While we’re all itching to get on a plane and get out of our heads for a well-deserved break, respite from our COVID-world lives may be closer than you think. It turns out there is plenty of luxury to be enjoyed on our own doorstep with some of the world’s most exclusive health and wellness retreats just a stone’s throw away.Whether you’re simply looking to treat yourself after the year that was, want to spend some intimate time with your loved ones or need a complete overhaul of your nutrition, sleep, mindfulness or general health, these places around Australia are sure to deliver. And, of course, they come with a healthy dose of next-level luxury on the side.
Emirates One & Only Wolgan Valley
A stay at Emirates One & Only Wolgan Valley is unlike your average health retreat. The rugged surrounds of the world heritage listed Blue Mountains is contrasted by the ultra-luxurious homestead and outstanding guest experience.
Paying respect to the traditional Aboriginal owners of the land, the conservation area has been lovingly restored to bring a taste of history alongside organic produce grown on location and a rejuvenating line-up of activities.
The retreat might be made for Instagram but it’s the perfect place to take a step back from the hustle of daily life to appreciate the simplicities of luxury. The spa menu is oozing with lavish treatment options that promise restoration through the powers of Australian botanicals. Multiple dining options offer up everything from a six-course dinner menu to providore-style dining and delicious drinks to be served by the open fireplace.
Gwinganna Lifestyle Retreat
Gwinganna Lifestyle Retreat sits nestled amongst the rolling hills of the Gold Coast Hinterlands and is a destination designed to soothe your body, mind and soul. The Ecotourism certified wellness retreat combines organic living with spa treatments, movement and a menu carefully curated by talented chefs to help guests reset and detach from the busy modern world. It’s a chance to re-evaluate lifestyle choices and ready your body for positive change while soaking up the serenity of the 500-acre oasis
Perhaps the most appealing part of a stay at Gwinganna is the wide range of all-inclusive wellness packages. Guests have the choice to dip their toe into the retreat with a two-day Wellness Weekend, go all in during the seven-day Detox experience or choose from several speciality retreats that focus on women’s wellness, nutrition, sleep or stress relief.
No matter which package you choose, expect breathtaking valley views, organic food, world-class spa treatments, expert advice and a long list of mindfulness and movement activities.
Indijup Retreat and Spa
The Indijup Retreat and Spa is located just a three-hour drive from Western Australia’s must-visit Margret River making it the perfect stop-over after a weekend of wine drinking. The seaside estate is home to just 10 ultra-luxurious private villas, each with its own plunge pool and expansive balcony that’s ripe for taking in the ocean views.
Unlike your average health retreat, Indijup is all about taking things at your own pace and has done away with the idea of itineraries. Expect a delicious breakfast hamper and bottle of wine on arrival, a menu filled with local produce from the surrounding Margaret River region, in-house yoga classes and exclusive access to the adjoining Bodhi Spa where pampering is taken to a new level.
Guests can even arrange a private chef for in villa dining to be ready on return from one of the many coastal walks surrounding the estate.
Eden Health Retreat
Eden Health Retreat aims to help guests discover the magic of disconnecting from the stresses of daily life to reconnect with nature. While the Eden experience promises ‘modest luxury’, there’s nothing modest about the immersive journey that awaits guests with a stay at the sprawling 400-acre rainforest estate. Think luxurious lodges, each with a stunning view of the surrounding valley, a meticulously planned menu, heavenly spa treatments and an itinerary that’s curated to your unique goals.
Like a choose your own adventure for adults, Eden’s expert team get to know your purpose, whether that’s weight or stress management, fitness, nutrition, relaxation or simply to have fun, they tailor the experience to you.
And, if you want to do it all, you can! Start the morning with a five-star meal, take to the treetops via zipline then soak up the rituals that will help you prioritise wellbeing in your everyday life.
Elysia Wellness Retreat
Elysia Wellness Retreat is the kind of place you visit when you’re looking for a life-changing journey of self-discovery. In the heart of the Hunter Valley, it offers mulitple package options to help wellness seekers discover transformative ways to balance the mind, body and spirit. The all-inclusive experience is tailored to each guests’ needs whether that’s better sleep, a digital detox, a nutrition focus, fitness and weight management or even meditation.
The retreat is bursting with amenities with personalised luxury and a focus on the principles of Feng Shui throughout. From nature walks to fitness classes, spa treatments, expert talks and wellness seminars as well as indoor and outdoor pools, there really is something for everyone.
Perhaps the shining jewel in Elysia’s crown is the food with a menu designed to allow guests to indulge in life’s greatest pleasures while championing nutrition and building lifelong healthy habits. Whether it’s for a weekend or an entire week, Elysia is one of those bucket list kind of experiences.
Just one look at the gorgeous home that houses guests at Soma and it will be sure to be added to your travel wish list. Although it’s only a 10 minute drive from Byron Bay, Soma feels like a world away nestled in the centre of 22 acres of sprawling hinterland. The purpose-built oasis focuses on the art of meditation and aims to help guests unlock their inner guru, teaching techniques and practices to take into everyday life. Everyone from beginners to seasoned meditators can indulge in the retreat and the conscious living it teaches.
The property features a modern and meticulously designed guest house with 10 large ensuite rooms, a freshwater infinity pool, multiple dining and relaxation areas as well as a yoga dome, treatment rooms nestled in corners of the surrounding forest, walking trails, an infrared sauna and magnesium ice bath. The Soma experience is a treat for the body and the mind promising ultimate relaxation and reinvigoration at every turn.
Peninsula Hot Springs
Tapping into the powers of water and highlighting ancient bathing rituals, Peninsula Hot Springs delivers serene relaxation with the benefit of tailoring your own experience. Whether you want to stop by for a single day to dip your toes into the healing geothermal waters of one of more than 50 bathing experiences, or stay overnight in their luxury glamping accommodation, there’s an option to suit every wellness seeker.
Choose from a soak in an outdoor spring or treat yourself to the seclusion of a private bath in an idyllic setting. The mineral-rich water is just the beginning of the detoxifying experience on offer at Peninsula Hot Springs, situated in the heart of the Mornington Peninsula. Expect blissful spa treatments, nourishing food catered to each activity and unique offerings like moonlit bathing, perfect for unwinding and restoring focus to living well.
Gaia Retreat and Spa
Gaia Retreat and Spa comes with a very famous tick of approval, with Olivia Newton-John a co-founder of the magical retreat. The experience is described as laidback-meets-luxe where guests can indulge in a wellness experience that suits their own goals. Whether it’s a weekend of relaxation or complete restoration of your health, wellbeing or fitness, the Gaia experience aims to nurture the discovery of inner and outer wellness.
The intimate retreat, nestled in breathtaking Bundjalung Country, offers just 22 elegantly appointed rooms, suites and villas. Holistic day spa packages are intertwined with health-conscious dining options with much of the product grown on location and creatively curated into a must-try culinary experience.
Healing activities like yoga, guided meditation, naturopathic consults all complement the serenity of the grounds that have been carefully designed to bring you the kind of luxury that can only truly be enjoyed barefoot.
Located just 15mins from the Adelaide CBD, Sequoia offers guests a journey of discovery based around the region’s iconic food and wine, wellness, history and vast nature experiences. The luxury lodge sits on the side of Mount Lofty, high above the Piccadilly Valley in the Adelaide Hills, a region currently being considered for UNESCO World Heritage status. Every inch of the experience has been curated to allow guests to practice the art of simple being, something that can truly help you escape the pressures of modern life.
Sequoia delivers an unparalleled level of luxury to the magical area with fourteen sustainably-designed suites boasting panoramic views over the valley, an intimate lounge along with immersive nature-inspired experiences, natural artesian spring-fed stone hot pools, an infinity pool, day spa and valley rim campfire amphitheatre.
Unlike your average wellness retreat, Sequoia champions local activities that encourage guests to further explore the area with helicopter tours, guided nature walks, star gazing and experiences with Australia’s leading vintners on offer.
Jessica Frost is a Sydney-based journalist and copywriter specialising in beauty, lifestyle and wellbeing content.