Wild Luxury brings the Japanese art of Shinrin Yoku or “Forest Bathing” to modern Australian holidays.
The exquisite collection of luxury lodges draws greatly on the surrounding natural environment to leave guests feeling replenished and reinvigorated.
Owner Kim Ellis has ensured the location and orientation of each Wild Luxury Lodge creates a sense of calm and allows guests to easily seek out time in nature to recentre themselves.
“Luxury travel is about finding a deep sense of enrichment by experiencing nature in a relaxed environment with clever design, architecture and small but important touches,” Ellis said.
Nature as a healer
The healing powers of nature have been known for centuries.
Some 2,500 years ago, Cyrus the Great intuitively built lush green gardens to increase human health and promote a sense of calm in the crowded capital of Persia. In the 16th century, the Swiss-German physician Paracelsus declared that ‘the art of healing comes from nature, not from the physician.”
More recently, Chiba University professor Yoshifumi Miyazaki studied the physiological effects of Shinrin-yoku (taking in the forest atmosphere or forest bathing). His book, Walking in the Woods, describes the healing powers of trees.
“Simply put, forest bathing is the practice of walking slowly through the woods, in no hurry, for a morning, an afternoon or a day,” publisher Hachette said.
“It is a practice that involves all the senses and as you gently walk and breathe deeply, the essential oils of the trees are absorbed by your body and have an extraordinary effect on positive feelings, stress hormone levels, parasympathetic nervous activity, sympathetic nervous activity, blood pressure, heart rate and brain activity.”
Wild Luxury currently has two properties in New South Wales.
Calabash Bay Lodge perches alongside the Hawkesbury River flanked by three National Parks and surrounded by towering ancient sandstone.
The second and newest, Crane Lodge, is near Palm Beach on Sydney’s Northern Peninsula. But this is not Palm Beach as you know it.
The architecturally designed, art-filled home is a complete retreat from the world. Guests can explore Pittwater and the Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park with its water only access bays, secret waterfalls and significant Aboriginal rock art.
Twenty-five endangered Pittwater spotted gums tower above the home. The landscaped gardens feature an impressive array of natives endemic to the area, including macrozamia communis or “Burrawangs” in local Dharug language. Guests can also find Lilly pilly and lemon myrtle.
Rest and rejuvenate
Ellis discovered the calming effects of the forest first-hand when burnt out from the corporate world some 15 years ago. At Wild Luxury Crane Lodge, she has created an environment where guests can easily try forest bathing, to see if it reduces their stress and anxiety levels.
“The concept of forest-bathing really appealed to me having experienced the wellness impacts first-hand,” Ellis said.
Her research into the power of nature led her to Professor Miyazaki.
“Miyazaki found that after a day walking in a forest, study participants showed an average 12 per cent reduction in the stress hormone cortisol and a notable increase in relaxation,” Ellis said.
It’s Ellis’ goal that both Wild Luxury properties provide spaces and places for both familial gatherings and quiet contemplation.
By doing so, she hopes to be part of continuing to redefine luxury to be about the richness of experience measured in part by positive impacts on guests’ overall wellness.
This article on Wild Luxury Lodges was produced with content supplied by Wild Luxury and is a Signature Luxury Travel & Style digital exclusive. Be the first to see more exclusive online content by subscribing to the enewsletter.