Top 10 wellness experiences in New Zealand

Surrender to life's stress, replenish your wairua (spiritual wellbeing) and reconnect your mind, body and spirit.

Tune out, unplug and feel rejuvenated with our top 10 wellness experiences in New Zealand.  

1. Relax and rejuvenate at a wellness retreat

Ancient yoga practises meet luxury at Aro Ha(opens in new window), just 10 minutes drive from Glenorchy. Expert hands have crafted the perfect balance of care, precision, nutrition and breath work to provide you with a complete holistic reset. Wake gently to the sound of Tibetan bowls over looking the Dart River and mountain peaks. Aro Ha wellness retreats are fully inclusive of yoga classes, sauna, meals, cooking classes, nature walks and massages allowing you to entirely let go and just be present.   

Cleanse your senses in the freshness of the beech forest in your private outdoor hot tub, followed by a Finnish dry sauna or a relaxing walk through the 500-acre property at Maruia River Retreat(opens in new window). Life's worries will slip away as you retire to your luxury villa after a day of yoga, relaxation and delicious three course meals. Maruia River Retreat is just 25 minutes drive from Murchison and not far from Nelson Lakes National Park


2. Shinrin-Yoku, or 'forest bathing'

Shinrin-Yoku, or 'forest bathing' is an age old Japanese tradition of walking in nature to replenish your mind and body. It is the act of listening to the sounds of nature: the wind in the trees, the birds singing. It is sitting on the forest floor, feeling vibrations and breathing in clean air. As simple as that sounds, the mental and physical benefits of forest bathing are proven to be sky-high. 

Based on Waiheke Island, the skilled forest bathing guides from Terra & Tide(opens in new window) take comfort in demonstrating how to wind down and slow your racing mind. As they guide you gently through the forest, your focus will soon be only on the rustling of leaves, moss covered in droplets of morning dew and pīwakawaka (fantails) flittering through the tree tops. After the experience, enjoy the serenity of the outdoors with a tea ceremony. Bliss!

Waiheke Island accommodation

3. Indulge in a hot pool package

Begin your day the right way with a sunrise soak package at He Puna Taimoana(opens in new window). Plunge into a morning hot pool soak with a mocktail and enjoy uninterrupted views of the sunrise over the ocean, followed by a guided meditation. This pure awakening experience is just 15 minutes drive from Christchurch. 

Sitting cozy surrounded by native ferns and lush forest, Secret Spot Hot Tubs(opens in new window) is just five minutes drive from central Rotorua. Indulge in a private hot tub, where the purest water is provided fresh from a spring in the Whakarewarewa Forest. Drinks can be delivered to the tub at the push of a button. To complete this tranquil experience, head to the on-site bar and enjoy a complimentary Shinny Dip (a foot and shin dip). 

More relaxing hot pools

4. Join a men's wilderness and wellbeing retreat

Set in beautiful Tairua, The Provider Men's Wellbeing Retreat(opens in new window) is geared up to get men off-grid, into nature and to take time to rest, reflect and reset. Focusing on reconnecting with the land and sea and restoring your mindset. The men's retreat allows you to tune in to nature and let go of life's challenges. Bring out your inner hunter- gatherer and spend your days on the water fishing and diving for crayfish and other kaimoana (seafood) Then prepare, cook and eat your feast together. Hearty yet healthy meals are included along with tips to recreate the meals at home. Accommodation and fishing gear are provided, you just need to get yourself to The Coromandel.  

Find more fishing trips

5. Tramp the Great Walks of New Zealand

Embrace the minimalist mindset and explore New Zealand's Great Walks. 

Spanning from Tongariro in the north to Rakiura / Stewart Island in the deep south, these ten well-known walks attract keen trampers and trekkers from all over the world. 

It's no secret that exercise and the great outdoors are beneficial for the mind and body: the physical challenge and primitive accommodation retrain the mind to get back to basics and enjoy being present in the moment. 

Department of Conservation(opens in new window) rangers monitor the campsites, hut and tracks during the Great Walks season (October until April). Outside of these months track entry is limited because of unstable weather, track conditions and increased avalanche risk. Plan you trip(opens in new window) well, always check the weather before starting your walk and remember to pack the correct gear.  

The Great Walks of New Zealand

6. Get amongst nature and wildlife

There is something very calming about seeing wildlife in their natural habitat: the full force of a giant humpback whale gracefully breaching it's tail out of the water with merely a splash, inquisitive pods of dolphins playing and gliding through the waves, or a plump pair of takahē(opens in new window) strutting around native bush. There is no doubt that animals and birds create a sense of peace and relaxation to humans and New Zealand has no shortage. 

The habitat of New Zealand's animals and native birds are equally calming: try surfing from the golden sand beaches in Tairāwhiti or digging your own hot water pool on Hot Water Beach, or stargazing at the many Dark Sky Reserves.   

Find more nature and wildlife

7. Stroll around colourful gardens

Relaxation for the whole family and just 10 minutes drive from central Hamilton you'll find Hamilton Gardens(opens in new window). Unwind under a perfectly manicured maple tree in the Japanese themed garden, or breathe in the sweet rose perfumes as you meander through the 19th century English style garden. Let the soft scents of lavender, thyme and other plants with medicinal properties entertain your senses in the herb garden. You'll find a nice café onsite and a large grassed area with shade for a family picnic. 

Photo opportunities galore can be had with the many props and farm tour at Wānaka Lavender Farm(opens in new window). Enjoy the relaxing aroma of lavender as you try unique products such as lavender chocolate, biscuits, lavender boysenberry sorbet and lavender mānuka honey.

Find more tranquil gardens

8. Find your creative side with a pottery class

Hands-on arts and crafts are a known therapeutic way to reduce stress, improve clarity and stimulate your creative mind. So, put on an apron, spin the potters wheel and fire up the kiln at Driving Creek Pottery. As you put your hands to the test and create your masterpiece you'll learn the art of pottery from a local professional artist.  Located in The Coromandel and within Driving Creek Railway, this 90 minute pottery class is loads of fun and laughs are guaranteed.  

Things to do in The Coromandel

9. New Zealand island retreats

Great Barrier Island is entirely off-grid relying on renewable solar power and the collection of freshwater. It's also the first island in the world to be recognised as a Dark Sky Sanctuary. Great Barrier is also home to WaiOra Wellbeing(opens in new window) who offer tranquil wanderings through the forest, a barefoot sensory immersion on the beach and beautiful homestay accommodation for guests. Cruise from Auckland to the island via a 4.5 hour ferry ride or take a 30 minute scenic flight with Barrier Air

Relax, rejuvenate and reset with a stay at The Parohe Island Retreat(opens in new window) on Kawau Island. Wellness packages feature yoga, Ayurveda teachings, summer detox and a couples package. Zone out and find your inner zen with nervous system workshops, sound baths and nutritious meals. Calm your mind with a gentle guided meditation and subtle sounds of a gong, before settling down for a peaceful slumber in your luxury island accommodation. To get to Kawau Island take the ferry(opens in new window) from Sandspit, Warkworth, sailing time is just 30 minutes. 

More New Zealand islands

10. Stay at an eco retreat

Everything at The Headwaters Lodge at Camp Glenorchy(opens in new window) has been purposely designed and built to compliment the surroundings and provide a fully sustainable experience. Achieving the highest standards of sustainability in the world known as the Living Building Challenge, a stay at The Headwaters Lodge means you are actively contributing to helping the environment as the lodge produces more energy through solar than it uses. To top it off the lodge offers some of the finest food in Otago, rejuvenating massages, yoga classes and women's retreats.

Things to do in Glenorchy

What's next on your wellness journey?