‘Glamping’, you might scoff at the thought, or perhaps you’re a little… intrigued? Our Editor Tim checked out the new glamping tents at Mayfield Garden in Oberon, and let’s just say he’s no longer entirely opposed to the finer things.


Working at We Are Explorers is a delicate balance. We’re all about nature and the outdoors, but we’re also about making the outdoors as approachable as possible, so everyone can experience it.

Unfortunately, some of the easiest ways to get into nature, whether it’s a helicopter flight or luxury guided multi-day walk, are some of the least financially accessible. Not to mention their effect on the very places they allow you to experience.

Glamping however, often sits right in the middle. The word comes from ‘glamorous camping’, which generally means a very large tent, a proper bed, and even furniture. But how different is it really?

When an invite came through to check out the glamping at Mayfield Garden, a 65 hectare privately-owned cool-climate garden in Oberon, NSW, I took one look at my girlfriend (who loves both frilly dresses and getting her 4WD muddy) and began packing the car.


Mayfield Garden WAS-1, glamping tent, oberon

Pip pip, cheerio!

Welcome to Mayfield

A garden? Surely I’m stretching the limits here right? A perfectly-sculpted European-style garden, with all its colourful flowers, quaint bridges and trickly streams, isn’t exactly the space for forest bathing. Or is it?

You know that feeling you get when you sit on a patch of grass for your lunch break, or stroll through a nice park on your way to the train station? A beautiful garden is that on ‘roids. And although Mayfield is undoubtedly crafted by the human hand, it’s a pretty stunning zone to sink into.

Mayfield was a bunch of paddocks about just under three hours west of Sydney when it was bought by the Hawkins family in 1984. Over time the family let their love of the great gardens of Europe (Versailles anyone?) slowly guide the transformation. Features like a lake, a stone bridge, an English box-hedge maze (one of my favourite features) and countless curated flower gardens began to pop up.

The garden was completely private until a charity event in 2008, which proved so popular that the family began work on a more public garden which they called Mayfield Garden – it’s a stunning 15 hectare space that’s open 363 days a year.

Inside you’ll find Oak trees, Beeches and Maples, Daffodils, Hyacinths and Hydrangeas, even Rhododendrons. You’ll even get to mispronounce them all, like me! You can check out the Valley of the Five Ponds, walk behind a waterfall in the Grotto and, of course, check out the cafe and nursery.

But if you’re gonna make the trip out (and nab a night in a glamping tent) you’ll want to go during one of the festivals.

The Spring Festival

Four times a year, Mayfield hosts a seasonal festival where they open up an additional 50 hectares of garden – the Hawkins Family Garden – which plays host to some of the best features Mayfield has to offer. It’s also when they set up their glamping tents.

But first, the Maze, I’m sorry but I’ve gotta talk about the Maze. It’s a simply weird amount of fun. You’ve gotta try it, I promise it’s nothing like The Shining. Ducking and weaving through the hedges is every bit as fun as I thought it would be, and it makes for some awesome photos.

Another seasonal festival treat is rowboats on the lake. If you, or your partner, are anything like mine, this will be a bucket list experience. Just a word of caution, start strengthening your shoulders now – you might be doing all the rowing.

Or just go exploring! We didn’t really use the map – walking through the rolling hills, sauntering beneath pretty trees all lined up in a row, and weaving through sculpted hedges, was a different kind of nature experience, but definitely a worthwhile one.

The list of features in the Hawkins Family Garden quite literally goes on. There’s a nuttery, the Chook Hilton, a stumpery, a glasshouse, a garden that supplies the cafe and restaurant, and flower beds for every kind of bloom. It’s almost too much to accomplish in the regular opening hours. Which is where glamping comes into play.

Glamping at Mayfield Garden

The best way to experience Mayfield is definitely by glamping out in the gardens. Only glampers get exclusive access to the gardens in the evening and early morning, which is as good for photos as it sounds.

Inside the tents, there’s a queen-size bed which is much more comfortable than my own. Despite some rain overnight and the crispy, cold weather (Oberon is 1,113m above sea level!), we were totally snug in the huge canvas bell tent.


Mayfield Garden-1, photo by Tim Ashelford, Mary, glamping tent, bed,

Bedside tables: underrated


While there’s a regular toilet block, the glamping showers are a private outdoor affair, and they’re excellent. There’s nothing quite like a rain showerhead pumping steaming-hot water onto your head while you gaze out at misty fields in the early morning light. We even had a healthy breaky delivered to the tent. Can’t say I hated that.

Glampers also get a three-course a la carte dinner as part of their booking. That’s the glamping way, no camp stove or washup. Just a delicious seasonal menu, which for me included confit chicken, churros, and a lush Tempranillo.

To be honest, pulling off a chef-prepared dinner and creating a tent setup that rivals many a hotel, all in the remote countryside, is no small feat. Sure, $475 is no small amount of money, but for the quality of the experience, and the location, I’d say it compares pretty damn well.


Glamping is available from now until the 22nd of October and again during the Summer Festival, from December 27th to January 26th 2023. Book now as spots are limited.