After the past few years, we’re all in need of some respite and positive energy. Traveling is a great tonic, especially when surrounded by soul-stirring natural landscapes. From healing adventures incorporating ancient Aboriginal wisdom and off-grid island escapes to state-of-the-art spas, Australia offers an array of extraordinary wellness experiences.
Uncover ancient traditions in New South Wales
Connect with nature’s teachings, learn ancient rituals and experience wellness in the wild on one of Ngaran Ngaran Culture Awareness’s “on country retreats”. Dwayne Bannon-Harrison takes guests into Yuin country, near Narooma on New South Wales’ south coast, to learn about native medicinal plants and age-old healing methods (meditative vibration, song as sound therapy and smoking ceremonies) passed down by his ancestors.
For rejuvenation in tropical surrounds, head north to Gaia Retreat & Spa. Set in 20 acres within Byron Bay’s lush hinterland, this blissful wellness retreat has pedigree – it was co-founded by the eternally youthful Olivia Newton-John.
Go off-grid in the Northern Territory
Nature is a great healer and it’s all around in the remote Arnhem Land region. Bush healing is central to Lirrwi Tourism’s Dilly Bag Tour for Women. Learn about “women’s business”, according to Yolngu culture, including healing and crying ceremonies. These emotive communal events promise a profound restorative experience and deep sense of kinship.
Regroup at Banubanu Beach Retreat on Bremer Island. Its breezy, glamping-style bungalows open on to the Arafura Sea, where guests spend days taking solitary beach strolls, fishing, and learning more about the Indigenous culture from the islet’s small community of Yolngu people.
Take a mindful meander in Queensland
Sometimes a good walk is all you need to slow down, destress and lift your spirits. It helps if you’re surrounded by spectacular scenery. For a restorative hike in the wilderness, it’s hard to beat K’gari (Fraser Island), the world’s largest sand island. Stretching for 90km (56 miles), the Fraser Island Great Walk follows traditional pathways of the Butchulla people beneath towering rainforests, past crystal-clear lakes, over bone-white sands and across vast dunes.
On Fraser Island Hike’s pack-free hikes, all you need to worry about is clearing your mind. They’ll provide all the kit and a support guide who drops bags and assembles the camp.
Dose up on vitamin sea in Tasmania
Cast adrift in the middle of the blustery Bass Strait, King Island has an edge-of-the-world feeling. Yet it’s only a 50 minute flight from Melbourne. Blissful isolation is one of the island’s main lures, along with its bountiful produce (its cheese, beef and seafood are top-notch) and rugged coastal scenery. You’ll get to indulge in all the above at Kittawa Lodge, two gorgeous off-grid cliffside cottages. Go for blow-the-cobwebs-away walks on empty beaches before hunkering down by the fire (keeping watch for passing red-necked wallabies and the soul-stirring Southern Ocean sunsets).
For a more structured way to restore your energy, head south of Hobart on mainland Tasmania to Harmony Harvest Health Retreat. Stay in eco-cottages (complete with spa baths) and choose from a raft of spiritual healing treatments.
Luxuriate in Victoria’s spa country
Clear the mind, cleanse the body and lift the spirit at one of Australia’s best spa (and foodie) hotels. Surrounded by rolling hills and waterfall-fed streams, Lake House is in picturesque well-being hub Daylesford (home to the most natural mineral springs in the country). An utter oasis of tranquility, its state-of-the-art spa does the works: holistic, remedial and relaxation treatments, as well as decadent wellness rituals. If you only go for one, make it a treetop soak where you’ll wallow in Daylesford’s restorative waters in a circular spa tub set in a treetop cabin by the lake.
Feel the power of the forests and waves in Western Australia
The healing power of trees is well documented, and Western Australia’s towering karri forests are prime for a spot of forest bathing. As part of the life-affirming Cape to Cape Walk, a 41km (25 mile) route around Margaret River, you can join a mindful walking excursion. The guide will help you attain a sense of deep calm as you focus on slowing down, awakening your senses and connecting with nature in the shadow of ancient giant eucalypts. Followed by an overnight stay at the gorgeous Injidup Spa Retreat, you’ll sleep like a log.
From tree therapy to hydrotherapy, spend your days darting beneath the waves to marvel at the Ningaloo Reef and nights gazing at shimmering stars at Sal Salis. Set between the Indian Ocean and the bush, this dreamy glamping resort is in Cape Range National Park near Exmouth. Go from mid-March to mid-July to swim alongside whale sharks. An encounter with the world’s largest fish certainly puts things into perspective.
Don’t Go Small, Go Australia
Now’s not the time to go small. Go big and discover ancient places, welcoming faces and vast open spaces. If you’re ready for a big holiday, we’re ready to say goodbye.
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