It feels much later than it is at Aro Ha Wellness Retreat—45 minutes outside of Queenstown in New Zealand’s Southern Alps. But the afternoon meditation session is about to begin, and after the exhausting day you’ve had, a good stretch is just what your body needs. Today’s 6 a.m. yoga class seems like a distant memory after that 10-mile hike on Mount Judah, high above Lake Wakatipu, where only your labored breathing pierced the silence. Why, again, did you sign up for this weeklong test of endurance? Now you remember, as the sun begins its slow descent behind the snowcapped mountain peaks, drenching everything in a golden glow. The calming energy of the studio—and that incomparable view—clears your mind as each exhalation coaxes the tightness from your muscles. Transformation couldn’t come at a better time. Or place. aro-ha.com; all-inclusive. $$$$
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There are some hotels that immerse guests in local culinary traditions. And others that actually immerse them. Overlooking a national park on Tasmania’s eastern coast, Saffire Freycinet(all-inclusive; $$$$$) offers visits to a nearby marine farm, where a guide suits you up in waders, leads you to a waiting table in a cool, pristine bay, and pulls a handful of Pacific oysters from the water. He swiftly pries the bivalves open and serves them right there with just a squeeze of lemon and a glass of sparkling Tasmanian wine. Silence, stillness, and a dozen creamy oysters from some of the purest water in the world. What better way to get a taste of Tassie?
From an eco-lodge and the return of a major art museum to a different kind of pub crawl, we map out the latest happenings in Oz.
The Remote Getaway: Wild Bush Luxury is converting the former VIP guest quarters of Paspaley Pearls—Australia’s largest pearling company—into Kuri Bay, five simple yet chic rooms opening in April. Kuri Bay; 61-2/9571-6399; doubles from $1,595, all-inclusive, two-night minimum.
The Air Adventure: This activity elevates the humble pub crawl to an art form. The Historic Hotel Heli Tour starts in Darwin and flies to five of the Northern Territory’s most iconic pubs. The day also includes fishing for barramundi. $858 per person.
The City Renaissance: In addition to its $748 million airport transformation (currently under way), Perthhas recently seen a spate of new restaurants. A couple of our new favorites: the contemporary Middle Eastern Raah, and the Aviary, a restaurant, lounge, and rooftop bar.