Make a mental note of top wellness destinations. Are you picturing Australia? If not, you definitely should be. With fresh cuisine and active lifestyle (not to mention beautiful beaches) there’s no question that the Australian wellness scene is thriving.
But if you’ve filed a down-under vacation under your “would be nice” travel category, Dan Churchill—professional chef, author, and native Australian (among many other titles)—is here to share why you should bump Australia to the top of your list of dream destinations.
“Once we can start welcoming visitors back again, there is really no reason not to come,” Churchill says. “First, I think that we Australians are some of the friendliest, most welcoming people in the world. I might be biased, but we just love to show off our country. Beyond that, we have wellness adventures that are perfect for beginners and experts alike.”
To get your wanderlust wheels turning, Churchill is breaking down a few of his favorite Australian wellness trends, and sharing an Australian-inspired recipe you can make in the meantime.
Keep scrolling for five Australian wellness activities that you’ll want to make sure to take advantage of.
While your mind might go straight to surfing when you think Australian wellness (more on that in a sec), the country also offers beautiful hiking. “You can choose to take a hike of a few hours that will offer up stunning views, or a multi-day trek that will challenge experienced hikers, while delivering a once-in-a-lifetime experience,” Churchill says.
One of his personal favorite hiking locations? Tasmania, thanks to its natural beauty. “The hiking is world-class,” he says. “On a single hike (which could be multi-day), you can experience mountains, forests, lakes, waterfalls, and amazing wildlife.”
This one’s a given. And even if you’ve never caught a wave in your life, if you’re going to take a trip down under, you should at least give surfing a try. “We have beaches that will challenge the most experienced surfers, but also beaches where the surfing is far more beginner friendly—and where there are an abundance of instructors ready to show even first-timers how amazing the sport can be,” Churchill says.
While he says it’s hard to find a bad surf spot in Australia, his favorite is Byron Bay. “Not only does it offer amazing tubular waves for epic surfing, there’s also swimming, kayaking—often right alongside pods of bottlenose dolphins—snorkeling, and scuba diving,” he says.
“Clear waters, spectacular colorful fish, coral reefs—if you are going to snorkel, there is no better place to do it on Earth than Australia,” Churchill says. Just like surfing, if you’ve never snorkeled before, don’t worry—there are plenty of instructors who are happy to help, he says.
While the Great Barrier Reef may already be a part of your must-visit list, Churchill recommends adding another snorkeling spot: “Ningaloo Reef is the largest fringing reef in Australia,” he says. “It may not be as well-known as the Great Barrier Reef, but I think it is truly a hidden gem of Australia.”
4. Enjoy native foods
Australia may get a lot of credit for its outdoor activities, but the foodie scene is not to be overlooked. “There is a thriving dining culture in Australia that can’t be missed,” Churchill says. “We are seeing our chefs incorporate extremely healthy indigenous Australian flavors aka ‘Bush tucker’ or ‘bush food’ (terms for the native foods of Australia) into their dishes, offering a unique experience you won’t get anywhere else on Earth.”
A few of his favorites? Mushrooms (specifically in mushroom risotto), meat pie (an Australian signature), and fish burgers.
5. Visit a farmers’ market
“I love fresh produce, and the variety and quality of produce available in Australian farmers’ markets are unmatched anywhere,” Churchill says. “You can buy ingredients to make your own local meal, or at many markets, get lessons from local chefs demonstrating use of our local bounty.”
Now that you’re in the mood for Australian cuisine, try whipping up Churchill’s delicious, Australian-inspired breakfast recipe (that would make great fuel for an Australian hike, just sayin’) that you can enjoy while planning your future Australian excursion. Get the recipe below, and prepare to start planning your trip.
Plum Bircher Muesli
2 cups rolled oats
2 Tbsp chia seeds
1/3 cup shredded coconut
1/2 cup coconut yogurt (or favorite plain yogurt)
3 small plums, pits removed and roughly chopped
1 1/2 cups almond milk
Honey or maple syrup
Fresh plum slices
Chopped walnuts (or try macadamia nuts for a down-under twist)
- Combine the oats, chia, coconut, yogurt, half of the chopped plums, and one cup of almond milk into a mixing bowl, and allow to set overnight.
- Add the remaining almond milk to a blender with half of the chopped plums, and blend until smooth.
- To serve, spoon the plum puree into a jar or bowl and top with bircher muesli. Finish with your favorite toppings!
Top photo: Tourism Australia
Art: Well+Good Creative