With a country as beautiful as ours, who needs an overseas holiday? Relax, recharge and revitalise with these local wellness breaks.
It’s time to pull your travel bags out of storage. Although international travel is still off the cards for a while, you can enjoy an epic escape right in your own backyard.
From jaw-dropping coastal hikes and natural thermal springs, to wilderness retreats and gourmet bush tucker, Australia has everything you need for a post-iso wellness break. No passport required!
If you want… A pause to be pampered
Just over an hour’s drive from Melbourne, Daylesford and its collection of more than 140 mineral springs has been a place of healing and regeneration for hundreds of years. Together with Hepburn Springs, the area is home to the largest concentration of mineral waters in Australia — it’s no wonder it’s often referred to as ‘spa country’. Head to Hepburn Bathhouse & Spa (hepburnbathhouse.com) for a soak in the healing waters, then unwind with a stay at the Lake House Daylesford (from $385 per person, lakehouse.com.au).
Add to itinerary: Have your own picnic at the Hanging Rock of Joan Lindsay’s famed novel that recently graced our screens as a mini-series. Unwind as you picnic among the wildflowers, then walk off your lunch as you explore the unusual rock formations.
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If you want… An adventure
Lord Howe Island, NSW
With its crystal-clear waters, a sheltered lagoon and towering peaks, Lord Howe is bursting with outdoor adventures. For the best view of the island, book a guided ocean-kayaking tour with Lord Howe Environmental Tours (from $100 per person, lordhoweislandtours.com), then when you’re ready to rest up, an all-inclusive stay at Pinetrees Lodge (from $2290 per person for five nights, pinetrees.com.au) is exactly what you need.
Add to itinerary: Pack your walking shoes and tackle the towering Mount Gower — every step is worth its jaw-dropping island vistas.
If you want… Top-class hikes
It may be well known for its sprawling beaches, but if you’re willing to leave the shore and head for the mountains, you’ll see that Noosa also has some of the most breathtaking views in southeast Queensland. Spread over more than 4000ha, Noosa National Park (noosanationalpark.com) abounds in thriving rainforests, open woodlands and heathlands. Start your day at the Noosa Headland day-use area and explore the coastal views, forests and wildflowers on one of the Insta-perfect hiking trails, such as the Coastal Walk or Tanglewood Walk to Hells Gates.
Add to itinerary: For a slower-paced getaway, add a few days or while away a weekend at Gwinganna Lifestyle Retreat (from $1120 per person for two nights, gwinganna.com) in the stunning Tallebudgera Valley.
If you want… A cycling break
There’s a reason Canberra’s known as the cycling capital of Australia, and it’s not just because of its bike-friendly pathways and cafes. It’s also home to the epic Centenary Trail (environment.act.gov.au). Weaving its way through 145km of urban and rural landscapes, this self-guided trail won’t just test your endurance, it’ll also get you up close and personal with the best of the city’s scenery.
Add to itinerary: Whether you tackle the trail in three days or one, reward yourself afterwards with a treatment at Jindii Eco Spa (from $60, jindii.com.au), located in the Australian National Botanic Gardens.
The Centenary Trail provides cycling adventures around Canberra. Source: via Instagram/@@tylabickley
If you want… Indigenous healing
Arnhem Land, NT
Sitting pretty between the iconic Kakadu National Park and the temperate waters of the Arafura Sea, Arnhem Land has been the natural and spiritual playground of Indigenous Australians for 60,000 years. For a wellness fix with a difference, sign up for Lirrwi Tourism’s Dilly Bag Tour for Women (from $2399 per person, lirrwitourism.rezdy.com), where you’ll stay with the Yolngu women at a remote homeland in East Arnhem Land and try your hand at painting, weaving and crying and healing ceremonies. It’s an experience you won’t soon forget.
Add to itinerary: Be sure to add some extra time for a dip in the thermal waters of Bitter and Mataranka Springs near Katherine.
Women’s tours bring you together with Yolŋu sisterhood to learn about their culture, history and their connection to country. Image: via Instagram/@lirrwi
If you want… Healthy bush tucker
Mandoon Estate, WA
It’s a quick 30-minute drive from Perth to the Mandoon Estate winery. Sign up for the Bush Tucker Tasting and Talk ($59, mandoonestate.com.au) where Noongar Elder Dale Tilbrook talks about the health and medicinal qualities of native Australian plants as you sample some bush tucker for yourself.
Add to itinerary: You cannot miss a visit to the World Heritage-listed Ningaloo Reef.
Mandoon Estate offers bush tucker tours. Image: Instagram/@heedonggu
If you want… A sumptuous seafood safari
Eyre Peninsula, SA
Bordered by the Great Australian Bight and the Spencer Gulf, the Eyre Peninsula in South Australia is an oceanic wonderland. For a true taste of the water, set your sights on the harbour town of Port Lincoln — the seafood capital of Australia — and sign up for a Coffin Bay Oyster Farm & Tasting Tour (from $40, oysterfarmtours.com.au). Once you’ve sampled the freshest oysters money can buy, hit up the many seaside restaurants in town for your fill of southern bluefin tuna, calamari and rock lobster, then hit the water for a paddle, snorkel or surf to burn off your lunch.
Add to itinerary: Head to the Adelaide Hills for a minimalist getaway at Matilda CABN ($209 per night, cabn.life), where you’ll score unrivalled views of the McLaren Vale vineyards from your tiny-house escape.
If you want… To get off the grid
Harmony Hill Health Retreat, TAS
It may only be a 30-minute drive from Hobart, but a stay at Harmony Hill Health Retreat (from $600 per night, organicspa-retreat.com) will put you right in the heart of the rugged Tasmanian wilderness. It only caters to one person or couple at a time, which means not only will you receive top-quality care from your yoga teacher, massage therapist and healers, you’ll also be their sole focus.
Add to itinerary: After a total digital detox? Grab your favourite people and rent the entire Satellite Island (from $1950 per night, satelliteisland.com.au) and spend your days hiking and snorkelling.