Generally, things that look incredible on Instagram underwhelm in real life. Rainbow cakes are always too dry; inflatable pool toys exist mainly to dunk you; and contoured make-up makes you look more like a streaky clown than a Kardashian.
Australia’s first bubble tent – aptly named Bubbletent Australia – is not one of those things. In fact, like the moon, fireworks and big stadium pop shows, the bubble tent is actually a lot more impressive in the flesh (well, polyurethane membrane).
There are three tents to choose from, each overlooking a different aspect of the Capertee Valley, the largest valley in the world. All three offer total seclusion, which is not only pleasant but needed, since the central chamber of each one has a 360 degree view out, and in.
Thanks to its high altitude and low light pollution, Capertee, two hours and 45 minutes west of Sydney, has some of the best stargazing near the city. That’s why it was selected by Bubbletent Australia. On our visit it rained throughout the night, so we can’t attest to the depth of the Milky Way. However, the pitter patter of rainfall against the clear plastic bubble, with the occasional flash of lightning in the distance, was a soothing bedtime soundtrack and vista. On clear days the sunset and the stars are probably spectacular, but watching the valley fill with mist in the rain, while wet kangaroos bounded for shelter, felt no less special.
Despite appearances, the bubble tent is neither steaming hot nor chillingly cold. It remains inflated thanks to a solar-powered turbine. “Think of the fuselage of an airplane but nowhere near as full on,” say the tent’s owners Sonny Vrebac and Mayu Iwasaki. This keeps the air flowing around the tent. You enter the bubble via an airlock tunnel, which must be closed behind you. Leave the front door and the tunnel door open at once, we discovered, and your bubble will slowly start to collapse. Fortunately it reinflates quickly once the airlock is resealed.
As with most glamping, Bubbletent Australia provide a very comfortable mattress, high quality linen sheets and solar-powered outlets to charge your phone and laptop. There’s also a portable speaker, and a telescope for stargazing and spying out across the valley. The tent is self-catered with cooking equipment and a refrigerator stored in an ingenious deck just outside the tent.
The toilet is a waterless, sawdust situation – but it’s odourless, and there’s running water to wash-up with. Book the ‘Virgo’ tent, and you’ll even get access to a wood-fired hot tub.
If you’ve been dreaming of a night under the stars, but you’re the kind of royal baby who needs high quality linens to function, this is the answer. A full-blown nature experience, without ever having to leave your bubble.
Time Out stayed courtesy of Destination New South Wales