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Byron Bay Retreat Dreams: 11 of the Best Places to Get Away From it All

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When I heard the team behind Big Little Lies was going to be turning Nine Perfect Strangers into a TV series in Byron Bay my first thought was I can’t wait to see that. My second was I wonder which Byron Bay retreat will get to play the role of Tranquillum House?  

While the Amazon Prime series changed some things in the Liane Moriarty book to make it work on TV, once I adjusted to the fact that we weren’t headed into that underground meditation studio I really enjoyed the ride.

And I know I’m not the only one who wished they could click their heels and be transported to that stunning retreat. Though rather than having Masha organising things I’d much prefer to experience it with the people who created it.

Soma Retreat Byron appearing in Nine Perfect Strangers as Tranquillum, image Vince Valitutti/Hulu

Although the TV series was set in California, the show was mostly filmed at Soma Byron Bay, a wellness retreat on 22 acres of rainforest just ten minutes away from the town of Byron Bay.

Created by meditation and mindfulness expert Gary Gorrow and one of his former students, Peter Ostick, at Soma you can either book out the private residence all for yourself or join one of Gary’s meditation, coaching, and consciousness raising retreats.

If you’re not able to experience Gary’s Byron Bay retreats in person you can also try Soma’s first online course, Soma Rise from wherever you are in the world.

Personally I’m dreaming of joining one of the Vedic meditation retreats right here at Soma, where I can soak up those Byron Bay views along with the beauty of the spaces created by architect Rieky Sunur.

And while I’m dreaming, there are a whole lot of other retreats I want to experience in this special corner of New South Wales. If you can feel your spirit tugging you the same way, here are some of the best places to slip away in and around Byron Bay.

Gaia Retreat & Spa

As I watched Nine Perfect Strangers I awarded extra points for their Grease and Xanadu scenes as Olivia Newton John’s Gaia is one of the stars of the Byron Bay retreat scene.

Olivia describes Gaia Retreat & Spa as ‘barefoot meets Armani’ explaining that it’s ‘an unpretentious retreat – a place of heart to reconnect with the land and yourself’. And as one of Gaia’s founders and owners along with Gregg Cave, Ruth Kalnin and Warwick Evans, she knows what she’s talking about.

One of Australia’s most luxurious retreats, Gaia has won a long list of awards, including the World’s Leading Retreat three years running and Australasia’s Leading Boutique hotel for four years in a row at the World Travel Awards.

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This Byron Bay retreat has 25 rooms, suites and villas on a 25 acre property where you can explore walking tracks and see Gaia’s own organic garden before enjoying its bounty in the restaurant. There’s a heated salt water swimming pool, hot-tub spa, sauna, steam room and a tennis court.

The Gaia Day Spa is inspired by ancient health practices from around the world and along with the divinely tempting relaxing and pampering packages the spa menu includes Reiki, Shamanic healing and Craniosacral therapy.

Depending on what sort of retreat you’re after, Gaia’s team will work with you to make it as energetic or serene as you like, or perhaps a mix of both, with Tai Chi, Yoga, art classes, meditation and movement sessions on offer. I’m pretty sure you already know exactly what sort of Gaia retreat you’d like to do, now we just have to find a way to make it happen.

The Krishna Village

This eco-yoga retreat in the Byron Bay hinterland is found at the bottom of a farm on the Oxley River and allows you to create your own unique getaway by mixing and matching the classes and activities.

There are courses in yoga, meditation, Ayurveda, Reiki, acupressure and permaculture design, with a focus on creating a sustainable, spiritually based lifestyle.

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Accommodation at the Krishna Village is a relatively simple affair and most guests share communal bathrooms and facilities, although there are private cabins with ensuites available.

Each stay includes three vegetarian meals a day and twice daily yoga sessions, and while some guests visit for just a few days others settle into the village for a month or more to immerse themselves in Vedic philosophy and healthy living.  

SummerHills Retreat

Less than five minutes drive from Bangalow and fifteen from Byron Bay, SummerHills Retreat is set on 113 acres of forest overlooking the Nightcap mountain range (yes, that’s its real name and we love it).  

All SummerHills suites are self-contained with their own kitchenette or kitchen, and while they all have spa baths to get your bubbles on, some have them on private patios so you can enjoy an alfresco tub under the stars.

You can just kick back and relax on your own and go for rambles along nature trails and swims in the saltwater pool, or you can join a yoga, meditation or tantra retreat

SummerHills Retreat Byron Bay from above
SummerHills Retreat Byron Bay pool

Deluxe breakfast baskets are available and you can cook up a casual meal in the BBQ area as you watch the colours change on the mountains.

Cape Byron Retreat

If you’re looking for a rainforest retreat in Byron Bay, this adults-only getaway is only a five-minute drive from the heart of Byron Bay. Or maybe seven, depending on traffic.

Guests at the Cape Byron Retreat can stay in rooms in the main house and get cosy in front of the open fire place, or choose to stay in one of the self contained villas or apartments with large private balconies.

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Yoga classes at Cape Byron Retreat include Slow Flow, Vinyasa, Hatha and Yin, and they provide all yoga mats, blocks, straps and lavender eye pillows.

The spa rituals all involve hot aromatic compresses, restorative pressure point therapy and a Balinese palming ritual, and you can choose between scrubs, massages, facials or combinations of the above.

Byron Wellbeing Retreats

Rather than being at once particular place, this one is a moveable retreat that takes over luxury houses in the Byron Bay area.

Kirsten from Byron Wellbeing Retreats creates packages with different focuses and themes including Yoga and Surf, and Women’s Empowerment. Extra treatments and experiences including whale watching, horse riding, energy work, tarot and psychic readings can be added upon request.

To keep the getaway a nice personalised size the retreats are capped to a maximum of six guests, and you can either join one of the existing weekend ones or speak to Kristen about creating your own personalised retreat that can be anytime and for as long as you’d like.

Shambhala @ Byron Bay

Now we’re moving into a different part of the Byron Bay retreats story. The kinds of places that don’t have set classes to join, but do provide heavenly spaces for you to take yourself on your own private retreat from the world.

At Shambhala @ Byron Bay guests are greeted by a huge Brazilian amethyst and can find giant rose quartz crystals around the property as they explore this secluded section of Belongil Beach.

Amethyst at Shambhala Byron Bay Entrance

Shambhala only welcomes up to 13 people at a time and has three cottages and one studio linked by an elevated boardwalk on the edge of the rainforest, and thanks to their direct beach access they manage to combine rainforest with salt water vibes.

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All accommodation is self contained with outdoor and indoor living spaces so you can stay in your own happy bubble, while the shared areas include a steam room and hot rock sauna.

Oh and if you love your crystals, make sure you visit the Crystal Castle where you can sit in an ancient amethyst cave and stand between two of the tallest crystals on the planet.

Byron at Byron, a Crystalbrook Collection Resort

Surrounded by 45 acres of subtropical rainforest, Byron at Byron, a Crystalbrook Collection Resort is a luxurious and stylish escape from the everyday.

An all suite resort, each of the 92 suites are fully self contained and include stand alone deep soak bath tubs, a galley kitchen with a dining table for four, and verandahs or balconies so everyone has their own outdoor space.

Byron at Byron, a Crystalbrook Collection Resort pool

The multi award-winning spa uses local Indigenous products to enhance the rainforest’s healing action, and their Temple of the Heart signature experience combines hot stones, massage and heart chakra balancing.

There’s an infinity pool, tennis court, sauna, and a complimentary shuttle bus to the centre of Byron Bay. If you ever want to leave that is.

Elements of Byron – Mgallery by Sofitel

You could bring the whole family to this barefoot luxury beachfront resort and get active together riding horses, electric bikes and surfboards, or you could slip away by yourself for some Just You time.

At Elements of Byron – Mgallery by Sofitel there are eight different kinds of freestanding villas, starting with the wheelchair accessible studio and working up to the Deluxe two bedroom villas that can sleep up to five and have a private bathhouse. 

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There are private cabanas and hanging day beds around the temperature controlled 850,000 litre lagoon pool, while the separate adults only pool with a swim up bar was voted Australia’s best hotel pool in the 2018 Gourmet Traveller Australian Hotel Awards.  

Join a guided walking tour or head out on your own to explore the trails around the resort’s 20 acres of rainforest and wetlands, and when you want to head into town it’s only a three minute walk to a train station where you can sit back on vintage lounge seats on the world’s first solar train.

And when you’re ready to be pampered the Osprey Spa lets you blend your favourite spa treatments to create your own package, or you can go with one of their ritual treatments that combine massages, facials and other relaxing treats.

Byron Hinterland Villas

Want to get away from everything except your dog? Byron Hinterland Villas is a pet friendly private resort overlooking farmland and the nearby national park.

All of the one, two and three bedroom villas are self-contained with spa baths, and one also comes with an outdoor hot tub. There’s a yoga pavilion, tennis court, fitness centre and swimming pool, though you may find it’s even more fun to swim in the river as you look up at the rainforest on either side.  

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This quiet hideaway is a fifteen-minute drive from Byron Bay and is nice and close to Bangalow, Nimbin and other villages to explore.

Keep in mind that if you do want to bring your four legged friend they have a $10 a night pet tariff and some dog house rules, including the way they must have all of their immunisations and can’t sleep in the bedroom with you. So check out their pet guidelines before you book your getaway together.

Byron Holiday Homes

Then there’s the third way to get away. The Byron Bay retreat that is so exclusive you’re the only one there.

There are lots of beautiful holiday homes in the township itself, the villages around it and in the hinterland including a lovely eco cottage stay at Woollybutts in the tiny village of Federal.

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I must confess I love looking at some of the places that are available to stay and creating a wish list with a mix of luxury beachfront apartments, stylish beach houses and cute cottages in Byron itself.

For those who don’t already know the area, when you’re searching for holiday homes around Byron Bay you should also take a look at what’s available in Bangalow.

This gem of a town is around a fifteen minute drive from Byron Bay but I could very happily spend an entire break here without going to visit its more famous neighbour. There are lots of lovely shops and great cafes in beautiful old buildings to spend a lazy day exploring.

Just eight minutes outside of Bangalow the Temple Farmhouse is an ultra private retreat that sleeps up to nine people and has a lap pool to swim in, swings to swing on, and two rather gorgeous outdoor baths with a view to soak in.

Temple Farmhouse Byron exterior

Another top Bangalow choice, the Collective Retreat is full of white, light spaces with cosy corners to curl up in. Between the house, studio and cottage it can sleep up to eight people in four bedrooms, but you could also give yourself the whole place as an extra special treat.

Byron Bay Collective Retreat
Byron Bay Collective Retreat bedroom

Personally I’m dreaming of having the best of both worlds. How delicious it would be to have a day or two just for me and then have friends come and join me. To catch up on that couch, drink wine as we cooked in the kitchen, and put the world to rights as we talked into the night.

Oh yes, when this is over I can’t wait to spend time with friends. And to have precious time to myself. It’s going to be all about the balance and I can’t wait to strike it in Byron Bay.

This post contains some affiliate links, so if you click on a link and book something I will get a little something to help pay those blogging bills, but don’t worry, it’s no extra cost to you.

Leave a Comment

  1. Peyton says

    Looks amazing!!!!

  2. Todd at Visit50 says

    They look enticing Amanda! That spa looks lovely!

    Cheers from Visit50.com

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