I'm a freelance writer based in Perth, Western Australia, who enjoys writing about the things I love: travel, nature-based activities, the arts, spirituality and creative, fun activities for children.
Published September 27th 2012
Escape the rat-race, and relax
City life is chaotic, and therefore it's crucial to regularly take time out to relax and rejuvenate, ideally close to nature. Perhaps you hanker for an extended sojourn near the ocean, or are craving a luxurious spa retreat. Alternatively, maybe a weekend of yoga, meditation, writing or art is enough to get you ready to face the world again. Regardless of what your preferences are, Western Australia offers some terrific and affordable options. Hopefully the following suggestions will point you in the right direction for your next getaway.
I found this beautiful spot during a recent retreat in Dunsborough.
Situated in picturesque Nannup in the far south-west, the Black Cockatoo Lodge is a delightful place which provides five quirky budget-priced units within its picturesque gardens. Set in a secluded location with imaginative and artistic decor, and names such as Wattle Studio, Garden Safari Tent and Artists' Caravan, each unit is self-contained, apart from bathroom facilities, which are shared. With astoundingly cheap tariffs starting at just $40 for one person and $65 for two, the Black Cockatoo Lodge is popular with backpackers, artists, students and anyone who values creative individuality over the bland generic accommodation that is so common today.
Situated just 18 kilometres off the Western Australian coast and boasting a variety of accommodation types, Rottnest Island is an ideal getaway destination. With cars banned, apart from a few service vehicles, it is a tranquil, unpolluted oasis where you can easily spend a few days or weeks immersing yourself in nature or working on a special creative project.
If solitude and contemplation are your goal, however, it's best to avoid busy times such as school holidays or weekends over the warmer months. Personally, I find winter is the perfect time to escape to 'Rotto' as accommodation is cheaper then, and the island much quieter. Accommodation ranges from the luxurious Rottnest Lodge to simple cabin accommodation.
The Beacon Yoga Centre at Beaconsfield, also known as the Sivananda Yoga Ashram, is a dynamic spiritual centre which offers a variety of classes in yoga and meditation, along with other special events. A few small rooms are available on the premises where visitors can stay and take full advantage of the many classes and courses which the centre offers. For more information, go to Sivananda Ashram's website, email them at firstname.lastname@example.org or phone them on 08 9335 9261.
Image from the Sivananda Ashram website
4. Serpentine Buddhist Retreat
For practicing Buddhists who are members of the Buddhist Society of Western Australia (if living locally), the Bodhinyana Monastery at Serpentine has several guest rooms, which are available at the discretion of the Guest Monk. Applicants must be experienced meditators, committed to the eight Buddhist precepts, dress modestly and be in good health, both physically and mentally.
Image from the Bodhinyana Buddhist Monastery website
Located amidst peaceful rolling hills, just 132 kilometres north of Perth, New Norcia is Australia's only monastic town. It was established in 1846 by Spanish Benedictine monks as a mission to the local Aboriginal people, and these days is a unique and tranquil destination with an established Benedictine community, beautiful Spanish style architecture, and various accommodation options for visitors who would like to linger longer.
Image from the New Norcia Benedictine Community website
For those who desire a peaceful, contemplative retreat, far removed from the busy world, a unique place to stay is the monastery's guesthouse which still practices the St Benedict's fifth century tradition of offering hospitality to passing travellers. The simple but comfortable rooms are either single or twin, with a choice of ensuite or shared bathrooms. Meals in the guest dining room are included, although male visitors are welcome to take their meals with the monks.
Although there's no obligation, guests are welcome to attend the various religious ceremonies and participate in the monks' simple life of prayer. While there's no fixed charge to stay at the guesthouse, a suggested donation is $80.00 per person, per night. For further information about New Norcia, go to this website.
6. Katherine Susannah Prichard Writers Centre
Situated at Greenmount in the Perth Hills, the Katharine Susannah Prichard Writers Centre was the home of the prominent Australian writer Katharine Susannah Prichard until her death in 1969. For folk who want to retreat from the daily grind in order to do some serious creative writing, the centre offers a few options. A couple of times a year, catered group retreats are held, while committed writers who want to focus on their work can stay in one of three self-contained modern cottages, when they are available. Very reasonably priced overnight, weekly and monthly accommodation is available, and rates are slightly cheaper for members of the centre.
Image from the Katharine Susannah Prichard Writers Centre website
If you're hankering for a weekend of sensual pampering rather than one of contemplation and meditation, the Kalyaa Na Spa and Wellness Retreat in Bridgetown may be just what you're looking for. Situated in the state's beautiful south-west, the retreat offers the tranquillity and practical resources to take control of your health, and includes massage, yoga and nutritional consultation. As they declare on their website, their aim is to 'help you clear the mind, nourish the soul and invigorate the body,'
Image from the Kalyaa Na Spa and Wellness Retreat website