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7 Urban Wellness Experiences for Groups
From paddling on the Brisbane River to feeling the call of the mountain in Hobart, these refreshing urban experiences can add a dose of wellness to a city-based incentive program.
The city of Hobart/nipaluna is intrinsically linked to the majestic kunanyi/Mt Wellington, which stands guard over the Tasmanian capital. Locals and visitors often feel a powerful pull towards the mountain, which is blanketed in thick forest and rises a towering 1,270 metres (4,167 ft) above sea level. Boutique small-group tour company Tailored Tasmania offers a unique way to discover kunanyi through their Wild Wellness Fire + Ice Walk, which incorporates guided forest walking, meditation, mountain water dipping and connecting to nature. Groups of up to 24 guests across two groups will hear the stories of the mountain's history and its unique flora and fauna from a knowledgeable local guide. The experience includes special breathwork coaching to calm the mind and prepare for an optional cool river plunge, followed by writer-led journalling beside a roaring fire.
In Western Australia’s capital of Perth/Boorloo, The Hike Collective facilitates short group hikes of the city and surrounds. It began in 2016 as a mental health awareness initiative, when personal trainer and founder Kate Gibson began offering free monthly hikes to locals who wanted to connect with like-minded souls and enjoy adventure in nature in the safety of a group. The company now offers hikes for groups of varying sizes – from 10 to 250 – which explore the beautiful Kings Park, Rottnest Island, Mundaring Weir, and other pockets of bushland within and close to the city. The expert team can tailor the trail distance, duration, and difficulty to meet the needs of the group, with options ranging from a mid-conference ‘refresh’ hike, to short breakout session hikes or full day adventures.
Groups visiting Australia’s culinary-centric city of Melbourne/Narrm can discover first-hand the health and wellness benefits of native Australian ingredients with a guided tour of the edible plants and flowers on display at the Royal Botanic Gardens. The Gardens have partnered with Michelin-starred Australian chef Curtis Stone’s catering company, Curtis Stone Events, who can create a bespoke menu based around those native Australian ingredients featuring dishes such as eucalyptus-smoked salmon tart with lemon myrtle and macadamia cream, and buckwheat and wattle seed damper with whipped ricotta and bush tomato. The Heritage-listed Melbourne Gardens are one of Melbourne’s most coveted outdoor venues with 38 hectares (94 acres) of lush grounds and an array of spaces for exclusive hire.
Surrounded by tall trees and rolling hills, Adelaide/Tarntanya and wellness go hand in hand. The magnificent Adelaide Hills are just 20 minutes from the city centre, and the luxurious Sequoia Lodge is the perfect place for groups to be pampered in picturesque natural surroundings without venturing far from urban life. The lodge offers 14 open-plan suites, each boasting a sunken lounge, private balcony, and panoramic views over the Piccadilly Valley. Groups can rotate through a range of rejuvenating activities from morning yoga to guided nature walks, star gazing, and soaking in the lodge’s artesian spring-fed hot pool. With a day spa and two excellent restaurants onsite at the adjoining Mount Lofty House, Sequoia Lodge is the ultimate South Australian wellness destination.
Renowned for its spectacular harbour, sandy beaches and surf culture, it’s no surprise that many of Sydney/Warrane’s wellness experiences are connected to the coast. Ecotreasures offer tailored private touring that they call ‘environmental bathing’ – immersing groups in nature and enticing them to pay attention to their natural surroundings. From gentle snorkelling at Cabbage Tree Bay Aquatic Reserve to an easy-paced walk around the Manly headland, this mindful approach to exploring Sydney’s northern beaches allows guests to enjoy the great outdoors minus the pressure that often accompanies adventure activities. Founder Damien McClellan encourages guests to feel the elements and be present in the moment, which he believes is the best way to refresh and recharge. Tours are available for groups of up to 100 guests.
Brisbane/Meeanjin is Australia’s fastest-growing city, with major developments in the pipeline and the Summer Olympic Games to look forward to in 2032. The city’s buzz is beautifully balanced by the Brisbane River on which the Queensland capital is built, which plays a pivotal role in the city’s wellness offering. Riverlife has embraced the city’s river frontage by offering a range of adventure activities, from abseiling and climbing the cliffs at Kangaroo Point to guided group kayaking tours and electric scooter hire. Up to 40 paddlers can enjoy an invigorating 90-minute private kayak tour hosted by qualified instructors, with no experience required. After admiring the Story Bridge and the Brisbane skyline from the water, guests can enjoy a private function at Riverlife’s exclusive waterfront event venue which offers panoramic city views and caters for up to 800 guests across five versatile spaces.
Canberra is often referred to as ‘the bush capital’ for its proximity to pristine natural bushland, which provides a refreshing dose of nature for those living and working in the busy national capital. On the north shore of Lake Burley Griffin lie the Australian National Botanic Gardens, which occupy 90 hectares (222 acres) of Black Mountain’s foothills. Groups visiting Canberra can enjoy a yoga session or mindfulness workshop at Jindii Eco Spa in the centre of the Gardens, followed by a guided twilight tour of its living flora collection comprised of 78,000 plants from the rainforest to the Red Centre. Due to open in late 2023, the Ian Potter National Conservatory will add a new layer to the Gardens by showcasing tropical Australian native flora from the far north and islands. The geometric design of the conservatory will meld into the landscape, providing a place of both natural and built beauty that tells the rich story of Australia's tropical flora. The Conservatory and its forecourt will be available for evening event hire from 2024, with a capacity of 100 guests.
Published: 30 May 2023