My husband and I are big fans of camping. Even before I met him I was a lover of the great outdoors, there is something really liberating about building a home for the weekend, settling down with a glass of wine by the camp fire and playing endless games of Trivial Pursuit under the beautiful night sky.
As I have gotten older, my camping experiences have evolved to be less about festival party experiences and more about a cheap getaway from the hustle and bustle of the nine-to-five. I wouldn’t say we rough it, we eat fillet steak and greek salad, drink Malbec and have cheeseboards. We just do it outside, away from technology and the comfort of our home.
Recently I upped the ante and booked a weekend away for Mr B’s birthday to the luxurious Paperbark Camp in Jervis Bay, a gorgeous eco-luxury “glampsite” in Woollamia, about three hours south of Sydney. Having spent time in Africa, I knew Mr B would love the safari style tents, but I was a little concerned that the place wouldn’t live up to the hype and we would return to Sydney disappointed.
How wrong was I? It was truly glorious in every way. We stayed in one of the deluxe safari tents, which had THE MOST COMFORTABLE bed I have ever slept in and the most amazing bath tub overlooking the natural surroundings. I spent a good two hours with a book and a glass of bubbles (or two) in that tub – it was heaven.
And if decadent plush surroundings were not enough to satisfy my pursuit of weekend escape luxury, the food in the onsite Gunyah restaurant was amazing too. Our booking included the Taste of Jervis food package which included breakfast and a three course dinner daily. I am usually a little sceptical about “food packages” and generally like to do my own thing, but once again, I was proven wrong – the food was sublime. Confit duck and Hiramasa Kingfish ceviche were a couple of the delicious morsels we wolfed down with a glass of red and my taste buds went into overdrive when I devoured the lemon posset, eucalyptus ice cream and compressed apple dessert – truly scrumptious.
And if a deliciously filling three course dinner wasn’t enough, a lovely touch also offered by Paperbark Camp is that you can order a picnic to take with you when you leave to explore the surrounding area for the day. On the Saturday, we drove to nearby Greenfield Beach, did a mini trek through the national park and returned to eat and drink a fantastic homemade lunch sitting on the beach, which meant we could enjoy our surroundings and not have to cut our beach time short to go in search of a place to eat. And believe me when I say this was not your average picnic, think gourmet chicken sandwiches, frittata, cookies, nuts and friands rather than soggy sandwiches wrapped in tin foil. It was a really nice touch.
Back at the camp, we enjoyed drinks on the deck before heading to the Gunyah again for another amazing meal and a fantastic bottle of red and then retiring to our tent for a game of Scrabble and a nightcap. We woke on the Sunday completely relaxed but sad to leave as the whole experience was how a weekend should be – quality time together with excellent food and drink in beautiful surroundings. So we begrudgingly packed our bags and headed back to Sydney, but not before being farewelled by a family of kangaroos and the cutest little joey ever. It was simply perfect.