As solo travel gains momentum, we seek out the best resorts for numero uno.
A recent survey by TripAdvisor* has found that one in three Aussie women travel alone for leisure, with 82 per cent saying it’s because they “want to get away from it all”. In fact, nearly two-thirds of these women reported that travelling alone had changed them in some way. A bit Eat Pray Love, perhaps, but we get it. Escaping work, kids, commitments, traffic, bills, bills, bills, however fleeting it may be, is liberating. Perhaps Elizabeth Gilbert was onto something after all. Here are eight solo retreats… just for you.
1. Miamo Retreats, Far North Queensland
Frank Frikker and Renee wanted to get away from their former high-flying corporate careers so they made a sea change to Port Douglas 10 years ago, opening up two day spas in the area. Their new venture – Miamo Retreats – goes one step further than your usual pampering treatments with programs designed for corporate people who ‘have lost touch with life and nature’ – sound familiar? – and are ideal for solo travellers. With staff heralding backgrounds in counselling, nutrition and life coaching, the major focus is on mindfulness through education – so participants have skills to take home with them to utilise every day. Nourishment is also on the menu (you’ll feast on organic, locally-sourced food) and there is yoga, tai chi and meditation. The program location alternates between the beautiful Botanical Ark Retreat and Niramaya Resort & Spa, both set in lush tropical north Queensland surrounds. $2975 for four nights.
2. Cabarita Ocean Health Retreat, Cabarita Beach, NSW
If you’re going to swap PJs and slippers for lycra and sneakers this winter, it’s got to be worth it. Shed your winter coat and learn how to relax and recharge (without the distractions of a travel buddy who may tempt you with Tim Tams) at gorgeous Cabarita Ocean Health Retreat on NSW’s north coast. We’re coming out of hibernation for the Individual Transformation Program, which includes a health assessment, personal training session, activities (surfing, paddle boarding, tai chi and hiking to name a few), educational seminars, organic meals and two spa treatments to sweeten the deal. From $6750 for a seven-night package.
3. Dirty Girls 4×4 weekend, Queensland
South-west Queensland, not exactly what you think of when you hear the word ‘retreat’, but sometimes the best way to relax is to do something out of your comfort zone. Cue Dirty Girls 4×4 weekends: female-only breaks where you can shortcut stress with some back-to-basics fun. Based in different regions of Queensland (Moreton Island and Fraser Island included) each retreat includes four-wheel-driving on white sandy beaches, snorkelling through shipwrecks, boating, playing beach volleyball and drinking champagne around the, er, glamp-fire. It’s popular with solo travellers thanks to the female-only aspect. BYO 4WD (and courageousness). From $435.
4. KalyaaNa Spa and Wellness Retreat, Bridgetown, WA
Having trouble remembering what sleep is? Yes, us too. Perhaps a ‘sound therapy’ treatment here will remind you. Located in the heart of beautiful Blackwood River Valley, east of Margaret River, this secluded retreat has only two suites and offers fully-customisable packages including reiki, shiatsu, kinesiology, therapeutic massage, art therapy and guided meditations. The sound therapy package involves using vibrations from Tibetan singing bowls to send you into a dream-like state. Interesting… but research shows it can detoxify the body at a cellular level. Our PJs are packed. From $580 for two nights.
5. Harmony Hill Wellness and Organic Spa Retreat, Hobart, Tasmania
Travelling solo gives you licence to do exactly what you want (hurray!) so why not spoil yourself silly? Just half-an-hour outside of Hobart’s centre, Harmony Hill Wellness and Organic Spa Retreat is just the place. This modern, light-filled, 42-acre country stay offers a three-night ‘Ayuvedic Retreat’ (basically a fancy term for ‘many massages’ – in this instance, anyway) especially for singles: a Chakra healing experience, an Ayuverdic bundle massage, reflexology, a sauna, spa bath… and all using eco-friendly, organic products. Three-night package is $2024.
6. Arajilla Retreat, Lord Howe Island, NSW
There’s quite possibly nowhere better to really get away from it all than at this luxurious retreat on stunning Lord Howe Island where you can totally unplug from the world – that’s right, no mobile coverage, no wi-fi and no TVs in any of the 12 suites. Nestled within palms and banyan trees, Arajilla Retreat offers a range of wellness programs with a focus on Ayurvedic spa treatments including our favourite, the ‘Sleep Easy’ package. You can also indulge in sumptuous local produce prepared just for you including ocean-fresh fish. From $2240 for a single room.
7. Samadhi Retreat, Macedon Ranges, Vic
The Samadhi Retreat, near Daylesford’s spa country, is all about you and only you. Catering to just one person at a time, you’ll have a private, self-contained sanctuary all to yourself. Imagine the serenity! Book the ‘Overnight Wellness Retreat’ to bliss out with a three-hour therapy treatment – think salt scrub, mud wrap, massage – and meditation. Samadhi itself means ‘infinite peace’ – we like the sound of that… Overnight Wellness Retreat, $1580.
8. Authenticity Spa Resort, Port Elliot, SA
There’s something instantly soothing about being on the coast, don’t you think? So what better way to recharge the batteries than with a devoted pamper package for one on South Australia’s picturesque Fleurieu Peninsula. A luxe overnight stay at the European-inspired and renovated 1864 villa will get you a relaxing massage, long hot soak in the uber-deep geisha spa bath with mineral salts, full use of the gym, outdoor pool and spa facilities, a three-course chef’s selection dinner and continental breakfast to boot. Package for one is $450; See authenticity.com.au
*TripAdvisor’s inaugural Women and the World Travel Survey, 2014.
Continue the luxury pamperfest