“A luxurious tented eco-lodge set amongst the dunes a few metres from Ningaloo Reef, an hour south of Exmouth”
There are 15 airy safari-style Wilderness Tents erected on raised timber platforms; those higher in the dunes are interconnected by boardwalks and offer better sea views. All have wooden decks of varying sizes populated by chairs and a hammock. There is also a Honeymoon Tent, which is more spacious and boasts a 4-poster bed draped in mosquito netting (more for ambiance than need as there are few mossies about). Careful distancing means all are comfortably private.
Inside, kingsize or twin beds have high-quality 100% cotton linen, a choice of pillows and extra cushions. Personally, save for being woken by kangaroos bouncing on the boardwalk, I had one of my best night’s sleep ever. There is some shelf storage and hanging space for clothes, but don't bring too much luggage.
Bathrooms adjoin each tent and include a surprisingly fragrance-free composting NatureLoo, together with a sink (with hot and cold running water) and electrically pumped, bottle gas-heated shower, both drawing from a 20-litre daily water allocation. Biodegradable shampoo, natural soaps and moisturisers are provided to further mitigate problems of waste water management in an environmentally sensitive area. Chilled drinking water is replenished each day.
Limited power inevitably means some compromises. There are no fans and the tents rely on large areas of fly-screened vents and a sea breeze to keep things cool. Elsewhere, energy efficient LED interior lights are a bit dim, though each tent is provided with a wind-up torch, and externally an oil storm lantern illuminates the deck.
For those wanting to further reduce the insulation between themselves and the environment and sleep under the stars, swags are available to pitch outside. However, be warned the starlight in Cape Range is so brilliant it might just keep you awake.
All meals and drinks are included with both lunch and dinner masterfully crafted by a professional kitchen team, which is fortunate because - short of going walkabout in search of choice bushtucker - there is simply nowhere else.
Lunch usually takes the form of a BBQ buffet, and can be served on the beach. A typical menu may include emu and herb sausage, pepper-crusted Scotch fillet, garlic and ginger roast potatoes and fruit salad.
Pre-dinner canapés are served around sunset before tables are beautifully set and lanterns lit for the main event in the dining tent. Starters and mains are thoughtfully paired with Australian and imported wines. The resident chef offers traditional Australian cooking with a twist by combining ingredients with native spice blends, bush tomatoes and Kakadu and Illawarra plums, amongst other indigenous flavours.
Naturally, seafood features heavily, and from scallops, squid and snapper, in almost all cases it’s straight off a boat at Exmouth. Surmounting the constraints of limited power, water and refrigeration, assiettes of prawns excel, ballantine chicken melts, wild berry soufflés rise to the occasion and lemon myrtle crème brulées linger in the memory.
Breakfast is an uncomplicated affair consisting of eggs any style, fresh croissants and cereals but the accompaniment of breaching humpback whales 500m offshore more than compensates for the simplicity.
Children over 5 are welcome although there are no special child facilities. However, older kids, tweens and teens who are confident in the water and have a genuine interest in wildlife and wilderness will find the camp’s experience seminal. Extra beds take the form of good ol' Aussie swags.
Children (4-12 years), Teens (over 12)
Children will love the whole glamping experience in the eco-tents. Note that only one swag, so therefore only one child, is permitted per tent
The bar is open all day for cold drinks and snacks. The chefs are more than happy to take on board all requests and special requirements and cater accordingly with special menus if needed. Mealtimes are communal