WHEN does a tent cease to be a tent?
Even though I'm technically under canvas, I'm luxuriating in a king-size bed, there is a generous-size lounge setting and dining table, while the rigid canvas wall behind the head hides a generous en-suite stocked with spa products.
Yet there is no doubt I'm in the bush. Things still go bump in the night, I can hear dingoes howling and twigs cracking underfoot.
Welcome to glamping, Kings Canyon Resort style, where the ultra-stylish tents are a generous 85 sq m, with more than a nod to the Central Australian outback with double hammocks or swing chairs on the verandah and a fire pit for those cold desert nights.
There are more surprises in store at the resort, located within the 710 sq km Watarrka (Kings Canyon) National Park, roughly midway between Alice Springs and Uluru-Kata Tjuta National Park.
Chef Jonty De Camargo delivers an Under a Desert Moon dining experience around a fire pit under the sort of night sky you only find in the outback. The five-course Australian native ingredient-inspired menu is equal to any served in the finest big-city restaurants. Limited to just 12 people, the evening starts with canapes on the lawn before moving to the outdoor dining area to enjoy smoked kangaroo with pepperleaf jus, wild barramundi with native plum, and coffee-rubbed wagyu tenderloin before finishing with miniature quandong cheesecakes.
The resort also recently opened an open-air cinema and sunset viewing platform overlooking Carmichael's Crag so that travellers can enjoy classic Australian movies alongside a pop-up caravan bar.
The new accommodation and the resort's new attractions, which include Segway tours, are attracting more and more tourists into the Red Centre.
With the closure of the Uluru climb this October, the challenging Kings Canyon Rim Walk is predicted to attract more walkers keen to test their mettle on the 6km loop. After a steep ascent, walkers have glorious views over the park and into the canyon itself before descending into the green oasis of the Garden of Eden.
An easier but equally lovely walk is the shady Kings Creek 2.6-km walk that follows a trail between the two walls of the canyon.
Another option is a fly-over of the ruby red canyon to get an aerial perspective of the weathered domes of the Lost City and the lush vegetation and palm-filled crevices and cool waterholes of the Garden of Eden.
IF YOU GO...
Three of the six glamping tents are designed for couples, while three also have two king single beds.
Rates start at $390 a night including breakfast. Children 12 and under stay free.
Other accommodation options include deluxe spa rooms, value lodge rooms and a camping and caravanning site.
Under a Desert Moon dinner costs $169 per person, including wine pairings (closed November-March).
The Uluru to Kings Canyon Overnight Delight package includes return flights with Rock Air, Under a Desert Moon Dining, Guided Rim Walk Hike and Karrke Aboriginal Cultural Experience and other meals.
Packages start at $1438 a night, based on twin share.