The Best Wellness Retreats in Australia

Australia's stunning natural landscapes and relaxing beaches make an excellent backdrop for a wellness retreat
Australia's stunning natural landscapes and relaxing beaches make an excellent backdrop for a wellness retreat | © Thorsten Gast / EyeEm / Getty Images
Photo of Chloe Byrne
7 August 2020

Treat yourself to some time away and swap mundane routines for blissful relaxation and a dose of adventure. Australia is peppered with secluded pockets of nature and surfer-friendly beaches where you can forget your worries for a while. Spend time learning a new skill, exploring striking landscapes or discovering inner peace on one of these tempting wellness retreats.

4-Day yoga and meditation retreat in Tropical North Queensland

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Courtesy of BookYogaRetreats
Soak up the natural beauty of two otherworldly ecosystems on this paradisiacal yoga retreat. Staying in a cosy boutique room, you’ll be surrounded by jade-green lagoons, swooping vines and tropical plants of the world’s oldest rainforest – a peaceful setting for the daily yoga classes and meditation sessions. As you learn the techniques behind yoga styles such as hatha, iyengar, vinyasa and nidra, you’ll also build up an awareness of self and recite Sanskrit chants to calm the mind. Get to know your fellow yogis over veggie-friendly breakfasts, and spend free time snorkelling among the psychedelic coral of the Great Barrier Reef, with quiet beaches just a short drive away.

6-Day Soul Surfer surf-and-stay holiday in Byron Bay, New South Wales

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Courtesy of BookSurfCamps
Ride the waves and lounge on white sandy beaches on this six-day surf holiday. Housed in a hostel in the heart of Byron Bay, you are a thong’s throw from the main beach. Wake up to stretch out your limbs with a yoga session on the rooftop sun terrace, then wander down to learn boarding techniques on the shoreline. The friendly instructors will also teach you important ocean skills, such as the ability to identify wind direction, sand banks and rip currents. Once you’ve hit the waves and put it all into action, you can peel off your wetsuits and brush off the sand to explore Byron Bay’s vintage shops and buzzy bars.

14-Day surf camp in New South Wales

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Suitable for both wobbly-legged beginners and the more sturdy-footed surfer looking to brush up on their skills, this two-week surfing retreat promises a full immersion into the world of surfing – taking you to three locations to experience waves of varying difficulty and teaching you about the weather patterns that affect the surf. As well as 10 days of surfing lessons, you will also get the chance to visit a working surfboard factory, and the weekends are free for you to practise or catch some live music in town. Shared accommodation is available in the Beach Motel, with rooms sleeping up to three.

4-Week surf development course in New South Wales

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Courtesy of BookSurfCamps
Follow in the sandy footsteps of many before you and immerse yourself in the sun-soaked world of surfing. You’ll face new challenges and put your skills to the test in different weather conditions and environments, shaping you into a true surfer. Throughout the four weeks, you will explore every element of the wave-riding sport, including surfboard design and shaping. When you’re not at one of the daily surf lessons, you’ll be swimming under gushing waterfalls in a national park, grabbing a pint with fellow surfers or recharging in a three-bed shared room at your beachfront accommodation.

7-Day surf camp in New South Wales

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Courtesy of BookSurfCamps
The beach will become your second home on this week-long surf camp. Staying in the Beach Motel (aptly named with the ocean on your doorstep), you’ll spend hours in the water, being taught both the theoretical and practical sides of surfing. The energy of your passionate instructors will be contagious, inspiring you to face any fears and embrace the process. After a week of sessions in the sea, you can test yourself further and fully convert to the surfer lifestyle with a breath-stealing climb up the 30-million-year-old Illawarra escarpment and a few thrilling leaps off of waterfalls.

4-Day Surf Escape surf-and-stay holiday in Byron Bay, New South Wales

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Courtesy of BookSurfCamps
Whatever your skill level, you’ll be welcome at this Byron Bay surf holiday. A typical day will include a breakfast at your centrally located hostel and a four-hour group surf lesson (with people of a similar ability) where you’ll warm up, practise techniques and then hit the water. There is plenty of free time to explore, recharge and refuel: tuck into farm-to-table fare at one of the town’s organic eateries, get up close to spellbinding sea life on a kayak tour or get your adrenaline fix with a heart-in-mouth skydive over the Cape of Byron Bay.

3-Day Shaka surf and stay in Byron Bay, New South Wales

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Courtesy of BookSurfCamps
Seize this chance to dig your toes in the sand and conquer the waves of some of Australia’s most beautiful beaches. Staying in a shared dorm at a premier hostel, you’ll get the chance to meet like-minded surfers and spend your spare time exploring the wilderness with the free-to-hire paddle boards, snorkel gear and bikes. Find balance with a morning yoga session each day, perfectly preparing you for your daily four-hour surf lesson. In each lesson you will be taken in a group to whichever beach has the best conditions for the day, where time will be split between ocean education and practising techniques on the water.

5-Day semi-pro surf-and-stay holiday in Byron Bay, New South Wales

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Courtesy of BookSurfCamps
Slap on some sunscreen, squeeze into a wetsuit and slip on your sliders – ready to battle the waves on this five-day surf holiday. Over the course of this experience, you will become familiar with the different waves and untameable nature of the ocean, learning how weather patterns, swell directions and rip currents can influence your time surfing. After each session, you can amble back to your accommodation (a hostel in the centre of town), rinse the sand out of your hair and scrub yourself up in your shared room, then hit the bars for some sundowners and a dance.

4-Day awesome trail-riding holiday at Cradle Mountain, Tasmania

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Courtesy of BookHorseRidingHolidays
The veins of twisting rivers, honey-hued grasslands and craggy mountains of Tasmania feel as if you have ridden straight into an old Western. This trail-riding holiday is an unmissable chance to explore the dramatic landscape: trekking through the forests and river flats of Mersey Valley, cantering along pristine beaches where your horses can cool off with a swim, and trotting around the Northern Boundary of the mesmerising Cradle Mountain. Each day you can also keep an eye out for the diverse wildlife – ranging from platypus and trout to wombats and kangaroos – and enjoy social evenings in shared accommodation.

4-Day Elements of Bliss Retreat, North Stradbroke Island

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Courtesy of BookYogaRetreats
Nourish your body and soul on this four-day retreat, a restorative fusion of elemental yoga, organic food and meditation. Staying in a luxury eco beach house set on an island, you can take part in the variety of healing sessions while listening to the rustling leaves, gushing tide and twittering birdsong of the tropical setting. Your schedule is brimming with activities, including swims in the cobalt ocean, stargazing, nutritional health discussions, movement meditation and regular yoga lessons. All meals are supplied by the retreat, fuelling your jam-packed days with vegan, gluten-free and local fare such as Moroccan spiced buddha bowls, green smoothies and coconut yoghurt.

3-Day meditation and yoga holiday in Tropical North Cape Tribulation, Queensland

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Courtesy of BookYogaRetreats
Inviting you deep into the green-cloaked haven of the ancient Daintree rainforest, this meditation and yoga holiday encourages you to connect to nature. Sleeping in airy boutique rooms underneath the yoga studio, you can wander straight up each morning and kick off your day with a mind-soothing meditation session. With the world’s oldest rainforest on your doorstep, it also won’t be long before you’re lacing up your boots to explore its alluring wilderness. Bring along a swimsuit for a dip in one of the oasis-like freshwater swimming holes, and take a snack break next to a trickling stream dotted with moss-clad rocks.
These recommendations were updated on August 7, 2020 to keep your travel plans fresh.