It’s great to see the world of spa and wellness expanding within Australia, as it definitely wasn’t like this at the turn of the millennia.


Australia’s only luxury spa resort was Hayman Island, which is now One&Only Hayman Island and the spa health retreats were Camp Eden and Golden Door, all in Queensland. Now, you can visit each state and find a quality spa hotel, spa resort or day spa.

After living and travelling abroad for three and half years in my early twenties, it was on returning home that I announced “I want to travel for the rest of my life”. My mid-twenties whilst studying, I had an idea for a business ‘travel with a difference’, it was to involve surfing, skiing and sailing. I’m not sure where the ‘business’ idea came from, but the concept was definitely from fun life experiences. The seed in my mind had been planted. Life evolves and in my late-twenties I was playing with concept of travel with a difference. By 2001, I’d registered the business and obtained my travel license. Researching properties and destinations was my passion. One property that captured my attention was Nihiwatu resort as it offered yoga, spa treatments, surfing, horse riding and cultural experiences. Nihiwatu back then was not what it is today. This triggered my intrigue and interests, as I was making my fresh morning juice at home, practicing weekly yoga, horse riding was my thing as a teenager and I lived a coastal life. Spa Travel was born, only to become Spa Wellness Travel more recently.

But life can throw some curve balls that you don’t see coming. My life was great. I was all loved-up in a relationship and had my new businesses. But during 2001 and 2002 the travel industry experienced consecutive tragedies – 9/11, Bali bombings, the collapse of Ansett, as well as the SARS and chicken flu epidemic – nothing like Australia or I had experienced before.   For me, life became a stress. Business was not improving and it was a affecting other parts of my life, unbeknown to me. It was all a gradual process, but eventually my relationship fell apart, but I remained resilient and persevered with the businesses.

Through those years, I read numerous self-help books, tried different modalities of meditation and exercise to stimulate my happiness and wellbeing. But all was too late. In 2007 I was diagnosed with breast cancer, then again in 2013. Through those years my body endured a lumpectomy, radiotherapy sessions, hormone blocking drugs, a mastectomy, chemotherapy and an oophorectomy, all for it to end with a breast reconstruction the end of last year.

[slideshow_deploy id=’5516′]

Not being favourable for using only western medical practices, due to having a serious bout of pneumonia in my late twenties, I opted to enhance my wellbeing with complementary therapies during these years of dealing with breast cancer. So, with the onset of the medical procedures, I sourced advice and treatments from Ayurvedic to TCM practitioners and naturopaths, relaxed with spa treatments and retreated to a spa health retreat – Kamalaya, after completing treatments for my first bout and then a spa resort – Spa Village Tembok after completing chemo with my second bout. I believe our mind and body need support, as we rest and heal and that alternative therapies can assist and complement the western science approach to illness and dis-ease.

Spa Wellness Travel has always focused on quality spa resorts and spa health retreats and a conscious decision was made from the start that we did not need to have every destination spa under the sun. Our Collection was created for a select number of destination spas, to which we have over eighty spa-wellness packages and programs. We do have access to other spa wellness destinations when the request is required. Knowing how I felt dealing with breast cancer, I’ve created via our Signature Service, Revive Retreats, these are for women who’ve been touched by breast cancer allowing them the opportunity to retreat and revive their mind-body-spirit. Whilst on retreat, I’m thrilled that we are able to meet with Indonesian women who’ve been touched by breast cancer and provide them with prosthesis and mastectomy bras, to which they are grateful.

As mentioned, I have watched the ‘wellness’ industry grow and change. Spa will always be a passion because I believe in the importance of touch and connection that a spa treatment can give to an individual. Business like life needs attention and maintenance which involves change. For Spa Wellness Travel as much as our website, collateral and the spa properties within our collection do change, our core value of giving an individual the opportunity to enhance their happiness and wellbeing and nurture their mind-body-spirit with a quality time-out experience, has not.

Spa Calendar + Offers:

Retreat during June

Kamalaya – complimentary nights for first time guests

Absolute Sanctuary – reduced room rates

Retreat during July – September

Kamalaya – complimentary nights for repeat guests

MesaStila – coffee harvest experience

Retreat during September

Revive Retreat – breast cancer women

Absolute Sanctuary – reduced room rates

Karen Goudge

Karen created Spa Wellness Travel in 2001 from a passion of travel, wellbeing and living a life less flustered.For over five years she was a contributing judge for the AsiaSpa Magazine awards, volunteered her time and was on the board of the Australasian Spa Association. Her professionalism, knowledge and intuition are what go into creating and coordinating the best outcome for clients.Dip. International Travel, Professional Stress Consultant.

Latest posts by Karen Goudge (see all)