Fancy a chopper from your hotel to your campsite? Megan Johnston does.
IF THE time and effort involved in pitching a tent puts you off an adventurous weekend away, take heart. The arrival of valet camping is about to create a whole new generation of extremely happy campers.
This twist on the eco-tourism trend means all you have to do is turn up, drop your bags and unwind.
Basic operators take the hard work out of setting up camp while the deluxe options offer luxuries such as a bed and bathrobes so you don't have to give up hotel comforts to enjoy the wilderness.
One new service, Blue Mountains Private Safaris, offers a "wild bush luxury" experience at its private camp on the southern rim of a national park near Sydney. Guests sleep under the stars on a swag deck with a fold-out awning while a guide leads them along walking and four-wheel-drive tracks and points out good spots for fishing, swimming, caving, paddling and spotting wildlife. You can choose your own secluded setting. All meals are catered and ensuite facilities are provided. Guests can drive or be chauffeured to the secret site, however the most exciting (and pricey) way to arrive is by helicopter.
"You get this unbelievable perspective of the escarpment and cliffs and you're literally dropping into this massive wilderness," says Charlie Carlow, a partner in the company.
"You're not going to see another soul, it's a completely private safari so you get the undivided attention of the guide and it suits the sort of people who've got a sense of adventure but want a few creature comforts.
"It's all those small touches people don'tnecessarily expect but they come awaysurprised by the intimacy of the bushexperience."
Phone 1300790561, or see bluemountainsprivatesafaris.com.