NSW experiences that are good for your soul
Life is hectic, and often stressful. Here are six ways to tune out from the chaos – and prioritise your mind, body and soul.
Whether through Zoom meetings or Netflix marathons, we’re ever more connected to technology. But switching off, slowing down, appreciating the finer details and finding ‘quiet’ can have immense health benefits.
Here are six ways to ditch your device and reconnect with the real world in NSW.
Stretch and salute the sun
Whether for stress relief, flexibility or heart health, yoga’s physical and mental benefits are undeniable. Even better if you’re saluting the sun in a spectacular setting – say, beside the beach at Bondi Icebergs with Yoga by the Sea, or on the patio at Andrew (Boy) Charlton Pool on the edge of Sydney’s Royal Botanic Garden.
Of course, you can always pack your mat and head out into nature for a self-guided yoga session. Pick a perch beside the lapping waves of the beach, overlooking rolling hills in the countryside or among the peace and quiet of a rainforest.
Let the streetlights fade, the chatter of the world disappear and your worries slip into insignificance at one of the state’s best holistic health resorts. In the Hunter Valley, sign up for a break from the world at Elysia Wellness Retreat, where balance stems from the restaurant’s nutritionally focused meals, the sunrise tai chi and the Zen Monk Therapy in the spa.
Further north, take a deep breath and check in to Gaia Retreat and Spa in the Byron Bay hinterland. Co-owned by Olivia Newton-John, this dreamy escape has everything to help you disconnect from the world, from luxe rooms to gracious staff.
Surf retreats that echo the ocean
We all know it, and science proves it – being beside the sea (or, indeed, in it) brings innumerable physical and mental health benefits. The ocean clears your mind, grounds you, reminds you to be humble and appreciate the world.
Dive into a wave-riding retreat with Surfaris at Crescent Head on the mid-North Coastdedicated staff will help you “turn back the pace”. Forget the world and just focus on the now balancing on a board heading toward an opaline, pine-fringed shore.
The power of small
Clutter in the home clouds the mind and confuses the soul. Enter the tiny home movement, where the motto is “you don’t need much to be happy – as long as it’s all excellent”.
Hail the Tiny Away portfolio, with properties that include a couple of fully equipped, neat-as-a-pin houses on a working alpaca farm in Windeyer, 250km north-west of Sydney (the mountain-biking here is a dream).
On the North Coast, Yamba Tiny Houses’ cute-as-a-button stays, named Iris and Irene, are set on more than 30 acres of lush countryside with river views.
Walk this way
At every altitude, NSW hiking trails dazzle. And the thing about giving yourself over to the state’s wilderness – with only your shoes between you and the earth – is that the adventure never ends. Be prepared to climb through World Heritage-listed Gondwana rainforest. Or scale volcanoes. Or slide down the largest moving sand dunes in the Southern Hemisphere (hey, Stockton).
Maybe wander into lunar landscapes that defy the imagination and break historical records – Mungo National Park in the state’s far west is home to some of the oldest human remains ever discovered, not to mention megafauna fossils. If that doesn’t put life into perspective, we’re not sure what will.
A symphony of frogs. A chorus of crickets. The sweet sound of the wind through eucalypts, and the fragrant aroma that follows. This is your evening entrée when you settle into your tent at Me Jane Camp Out in the Southern Highlands, a 90min drive south of Sydney. If there was ever a host more gracious (Jane’s home-cooked meals are incomparable) or space more inviting, we’re yet to be notified. This soon-to-be-working vineyard is the absolute perfect place to shut off.
It’s a similar story up in the Capertee Valley – the second-largest canyon in the world. Here, just north of the Blue Mountains, Bubbletent Australia leaves but a millimetre between you and nature when you bed down in a spherical clear tent. These sci-fi orbs provide an incredible window to the natural world. You’ll wake with the sun – you have no choice, and you will desire nothing less.