From golden beaches of Byron Bay to the Blue Mountains, the surf and turf in the Australian state of New South Wales offfers peaceful and laidback vibes ideal for a yoga retreat. Here are five of the best to help you unwind in a unique natural setting.
When you think of Australia’s capital, you’re likely to think of Bondi Beach, the quintessential Aussie experience. Bondi is teeming with bronzed yogis, but if you want to escape the crowds, there is so much more to discover in Sydney and in the neighboring coastal cities, vast national parks and peaceful countryside of the state of New South Wales.
Whether meditating in the midst of the breathtaking bushland and waterfalls of the Blue Mountains, or opening your chakras in the easygoing coastal town of Byron Bay; from the spectacular north coast around Coffs Harbour to the southern beaches of Shellharbour or Jervis Bay, New South Wales is home to a strong and diverse yoga community. The quality of yoga instruction in Australia is up there among the best in the world, and many creative and caring yogis have created enriching and relaxing retreats, allowing you to deepen your practice and experience the power of nature along with good old-fashioned Aussie hospitality.
4-day midweek Meditation and Yoga Retreat
Practice yoga in a cathedral of trees: that was Paul and Tory von Bergen dreamed of when they started to build this vast cabin surrounded by 11 acres (4.5 hectares) of pristine Australian bush in Maraylya in Northwest Sydney, a 45-minute drive from the Sydney Harbor Bridge and less than ten minutes from the stunning Scheyville National Park and Hawkesbury River. With incredibly views of the surrounding bushland, they teach two daily flow and hatha classes as well as after-dinner meditation workshops. Three delicious buffey-style vegetarian meals a day, as well as snacks, include chia porridge, nut loaf, curry, bliss balls and other yogic delights. Lounge around the outdoor pool, or book an additional infrared sauna, reiki or massage treatment. From US$658 / 4 days
5-Day Hormone Balancing Women’s Wellness Retreat in Byron Bay
Welcome to the 170-acre (69-hectare) Wybalena Organic Farm, where you’ll be spirited away from laid-back Byron Bay vibes to the even more laid-back vibes in the rolling hills of Byron hinterland. Australia’s leading hormone expert, acupuncturist Nat Kringoudis has curated this inspiring retreat as a safe place for women to commune, recharge and reassess, especially when feeling run down and low on energy. Intensive naturopathic mentoring with Nat and a one-on-one acupuncture therapy session to rebalance hormones are complemented by a 75-minute morning yoga flow on the farm’s waterhole pontoon, followed by an evening yin session. A local plant-based chef creates three meals daily – perfectly attuned to hormonal function, of course – with farm-fresh produce. You’ll feel nourished inside and out. From US$1,461 / 5 days
3-day Signature Retreat with Yoga and Meditation at the Sanctuary, Loftus
Just 45 minutes’ drive from the Sydney CBD and 16km (10 miles) from the airport, The Sanctuary spa is nestled in the rustic, peaceful Woronora Valley, known to the Dharawal Tribe as the ‘Dreamtime Valley’. Your stay will begin with a 30-minute essential oil foot soak and a zen chi session. The rest isn’t so bad, either: daily Kundalini, hatha and meditation personally tailored for your level and needs; a sound healing, and unlimited access to the spa’s sauna, body scrubs, and heated pool. Between classes and vegetarian meals, enjoy the fresh air while lounging in a hammock, discover the local bushwalk trails and wildlife around the national parks, or sip on homemade Ayurvedic tea. From US$884 / 3 days
4-Day ‘Art of Being’ Yoga and Sound Medicine Retreat in Northern Rivers Hinterland
Yoga, music and nature are perfectly intertwined in this three-night immersion and journey to self-discovery. Singer and multi-instrumentalist Benny Holloway provides the soothing and uplifting live soundtrack to your daily dose of hatha with yoga instructor and art therapist Lara Zilibowitz. This is a chance to free yourself through any means necessary: pranayama, meditation and sound healing, but why not indulge in some ecstatic dancing and a workshop in creative amplification while you’re here? It all takes place in the sun-drenched seclusion of the Gymea Eco Retreat at the base of Mount Warning, where the birds in the trees don’t care if you look silly while shamanic dancing. You’ll enjoy bathing in the forest streams (or just hop in the resort’s jacuzzi, spa or sauna), a cleansing fire ceremony, a zen Thai shiatsu massage, and three lovingly prepared vegetarian meals per day. From US$1279 / 4 days
3-day Silent Meditation Retreat in the Blue Mountains
You will be required to hand in your mobile phone or laptop for this retreat. And that will do you a world of good. Three days in the crisp air of Wentworth Falls bushland in the Blue Mountains, with meditation, soothing yin yoga, and complete silence except for the birdsong and the rustling of leaves in the wind. Three days is an ideal length for yogis trying a silent retreat for the first time. Hearty vegetarian and vegan meals are prepared onsite with homegrown and fresh local ingredients. Hop in the pool or journal in the labyrinth on the grounds to learn that silence is bliss. From US$281 / 3 days