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Entrepreneurs start ‘glamping’ business in paradise

We all know it well.

You make your way home from work, get dinner started, and somewhere in between finishing work that day and walking back in the office door the next morning you have to fit in going to the gym, packing a lunch, doing the dishes and for some of us helping the kids with homework, taking them to sports practice and the list goes on.

It is a routine that at times threatens to overwhelm us with its monotony and relentlessness.

Sure we have all flirted with the idea of handing in our resignation and retiring to a tropical island to begin our new life.

But what if one day you did just that?

For Toowoomba couple Tim and Meg Hall, their daydream started while honeymooning in Fiji, and began to take shape as a business plan.

Tim says he and Meg agreed Fiji was a place they’d love to live.

The pair has now opened Waitui Basecamp, offering a ‘glamping’ experience in luxury bell tent lodging on the beachfront, with the chilled-out basecamp atmosphere of a backpacker stay.

“We met a few locals who spoke of an old surf camp, we visited the beautiful beachfront land where it used to be and the seed was planted for building a small surf camp right then and there,” Tim says.

“From there, the seed grew.”

It’s a venture by no means lacking ambition, and the Halls were well aware of this as they arrived on the beach, their two pet dogs in tow, to begin the adventure of a lifetime.

TROPICAL EVENINGS: Sunset over the Fijian islands.

“We were both tremendously excited to be back building our new life together on our own terms,” Meg says.

“It is a very liberating experience to stop following a path just because it is well travelled and make such a drastic change.

“Sometimes it can all seem overwhelming, but I’d choose our over-the-top, interesting, challenging life over a more secure, predictable one any day!

“Everything in life is much more fun with your favourite human and fur babies by your side too,” Meg laughs.

Meg left her position as a pastry chef and Tim resigned from his as an engineer in order to chase their dream.

“It was really scary but exciting at the same time,” Tim says.

After putting their Sunshine Coast home on the market, where the couple had moved from Toowoomba, it sold in just three days and the dream was quickly becoming a reality.

“At that point, we knew there was no turning back and so it was our ‘taking the plunge’ that helped us just focus on what needed to be done and not doubt what we were doing,” Tim says.

“Looking back, it is quite funny how I (and most people) thought that packing up and moving to an island to go surfing every day is just a wild pipedream.

“I guess I’ve learned that the artificial boundaries of needing a five-day-a-week job and saving to buy a house are just that, artificial and self-imposed.”

It’s a venture that involves building a basecamp from scratch, coming up with a daily menu for guests and plenty of other tasks to test a relationship.

LOCAL CUISINE: Traditional Fijian food is part of the experience for guests at Waitui Basecamp.

“We have unofficially been drawing on the mantra of ‘if it was easy, everyone would do it!'” Meg says.

“I think if you have a great work ethic, rock solid emotional support, are passionate about the niche you will provide for in a gap in the market and are not fully exhausting your own resources or going into debt by doing so then take the plunge!

“There will never be an absolutely perfect time, you may miss great opportunities and time you could have spent living your ideal lifestyle.”

Tim believes that while the venture has thrown plenty of challenges their way, it has ultimately helped strengthen the newlyweds’ relationship.

“It can be testing at times, but it definitely brings us closer,” he says.

“We are learning more and more about each other every day and if we see the other one is having a tough time we try to alleviate the strain and share the load.”

“It is incredible here, I need to pinch myself a lot of the time to remind myself that I do live here now.”

SURF’S UP: Surfing, stand-up paddle boarding and kite-surfing are some of the activities available.

So far their plan of creating a fun space to encompass their shares loves in life; good food, good company and a relaxed environment to meet interesting people from all walks of life, is working.

Among their first guests were Swiss stand-up paddleboard competitors and an American man who spends three months captaining a salmon fishing boat in Alaska and the other nine travelling and surfing.

The couple hopes to attract “adventurous, down to earth people who are interested in experiencing Fijian culture first hand.”

Unlike much of the resort accommodation available on this island, the Halls want to offer an experience where guests can live amongst the locals during their stay.

Their accommodation is set on a piece of beachfront land they share with local family the Radomoles.

GLAMPING: Accommodation will be offered in the form of spacious bell tents of the beachfront at Waitui Basecamp.

“Getting to know the people and culture has been refreshing,” Meg says.

“Family values are always at the foreground and while communities are tight knit, they are always open to new people.

“Even those that don’t have much themselves will happily offer to have you round for tea and whatever meal they are having.”

Meg and Tim’s two pet dogs Marley and Zoe have also been a huge hit on the small island.

“When we first arrived to Port Denerau with the dogs there was no shortage of happy faces wanting to meet the pups and they still ask after them whenever we pass by,” Meg says.

Their aim is to offer an authentic experience, from hunting octopus and crab to gathering seaweed with the locals for dinner that night.

This is of course combined with the fabulous natural playground of those azure waters, with Waitui Basecamp offering the perfect backdrop for kitesurfing, surfing, paddleboarding, fishing and spearfishing.

DEEP BLUE: Flippers disappear into the stunning blue waters of Fiji.

The first lot of local visitors, Tim’s mother Chrissy and sister Camilla, who both run Toowoomba businesses, visited the island paradise over Christmas.

Tim and Meg are hoping to jump through all legal hoops and begin accepting guests in the near future.

You can follow Tim and Meg’s progress on their Facebook page Waitui Basecamp and on Instagram.

It’s guaranteed job envy!


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