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10 Amazing Australian health retreats for fitness and wellbeing

Times are tough for travellers. But with the world preparing to reopen in 2021, we're here to keep you dreaming and planning for your next adventure - whether that's a staycation or flying off to parts unknown. Until then, we've got the latest COVID-19 travel advice and updates to keep you up to date and ready to go.

With the past few years being more stressful than average than most, many of us are looking to make our holiday as rejuvenating as possible. What better way to do that than on a health retreat? Whether you want to go on a physical adventure, get in touch with your spiritual side or live a more healthy lifestyle, Australia has you covered.

According to the Global Wellness Institute, 17 million travellers are focused on health and wellbeing. While international travel is off the cards for the immediate future, domestically we’re blessed with options. If you’re keen to travel to kickstart your new healthy way of life, Skyscanner Australia has the low down on Australian health retreats.

Please note: Travel restrictions and advice may change at any time. Consult official state and government websites as well as advice from Health.gov.au before your trip.

1. Gwinganna Lifestyle Retreat

Eco tourism certified with a holistic approach to wellness, Gwinganna means ‘lookout’, in reference to its location high on a ridge inland from the Gold Coast.

A stay at Gwinganna combines organic living, spa treatments, movement and relaxation therapies as well as wellness seminars and simple pleasures like bushwalks through the Gold Coast hinterland. Add in delicious organic cuisine that would be equally at home at some of Australia’s finest restaurants and your body will thank for the kindness.

Why single out Gwinganna? For the simple reason that in 2020, it was named as the world’s best eco spa according to the World Spa Awards.

What: Nourishment for mind, body and spirit
Where: Tallebudgera Valley, QLD
More info: Gwinganna Lifestyle Retreat

2. Revive Health Retreats

Creating balance in busy lives to empower you to take control of your life and weight is the basis of Revive Retreats. The goal of these retreats is take a holisitic outlook to life—they know you won’t meet your goals just by adding smoothies to your morning routine, so they look to create a personalised plan that works for you.

Although the Bali retreats may be off the map for now, Revive also has a base in Dunsborough, WA. The retreat will look at mental, physical and nutrional ways to create a healthier you.

What: holistic health improvements
Where: Southwest Western Australia & Bali
More info: Revive Retreat

3. Run yourself fit with Parkrun

Running is one sure-fire activity to help live a healthier lifestyle. You don’t need to be an elite athlete to take up running but you do need to ease into it if you’re a beginner. Running clubs across the country are bursting at their lycra seams with an explosion in popularity. Many clubs hold training camps which provide inspiration and technique workshops along with other topics of interest to keep runners fit, healthy and motivated.

Free 5km Parkruns are held in more than 400 locations around Australia and are a terrific introduction to help find friendly running groups. Most cities have at least one location for you to explore, but once you’ve done the local tracks you might want to travel further afield to see what else is on offer.

If you need help getting started with running, apps like Couch to 5k are a great place to start.

What: 5km free timed run each Saturday
Where: locations around Australia
More info: Parkrun

Health retreats can include exercise, diet and lifestyle advice

4. Sweat Sydney training camp

Sweat Sydney is run by coach Sean Williams whose philosophy is to show people the way to fitness and wellbeing through running. Whether you aspire to ace the City to Surf or are a newbie who hasn’t run since school days, Sweat Sydney has a program to achieve your goals.

Run training camps are also held in the Blue Mountains and Melbourne throughout the year. The emphasis is firmly focused on improving running technique and skills, with improved endurance, mental focus and muscle toning appealing rewards for your sweat equity.

Since 2020, online training sessions have been made available.

What: Australian health retreat for runners
Where: Blue Mountains, Melbourne & Sydney
More info: Sweat Sydney

5. Ride yourself fit

Does running place too much strain on your body? Cycling is another excellent way to bring exercise into your routine, and improve your fitness while minimising impact on joints and bones.

Whether riding on road or forest trails, there’s great camaraderie amongst cyclists. Team up with like-minded cyclists on a weekly ride and you’ll likely find that you’ll come to treasure your riding buddies almost as much as your family.

Many bike shops organise group rides – find a newbies group or take advantage of skills clinics to learn about safely riding ride in a pack or how to change tyres quickly. Once you’ve got your confidence, fully supported group rides are an enticing holiday option. Cairns to Karumba is a legendary seven-day ride across north Queensland for road or mountain bikers or slip into your lycra and join a Peloton Tour of Victoria’s Great Ocean Road.

What: Supported group rides
Where: everywhere – try your bike shop or join an organised bike tour

6. Glam biking is the new glamping

For active travellers not content to check into luxurious tented accommodation and sit back and admire the view, allow us to introduce glamping’s more active cousin: gliking (as in glam biking).

Ride all day through some of Tasmania’s prettiest trails with a small group led by a knowledgeable bike guide. Then recover in luxury with gourmet meals accompanied by a glass of Tasmania’s famous Pinot Noir before retiring in an eco-sensitive pod suspended on poles above the forest floor.

What: Fully supported mountain biking
Where: Derby, Tasmania
More info: Blue Derby Pods Ride

7. Permaculture retreat

Food is one of the most obvious building blocks of healthy living, but how often do we know the source of our food or, worse, buy something we know isn’t good for our diets?

At Bandusia, you can learn about permaculture and creating a healthy environment for growing organic food. You’ll find out all about composting, plants that are beneficial to soil health and complementary planting.

You’ll also have the chance to join in yoga classes and explore the nearby countryside — whether that’s on foot, bike or canoe.

What: Knowledge of healthy eating and food production
Where: Outside Sydney, NSW
More info: Bandusia

8. Eden Health Retreat

The five-day Eden Program is designed to transform mind, body and soul. Taking a holistic view of the whole body, the program aims to give retreaters the skills to change their life for the better. Bad habits, unhealthy diets, negative attitudes and lacklustre exercise programs all come under scrutiny — meaning you’ll leave with a healthier mindset, body and schedule.

What: Nurturing for the whole body
Where: Currumbin Valley, QLD
More info: Eden Health Retreat

9. Gaia Retreat & Spa

Internationally recognised and with a trophy cabinet that is overflowing, Gaia Retreat & Spa is the sort of place that oozes goodness from its very pores.

Choose from one of eight health retreat options to regain self-confidence and empowerment on the way to a healthier lifestyle. Wholesome nutrition, fitness assessment, personal training sessions and tailored activity schedules provide the kickstart you need.

What: Bespoke pampering with a heart
Where: Byron Bay, NSW
More info: Gaia Retreat

10. Hike historic Maria Island

Tasmania’s Maria Island Walk is a classic four-day walk manageable for hikers of all fitness levels.

The adventure begins with a short boat ride from mainland Tasmania before landing on the beach at the trailhead. Fully supported with two guides and tented camps located at two sites, hikers need carry a small pack to meet their own personal needs. Legs get a satisfying workout across terrain that varies from white sandy beaches, over rolling hills and through ancient forests. Along the trail you’ll see plenty of wombats are aplenty and convict-era ruins before enuing at historic Darlington.

What: Fully supported four day hike
Where: Maria Island, Tasmania
More info: The Maria Island Walk

Almost any getaway can turn into a D.I.Y. wellness retreat if you plan a trip somewhere with plenty of accessible wilderness and healthy food. After all, Australia is the land of wide open spaces.

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