Whether you’re suffering from work-life burnout, an addiction to social media, or perhaps you’re simply seeking to recharge peacefully (with or without some high-frequency omming), we’ve rounded out 10 of Australia’s popular health and wellness retreats, based on their rating on travel review sites.
If you’re looking for help to revamp your lifestyle and learn how you can disconnect, detox, and live a healthier life, pop this on your retreat wish list. Located on the Gold Coast hinterland, Gwinganna promises a health retreat that combines organic living, spa, movement and relaxation with organic cuisine and wellness seminars. For the short-of-time, there’s a quick two-night wellness weekend, or for those in need of a lifestyle overhaul, there’s a range of options from a three-night women’s discovery to a seven-night detox.
Award winner – Some recent awards include Spa Treatment of the Year 2019, World Luxury Spa Awards Winner 2017, Eco Spa of the Year 2017
Rated 8.5/10 on Trivago
Rated 4.4/5 from 19 reviews on Google reviews
Focused on providing a holistic mind and body detox, Kangaroo Island Health Retreat is ideal for guests wanting to hit reset on unhealthy habits. Set on the remote and pristine Kangaroo Island off the South Australian coast, the location itself can have you feeling like you’re a world away from your everyday. Their challenging seven-day Dynamic Detox program includes yoga and Pilates, nutrition lectures, massage therapy, daily sauna and guided walks, and a comprehensive health assessment that helps you shift weight (and your mindset).
In addition to boosting your wellbeing, you’ll also be boosting the local economy after the recent bushfires scorched the western side of the island (at Emu Bay, this retreat is unaffected). You can stay up-to-date with local travel information.
Rated 4/5 on TripAdvisor
Rated 3.7/5 from 3 reviews on Google reviews
Today, the tourism operators of #KangarooIsland reminded me of the beautiful landscapes, coastline, wildlife & beaches that they are still eager to share with visitors. Don’t turn away from them but make booking to enjoy their incredible hospitality. https://t.co/zzqpfEt9Em pic.twitter.com/XVYQu7QiKR
— Simon Birmingham (@Birmo) January 15, 2020
A truly exclusive option, Harmony Hill Health Retreat accommodates only one person and one couple at a time. Specialising in holistic healing, their seven-day Ayurvedic detox program includes energy/chakra healing, massage, Ayurvedic consultation and reflexology. If you’re short on time and unable to spend a night, there is also a day spa available.
Rated 4/5 on TripAdvisor
Rated 4.9/5 from 7 reviews on Google reviews
Co-founded by Olivia-Newton John, Gaia Retreat and Spa frequently appears on global winners’ lists. Nestled in the breathtaking Byron Bay hinterland, Gaia offers individually tailored treatment programs. There are a range of packages from two to seven nights, plus you have the option to choose a specialised program to enhance your experience, with a detox, yoga, weight loss, fitness or mindfulness focus.
Award winner – some recent awards include 2019 World Luxury Spa Awards Winner, 2019 World’s Leading Retreat, 2019 World’s Best Day Spa and 2018 Global Hotel of the Year
Rated 5/5 on TripAdvisor
Rated 4.8 from 92 reviews on Google reviews
Mmmm, a delicious lunch favourite! 😋 Fresh nourish bowl featuring turmeric, brown rice, steamed sweet potato, green beans, boiled eggs, wombok cabbage, cucumber, Asian greens, bean sprouts, pineapple, chilli & toasted coconut. 💥#gaiaretreat #lunch #healthy #food #nourishbowl pic.twitter.com/Z2QhDi1qCa
— Gaia Retreat & Spa (@GaiaRetreat) January 11, 2020
More inclined to get your Zen on? Samadhi is another award-winning retreat offering luxury accommodation, organic food, spa treatments and more meditation and wellness services then you can poke a reiki stick at. Located in Victoria’s Macedon spa region, Samadhi offers a soul-centred approach to healing that is tailored to each individual. Run by couple and wellness professionals, Wayne and Annah Mirananda, Samadhi aims to help guests look inward, from dealing with stress to building healthy self-esteem.
Award Winner – awards include 2018 Luxury Healing Retreat Australia & Oceania, 2017 Luxury Wellness Retreat and Luxury Healing Retreat Australia and Oceania, and 2017 Luxury Boutique Retreat Australia & Oceania.
Rated 5/5 on TripAdvisor
Rated 4.7/5 from 20 reviews on Google reviews
Given that this property is located in the vicinity of the Margaret River wine region, this could be one way to detox after taking in the beauty of the land and experiencing locally produced fare. Injidup Spa Retreat is an exclusive retreat featuring only 10 ocean-view villas hidden away from the hustle and bustle of everyday life. You can choose what services you want, a-la-carte style, including private yoga classes, guided cape treks and an on-site day spa with a full range of treatments for singles and couples, including a warm bamboo massage, pampering age-defying facial, detoxifying body wrap, and the ultimate relaxation – a three-hour Inji Massage.
Rated 9.1/10 on Agoda.com
Rated 4.9/5 from 34 reviews on Google reviews
Looking for a holiday with a difference? Book a stay at the luxurious #InjidupSpaRetreat and you'll be spoilt with panoramic views of the #1 beach town in @Australia as voted by @AustTraveller. Who else wishes they could wake up to this view daily? pic.twitter.com/5eXpcwMHIa
— Western Australia (@WestAustralia) December 31, 2019
If you need more forest-bathing in your life, then you might consider checking out the Daintree Eco Lodge and Spa, set in the world’s oldest rainforest. Focussed on offering a uniquely Australian experience, this eco-certified lodge uses 100% natural local ingredients, and offers spa treatments that they claim harness ancient local traditions to enhance wellbeing and a sense of healing and awakenment. As it’s not a pre-packaged retreat per se, I’d consider this more of an experience where you can pick-and-choose the style of retreat to suit your needs.
Award winner – Previous awards include Australasia’s Leading Green Hotel and World’s Leading Eco Lodge, and Best Luxury Eco Tourism.
Rated 8.8/10 on booking.com
Rated 4.6/5 from 93 reviews on Google reviews
Time to just breathe… 🌬 Connect with nature at the Daintree Eco Lodge & Spa for a morning of invigorating yoga in the 💚 of the world's oldest living rainforest 🍃 (Via IG/daintreeecolodge) #exploreTNQ pic.twitter.com/K45iSFiHP0
— Tropical North QLD (@CairnsGBR) September 24, 2018
Because… what’s a more Instagram-worthy experience than a #bathhouse? Hepburn Bathhouse and Spa regularly features on spa ‘must dos’ because it’s one of Australia’s oldest, having provided traditional social bathing (public saunas, springs and massages) since 1895. It also claims to offer the only mineral spring bathing of its kind in Australia. You’ll find spa treatments and therapies, private mineral baths, steam therapies and a Moroccan-style Hammam (the Middle Eastern version of a steam bath). #bliss. You can visit for the day, or choose to stay in one of the 10 luxury villas designed to take in views of the native bushland. Although it hasn’t got the highest reviewer ratings compared to the other retreats, this one earned its place on the list because of its iconic bathhouse that continues to make it a popular choice for visitors to the area.
Rated 3.5/5 on TripAdvisor
Rated 3.6/5 from 384 reviews on Google reviews
— Gourmet Traveller (@GourmetTweets) September 10, 2016
Offering rooms that are on the more affordable side in the grand scheme of wellness retreats, here you’ll find a nature-immersive experience. Specialising in yoga, meditation and mindfulness programs, Billabong Retreat aims to provide a healing space that helps guests reconnect to nature, themselves and the world around them. If you’re after some additional pampering, there are extra spa treatments available such as reiki, hypnotherapy and kinesiology.
* The retreat is conveniently located in Sydney which is currently experiencing poor air quality due to surrounding bushfires. Guests are being encouraged to stay up-to-date with travel information before booking.
Award winner – Best Health and Wellness Retreat and Most Unique Accommodation, NSW Tourism Awards.
Rated 4.5/5 on TripAdvisor
Rated 4.7/5 from 34 reviews on Google reviews
— Vogue Australia (@vogueaustralia) February 10, 2017
Situated in the picturesque (and in my opinion, underrated) Hunter Valley, Elysia Wellness Retreat says it helps guests discover a new, transformative way to see life as they balance mind, body and spirit. You can start every day with a calming round of tai chi. Depending on your program, you might then choose from a huge range of low, medium or high-intensity activities to keep moving, health education seminars, nutritious wholefood meals and more than 50 beauty treatments and massage therapy experiences in the day spa.
Award Winner – Awards include World Spa Awards – 2018 Australia’s Best Wellness Retreat, Oceania’s Best Wellness Retreat
Rated 5/5 on TripAdvisor
Rated 4.3/5 from 36 reviews on Google reviews
To get the most out of your wellness experience, it might help to be clear on your goals and budget, as retreats can require a significant financial investment. You can research each destination online and on social media to get a snapshot of locations, the food served and accommodation provided. It is also a good idea to speak directly with the staff and check out guest reviews and forums to get a better idea of whether the experience aligns with your goals.
Please note this is a selection of some of the more popular wellness retreats I have come across when researching, and is not an exhaustive list. There are many other retreats available for a range of budgets and health goals, and Canstar is not making any particular recommendations about these specifically. It’s important to do your own research before deciding if any are suitable for you.
Kelly Stone is an experienced content writer with a Bachelor of Journalism, a Graduate Certificate in Communication at Griffith University and a Postgraduate Certificate in Business (HR) at the University of Southern Queensland. She’s long been the go-to writer for accountants and financial planners who need help making complex stuff, like finance, more enjoyable and accessible for their readers using simple, punchy words with zero jargon. Kelly is now a corporate writing and recruitment marketing specialist at Craft My Content.