Gaia Retreat and Spa, Byron Bay, New South Wales © Tourism Australia
Australia’s most beautiful yoga retreats
Unwind in incredible Australian landscapes and refresh your mind, body and soul at one of these picturesque yoga retreats.
By Deborah Cooke and Cat Woods
The powerful practise of yoga can make you feel truly rejuvenated, but to reap the full benefits you’ll want a soothing (not to mention spectacular) landscape to match. From the charming countryside to the calming coast, here’s our guide to Australia’s most beautiful yoga retreats. Say goodbye to your lounge room and hello to heaven.
Strike a pose in Victoria’s high country
The charming town of Daylesford in Victoria’s Great Dividing Range has been a place of healing and wellness since the 1860s. Today, it’s still prized for its sublime foothills location and powerful mineral waters. After a 1.5-hour drive from Melbourne, sink into one of the town’s loveliest spas, Samadhi Retreat.
Here you have a choice of seven wellness retreats, and yoga can be incorporated into any of these programs (which include the Energise Retreat and the Inner Peace Retreat). You can also enjoy a range of mindful practises such as pranic breathing and guided meditations.
Come evening, you can choose between two guest-room styles. The Pearl Wing features Asian-inspired suites looking out onto a private sculpture garden designed for contemplation and relaxation. The Gold Wing rooms are more contemporary in design, and feature hardwood timber floors and private decks overlooking pretty bushland.
Retreat to the blissful Byron Bay hinterland
Byron Bay, a divine beachside locale in northern New South Wales, an hour south of the Gold Coast, is considered the centre of alternative culture in Australia. Its verdant hinterland is equally lovely, and is home to Gaia Retreat & Spa, co-owned by Olivia Newton-John, one of the country’s best-known musical exports. Yoga is an integral part of the retreat packages here, with a 90-minute morning session the perfect way to begin your day. Other facilities include a day spa, a saltwater pool ringed with thickets of trees, a naturopathic clinic and the serene lawn of the Samira Yoga Lookout, which serves up stunning views over the Pacific Ocean.
Breathe deeply by Western Australian waters
Yoga retreats offer many attractions, but few can match the glorious beachfront location of Western Australia’s Injidup Spa Retreat in Yallingup, a three-hour drive south of Perth. Yallingup is renowned for its beautiful beaches, as well as its proximity to the limestone sea cliffs and beautiful granite headlands of Leeuwin-Naturaliste National Park. Each of the ten villas at Injidup has uninterrupted views of the Indian Ocean, along with a private plunge pool. Book in for a one-on-one yoga lesson, then practice your salute to the sun with the ocean as your background.
Stretch out on Kangaroo Island
Blessed with an abundance of native wildlife, striking natural features and 510 kilometres (318 miles) of coastline, Kangaroo Island is a small patch of paradise just a 35-minute flight from South Australia’s capital, Adelaide.
Twenty minutes north of Kangaroo Island’s airport lies sleepy Emu Bay, home to the low-set buildings of Kangaroo Island Health Retreat. The seven-day Dynamic Detox package combines open-air yoga in the retreat’s grassland grounds, walks through the bush to the sandy beach of Emu Bay, Pilates, nutrition lectures and massages. And then there’s also the therapeutic joy of seeing kangaroos, koalas and Australian sea lions in their natural habitat.
Try the warrior pose in Tasmania
Just a 20-minute drive south of the Tasmanian capital of Hobart, the seaside suburb of Margate sits in the northern reaches of the magnificent D’Entrecasteaux Channel estuary system. Here you’ll find Harmony Hill Health Retreat, which specialises in the ancient Indian healing practice of Ayurveda. Ayurvedic treatments on offer include abhyanga (massage), shirodhara (where warm liquid is poured onto your forehead) and nasya (nasal therapy).
Guest rooms here are clustered around the retreat’s striking hexagonal main building and are surrounded by untouched bushland. Retreat packages include daily yoga classes, and you can also learn yogic breathing, which can help reduce stress hormones and anxiety and improve your energy and metabolism.
Find your balance in the balmy Northern Territory
Looking for a yoga retreat with a side serving of spectacular sunsets? Then you might like to visit Dundee Beach, a 90-minute drive southwest of Darwin – tropical capital of the Northern Territory – and the Balance For Life retreat. The vibrant golden sunsets over the beach are just as nourishing for your soul as the yoga retreats offered at this no-frills locale. These can include everything from a Yoga and Self-Care Retreat with essential oils to a Chakra Yoga and Healing Retreat, and one that combines yoga and fishing (who knew?).
Salute the sun on the Gold Coast
The Gold Coast might be Queensland’s most glamorous stretch of coast, but its hinterland is an altogether quieter place. Hidden away in the Tallebudgera Valley, a 40-minute drive southwest of the beaches, is one of Australia’s most famous lifestyle retreats, Gwinganna.
Set high on a ridge surrounded by 200 hectares (500 acres) of unspoilt bushland, Gwinganna (which means “lookout” in the local Aboriginal language) offers a multitude of programs, including a three-night yoga retreat. Begin your days with yogic breathing, followed by a selection of classes, each focusing on a different yoga practise (including Hatha and Iyengar yoga).
While striking a pose in the stunning Mind Body Pavilion you’ll have amazing views of Tallebudgera Valley and the Pacific Ocean below. And, as a bonus, an 80-minute massage and organic meals are all part of this package.