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Got Kids? Go Glamping. Best Holiday Ever.

Glamping -- a portmanteau of “glamorous” and “I’m too precious to actually go camping” -- is ideal for working families.

Loved camping as a kid, but don’t want to fork out for and then store all the gear?

Did the family resort thing and were bored before the first buffet breakfast?

Hotel rooms can be cookie cutter and seem samey. If you invest in a tent it's always samey.

Glamping allows you to get a little weird. The first time our family went glamping we stayed in tepees made out of recycled promotional signage.

Cave. Barn. Caboose. Tree House. Yurt! The need to Google an accommodation type adds a new variable to planning your next holiday. This time, we unleashed our family on a nature dome and a wood cabin.

Nature Dome

The nature dome was in the hinterlands of the NSW Mid North Coast, near Port Macquarie.

(Image: Wade Shipard)

We travelled down an unsealed road that cascaded over hills, through farms and countless cattle gates that spilled out to a clearing in the bush, which revealed the first glimpse of the pearl white dome, perched on a hill.

Our charming host ran through the environmentally-minded amenities of the dome, which needed to be rationed for the duration of our stay. Electric fridge, blankets, lights and outlets, powered from solar-charged batteries. Kitchen cook-top and hot water for the bathroom supplied by gas and a rainwater tank.

READ MORE: Why Splendour In The Grass Should Be Your Next Family Holiday

(Image: Wade Shipard)

However the dome’s allure was its more rustic features that truly embodied the notion of glamping.

An open cooking fire with a grill, where we sat on encircling logs, telling ghost stories while the kids toasted marshmallows that had been thoughtfully supplied on their beds.

(Image: Wade Shipard)

The wood-fired hot tub, a perfect way to stay warm under the constellations of the winter sky; stars which could also be seen from within the dome through its enormous front window.

Kangaroos and cattle grazed metres away, and a myriad of walks through bush and over streams started at the dome’s doorstep.

(Image: Wade Shipard)

Relaxation came through the sense of remoteness and being off the grid. Without the familiar anchoring of having WiFi, or a single bar of 4G, the accompanying weight of having to stay constantly connected was lifted. The world was briefly spared from my bad Twitter takes.

READ MORE: How I Survived My First Family Holiday As A Single Parent

Wood Cabin

The wood cabin was nestled in mountainous rainforest, inland from the Gold Coast, QLD.

(Image: Wade Shipard)

Just past suburban malls and sporting fields, the heritage-listed main access road reached civilisation’s end and then scrawled uphill through thick forest, punctuated with single-lane bridges, rockfall catchment fences and hairpin bends cut into the mountainside.

Upon arrival, timber boardwalks guided us to a cedar wood cabin immersed amongst the trees, which added an additional fantasy layer to the glamping experience.

READ MORE: Quattro Reasons To Take Your Kids To Italy

(Image: Wade Shipard)

The attentive manager recounted a vast list of features and available activities, all from memory, that would have taken days for any family to tick off.

Inside, the cabin was more glamour than camping, with: a hardwood fire, master bedroom with en suite, and a self-contained kitchen loaded with every appliance.

(Image: Wade Shipard)

Quirk factor was the point of difference, with an adorable loft bedroom accessible only by ladder and a private spa with 270 degree rainforest views.

Our biggest regret was not sampling the home-distilled liquor labelled with only a “NO SMOKING” sign.

READ MORE: Why Your Next Family Holiday Should Be To Morocco 

(Image: Wade Shipard)

A bridge across a cascading stream led to the sauna, hot tub and plunge pool; major suspects in the case of why we didn’t instantly explore the abundant natural surrounds. However, we were willing accomplices, after a long car ride with restless kids.

Whether you’re a dome person or a cabin person, both ably catered for wherever you fall on the preciousness spectrum, with a uniqueness worth flexing about when telling holiday stories to your friends.

For families, specifically this urban one, glamping is a much more accessible way to experience incredible outdoor environments -- without splurging for gear that we don’t have the storage space for, or real-world ability to use!

Disclaimer: Wade Shipard traveled as a guest of Glamping Hub. 

Contact the author: wshipard@networkten.com.au