson Island, 15 kilometres from Heron Island just north of the Tropic of Capricorn, has set up six beachside tents on an island which is part of the Great Barrier Reef. The tents come with solar-heated showers, hosted meals and plenty of comfort.

Sal Salis Ningaloo Reef is an exclusive safari camp hidden in the white sand dunes of Western Australia's Cape Range National Park. Five spacious wilderness tents stand near the water's edge, fronting the world's greatest fringing coastal coral reef. The theme is 'Wild Bush Luxury', with all mod cons and great hosting.

Longitude 131, in Australia's Red Centre, is luxurious, eco-sensitive and romantic. This award-winning luxury wilderness camp offers immersion in the wilderness of Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park, complete with five-star luxury and private views of sunrise and sunset over Uluru/Ayers Rock.

Tropical North Queensland eco-lodges provide romantic luxury in a fabulous, pristine, rainforest setting. Romantic adventures don't necessarily involve glamping. Some couples choose a more hands-on option, volunteering to help conserve the Southern Brown Bandicoot or other Australian wildlife, marine life, forests or the magnificent Great Barrier Reef.

Strolling alongside Melbourne's Yarra River at dusk or sipping a cappuccino in a cosy little café can be romantic. One of the newest and coolest Melbourne hangouts is the Red Hummingbird rooftop bar in Russell Street, a Bali-style oasis complete with hanging wicker chairs, palm trees, candles and a delicious bar menu. On either side of Melbourne, the picturesque Bellarine and Mornington peninsulas offer sweeping ocean beaches, grand hotels and cosy, historic lodges.

High in the Blue Mountains behind Sydney, Lillianfels stands on the escarpment at Echo Point overlooking spectacular Jamison Valley. Built in 1890, Lillianfels comes compete with four-poster beds and all mod cons in an enchanting setting.

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More information: www.visitmelbourne.com/nz and www.australia.com

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