Happy Buddha is the kind of yoga retreat for people who say they hate meditating. It’s for the ones who fidget, who run through their to-do lists as they close their eyes, or battle with a running commentary of negative thoughts. Basically, it’s for all of us. Located in the Blue Mountains, overlooking a valley of eucalyptus trees and squawking cockatoos, the modern retreat has twin rooms, all facing the peaceful outdoor swimming pool and a lightly manicured lawn where guests rise with the sun, holding a herbal tea and blanket, to start the day.
If you want to feel a world away without travelling far at all, book into Bondi’s first dedicated yoga and wellness retreat. The guesthouse, on the edge of Woollahra Golf Course and a 20 minute walk to the beach, has four bedrooms, a yoga studio, a chillout lounge and an outdoor studio space. Owners and qualified yoga teachers Ben Gould and Amanda Graci quit their corporate jobs to open Bondi Yoga House in March 2016. They offer one-day packages to weekend retreats, which include two nights in the townhouse, two yoga classes, a meditation session and a walking tour of Bondi and the weekly farmers’ markets. You can even tack on a surf lesson or organic spray tan. If you want the most luxe package, opt for the king suite with private ensuite and balcony. $616-$1399pp.
Just 45 minutes from Sydney’s CBD or ten minutes from Rouse Hill, there’s a boutique yoga retreat in the treetops that offers a full day program of yoga and meditation, organic, vegetarian meals and a chorus of cicadas to soothe you to sleep. The 30-bed resort is eco-certified (50 litres of rainwater is allocated per person, per day) and it’s good value for solo travellers, who can opt to share a dorm, as well as groups or couples who might hire a deluxe cabin, complete with rolltop bath. A typical day might start with 7am yoga practice, drawing meditation before lunch, a massage in the afternoon and a discussion about nutrition before a healthy dinner, made by owner Tory von Bergen. Plus, prices include use of the retreat’s bicycles and aqua therapy magnesium swimming pool. Day breaks are available too, from $200pp. $615-$1,399pp.
If the idea of restricted WiFi is too much to handle, there’s a hideaway in Byron that marries the pampering of a five-star hotel with the regenerative benefits of yoga and meditation. Surrounded by 45 acres of rainforest, Byron at Byron Resort and Spa is a luxury retreat to nature without having to compromise on comfort. The resort’s Mind, Body and Soul package includes four nights accommodation, all meals, spa treatments, a mocktail or cocktail on arrival and a daily green smoothie. It’s by no means strict – a glass of wine at the end of the day is par for the course, and the gourmet menu includes meals like pan fried snapper and a daily sashimi plate. The package includes a 90-minute massage, a $140 spa voucher to use on any treatment, and a one-hour meditation in the rainforest. $2,604pp.