Accommodation will appeal to non-campers

THE PLACE

This family park offers a plum seaside setting at the southern end of the central NSW coast known locally as the Peninsula. Bordered by bushland and the beautiful Brisbane National Water Park, the popular (and historic) park has 25 different accommodation options ranging from three-bedroom villas and glamping tents to camping and caravan sites; glamtainers being the newest addition. It also offers a daily kids’ club, resort-style pools, water park, inflatable pillows, go-kart rentals, and a terrific on-site kiosk.

THE LOCATION

City life gives way to riverside towns, vast expanses of bushland, spectacular waterways and coastal coves all within a 90-minute drive of Sydney. Feel your shoulders drop as you cross the Mooney Mooney Bridge before branching off towards the coast. Far-reaching vistas over the waters of Brisbane unfold on the ascent to Woy Woy before arriving at the long, sheltered beach of Umina. The two glamtainers are positioned at the southern end of the park, overlooking Ettalong Creek and rolling waves.

THE LOOK

Even the most ardent non-camper will be wowed by the stylish interiors and comfort of glamtainers built by Melbourne-based GlamXperience. Converted from functional shipping containers, hotel-style luxuries like hairdryers, heating and air conditioning, heated towel rails and rustic bohemian interiors await. There are queen and double beds, a kitchenette with refrigerator and microwave, a small living room, a TV, a stylish bathroom and an outdoor terrace with a barbecue and seating. Floor-to-ceiling windows allow light to flood in while blinds and reflective glass allow privacy. Securely booked since arriving in 2020, a third glamtainer is on order.

BEDROOM

The queen-size bed with bedside lamps sits in an open-plan space with hardwood floors. A lovely bunk room housing the double bed offers its own air conditioner, reading lights and can be switched off if you are traveling with children or another adult. There is no wardrobe, but you can store your things on shelves (tip: pack light).

THE FOOD

The onsite Beach Kiosk is a step up from your average holiday park outlet. Expect egg and bacon burgers, salmon bagels, decent coffee, fish and chips and freshly made salads. There’s also a good selection of charcuterie and sweets while the park hosts pop-up events like Spanish paella and sangria or margarita nights. After the kiosk closes at 3 p.m., you can order food delivery (pick up at the park entrance) or have a BBQ and watch the sunset, G&T in hand, on the deck.

GET OUT OF

Kids will never want to leave the park (now offering the new Bear Grylls survival and adventure program), but it’s worth the hike along the beach at low tide (drive otherwise) for Margarita Daze. Known for its creative cocktails, casual bites, and ocean views that stretch to the Palm Beach Lighthouse, you might recognize this beachfront restaurant from the Netflix series Pieces of Her with Toni Collette. Soft-shell crab tacos, jalapenos, and watermelon margaritas are a treat on a sunny fall day. The nearby district of Ettalong is also home to many cafes and restaurants, including Lords of Pour, Coast, Safran and the quaint art deco Cinema Paradiso. Otherwise, sweat it out on Pearl Beach to Patonga, through Brisbane National Water Park, followed by a bucket of prawns and a well-deserved beer at the Boathouse Patonga.

THE VERDICT

The Glamtainers are a revelation for those who love the idea of ​​outdoor camping but are intimidated by the setup, leaky air mattresses and the midnight run to the comfort station. And staying at a holiday park makes you feel like a kid again, especially when you get to go kart racing.

ESSENTIAL

90 Sydney Avenue, Umina Beach; nrmaparksandresorts.com.au/ocean-beach. Glamtainers start from $155 per night. Discount for NRMA members.

OUR SCORE OUT OF FIVE

★★★★

UNDERLINE

Cook a barbecue under the stars to the sound of the crashing waves.

LOW LIGHT

Staying at a popular large holiday park means lots of traffic (on foot and on wheels) passing through while the glamtainer’s compact size makes it more suitable for couples.

Sheriden Rhodes stayed as a guest of NRMA Parks and Resorts.

About Michael B. Billingsley

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