From a health retreat where you’ll have the place to yourself, a Japanese traveller’s inn where the facials contain some very unusual ingredients or a retreat that combines creativity with wellness rituals, here are some of the more distinctive wellness experiences you can have across the country.
Shizuka Ryokan, Victoria
Hepburn Springs, a 90-minute drive from Melbourne in Victoria’s Macedon Ranges, has long drawn visitors for its thermal waters rich in iron, calcium and magnesium. The gorgeous Hepburn Bathhouse and Spa, which has been welcoming guests since 1895, is the best known resort in this hot springs town. But it’s also worth checking out Shizuka Ryokan, a traditional Japanese-style country inn. The minimalist decor and Zen rock garden provides the perfect backdrop for one of Shizuka’s signature treatments. The Geisha Facial uses white tea, lotus root, camellia oil, yamamomo mountain peach, brown sugar, bamboo and wait for it – nightingale droppings. (The sterilised droppings of nightingales are said to contain enzymes that smooth and lighten the skin.) Or play it a little safer and have a sublime shiatsu massage to promote the flow of energy and relieve fatigue.
The Arkaba Walk Flinders Ranges, SA
Prepare to realise just how small a speck of time we occupy at this inspiring, awesome place. The Adnyamathanha people trod this land tens of thousands of years ago, and its vast natural space represents 600 million years of geological history. It’s humbling and awe-inspiring at once. You can swag camp or stay on in a luxury homestead and take immersive walks to see wedge-tailed eagles, honeyeaters and barking geckos. Short beaked echidnas and quolls can be spotted by day, and bright stars at night. The red mountain ranges and green bush are amazing, and restore your faith in the world we live in. South Australian food is legendary and local produce is served at camp and in the homestead with copious amounts of local wine. The Arkaba Walks will bring you the peace of being at one with the land, and there are long treks or short walks for everyone, including families.
“Shizuka Ryokan is a traditional Japanese-style country inn offering sublime treatment sand shiatsu massage.”
Living Valley Health Retreat, Sunshine Coast hinterland
What makes Living Valley, a holistic detox and health retreat different from many other places is that here staff outnumber guests by more than two to one. The large in-house team specialises in disciplines ranging from rejuvenation, herbal medicine, naturopathy and emotional healing. Located around a 40-minute drive from Noosa on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast, the retreat offers some serious detoxing and healing packages as well as more indulgent and regenerative retreats. Their seven, 14 or 21 day Women’s Flourish Retreat includes a deluxe pamper and spa experiences as well as individual and group Pilates sessions.
The Narooma, Bega Valley and Bermagui regions of the NSW Far South Coast are both spectacular and culturally significant. This is Yuin Country, the home of Gulaga Mountain and the Djirringanj Dreaming trail, and to the many stories handed down through generations. Ngaran Ngaran Culture Awareness offers 2 night ‘Yuin Retreats’ where you are invited to connect to Country; to immerse yourself in Aboriginal culture through ceremony, stories, dance, food and music. You’ll walk on the land, learning from it’s traditional custodians about the sacred sites and their history; and experience ancient Indigenous healing techniques. These small group retreats are a unique opportunity to reset and soak up some wellness wisdom from the oldest living culture.
A retreat experience with Edgewalkers is not like any other. Founder and creativity specialist, Dr Erika Jacobson, has spent the last 15 years helping people connect with their self-expression and creative source and she designs and hosts small group retreats in incredible Western Australian locations including the Margaret River region and the Fitzgerald Biosphere. The signature Creativity Retreat involves 4 days of personal exploration through theatre, visualisations, writing, storytelling, movement and play in a supportive and inspiring environment. You’ll also enjoy yoga, meditation sessions, art therapy and guided walks along the iconic Cape to Cape Track. Stay in deluxe accommodation, be nourished by delicious vegetarian meals and take home a four-week plan of action so that you can sustain your motivation and direction after the retreat.
“With Edgewalkers you’ll enjoy yoga, meditation sessions, art therapy and guided walks along the iconic Cape to Cape Track.”