Holidays with Kids checks into … Flash Camp at Coolendel
Bronte Gossling discovers all there is to glamping with Flash Camp, where glamour and the great outdoors meet to form a pop-up bush hotel on New South Wales’ South Coast.
What started out as a venture into providing up-market tents to festival-goers has successfully morphed into pop-up holiday accommodation for travellers of all shapes and sizes, as evident by Flash Camp’s extended season of summer glamping in Coolendel, slated to run until 30 May 2018.
The ultra-luxe cream canvas tents can be custom pitched (find your own field), but the company also does holiday accommodation in particular venues such as Coolendel. My experience with Flash Camp was the latter, an idyllic weekend away at a riverside campground located only a 2.5-hour drive south of Sydney, but it felt like a peaceful world away.
Traveller: Bronte Gossling
Room/Accommodation Type: six-metre-diameter Bell tent, which sleeps up to four people
Address: Coolendel, Grassy Gully Road, Burrier, NSW, Australia (via Yalwal Road)
Date: February 2018
Family factor: Reconnecting as a family in the wild with the bonus addition of creature comforts
Nestled alongside the serene riverbanks of the Shoalhaven River, this Coolendel campground is accessible via a well-maintained but unsealed road, which made for an exciting 25-minute wilderness drive before our arrival. After checking-in at the bush equivalent of a check-in desk, we were lead to our secluded home for the weekend – a spacious, six-metre-diameter Bell tent that didn’t feel like a tent at all, rather, an apartment au naturel. Accommodating up to four people, these portable shelters come with either a king-sized mattress or single mattresses on slats. Complete with the five-star touches of solar lighting, a table and chairs, Biology toiletries, a timber chest, Pony Rider décor, Armadillo & Co rugs, and a private campfire brazier and grill, Flash Tents are indeed hotels in a bag. We experienced all the joy of camping, without the fuss of bringing our own outdoor equipment – all we had to do was show up ready to have fun.
Comfortable mattresses, pillows, doona and sheet sets for confirmed guests
Internal solar light and external solar puff light
Shampoo, conditioner and body wash
Two director's chairs and a square table
Clothes hanging rack
Custom made campfire brazier with flat-plate grill
Glasses, mugs, cutlery, plates, napkins
Esky/cooler (ice can be bought from the General Store)
Sunday Supply Co Sun Umbrella
Undercover communal marquee with chairs, tables and lighting
Food preparation area
Toilets and hot showers (part of campsite) - less than 100 metres from tents. It is recommended that guests bring their own towels
Flash Camp truly has thought of everything, as seen in their communal kitchen and lounge area complete with cover, seating, fairy lights, a barbecue and stoves for sheltered cooking plus a washing up facility. The only thing that completes this alfresco picture is the food itself, which glampers have to supply. We were lucky enough to have a supply of ready-to-cook meals from Dinner Ladies, the brain-child of two Sydney-based mums who wanted to provide easily-accessible healthy meals for time-poor families. Our favourite? Pan-Asian-marinated salmon with lemongrass, ginger and lime. Coupled with a generous spread of salad, this dish is perfect for summer-holidaying tummies. Let’s not forget the pièce de résistance, a hearty dessert of roasted marshmallows over the fire.
With over 52 hectares of ancient bushland to explore, little ones and little ones at heart can go wild bushwalking and biking, while water-babies can canoe, swim or fish in the cool waters of the river. The central location of Coolendel is ideal for family fun. For those that wish to venture out into the larger Jervis Bay area, try a stop at Nowra for an adventure in Jervis Bay National Park. If the native wildlife of the campground isn’t enough, a day trip to Symbio Wildlife Reserve or Shoalhaven Zoo may cure the critter crazies. Wiggle your toes in the sand of Seven Mile Beach, before going wild at Jamberoo Recreation Park – the possibilities are endless.
Aside from the convenience, Flash Camp’s true familial element lies in its setting. An abundance of native wildlife such as wombats, wallabies, native birds and goannas mean an abundance of fun for the kiddies, and the fact that the campground has no signal means that the family can go back to basics and reconnect.
Nowra - 20km
Jervis Bay Airport - 56km
Bomaderry Train Station - 26km
The writer of this review stayed as a guest of Flash Camp. Images have been supplied by Flash Camp.