Fill Your Cup At 8 Of The Best Wellness Retreats In New Zealand
Banish busyness in favour of an escape that will nourish your mind, body and soul.
Words by: Jess Willemse
Photography by: Supplied
Have you ever returned from a getaway declaring, ‘I need a holiday to recover from my holiday’? We feel you on a spiritual level.
Enter; wellness retreats. Slow travel has been on the rise for years. Off the back of this, we’ve seen people increasingly choosing genuine rest, relaxation and recovery over a jam-packed itinerary. What’s more, the effects of wellness wanderlust last far beyond your holiday—positively influencing your habits long after you check out.
Take note, zen-chasers; these are the eight best wellness retreats in New Zealand.
Solscape is your one-stop shop to connect with all things nature. Whether you’re seeking a reset or looking to grow your worldview, you can do it at this community-style eco-retreat. Termed ‘Solitude Retreats,’ a weekend in this Waikato haven delivers on all the good stuff; massages, yoga classes and cosy accommodation. Choose from their solar-powered eco-bachs, or opt for something more unique with an earth dome, glamping tent or even a restored railway cabin. Their surf school is sure to help you work up an appetite, while their on-site café will keep your hunger at bay with whole foods.
Mana Retreat Centre
Tucked away in the dense bush of the Coromandel Ranges, Mana Retreat Centre has been helping guests unwind since 1988. They offer a range of retreats, from a personal weekend getaway to specialised multi-day events hosted by leading yoga and wellness practitioners. The Mana Kitchen will keep you fuelled up for whatever the weekend brings, keeping your mind and body clear with a focus on vegetarian cuisine. You’ll find plenty of vibrant, seasonal produce on your plate, most of which is grown on the Mana estate. Plus, the panoramic views overlooking the serene Manaia Harbour sure don’t hurt.
Maruia River Retreat
Escape to another world entirely with a stay at the ever-exclusive Maruia River Retreat. Quietly nestled alongside the Maruia River, this 500-acre lot is home to only seven luxury villas, so it’s about as secluded as they come. The facilities are second-to-none, with self-contained lodgings decked out in Italian appliances, super king beds and premium linens. Add in the outdoor hot tub, infrared sauna, on-site spa, gourmet kitchen and nature activities, and you might just never want to leave. Maruia offers a series of events, workshops, retreats and packages to suit your needs—get inspired for your next escape here.
It’s not hard to feel at peace when you’re surrounded by glistening lakes and the snow-capped peaks of the Southern Alps. But Aro Hā goes beyond the breathtaking scenery and dives a few levels deeper when it comes to helping you decompress. Their retreats are all about restoring your body and mind, designed around research that supports fundamental habit change. They’ve got you covered with activities to nourish your body, nutritional plant-based meals, daily massages and eco-accommodation.
Valley Views Glamping
There’s plenty to love about Ōamaru and the scenic Waitaki region. But for us, a night spent in style at Valley Views Glamping takes the cake. With their rustic interiors and large picture windows, these luxurious domes make you feel at one with nature. Around the farm, you can get up close and personal with your surroundings; think horse-riding lessons and guided nature walks through high-country farmland. Once you’ve worked up a sweat, unwind with outdoor baths under a forest canopy, a relaxing massage or wine tasting.
Split Apple Retreat
When Condé Nast Traveler describes Split Apple Retreat as ‘one of the most serene and restful places to stay in the entire hemisphere,’ you sit up and take note. Taking up residence in Abel Tasman National Park, you’ll be wooed by the wonder of Split Apple as soon as you step foot on the grounds. Offering private beach access, bushwalks on your doorstep and 180° views of Tasman bay, what’s not to love? After a dip in the infinity pool, a massage among the trees and a soothing sauna, you’ll enter peak zen mode.
Treetops Lodge & Estate
We don’t need to tell you that Treetops Lodge & Estate is where you go to get among the wilderness. Lucky for you, it’s in true style, with plenty of activities to inspire your soul while you’re there. Each residence is unsurprisingly surrounded by thriving native greenery, evoking a true sense of calm anywhere you turn. They’re not short on activities either, with horseback tours, hot tubs, archery, clay shooting, fly fishing or golf practically on your front door. After which, you’ll be treated to an estate-to-plate feast from the creative mind of Head Chef Felipe Ponce.
Camp Glenorchy has garnered a well-earned reputation for its women’s wellness retreats. Hosted in collaboration with local experts in the space, you’ll enjoy an escape from routine with Emma from The Breath Effect and Sarsha from Hope Wellness. These four-day retreats include all the trimmings; accommodation at the eco-lodge, hearty meals, massages, workshops and mindfulness sessions. It’s a given you’ll connect with nature on this retreat, but you may be surprised at how in-tune you become with yourself.
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Neat Ōamaru & Waitaki Places
Badger & Mackerel
Badger & Mackerel Messhall is an Ōamaru hub for great food, excellent service and a refreshing mix of big brekkie classics and modern brunch plates.
Riverstone Kitchen has been working with Waitaki producers and growing their own ingredients since day one. Their simple, seasonal approach has earned a huge following and heaps of awards, so wander the veggie gardens, enjoy a meal and stay awhile.
Harbour Street Bakery
Visit Harbour Street Bakery in Ōamaru for a delicious range of bread, buns, pies, cookies and other goodies. Whatever you choose, you’re in for a treat.
Cucina’s day time counterpart with colourful, tasty brunch plates. The huevos rancheros have been winning ‘big brekkie’ traditionalists over since 2016 and the bombolino doughnuts are the mid-day treat you deserve.
For a nice walk, a bit of bouldering or both, head to Elephant Rocks. Sculpted by wind and rain, these funky outcrops give visitors a glimpse of the limestone that make the Waitaki Valley’s terroir so unique.