The ultimate dog-friendly escape: Australia’s first doggy wellness retreat arrives just outside Geelong 

The ultimate dog-friendly escape: Australia’s first doggy wellness retreat arrives just outside Geelong 

1 / 4

Australia’s first Dog and their owners Wellness Retreat which will be an ongoing retreat for people who are pet owners.

We’ve said it before and we’ll say it again… Dogs are the best, there’s no denying that.

However, planning a last-minute getaway or road trip and trying to find epic accommodation that’s dog-friendly isn’t always the easiest. Do you organise a pet-sitter? Or perhaps call in those favours with your family and friends close by? Heck, do you post on the community Facebook page to see if anyone recommends a boarding kennel worthy of your best friend?

While there are a bunch of options when it comes to dog-friendly stays around the region to suit those looking for something quirky, eco or just completely off-grid, one local powerhouse has gifted us a solution for dog-lovers and their pets with ‘The Off the Leash Doggy Wellness Retreat‘.

Stay up to date with what’s happening in and around the region here

Courtesy of Revitalise Escapes founder Jo Surkitt, this three-night retreat is the first one of its kind in Australia for dogs and their owners, providing an opportunity to experience a transformational wellness retreat holiday for your dogs and yourself. This is perfect for pet owners that need an escape from the city and take a break outdoors immersed in nature’s beauty.

The new escape welcomes small groups to the Freshwater Creek Cottages, a retreat located on a 50-acre property, the Gateway to the Great Ocean Road and not too far from the beach.

Dog owners will be treated to everything from massages, reflexology, sound healing, clay classes and unique healing sessions, while dogs enjoy grooming sessions and treatments like pet osteopathy and reiki. 

There will be a live art therapy or drawing session where dog owners can sketch their dog, mindful walking with dogs, morning yoga, tai chi and meditation sessions, as well as wellness sessions on topics like health and wellbeing, sleep and managing stress. 

“The beauty of this retreat is not only that you will be in lush green countryside near the Great Ocean Road staying in cosy, yet spacious cabins with open fires; it’s that your dog is 100 per cent welcome. There are no restrictions,” says Jo.

“Everything is pooch-safe so there’s nothing they can chew or ingest that will harm them. The accommodation is pet-friendly. The activities are designed with dogs in mind and the surf beach is dog-friendly so you don’t have to worry about upsetting anyone. You don’t have to bring everything for your dog if you don’t want to – we take care of everything from food to tennis balls.” 

Guests also have access to bicycles, surfboards, tennis racquets and other sporting items, and the cottages are a 15-minute drive to the beach. The property features 20 acres of farmland with sheep, cows and pigs and, in the evening, a mob of kangaroos comes down to graze near the cottages. The cottages sleep between 2-6 people so singles, couples, adult families and friends are all welcome.

“Imagine being able to rest and rejuvenate with your best mate by your side in one of the most beautiful places on the planet. Complete freedom combined with total relaxation and fun. Isn’t that what we all need right now?” 

Knowing it’s really not a holiday without your best, furry friend coming along for the ride, Jo was inspired to create this retreat after noticing the increase of struggles with people around her needing a break but being unable to find dog-friendly accommodation.

“I created this retreat because every single dog owner I know struggles with finding pet-friendly activities and accommodation. It’s been a tough couple of years and people are wanting to get away but they don’t want to leave their pups at home.

“Some dogs have become so used to having their humans around 24/7 that their owners are genuinely concerned about separation anxiety if they go away.”

According to the national Pets in Australia survey conducted by Animal Medicines Australia, over a third of Australians have a pet and over 60 per cent of dog owners refer to their pet as part of the family. Around 25 per cent of these owners won’t leave home without their pet and this same survey found that the number one reason people avoided getting a dog was organising care for them if they wanted to go away. 

“With 90 per cent of survey respondents saying that their pets have a very positive impact on their lives, it seems crazy to exclude pets on a retreat that is geared towards wellness, relaxation and joy – the very things our pets give us.”

Sounds like a dream right? The first retreat runs from Tuesday, April 26 to Friday, April 29 2022. Check it out here