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6 Retreats To Help You Rest And Recharge

Hello girls’ getaway.

By Georgia Hopkins

It’s at precisely this point in the year that most of us come to the very end of our collective tether, and realise we’re due for some downtime. So, we asked PRIMER’s travel writer Georgia Hopkins of It’s Beautiful Here to offer her picks on the top retreats – in Australia and abroad – in 2023.

The Cultural Retreat
The Returning (Northern New South Wales, Australia)

The Returning is an all-Indigenous, female run and led Not-For-Profit Organisation designed to bring all peoples of all ages, races and places back to Country. Their programs are community events or camps created for care to help bridge the privilege gap between those who can afford retreats and those who cannot.

When: The next gathering of The Returning is 5-9 December, 2022.
What’s included: Five full days of workshops and activities and four nights’ accommodation at the Midginbil Eco Resort in Uki, NSW, plus two organic and local meals each day, basket weaving, language learning, music, ochre painting, contemporary Indigenous dancing, stories and bush tucker tour with Aunty Delta (Explore Byron Bay), sacred fire ceremony, and more.
Rates: Start from $970
For more: www.thereturning.com.au

The Holistic Wellness Retreat
Beautiful Nomad (various locations – next stop, Italy)
Beautiful Nomad offer wellness retreats that weave together thoughtful cultural experiences, holistic rituals, and movement and rejuvenation, with the intention of creating a sacred space for healing, adventure and connection. The Beautiful Nomad team seek out locations around the world based on their natural beauty, creative draw, and grounded pace. I was lucky enough to attend a retreat on the wonderfully wild and natural island of Menorca in the Balearics at Es Bec d’Aguila, an extraordinary villa surrounded by beautiful pastoral countryside. Together with a group of 18 women from all over the world, it was an amazing week of soul-nourishing food, conversation, movement and connection (as well as many, many swims in the Mediterranean Sea).

When: The next Beautiful Nomad retreat will be held in Tuscany, Italy from 18-24 June, 2023.
What’s included: A six-night stay in a 12th-century Tuscan farmhouse, classical Pilates, yoga and ‘fascia flossing’ daily (yes, that’s a thing!), a creative workshop, a cooking class, all vegetarian meals, and plenty of free time to explore Tuscany.
Rates: From $USD2800
For more: www.beautifulnomad.com

The luxurious finca that guests call home for six nights while on the Beautiful Nomad retreat in Menorca. Photo by Ana Lui.

The Artist’s Retreat
Mèlisses (Andros, Greece)
On the island of Andros (just two hours from Athens) you will find the very special Mèlisses (Greek for “bees”), a love-filled B&B retreat created by founder and art director, Allegra Pomilio.

Allegra has created an aesthetically beautiful home-away-from-home with an immaculate attention to detail, care, and generous hospitality. Allegra hosts a number of retreats throughout the year. I recommend booking in for the “Shape of the Light” retreat which had its inaugural launch this past October. Hosts for the retreat are Tom van Kaenel (a Swiss-born marble sculptor and painter, who alongside his wife Priska, is the founder of Kalodromo, a line of bespoke Naxian marble objects and sculptures), Lucy Laucht (an exceptional travel, fashion and lifestyle photographer devoted to working with natural light), and Allegra herself.

When: Dates are yet to be set for 2023 so keep an eye on the Mèlisses website.
What’s included: Six days’ (five nights’) accommodation at Mèlisses, with all meals during workshops, daily hands-on practice with artist Tom van Kaenel – learning marble sculpting techniques, daily on-the-go photography sessions led by Lucy Laucht, all materials and tools, getting to know the island and exploring secret corners, one meal in a local taverna, all transfers on the island and to and from the house.
Rates: From EUR2,500 ($AUD3800) per person
For more: https://melissesandros.com/

Marble sculpting is one of several workshops offered to guests at the stunning Mèlisses retreat located on the Greek Island of Andros. Photo by Lucy Laucht.

The Wellness Retreat
Aro Ha (Lake Wakatipu, New Zealand)
Overlooking the exceptionally beautiful Lake Wakatipu, in New Zealand’s Southern Alps (just 45mins from Queenstown), Aro Hā is an intimate 20-room lodge offering holistic practices (yoga, meditation) for mind and body.

Aro Hā is located in one of the most truly jaw-droppingly beautiful settings I have ever seen. The architecturally designed wood cabins blend in seamlessly with the mountains, and the nourishing food is incredibly good for the soul. Days at Aro Hā will harness the power of nature, nutrition, mindfulness, yoga, functional movement, and other research-based best practices. The big, half-day long hikes through the surrounding sub-alpine mountains were the favourite part for me.

When: The January Revive & Thrive retreat will be held from 18 – 23 January, 2023.
What’s included: Five nights’ accommodation, all meals, daily yoga, Pilates, subalpine hiking, massage, transfers to/from airport etc
Rates: From $AUD6,344
For more: https://aro-ha.com/

The Writer’s Retreat
Trust and Travel (various locations – next stop, Colombia)
On the Caribbean coast of Colombia, South America, you can immerse yourself in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, also known as “The Heart of the World”, at this writer’s retreat with journalist and travel writer, Jade Moyano, and multi-genre writer Erin Rose Belair, the co-founders of Trust and Travel. Every Trust and Travel retreat is designed with the intention to foster authentic expression, confidence, and creative breakthroughs. You can expect daily writing workshops, meditation, yoga, discussions, and so much more. Group sizes are intentionally small to encourage intimacy and connection.

When: The next Trust and Travel retreat will be held in Santa Marta, Colombia from 21-26 January, 2023.
What’s included: Five nights’ accommodation, all meals (breakfast, lunch and dinner), two writing workshops each day, morning yoga, meditation and journaling sessions, indigenous cleansing ceremony, waterfall trip, open mic night, gift bag, and more.
Rates: From $USD2,700 ($AUD4000) for five nights
For more: https://www.wetrustandtravel.com/

Poolside in Mallorca on the Trust and Travel retreat. Group sizes are intentionally small to encourage intimacy and connection. Photo by Lucas Cruz.

The Health Retreat
Gwinganna (Queensland, Australia)
This is Australia’s ultimate health retreat in the ultimate nature setting. Tucked away in the stunning Gold Coast hinterland, the natural surroundings of Gwinganna make it the perfect place to rest and reset. A good way to ease yourself into the Gwinganna experience is to first try one of their short stays. The two-night Wellness Weekend is the perfect place to start – an ideal short break to help you step back, switch off and refocus on your health. I can also personally vouch for the five-night Optimum Wellbeing retreat and the ‘Triple S’ – Sleep, Sugar, Stress – retreat.

When: There are many retreat dates each month. The next two-night Wellness Weekend is from 27-29 January, 2023.
What’s included: Two nights’ accommodation, one classic massage, all organic meals and snacks, morning coffee, herbal teas and evening glass of organic wine, key wellness seminar, access to all facilities and scheduled activities, morning qi gong, yoga, hiking, some dynamic exercise options, plus restful afternoons to spend how you prefer, complimentary transfers from Gold Coast airport.
Rates: From $1,285 for two nights
For more: https://www.gwinganna.com/

With all of these retreats, unless specifically mentioned, it can be assumed that airfares, transportation to and from the location, and travel insurance are not included.

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BY Georgia Hopkins

Georgia is travel editor for PRIMER and our go-to for the latest local intel and any and all travel advice. Georgia can help you plan your next dream holiday, curating personalised travel recos just for you.

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