This family friendly park offers a plum beachfront setting at the southern end of the NSW Central Coast known locally as the peninsula. Bordered by bushland and the beautiful Brisbane Water National Park the popular (and historic) park offers 25 different accommodation options ranging from three-bedroom villas, glamping tents through to camping and caravan sites; the glamtainers being the newest addition. It also offers a daily kids club, resort style pools, waterpark, jumping pillows, go kart hire and terrific onsite kiosk.
City life makes way for riverside towns, vast tracts of bushland, dramatic waterways and coastal inlets on the 90-minute drive from Sydney. Feel your shoulders drop as you cross the Mooney Mooney Bridge before veering off for the coast. Far reaching vistas over Brisbane Waters unfold on the ascent towards Woy Woy before arriving at Umina's long sweep of protected beachfront. The two glamtainers are positioned at the southern end of the park, overlooking Ettalong Creek and rolling waves.
Even the most ardent non-camper will be won over by the stylish interiors and creature comforts of the glamtainers built by Melbourne-based GlamXperience. Converted from working shipping containers, hotel style luxuries like hairdryers, heating and cooling, heated towel rack and rustic bohemian interiors await. There are queen and double sized beds, kitchenette with fridge and microwave, compact living area, TV, stylish bathroom and outdoor deck with BBQ and seating. Floor to ceiling windows allow light to stream in while blinds and reflective glass allow for privacy. Booked solidly since arriving in 2020, a third glamtainer is on order.
The queen size bed with bedside lamps sits within an open plan space with timber floors. A cute bunk room housing the double bed offers its own air conditioner, reading lights and can be shut off if travelling with kids or another adult. There's no wardrobe, however you can stash your belongings on shelves (tip: pack light).
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 deli and confectionary selection while the park holds pop up events like Spanish paella and sangria or margarita nights. After the kiosk shuts at 3pm you can order food delivery (collect from the park entrance) or make a BBQ and watch the sunset, G&T in hand, on the deck.
Kids are never going to want to leave the park (now offering the new Bear Grylls survival and adventure program) however it's worth trekking along the beach at low tide (drive otherwise) for Margarita Daze. Known for its creative cocktails, casual bites and ocean vistas stretching all the way to Palm Beach lighthouse, you may recognise this seaside eatery from the Netflix series Pieces of Her starring Toni Collette. The soft-shell crab tacos, jalapeno and watermelon margaritas go down a treat on a sunny autumn day. Neighbouring Ettalong is also home to numerous cafes and eateries including Lords of Pour, Coast, Safran and quaint art deco Cinema Paradiso. Alternatively work up a sweat on the Pearl Beach to Patonga walk through Brisbane Water National Park followed by a bucket of prawns and well-earned ale at the Boathouse Patonga.
Glamtainers are a revelation for those who like the idea of camping in the great outdoors but are daunted by the set-up, leaky air mattresses and midnight run to the amenities block. And staying in a holiday park makes you feel like a kid again especially when you get to whiz around in a go kart.
90 Sydney Ave, Umina Beach; nrmaparksandresorts.com.au/ocean-beach. Glamtainers start from $155 per night. Discount for NRMA members.
OUR RATING OUT OF FIVE
Cooking a BBQ beneath the stars to the soundtrack of crashing waves.
Staying in a big, popular holiday park means plenty of traffic (on foot and on wheels) passing by while the glamtainer's compact size makes it best suited to couples.
Sheriden Rhodes stayed as a guest of NRMA Parks and Resorts.