It’s hard to really get away from it all when you take your phone – and smartwatch, fitness tracker, tablet and laptop – with you on holiday. Why not instead, book a place in a remote location with no phone reception or WiFi to take matters out of your own hands, or be purposefully guided to serenity at a mindfulness retreat. Here’s where to go to recharge yourself rather than your phone.
Off-grid cabins and tiny houses
One way to reset your digital habits is to get away to a cabin in the middle of nowhere, usually far, far away from the nearest mobile phone tower. And there are plenty of offerings to choose from across the country. Unyoked has cute one-bedder off-grid cabins set among the trees everywhere from the bushland outside Noosa to the Byron Bay hinterland and Victoria’s Central Gippsland. Cabn offers smart designer off-grid sustainable tiny houses in various locations in South Australia’s McLaren Vale and Clare Valley – and in Victoria’s Yarra Valley. In2thewild has a huge offering of tiny eco-friendly houses scattered across rural Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia, most of which are under three hours’ drive from a capital city. And Heyscape has curated a selection of adorable off-grid tiny houses within two hours’ drive of Perth.
Remote luxury lodges
If there’s one place where you won’t miss your phone all that much, it’s Sal Salis, a safari-style tented lodge in Cape Range National Park, near Exmouth on the Western Australian coast. There’s no mobile phone coverage or WiFi at the luxury resort, so you can relax and enjoy the views of the Indian Ocean from your stylish beachside tent (and swim with giant whale sharks during their annual migration past the resort).
Over in South Australia, Sal Salis’s fellow Luxury Lodges of Australia property Arkaba, a former sheep station turned eco-tourism conservancy, occupies 24,000 hectares of mostly mobile reception-free land in the dramatic Flinders Ranges. Here you can spend your days on guided walks and safari-style 4WD outings before returning to fine fare from a resident chef, all without once scrolling through your email inbox. (If you really need to check your phone, you can walk up the small hill in front of the Arkaba homestead, stand on your tippy-toes and hope for one bar of reception.)
“If there’s one place where you won’t miss your phone all that much, it’s Sal Salis.”
Getting your nature fix has never been so important and it’s a great way to unplug from the digital world. Nature therapy is an approach to wellbeing based on meaningful exposure to nature, which research has linked to numerous benefits for physical and mental health. Connecting with nature can happen in many ways such as day hikes, camping, ocean swims, and even gardening. The team at Journey Outdoors in Nature truly believe in the benefits of regular wilderness immersions and they offer a range of canoeing and camping adventures in the Nymboida, Boorimbah (Clarence) and Mann Rivers in Northern NSW. Big Heart Adventures also encourage you to put down your device and be present during their walking and nature therapy experiences around South Australia and beyond. Choose from short coastal or full moon walks; or challenging hikes such as the Kangaroo Island Wilderness Trail. They also offer ocean therapy and forest bathing.
Dhamma Bhumi Vipassana Meditation Centre, Blue Mountains
If you want a complete digital detox, then a 10-day meditation course at the Dhamma Bhumi centre outside the Blue Mountains town of Blackheath could be perfect for you. The residential meditation centre is run by a charity, so your 12-day stay, including the 10-day meditation course, meals and accommodation, is free, although donations are accepted. You’ll have to surrender your phone when you arrive, and for the first nine days of the course you are asked not to speak at all. The reward for your efforts? Hopefully you’ll experience a renewed peace of mind and will have broken the dopamine feedback loop that has you checking your phone dozens of times a day.
“The team at Journey Outdoors in Nature truly believe in the benefits of regular wilderness immersions.”