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.

Destination NSW

Destination NSW

Feb 2022 -
min read

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.

Bondi Icebergs Club - Bondi Beach

Bondi Icebergs Club, Bondi Beach

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.

Yoga on stand-up paddle boards with Flow mOcean in Manly, Sydney North

Yoga on stand-up paddleboards, Flow mOcean

Perhaps even more tantalising is celebrating the morning on the water. Flow mOcean will help you find internal and external balance while posing on a stand-up paddleboard off the shores of Manly.

Or maybe end your chakra-resetting adventure with a glass or two of wine at a Yoga in the Vines session amid a patch of shiraz and semillon grapes in the Hunter Valley, a 2hr drive north of Sydney.

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.

Yoga in the Vines

Yoga in the Vines, Hunter Valley

Healthful healing

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.

Elysia Wellness Retreat in Pokolbin, Hunter Valley

Elysia Wellness Retreat, Hunter Valley - Credit: Elysia Wellness Retreat

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 Coast, where the dedicated 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.

Alternatively, on the South Coast, 1990 surfing world champion Pam Burridge reminds female groups about the healing power of nature on her surf retreats out of Mollymook.

 A lone surfer enjoys perfect waves at Crescent Head on the northern side of Racecourse Head.

Surfing, Crescent Head

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.

Patio of tiny house at Merlot Tiny House in Mudgee, Country NSW

Patio of tiny house at Merlot Tiny House, Mudgee - Credit: Lee Besser - Tiny Away

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).

Couple enjoying a walk along Stockton Beach at Stockton in Newcastle, North Coast

Stockton Beach, 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.  

Man watching the sunset at the Walls of China in Mungo National Park - Mungo - Outback NSW

Man watching the sunset at the Walls of China in Mungo National Park, Outback NSW

Pitch perfect

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.

Couple relaxing in their Bubbletent Australia accommodation in the Capertee Valley

Bubbletent Australia at Capertee Valley, Lithgow area

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.   

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