Safari-style tents add an african touch

CANVASSING IDEA: Outside one of the tents are Suffolk Park Holiday Park manager Paul Brooks (left), Byron Shire Council financial services manager Jim Bolger, and park manager Maree Brooks.
CANVASSING IDEA: Outside one of the tents are Suffolk Park Holiday Park manager Paul Brooks (left), Byron Shire Council financial services manager Jim Bolger, and park manager Maree Brooks.

WHEN THE going gets tough, the tough need low-budget luxury holidays.

Which is where the Suffolk Park Holiday Park's new safari-style camping comes in.

In what may be an Australia first, the Byron Council-owned park is investing in seven permanent, on-site tents.

The tents are designed to provide the outdoor camping experience without the mud, rain, and discomfort.

Made entirely from locally sourced products, the tents are the brainchild of park manager Paul Brooks and have all the creature comforts of a cabin.

Hard floors, a deck, ensuite bathroom, kitchenette, and three layers of waterproof canvas ceiling are all part of the deal.

“Some- where I saw a story about these African safari tents,” Mr Brooks said.

“I looked into it and saw what they were doing and it triggered my thoughts.

“No one was actually doing something mainstream, and South Africa was actually exporting them to Australia,” he said.

Using $40,000 in seed money from park profits, Mr Brooks set to work developing prototype tents for Suffolk Park, and all three have passed the test. They weathered the May storms and floods.

“They've got the rustic, olde world feeling, but with all the luxuries,” he said.

The tents, which are divided into separate rooms, have couches, beds, tables, and fridges, and will be rented out before the summer tourist season at slightly more than a cabin, which cost the council double the money to build.

Mr Brooks has plans for an eco-themed section of the holiday park dedicated to the permanent tents, which have been designed by Ballina business Undercover Canvas in individual components for easy repair.

He said a number of other local caravan parks have shown interest in following the Suffolk Park lead, and the venture could spark a new tourism movement on Australia's east coast to help holidaymakers weather the economic crisis.


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