Billabong is a small and intimate family-run eco retreat based in Sydney, less than an hour drive from the city. With programmes specialising in yoga, mindfulness and meditation, guests can choose to channel the energy of their retreat as desired. The vision of Billabong is simple: to enable people to reconnect mind, body and spirit with nature. A spa offering relaxation massages and facials is just one of the many additional services available; other elements of note include organic wholefood meals, a swimming pool, serene woodland setting, treehouse suites, rustic lodges and charming cabins. Weekly and one-day retreats are available.
For a truly holistic meditation and mindfulness experience, Vispanna Centre Queensland is one of the best in the country. Set in the serene surroundings of Pomona, about two hours drive from Brisbane, this 10-day silent retreat challenges students to take their meditation to new heights. There are no costs for this retreat; instead the course, food and accommodation are supported by the donation of current and past students who feel the experience has benefited them, and want to share that experience with others. This is a much coveted course so apply months in advance for any of the courses, including 10-day, short courses and kids/teen retreats. Vispanna centres are also available in Sydney, Perth, Adelaide, Hobart, Victoria and Gold Coast.
Vipassana Centre Queensland. Pomona. Queensland. Australia. (07) 5485 2452
Set on 25 acres of tranquil gardens, Gaia Retreat & Spa is a wellness retreat that celebrates the importance of mindfulness and meditation. Founded by Hollywood star and Australian actress/singer Olivia Newtown-John and partners in 2005, the retreat has won endless awards for its world-class spa and facilities. With the intent to refocus and re-balance, Gaia retreat packages are tailored specifically to each guest’s needs. Day activities include meditation, yoga, presentations on health and wellbeing and Qi Gong. Explore two, three, five or seven night packages as well as group experiences such as the mother-daughter retreats and honeymoon packages.
Only a stones throw from Sydney (1.5 hours by car to be exact) is Happy Buddha, a premium mid-week and weekend yoga retreat. Hidden in the lush bushland of the Blue Mountains, Happy Buddha boasts nature at its fullest; the perfect setting to reconnect mind, body and spirit to nature. Experience the untainted beauty of this land: spectacular waterfalls, inspiring viewpoints, nature hikes and trails. Although this is full yoga retreat, Happy Buddha encourages all levels of yogis to get involved. Nourish the body too with fresh, organic vegetarian meals throughout the weekend and sleep soundly at night in the on-site lodging, all but 10-minutes walk from Wentworth Falls train station, connecting guests with the city in less than two hours.
Located in Queensland, set across 200 hectares of unspoiled natural bushland and rainforest terrain is Gwinganna, a lifestyle retreat considered one of the best in the country. With an emphasis on wellness, mindfulness and meditation, Gwinganna programmes begin each day watching the sunrise whilst practicing the art of Qi Gong, a restorative moving meditation. Rest after a meditative day in one of three dedicated meditation suites; these orchard-lined rooms have been designed to encourage heightened levels of focus and mindfulness with soft colour palettes and serene outlooks. Gwinganna offers a range of retreat packages including weekend escapes and seven day detox packages, as well as tailored packages for those looking for a longer stay.