I Heart Glamping

There’s no doubt that the wonderful folks at Clifton Glamping have thought of everything. From the vases of fresh flowers dotted around their campsite, to tubs of herbs from which to flavour your camp-cooked food. Wooden loungers perfectly angled to take in the starry night sky. A fruit bowl brimming with local plums and nectarines. An enormous jar of marshmallows to roast over the open fire. And the super king bed… fabulously plump and pillowy, (it’s a Sealy Spinecare Ultra-Plush if anyone’s asking) may well provide you with the most comfortable sleep of your life.

The glampsite is perched on a small hill overlooking the meandering Maraetotara River, at the bottom of the ginormous Clifton Station. The brainchild of Tom and Lucia Gordon, who live elsewhere on the station, it’s been so popular that they’re midway through building a second camp with a very different, but equally rustic, rural view.

The View

Taking in the view across Hawke's Bay

The safari style tent sits atop a wooden platform, and there’s an adjoining kitchen and an outhouse style loo. A gas Weber is perfect for roasting Hawke’s Bay corn, making morning toast, or barbecuing snags. There are farm fresh eggs and Hawthorne coffee for breakfasts. And the outdoor shower and bath, with products from Real World (another Bay success story) might take a little getting used to at first, but there’s something rather freeing about being nude in nature, with birds chirping and the distant grumble of a quad bike revving its engine your soundtrack.

Campsite cooked dinner

Campsite cooked dinner

Lucia encourages guests to take a walk, if they’re so inclined, and can offer recommendations on a route. One dirt road takes you just high enough to spot the bluff of Napier and – on a clear day – Mahia. The Farm at Cape Kidnappers is also tantalisingly close, so whipping up the hill for lunch and a spa treatment is an excellent option too.

Or, you can don one of the campsite’s cotton robes, cuddle up in a comfy chair with a glass of something, flip through a magazine, and just breathe. It’s easy to be at one with nature when nature looks like this.

Are you ready for your luxurious escape at Clifton Glamping?

Story Credit

Words and imagery by
Fiona Fraser of Contentment 


  • To fully decompress, take everything with you – food, wine, books – and remain rooted to your glampsite. It’s so perfect, why would you leave?
  • But if you’ve forgotten something, the nearest store is the Four Square in Te Awanga – it sells great cheeses, champagne, fruit and veg.
  • Clifton Glamping operates a dehydrating toilet – it takes a few, erm, visits to get used to there being no flush mechanism! And no, it doesn’t smell.
  • Don’t forget your togs so you can take a dip in the river.