While fame may provide protection from many things - waiting in line for the latest designer handbag, and doing your own laundry, to name a few - being an A-lister doesn’t guarantee a stress-free existence. Whether frazzled from a gruelling filming schedule or a publicity tour, or from dodging paparazzi, celebrities need holidays too. Some recharge with spa treatments and meditation, some with yoga and nutrition, and some with good old fashioned exercise. But when they do need to get away from it all, where do they go? It turns out, not very far.
Blessed with great weather and stunning natural scenery, Australia offers year-round holiday-like conditions, but on top of this there’s our array of world-class spa and health retreats. Wellness hotspots that help both local and international Hollywood heavyweights go from drab to fab.
But you don’t need to be a celebrity to vacation like one. So, if you’re in need of a detox, a spiritual cleanse, or some old fashioned exercise, read on for four of the best homegrown health retreats that have serious star quality.
Cyrstalbrook Byron resort is set on across 45-acres of magical rainforest
With a reputation for spirituality and clean living stretching back decades, the hippy haven of Byron Bay has long been luring serenity-seekers from all over the world. Here, green juice bars jostle for space with yoga studios. Throw in picturesque white beaches and world-class accommodation and you have a recipe for holiday heaven. Australia’s famous folk certainly think so - Natalie Imbruglia, Isabel Lucas, Simon Baker and Chris Hemsworth all own boltholes here, and visiting high-profilers have been arriving in ever-increasing numbers. But where do these fame-frazzled celebs check in for some serious R and R? Introducing the Cyrstalbrook Byron.
Ocean meets rainforest - Cyrstalbrook Byron is only 5 minutes from Byron Bay town
Though only five-minutes from the town centre, the idyllic, subtropical rainforest setting of this resort belies its location. Set across 45-acres of magical rainforest, the property offers daily inclusive yoga classes, in addition to regular retreats throughout the year. Wellness warriors can get their fix in the seriously Instagrammable outdoor pool, fully equipped gym, afore mentioned yoga pavilion and spa with its comprehensive menu of options using all-natural beauty products, plus infrared sauna. Recent guests checking into the luxurious property include Boyzone star, Ronan Keating, and Natasha Oakley.
The definition of barefoot luxury - Lizard Island on Queensland's Barrier Reef
White sand, swaying palms, blue skies, and even bluer seas - Lizard Island is the definition of paradise. The most far flung resort on the Great Barrier Reef, its secluded position means that it has become a firm favourite for the jet-set, with an illustrious roster of former guests, including Hugh Jackman, Russell Crowe, Nicole Kidman and Hollywood actress Kate Hudson - who called it "the most romantic place on earth” - checking in.
Swim, sleep, sunbake and repeat - Lizard Island is the ultimate tropical getaway
Getting away from it all aside, the property has plenty in the way of wellness and pampering. Mediation, yoga and pilates classes are offered daily, alongside 24-hour gym access. And for those looking to get back in touch with nature, the isle is peppered with breathtaking hiking trails and 24 ivory-white beaches, each guaranteed to satisfy the most discerning of beach bums. And then there’s some of the best scuba diving and snorkelling you’ll ever experience.
Back on dry land the Essentia Day Spa offers comprehensive healthy lifestyle packages. A tonic for the body and soul, amongst the common garden spa staples (think facials and massages) there’s also specific health programs designed for the durations of guests visits, for example, the stress and burnout range targets lifestyle, nutrition and anti-stress management and includes a personalised combination of treatments and consultations to detox, relax and restore balance.
Gwinganna Lifestyle Retreat is home to the largest spa in the entire Southern Hemisphere
For famous Australians in need of a red carpet detox, then Gwinganna Lifestyle Retreat is a go-to. Set on over 200 hectares of Queensland hinterland, the multi-award winning health and wellness destination was a frontrunner in the concept of digital detoxing and over the years it has attracted a who’s-who of our shiniest stars.
Recognising that mental health is wealth, Gwinganna’s focus is on getting back to the the natural circadian rhythm, so expect early bedtimes, organic food and plenty of sessions covering self-awareness, inner-peace and self-esteem.
Hollywood star, Hugh Jackman, is a regular guest at Gwinganna Lifestyle Retreat
Days begin with meditation and Qi Gong and activities include everything from wellness seminars and hikes, to counselling and treatments that span standard massage through to the more esoteric equine therapy (yes, actual horses are involved) and the ‘spirit of sound’ ritual. And its $6.5 million spa (the largest spa in the entire Southern Hemisphere) houses meditation suites where guests can make like meditation fan, Miranda Kerr, and get in on the mindfulness act. Speaking of celebrity pedigree, Hugh Jackman and wife, Deborra-Lee, are also part owners, so don’t be surprised if you end up sharing spa space with the Wolverine actor - just don’t stare!
Laps of luxury! Qualia is Hamilton Island has hosted everyone from Oprah to Taylor Swift
There’s luxury and then there’s luxury. For those with some cash to splash and an appetite for the finer things; when it comes to living the suite life Down Under, there’s nowhere quite like Qualia. Positioned on the northern-most tip of Hamilton Island with breathtaking views of the surrounding Whitsunday Islands, this slice of paradise is the embodiment of the ‘location, location, location’ adage.
Meaning a ‘collection of deeper sensory experiences’, since the luxury resort opened in 2007 (at a reported cost of $110 million) it’s reputation has lured paparazzi-plagued celebs from home and abroad in search of some down time. Leonardo DiCaprio, Taylor Swift and talk show queen, Oprah, are just a few of the international names to have checked in, while homegrown heavyweights such as Chris Hemsworth, Cate Blanchett, Miranda Kerr, Toni Collette and Naomi Watts have also holidayed in its plush villas. And one of the biggest attractions is its spa.
Qualia takes in jaw-dropping views across the Whitsunday Islands
A bespoke collection of indigenous inspired treatments use unique blends of Australian herbs and spices, and if you’ve brought the hubby along for the ride then the popular wine lovers ritual - comprising chardonnay massage, pinot noir body mask, and burgundy bath for two paired with a wine of choice - is a definite winner. Treatments aside, an in-house team of health and fitness experts offer nutritional, cellular and body composition analysis to assist with energy levels, ageing and weight management. On top of this, there’s also experienced yoga instructors and personal trainers to help keep you fighting fit.