Travel

Need to recharge? 7 great Aussie health and wellness retreats

Relax, rejuvenate, repeat: here’s how to find some great Australian destinations to breathe and revitalise.

By Carolyn Tate

Do you need a break? Sorry, silly question. If you’re in need of a good battery recharge, there’s a relatively new type of holiday that is growing in popularity, and we have to admit: it sounds pretty good.

We’re talking about the wellness holiday.

National Geographic say a fifth of travellers around the world are taking them - and this number is set to grow even more.

What’s a wellness holiday? It’s a vacation that leaves you feeling rested and restored - and more 'well' - than when you left home.

And, although there’s a time and a place for sipping two-for-one cocktails on a tropical island or hitting a foreign city and walking from cathedral to art gallery to cathedral, you often come back from those holidays feeling like you need a holiday to recover from your holiday.

This is a different concept entirely. This is a holiday that is truly good for you in every way. Here are some of our favourite wellness holidays in Australia at the moment:

1. Gwinganna Lifestyle Retreat, Tallebudgera, Queensland

Pick from a range of wellness breaks at this luxury 'sanctuary of stillness and relaxation', and you won’t know yourself. Retreats go from two to five nights, and you can choose between overall wellness, menopause, yoga, longevity, stress management, and more. Beware: no smuggling in any guilty pleasures like cigarettes or alcohol. This is serious wellness business, but you’ll feel amazing for it.

More info: Gwinganna Lifestyle Retreat

2. Harmony Hill Health Retreat, Margate, Tasmania

Set in Tasmanian bushland, this health retreat is all about pampering and relaxation, along with a focus on mental health and energy healing. There’s a wide variety of treatments available, but the 6-night detox retreat is our favourite. With 10 hours of spa treatments included, meditation, spiritual counselling, and fresh vegan meals delivered to your villa, you’ll want for nothing (unless you need a good rump steak, of course).

More info: Harmony Hill Health Retreat

A weekend away can feel like weeks away when you go on a wellness retreat.

3. Billabong Retreat, Maraylya, New South Wales

Just an hour out of Sydney - but also a world away - Billabong Retreat is surrounded by native Australian flora and fauna, and provides guests with healthy meals, snacks, and drinks all made with locally sourced whole foods. Choose from a range of two-to-three-day packages tailored to address your needs, such as nutrition, stress, or happiness. Our pick is the 'Energise Your Life' package, with a focus on rejuvenation and wellness through yoga, meditation and mindfulness activities.

More info: Billabong Retreat

4. Natures Paradise, Mundaring, Western Australia

Natures Paradise promises to 'add more life to your years, and more years to your life', which is an attractive proposition. Come to rejuvenate your health, or simply for a relaxing break away from the hustle and bustles of regular life, with lifestyle coaching, meditation, and delicious plant-based meals. All drinking water is filtered rainwater, and even the natural swimming pool is filled with mountain stream water free from chemicals. We can’t go past the 'Wellness in Retirement' package, which offers education, movement, individualised consultations and nourishment. All this is just 45 minutes from Perth.

More info: Natures Paradise

5. Hepburn Bathhouse and Spa, Daylesford, Victoria

Before wellness retreats were even a thing, Daylesford has been a centre of wellness and rejuvenation, with people flocking from all over the country to bathe in the mineral-rich waters, which are said to cure a range of ailments. Hepburn Bathhouse and Spa is over 100 years old, and it offers bespoke wellness packages including accommodation, spa treatments, mineral bathing, and a variety of classes and functions.

More info: Hepburn Bathhouse and Spa

Lake Daylesford is a well-known wellness area within easy drive of Melbourne.

6. Gaia Retreat and Spa, Brooklet, New South Wales

Set on 20 acres of bushland in the Byron Bay hinterland, Gaia offers grounding and restorative experiences. Originally started by Olivia Newton John, along with her three business partners, Gaia has won a ton of awards and is still hugely popular - you’ll want to book ahead. Choose from a range of packages including Renew, Revive, Refresh, and Restore - and tailor to suit your needs with add-ons and options.

More info: Gaia Retreat and Spa

Gaia Retreat and Spa is in the hinterland above Byron Bay, Australia’s most easterly point.

7. Unyoked, go off grid in a variety of locations

Sometimes, all you need to do to achieve wellness is to unplug and enjoy some solitude. That’s what Unyoked delivers. Forget the fancy spa treatments and vegan meals - the beauty of Unyoked is that you can choose one of a network of tiny cabins that are off-grid and designed for relaxation. Each modern home has its own unique features, like hammocks, bonfires, or huge windows to bring the outside in, and there is nothing to do but switch off and soak it all in.

More info: Unyoked

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