Mention the word camping and it makes me think of holidays spent in cramped conditions, either freezing cold or stiflingly hot. Having to trek out to the shared ablution block and dealing with all types of creepy crawlies and wildlife. It’s just not my thing. So, when a friend suggested a camping weekend on Rottnest in July, I wasn’t enamoured with the idea.
However, when the idea of ‘glamping’ was raised, I immediately started to imagine fresh salty air and the calming mindfulness that can be found on an island; that intimacy with nature is like chicken soup for the soul and I began to warm to the notion. I was willing to take the opportunity for an island getaway.
A comfortable 30-minute ferry ride from Fremantle brought us to Rottnest where we were welcomed by a spectacular double rainbow stretching across the island. Stepping from the ferry into the crisp island air immediately invigorated the senses.
We made our way through the main settlement picking up some fresh-baked Danish pastries and stepping around tourists perfecting the ‘Quokka Selfie’. After an easy walk past the old cabins and camp site, we reached the Discovery Rottnest Island Village, nestled behind the dunes of Pinky Beach. Described in the promotional brochure as “an eco-resort with a difference”.
On top of the dune elevation sits the reception desk and the casual café area where breakfast, lunch and dinner can be enjoyed overlooking the lighthouse, the crescent of white sand and aqua water and out to the mainland. Beside this is the lovely Pinky’s Beach Bar and swimming pool with chill-out area and outdoor showers for those who don’t enjoy the sand between their toes!
The 83 eco-tents, in muted grey/beige shades, are all protected from the elements by strong white flysheets and sit atop wooden platforms and connected by raised boardwalks, sensitively minimising the impact to the land. A variety of sizes and bedding configurations are available to suit most visitor requirements and they all have a lovely entertainment deck. There are also well maintained and equipped communal barbecue and kitchen facilities.
Our personal base camp is a Deluxe category ‘tent’, the finest accommodation option for two people. There are only eight of these, and they come with arguably the best views of the ocean.
Each tent has a front door with a key which opens to a small entrance area and a compact kitchenette, well-equipped with a small refrigerator, microwave oven, toaster and tea and coffee facilities. Inside the large main room is a very comfortable king size bed, a desk and sofa.
To the right of the main room is a walk-in dressing room with storage and hanging space. To the left is a bathroom, a proper bathroom! Complimentary toiletries and soft towels are provided. His and her wash basins, a lovely hot shower and private toilet. Oh, the luxury of not traipsing to the ablution block!
The icing on the cake is the view – the tufty dunes and the magnificent, uninterrupted vista of the ocean and the island coastline, seen from the spacious deck. It’s a perfect spot to relax on the lounge, or enjoy a meal at the dining table cooked on the barbecue provided.
Beach access is just a few steps along the boardwalk in front of us. Although we could see Perth in the distance, we could have been a thousand miles away with only the sound of the birds and the wind whispering around us. It’s a slice of island paradise, right on our doorstep.
This is glamping. I can glamp but I’ll never camp again.
Image credit: Chris Walsh