As a peachy keen runner who loves her holiday Aperols as much as the next tourist, there’s no travel itinerary I understand more than a vacay with a wellness twist.
Full night on the dancefloor? Absolutely. Sunrise yoga and a 10-kilometre hike? You had me at namaste.
While a holiday can be a chance to escape the routine of daily life and gym timetables, I always want to return refreshed, relaxed and with my fitness still in check — not a belly full of carbs and cocktails.
But who said you can’t have both? With its sparkling shorelines, appetite for adventure and dreamy day spas, the Gold Coast has long been calling my name, and thankfully packing health into a holiday couldn’t be easier.
Whether it’s getting up a smidge earlier to squeeze in a beach run or hiring a bike to get through your jam-packed agenda, you don’t need to leave wellness at home for this Queensland break.
Let’s roam without regrets, shall we? Here’s the key to an escapist experience you’ll want to tell your friends about.
Follow the call of the wilderness
In my humble opinion, the quickest way to fall in love with somewhere new — and get a lay of the land — is to throw on your hiking boots and get out into the wild.
Enter Tamborine Mountain: an oasis of rainforests so beautiful that the finger lime trees which grow wild on the mountain gave the place its name Tamborine (meaning wild lime in the local Yugambeh language).
Boasting breathtaking lookouts, stunning waterfalls and rolling valleys down to the Pacific Ocean, the Gold Coast Hinterland is best explored on foot. With walking tracks across six different sections of the Tamborine National Park, there’s something for all hikers, from easy go-getters to those chasing trickier routes.
If it’s dazzling heights you’re after, you can’t go past the Tamborine Rainforest Skywalk, which offers the chance to soar through the highest points of the upper canopy. From 30 metres above the crystal clear waters of Cedar Creek and the rainforest below, you’ll be grateful to have left your fear of heights at home (or maybe that’s just me..?). You can experience the entire 1.5km skywalk track in a leisurely 45 minutes, making this a perfect mini nature escape whatever your itinerary holds.
Of course, you can also go one step further for the ultimate thrill with the TreeTop Challenge, better known as Australia’s largest Zipline attraction. Speed between mountains with 1.5 kilometres worth of zip lines as part of The Canyon Flyer (bonus fitness points for screaming because surely that burns calories, right?), or traverse through nine acres of bushland and rainforest with the country’s largest high ropes adventure park.
Then, after all that adrenaline-pumping action, make sure you stay for sunset. Because if you thought Tamborine Mountain was pure magic during the day, just catch the last rays at Hang Glider Launch & Lookout for a view you’ll never forget, and feel yourself glow from within.
Treat yourself to some ‘me time’
If there’s an art to seamlessly incorporating relaxation into your trip, you cannot — and most definitely should not — go past a day at the spa. Full indulgence required, whether you’re away for business and in need of some R&R, or just desperately need to get away from the fam (hey, we’ve all been there).
At Spa by JW, luxury and rejuvenation intertwine to create a truly invigorating experience in Surfers Paradise, with skilled therapists on hand to pamper you from head to teeny-tiny toe. For those on a time crunch and hoping to squeeze in some ‘me time’, express spa treatments provide a simple yet to-die-for extravagance.
Looking for something a little different? The Langham’s Chuan Spa in Surfers Paradise presents luxurious wellness treatments guided by principles of Traditional Chinese Medicine, and personalised by the Five Elements theory to target your basic disharmonies. Intrigued? Ditto. And did I mention there is a diamond-shaped indoor pool with calming glimpses of the ocean.
Sooth your body, mind and conscience at Earth and Skin in the historic village of Mudgeeraba, with mindful spa treatments that don’t hurt mamma earth. After adventures on Tamborine Mountain, the ‘Mountain Dreamer’ package is the perfect compliment to a day outdoors. Indulge in a soothing Earth Massage, which includes a warm oil massage for your back, neck, and shoulders, relieving muscle tension and promoting lymphatic system health. Afterward, treat yourself to their complementary Elemental Facial, which uses organic plant actives and bio-antioxidants to leave your skin looking radiant. From facials to eyebrow treatments and spray tans (call it the healthy holiday glow), all products used are vegan, cruelty free, toxin free and made with the sustainability of our planet in mind. Feel better while doing better.
Balance your diet
There’s no better way of exploring a destination than by following your tastebuds. But for those with a health-conscious appetite, dining out can be tricky.
So, when I learnt of a locally produced craft beer that’ll leave me without a furry tongue and raging headache in the morning, I was like, ‘sign me up!’ Who’s got time for a hangover on holidays? At the Sobah Brewery & Cafe in Burleigh, non-alcoholic bevvies are the only drinks on the menu for the proudly First Nations-owned and led company that’s working to change the culture around drinking. Promoting healthy lifestyle choices, wellness, social equity and sustainability, Sobah makes it easy to pack in health on vacation.
If life’s about balance, pick and choose your battles because a trip to the Goldy shouldn’t be complete without a stop off at the newly opened Tarte Beach House. The two-storey bakery and restaurant, which brings Hamptons vibes to the shores of Currumbin, is a spin-off of the OG premise in Burleigh. But don’t worry, the business’s pièce de resistance, the Cruller, is still on the menu. With a pastry that’s crispy on the outside, super soft on the inside and oh-so damn delicious, the Cruller is the treat to indulge in while relaxing by the creek.
Reset your soul
Now that your body’s been taken care of, it’s time to reset the soul. No matter what kind of trip you’re on, I’m a firm believer that everyone should prioritise finding their zen.
Discover the essence of yoga and meditation and bring a greater sense of balance and spirituality to your holiday at the Australian School of Meditation & Yoga in Mermaid Beach. As a non-profit, community-based centre, it offers an authentic, holistic approach to the ancient practice.
Yoga and surfing go together like sand and saltwater, according to Surfing Services Australia, the company’s two-hour package at Currumbin Beach offers a yoga class to get you in touch with the rhythm of your body before getting you onto a board to get you in sync with the wave patterns and ocean rides.
Whether you’re after a brush with nature, a touch of luxury, a weekend of wellness, or relaxation with a twist, there’s plenty on offer in the Gold Coast. Find out more here.
Hero Imagery: Provided by JW Marriott Gold Coast Resort