Resolve to visit one of these 14 New Zealand wellness retreats next year, writes Sarah Pollok
Routines are essential for staying fit and feeling good, but when life happens (or in our case, 2020), it's easy to trade the best intentions for copious amounts of sourdough, Netflix and anxiety. However, the year is ending, summer is here and it's the perfect time to reset our intentions and refocus on our wellbeing.
Aotearoa has some world-class options when it comes to wellbeing retreats. Whether you want to ease in with a casual yoga class or dive into a 14-day life-detox, here are some of the top spots to rest, relax and reset.
Camp Glenorchy — Glenorchy
Breathing well may seem simple but according to experts, it's a major key to wellbeing and something many of us aren't the best at. So, if you're ready to pause, take a breath (and learn how to), Nurture Me Women's Wellness Retreat is the perfect escape. Hosted at the Camp Glenorchy Eco Retreat, one of TIME Magazine's 100 World's Greatest Places, you'll be guided through a four-day wellness immersion by the world-renowned physiotherapist and breathing coach, Emma Ferris and embodied movement facilitator and yoga teacher, Sarsha Hope (March 11-14th).
The Provider — Coromandel
For the guys out there who need a little adrenalin alongside their morning vinyasa, The Provider's Men's Wellbeing Retreat is a must. Held in the rugged Coromandel coast, you'll be freed from the hustle of modern life and reconnected with the land through fishing, diving, bush walks and breath work, with a paleo and ketogenic menu made from the catch of the day. Commit to an epic 4-day experience, or take a quick break with their 24-hour getaways.
Pause Yoga — Wellington
If you're looking for yoga with a gold-standard view, look no further than Wellington's Pause Yoga. Tucked into the native forest hillside of Eastbourne, this dreamy space is a pocket of serenity that looks out across the windy city. Whether you want to sweat out your wild New Years with an athletic flow or peacefully prepare for 2021 with a gentle yin, Pause Yoga's award-winning space facilitates every stage of the yoga journey.
Earth Energies Sanctuary — Auckland
You don't need to travel for hours to feel worlds away, in fact, for Aucklanders, it only takes an hour. Head south from the city and you'll soon stumble on Earth Energies Sanctuary; a 200-acre estate where exclusive luxury and holistic healing meet. Packaged as overnight, full-day or half-day experiences, Earth Energies offers everything from classic massage and aromatherapy to futuristic infrared saunas, float tanks and clinical hypnotherapy to bliss you into oblivion.
Egmont Travel Group - Taranaki
For some, no peace compares to that of the great outdoors. If a classic kiwi tramp is your idea of serenity, then treat yourself to an overnight bush stay in a secret South Taranaki hut. Hosted by the good folk at Egmont Travel Group, you'll venture 3 hours into the bush to a private cabin where you're free to explore the country's most stunning remote tracks or simply enjoy a book in front of the hut's fireplace. While the more adventurous can add on a thrilling jet boat ride along the South Taranaki river.
Valley View Glamping — Otiake
Anyone else want the serenity and beauty of camping, without the actual camping? Valley View Glamping has you covered. Swap crooked tents and scroggin for geodesic domes and eco-friendly cabins, nourishing meals, and an itinerary designed to unwind and revive. Located in the heart of the South Island's Waitaki Valley, you'll be spoilt for choice with activities such as horse riding, winery tours, therapeutic massage, and scenic outdoor bathtubs that practically demand a sneaky Instagram pic.
Nature & Nosh - Coromandel
Good news for the foodies, wellness isn't just wheatgrass shots and kale chips. Inspired by New Zealand's stunning vistas and natural produce, Nature and Nosh take you on an edible adventure of epicurean delights. Explore Coromandel's iconic coastal and bush tracks as you hop from vineyards to bistros, gelaterias and fromageries, enjoying local fare and hidden gems. With pack-free day walks to 7-day hikes, all you need is a group of 4-10 mates and an appetite for adventure.
Nelson Kiwi Journeys — Nelson
Of all the gems in New Zealand, its world-class cycling trails are one of the best-kept secrets and with trails, scenic stops, meals and accommodation taken care of by Nelson Kiwi Journeys, all you need to do is show up and pedal. Take your pick from multi-day tours of various lengths, regions, and themes, such as the Great Taste Trail, a 175km journey full of wineries, orchards, swimming spots and fun attractions like Pics Peanut Butter World. Or start from scratch and let the team design a custom trip just for you.
SurfnStay — Whangamatā
"I should learn how to surf this summer" – sound familiar? Well, Bali may be off the cards but if it's great waves and good vibes you're searching for, SurfnStay has your ocean fix. Whether you can barely sit in a board, want to fine-tune years of experience or want to balance the surfing out with a touch of yoga, the Whangamatā surf school and beach accommodation will sharpen your skills and put your frazzled mind at ease.
Aro Ha — Queenstown
Any other year, a "full physical and emotional overhaul" (as described by Vogue Magazine) would seem a touch extreme. But after 2020, an overhaul at the award-winning Aro Ha Retreat sounds like the ultimate way to end the year. Running through December and January in the rugged Southern Alps, Aro Ha's Revive and Thrive retreats are 8 days of luxurious wellness, with sunrise yoga, mindfulness practices and wholesome meals that will nourish and transform from the inside out.
The Last Church in Āpiti — Āpiti
For those who love traversing off the beaten track in search of unique gems, the Last Church in Āpiti is an escape you won't forget. Hidden in the humble village of Āpiti, in northern Manawatū, a young couple has transformed an old church and Sunday school into a cosy, quirky, one-of-a-kind haven. Take to the outdoors and explore the Ruahine Ranges' bush walks, swimming holes or glow worm caves before curling up in front of the indoor fire, or enjoying a glass of vino in the outdoor bathtub.
Solscape Eco Retreat — Raglan
When in Rome, it's easy to do as the Romans do, or in Raglan's case, as the eco-warrior yogis do. Set in the infamously wellness-loving town, few places are better to reset your mind and body than Solescape. From gorgeous eco-lodgings and plant-based meals to permaculture workshops and holistic bodywork, reconnection with nature and yourself is at the heart of what Solescape do. So dust off the yoga mat, grab your Birkenstocks and join one of their organised retreats or custom-build your own.
Maruia River Retreat — Maruia
To 'retreat' is to withdraw to a secluded place and it doesn't get much more secluded than a private villa in 500 acres of rich native forest. Nestled between Nelson and Christchurch Maruia River is the perfect place to escape the bustling city life and indulge in gourmet dining, invigorating yoga, luxurious spa treatments or some oh-so-trendy forest bathing. With just seven exclusive villas available, this is one to book in advance.
Sanctuary Hill Yoga — Taranaki
Vinyasa your way into the new year with an intimate retreat at Taranaki's Sanctuary Hill Yoga. Open to those with an established 'practice' and those who really need some practice, Sanctuary Hill's intimate Women Rising Retreat and Wellness Weekend guide you through a blend of yoga, meditation, massage and wellness workshops along with wholefood meals to leave you nourished and revived for the brand new year.