The mbg Guide To Wellness Travel In Australia: Surfing, Beaches & Eco-Tourism
To say that Australia embodies the attitude of the laid-back adventurer would be an understatement. The culture here is all about enjoying your time in the sun, sand, surf, and the great outdoors—while all having a bit of fun and not taking it too seriously.
The country is ripe for travel for any nature lover, and we think Sydney offers an excellent starting point. The metropolitan rests on the water, so you're never too far away from a beach, tidepool, or harbor views. And when you travel inland, you are greeted with the stunning Blue Mountain range and Australian bush. All the while the city itself offers delicious plant-based restaurants, gardens, and luxe hotels to enjoy.
Come for the adventure, stay for the good time.
After all the excursions that Australia has to offer, you'll need a comforting home away from home to get some much-deserved rest.
The Langham Sydney
Located in one of the most popular areas in Sydney's city center, this hotel has an old-school feel with a modern wellness twist. The Langham Sydney offers luxe restaurants, tennis courts, a full-service day spa (which creates personalized treatments to help balance the body's five elements: earth, metal, water, fire, wood), and even a wellness concierge. After enjoying your fresh dishes and tennis match, stroll about the historic district it's located in: The open-air Rocks Markets offer local street food and artisanal souvenirs that draw in both locals and tourists alike.
- Price point: $$
- Area: The Rocks district near the harbor
- Amenities: Pool, cafe, gym, spa, wellness concierge, tennis, high tea
- Book now: https://www.langhamhotels.com/en/the-langham/sydney/
This boutique oceanfront getaway sits on Whale Beach, which is just north of the city. It's a picturesque strip of sand that's not to be missed, especially if you're craving max amounts of sun and ocean time. Not only are the stunning views and incredible beach access worth the stay, but the area's also ripe with fun activities to keep your days satisfied (if you don't just want to lie by the beach and pool). There's rock climbing, SUPing, meditation and yoga classes, beach hikes, and sailboat tours.
- Price point: $$$
- Area: Whale Beach, one of Sydney's northern beaches
- Amenities: Ocean views, spa treatments, meditation, yoga, kayaking, access to sailboats, SUP, beach hikes
- Book now: https://www.jonahs.com.au/
Spicers Sangoma Retreat
Head inland to the Blue Mountains: The mountain range is filled with staggering sights (like waterfalls and sandstone cliffs) and native vegetation (like eucalyptus forests). The landscape makes for the perfect setting for ecotourism, and the best spot to experience it is this retreat: The tranquil lodge is set among the bush, with a select few luxury suites (and we mean luxury), pool, innovative restaurant, and access to excursions in the area.
- Price point: $$$$
- Area: In the foothills of the Blue Mountains, an hour outside of Sydney
- Amenities: Pool; restaurant with fresh, seasonal, and organic ingredients; hiking; rock climbing; private yoga; canyoning; abseiling (rappelling); ecotours; private meditation
- Book now: https://spicersretreats.com/retreats/spicers-sangoma-retreat/
Aussie locals embrace a laid-back lifestyle while always being down for a little adventure and fun:
Surf at Bondi Beach.
It'd be a shame to go to Australia without catching some waves. Bondi Beach is world-famous for its surfing culture, which is equal parts adventurous and chill. Of course, if surfing isn't your thing, Bondi Beach has so much to offer that will pique any interest: Relax on the iconic gold-white sand beach, take a dip in the Bondi Iceberg pool (it's home to Australia's oldest swimming club the Bondi Icebergs, but it's not exclusive; walk-ins to the pool are welcome), or hike the Coogee coastal trail. The beach is world-famous for a reason.
Explore the Blue Mountain.
The Blue Mountain National Park is just outside of Sydney and is a stunning glimpse into the Australian wilderness. The World Heritage site showcases the bush, stunning sandstone cliffs, canyons, waterfalls, and smoky mountain ranges. The most famous spot within the park is the Katoomba area, which is home to the Three Sisters, which is a rock formation with three peaks. Oh, and lest we forget: It's accessible by public transit. There are tours you can book if you're an inexperienced hiker and want some guidance.
Visit the Royal Botanic Garden Sydney.
While we recommend making some pilgrimage to natural wonders outside the city, you don't even have to go that far to get a heaping dose of greenery. Just next to Sydney's bustling downtown area and right on the harbor is their Royal Botanic Garden sanctuary. The park is massive for an urban setting (about 30 hectares) and filled with thousands of different plant species. The park offers many different tours and classes, so you can learn about plenty during your visit.
Book a boat tour around the harbor.
The Sydney Harbour is world famous, most notably for the iconic views of the Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge. And there are many ways you can experience the beauty of the area, but one of the most memorable is a boat tour. Cruises around the harbor are plenty and speak to many different wants, from night tours to behold the sparkling city to whale-watching outings to marvel at sea life.
Soak in the Wylie's Baths.
For another ocean experience, head toward Coogee Beach, where you'll find the nearby Wylie's Baths. It's a famous tidal swimming pool, where you can swim laps, lounge about, grab a bite, book a massage, or take a yoga class. If you want a true peek into the local Aussie lifestyle, here is where you can find it.
Play hard, eat plenty.
Here's an award-winning fine dining vegan experience. Co-founded by chef Brent Savage and sommelier Nick Hildebrandt, each dish is perfectly crafted with seasonal and locally grown ingredients and then expertly paired with natural, biodynamic, and vegan wines. For the true experience, opt for the six-course tasting menu, which showcases how magical plant-based eating can be.
- Price point: $$$
- Area: Potts Point
- Dietary consideration options: All meals are vegan; locally sourced vegetables, natural wines
- Setting: Elevated casual
- Menu & info: https://www.bentleyrestaurantgroup.com.au/yellow
To get a taste of Australian cuisine, Ester must make your list. The menu is evolving and seasonal, inspired by the favorite local dishes. Of note: If you make a Saturday reservation, you'll be treated to the tasting menu—a la carte is only served Tuesday through Friday and on Sunday.
- Price point: $$
- Area: Chippendale
- Dietary consideration options: Pescatarian dishes available, plant-based dishes available, natural and organic wines
- Setting: Casual
- Menu & info: https://www.ester-restaurant.com.au/
When you make your way to Bondi Beach, swing by this homey spot. The small restaurant (it only serves 45) debuts a new menu daily, which reflects what goods they were able to get from their locally sourced farms, as well as sustainable and ethically sourced meats, poultry, and seafood.
- Price point: $$
- Area: Bondi Beach
- Dietary consideration options: farm-to-table ingredients
- Setting: Casual
- Menu & info: https://seansbondi.com/
The best things to bring on your journey.
David Mallett Australian Salt Spray
- Lightly scented with subtle fragrance of yuzu and bergamot
- Gourmet salt is harvested from naturally occurring brine in the Murray-Darling Basin in New South Wales
Get those signature beachy waves with this sea salt spray from Australian-born hairstylist David Mallett. Mallett now has world-class salons in Paris and New York, but his effortless style is all Aussie. The natural salt used in the formula is high in magnesium and calcium, which are beneficial for the scalp and hair fiber.
P.E. Nation Back Stop Pouch Cluster: P.E. Nation Back Stop Pouch Cluster
- Fits Airpods, hotel keys, money, cards, charging cable, and so much more
- The brand commits to sustainable and ethical practices throughout their collections
P.E. Nation is an Australian fitness and streetwear brand known for their colorful prints and bold cuts. Pursue their entire line, which includes everything from wetsuits and leggings to jackets and dresses. We love these handy little pouches that can attach to bags, backpacks, luggage, belt loops, and more.
Billabong A/Div Biarritz Long Sleeve Swimsuit
- Made with 78% Recycled Polyamide and 22% Elastane
- UPF 50+ sun protection
- 4 unique prints
When you make your way to Bondi Beach to catch the waves, do so in style—and by repping a quintessential Australian-based brand. This performance wetsuit is made with a highly durable material—and yet is flexible to allow for max movement.
For the sun seekers, Australia is calling. The vast, breathtaking landscape will leave you in awe and ready for adventure. Be sure to book your stay long enough to explore outside Sydney's city limits, like Bondi Beach and the Blue Mountains.