Where to find a class or workshop that suits you to a T
Gather round, join in, pull up a chair and find your tribe with these classes, workshops, seminars and retreats that will help build your skills, expand your mind and create lasting connections.
Finding like-minded folk is easy when you enrol in classes, workshops and retreats that indulge your passions. Whether you’re a whisky person, a yoga practitioner or want to improve your salami-making skills, NSW has got a class to suit you to a T.
Get your hands dirty
NSW is full of undiscovered gems. Unearth one with an introductory fossicking lesson, run by Bullock Mountain Homestead in the sapphire-rich waterways around Glen Innes in the New England High Country.
At Lightning Ridge in the state’s outback, more serious prospectors can build their skills with advanced workshops in polishing and cutting offered by the Australian Opal Centre.
Prefer a little more comfort? Roll up your sleeves and take the wheel with a pottery class at Workshopp Ceramics in Newcastle. Want to unwind with friends? Try a paint-and-sip art class at Pinot & Picasso in Penrith in Western Sydney.
After something more social? Settle in for a yarn and strengthen your connection to Country with a lesson in traditional weaving from Barkindji woman Tegan Murdock with Ngumpie Weaving on Sydney’s Northern Beaches.
Share the plate
There’s an old adage that good food is best shared. In Sydney, Vive Cooking School features a jam-packed line-up of rotating classes for cooks of all levels of skill, from a chocolate bonbons workshop to the art of shaping and filling ravioli. They've even hosted Black Star Pastry's Chris The, revealing the secrets of his famous strawberry watermelon cake.
Prefer your salt to your sweets? Located at the iconic Fish Market, the Sydney Seafood School gives lessons on frying up everything from the sea, from pipis to octopus.
Serious chefs keen to brush up on new skills can head to the award-winning cooking school Food I Am. Based in Wagga Wagga in the heart of the Riverina region, Food I Am offers specialist courses including the ‘Dim Sum Then Some’ class, as well as an advanced salami and salumi masterclass.
Some people match their wine to their meal: at Barrel and Larder’s cooking school, you pair the food to match the wine. Located on the grounds of a winery in Orange in the state’s Central Tablelands, pupils prepare a three-course meal while sharing wine in a purpose-built kitchen made for 12.
If you prefer a different kind of drop, wannabe alchemists can join other kindred spirits at North of Eden’s gin-making classes; here, the Far South Coast distillery allows intimate groups to blend and bottle their own bespoke gin.
In Sydney, Archie Rose Disttling Co. in inner-city Rosebery offers gin, whisky and cocktail masterclasses, while those who want to add a dash of spice can head to Rum School at Brix Distillery in Surry Hills, just on the fringe of the city.
Strengthen the body
Take a leap of faith at Circus Arts, which operates outdoors at Sydney Olympic Park and has its own indoor space in Byron Bay. Suitable for ages five and over, finesse your trapeze skills during a weekend in Sydney, or participate in a more comprehensive program at the Byron studios with aerial and circus play.
Just north of Byron in Casuarina, the Surfing Australia High Performance Centre caters to groups of established and experienced surfers. The world-class training facility runs classes and multi-day camps with professional coaches who can get you ready for big-wave riding and improve your form.
In Narooma on the South Coast, bring a buddy and learn to dive with the seals and penguins of Montague Island with Underwater Safaris, while more experienced divers can upgrade their skills and head out to dive spots around South West Rocks on the North Coast with Fish Rock Dive Centre.
For a slower pace and a little more sociable conversation, try a stand-up paddleboarding class with Watsons Bay SUP in the relatively calm waters of Sydney Harbour.
Group retreats are growing in popularity, with a number of female-focused experiences promoting the value of sisterhood, including Salty Soul Wellness, which offers women’s surf and yoga retreats in a like-minded and safe space in Yamba on the Far North Coast.
During winter, explore the Wim Hof breathing method in the quiet and cold scenery of the Snowy Mountains on guided expeditions run by Wild Things Anatomy.
If you need motivation, experienced ocean swimmers can head to Pinetrees Lodge on Lord Howe Island (700km off the coast) for one of its Ocean Swim Weeks. Swim kilometres each day over coral reef and sandy bays with a team under the guidance of professional motivational coach and ex-ironman Trevor Hendy.
The meditative Japanese art of shinrin yoku, better known in the West as forest bathing, has been growing in popularity throughout the world. Take a class in the forests of the Southern Highlands during Robertson’s annual Wildfest, or connect with nature during a session at Sydney’s Centennial Parklands.
Looking for your yoga tribe? Then try outdoor yoga out in the vineyards of the Hunter Valley with Yoga in the Vines; join Flow mOcean for a stand-up paddleboarding yoga class in the harbour at Manly Cove; or choose from one of many Byron Bay sessions, including Elements of Byron Bay or Bamboo Yoga School.