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8 Days Spring Yoga Retreat in New Zealand

  • WHY Retreat, 16 Reotahi Road, McLeod Bay, Whangarei Heads, Northland, New Zealand

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Optimal Health Workshop and Yoga Retreat New Zealand

  • 7 days with instruction
  • As WHY Retreat prepares for equinox, which is the equal light of day and darkness of night, you can focus on seeking balance in your life. Enjoy great food, yoga classes, awesome scenic hikes, fabulous views from your room, and optional therapeutic sessions to enhance your wellbeing in this retreat. This is an opportunity for you to open yourself to the quality of balance in life.


    • Morning and evening yoga sessions
    • Access to all scheduled Pilates classes
    • Complimentary entry to balance workshop
    • Use of the FAR infrared sauna and streamside meditation area
    • Opportunity to explore the area or relax
    • Daily breakfast, lunch, and dinner
    • 7 nights accommodation

    Group sizes

    The maximum participants in the group is 5.


      • Instruction languages: English
      • Spoken languages: English
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    The rooms at the WHY Retreat are designed to provide a comfortable private experience with two single or twin rooms sharing one bathroom and one queen room with ensuite-bathroom. Your room is elegantly appointed, new, and clean. The guest area has its own kitchenette and lounge. Facilities include guest lounge with library and deck, use of a FAR infrared sauna, stream side meditation area, a well-equipped gym, and yoga studio.

    Bay view room

    This room overlooks McLeod Bay and is a spacious and comfortable double room, which offers a stunning ocean view. Its private deck is the ideal place to sunbathe surrounded by native trees and relax to the sound of the birds. The room has a large double bed, but twin beds can be arranged on request. There is also a private ocean view deck in this room.

    Manaia suite

    The Manaia suite is a deluxe queen room with en-suite bathroom. Enjoy expansive views of the bay from your private deck and sunrise over Mountain Manaia from your bed.

    Wake up to a symphony of birdsong, sunrise over a skyline of rocky spires, and a panoramic view of the bay. The scenery is constantly changing as the tide ebbs and flows across the sandbank, and lighting plays on the rocks of the mountain. The room has private ocean view deck and dual orientation with view on McLeod Bay and Mountain Manaia.

    Rosella's nest

    The Rosella's nest is a twin room named after the parrot found in Northland and that lives in the area surrounding the yoga retreat. The tiled bathroom with Italian shower is shared with one other room. Its private deck is the ideal place to sunbathe surrounded by native trees and relax to the sound of the birds.The room has two beds, but double bed can be arranged on request. This room also has a private ocean view deck.

    The retreat includes attendance to all the scheduled yoga and Pilates classes and complimentary entry to optimal health workshop. You can enjoy additional therapeutic sessions with Jo, such as personal training, yoga, massage, or Reiki, or with one of the many natural health practitioners in the area, like acupuncture, Bowen therapy, craniosacral therapy, EFT tapping, and natural skincare, and cosmetic consultations.

    There is plenty of free time to read, enjoy the fabulous views from your room, or set off on one of the awesome scenic hikes around the area. Your elegantly appointed accommodation is fully insulated and north facing to capture the winter sun across the deck. Curl up with a book in the cosy guest lounge or banish the winter chills in their infrared sauna. This is retreat you have been looking for.

    Daily schedule

    Day 1, Monday

    • 12:00 Arrival
    • 17:00 Yoga

    Day 2, Tuesday

    • 08:30 Yoga
    • 14:00 One-on-one sessions available and free time

    Day 3, Wednesday

    • Free time for hiking and relaxing during the day
    • 17:00 Yoga

    Day 4, Thursday

    • Free time for hiking and relaxing

    Day 5, Friday

    • 09:00 Yoga
    • 14:00 One-on-one sessions available and free time

    Day 6, Saturday

    • 10:00 Workshop on achieving balance in your life
    • One-on-one sessions available and free time

    Day 7, Sunday

    • 10:00 Yoga
    • 14:00 One-on-one sessions available and free time

    Day 8, Monday

    • 08:00 Departure


    Yoga teaches flexibility, strength, balance, postural alignment, and encourages mind-body awareness for self healing. Yoga will make you feel strong and energetic. It will improve your balance, increase mobility, reduce joint and arthritic pain, strengthen your back, and stretch your body.

    Classes are tailored to the needs of participants and focus on postural alignment. Yoga classes are for all levels, suitable for beginners and those with restricted mobility or injury. Stronger options will be given for those with previous experience of yoga.

    Meditation and the stream

    Visit the meditation area beside the stream and contemplate what the stream has to teach you about life.

    Mount Manaia

    Manaia is the guardian, the carrier of supernatural powers. It is said to be the messenger between the earthly world of mortals, and the domain of the spirits. The Manaia is a holder of great spiritual energy and is a guardian against evil.

    • Jo Woollacott

      Jo Woollacott is the owner of WHY Retreat and offers retreats from her yoga studio and B&B at Whangarei Heads. She has been teaching yoga for over 35 years and is also a certified Pilates instructor. She is a Kaizen holistic health practitioner, a REPS registered personal trainer, and endorsed by the Exercise Association of New Zealand to provide SMEAEP tax deductible stress management programs.

    Located 30 minutes from Whangarei in the Northland area of New Zealand, WHY Retreat is surrounded by the iconic landscape of Mountain Manaia and overlooks McLeod Bay. Northland is often called the winterless north for its mild winter climate. With the sheltered beaches of the Whangarei harbor on one side, the sweep of the Pacific Ocean on the other, and dotted with small close knit communities, taking some time out in this wonderland is a must.

    The Bream Head Scenic Reserve is classified as an outstanding ecosystem supporting a diversity of species, which contains unique archaeological and historical landscape. It represents the largest area of coastal Pohutukawa-Broadleaf forest remaining in Northland, and one of the best in the country.

    Nearby places:

    • Central Whangarei - 30 minutes
    • Darch Point Walk - 1 hour
    • Mount Manaia - 5 minutes
    • North of Auckland, New Zealand - 2 hours and 30 minutes
    • Ocean beach - 10 minutes
    • Reotahi Point Walk - 30 minutes
    • Fishing nearby
    • Golf course nearby
    • Gym
    • Hiking nearby
    • Hiking trail nearby
    • Kayaking nearby
    • Massage
    • Mountain walking / trekking nearby
    • Reiki
    • Sauna
    • Snorkeling nearby
    • Surfing nearby
    • Swimming nearby
    • Tennis court nearby
    • Beach nearby
    • Café nearby
    • Kitchen
    • Lounge
    • Restaurant nearby
    • Smoke-free property
    • Yoga studio
    • Free parking
    • Free Wi-Fi
    • Library
    • Tour assistance

    The retreat includes all meals. Breakfast ingredients are provided with seasonal fresh fruit, homemade yogurt, and museli for you to enjoy in your own time. Vegetarian lunch and dinner with vegan and gluten free options are served to you. The meals are inventive and nutritious, but if you prefer to have a meal out, there are cafés nearby.

    The following meals are included:

    • Breakfast
    • Lunch
    • Dinner

    The following dietary requirements are served and/or catered for:

    • Gluten Free
    • Other dietary requirements on request
    • Vegetarian
    (If you have special dietary requirements its a good idea to communicate it to the organiser when making a reservation)

    There is plenty of free time to read, enjoy the fabulous views from your room, or set off on one of the awesome scenic hikes around the area. WHY Retreat is located on a diverse and beautiful peninsula, which offers many hikes for all levels of fitness ranging from 45 minutes to five hours.

    The beaches at Whangarei Heads include world class surf, long white sand, sheltered swimming bays, and rugged rocky coastline. Snorkeling, fishing, kayaking, and other water sports are available for you to enjoy, as well. The area is rich in bird life, including a kiwi habitat, and boasts a wide variety of local flora, including a giant Kauri tree. There are many other activities nearby including golf, tennis, scenic flights, abseiling, and much more for you to enjoy and explore.

    Walking distance trekking paths

    • Darch Point walk - One hour loop track from WHY Retreat through bush around the point past the McLeod Bay Wharf and the historic Settlers Church.
    • Early Settlers Cemetary walk - One hour return from WHY Retreat along the beach at McLeod Bay.
    • Mount Aubrey track - One and a half to two hours loop track, which goes over Mount Aubrey and includes the Reotahi point walk.
    • Mount Manaia track - Three and a half kilometers is the ultimate climb in the area for bush and views. Approximately three hours return from WHY Retreat.
    • Reotahi Point walk - A 30-minute return walk from WHY Retreat to Reotahi Beach. Swim or snorkel at the Marine reserve or wander around the ruins of the freezing works.

    Driving distance to parking area at the track heads (five to 20 minutes)

    • Bream Head / Te Whara track (seven kilometers and half) - A reasonable level of fitness, skill, and experience is needed to walk the main tracks at Bream Head. Five hours of hard steep tramping with links to several other tracks.
    • Busby Head track - One hour loop. An easy walk takes you around Busby Head to Smugglers Bay, passing the World War Two gun emplacement at Home Point.
    • Kauri Mountain track (three kilometers) - One and a half hour. Walking from the north side gives great coastal views, from the south side you walk in lovely kauri bush.
    • Pataua Island track - A short walk that skirts the Pataua estuary and goes to a lovely beach. The walk is flat and easy.
    • Peach Cove track (three kilometers and half) - A rather steep two-hour track over a saddle to a secluded cove.
    • Smugglers Cove - An easy 20-minute walk straight over the saddle from the car park to a fabulous beach.
    • Taiharuru estuary - A low tide you can reach in two hours' walk (seven kilometers)

    Additional therapeutic sessions are available with Jo or one of the many natural health practitioners in the area. The area has a number of natural health practitioners and sessions can be arranged for acupuncture, Bowen therapy, craniosacral therapy, EFT tapping, and natural skincare and cosmetic consultations.

    • 1 day optimal health workshop
    • 7 nights accommodation
    • All daily meals
    • All scheduled Pilates classes
    • All yoga classes
    • Use of the FAR infrared sauna and streamside meditation area
    • Additional activities
    • Additional meals
    • Additional therapeutic sessions
    • Airfare
    • Personal expenses
    • Travel insurance
    For information about the booking conditions, please send WHY Retreat an inquiry.

    Verified reviews

    • Review by Kate Edmonds

      "My stay at Whangarei Heads Yoga was quite enjoyable. The situation of the venue is actually beautiful. They were beautiful places to walk in the area and it is quiet and calm, a perfect spot for Yoga. I was a little disappointed that there was not as much yoga teaching as I had been expecting. Perhaps I didn't check beforehand. Just three or four hours in total during a four day stay. Jo is a very good teacher. We were provided with three meals a day. The help-yourself breakfast, a salad lunch and a warm supper. The food was basic but nutritious. Two of the three bedrooms look out over the McLeods Bay and enjoy a really beautiful view, as does the living room. I found myself in the side bedroom which really didn't have any outlook sadly, but I suppose it's just the luck of the draw. All the best.", edited

    • Review by Glen

      "Rob and Jo have an amazing place and it is truly and awesome area for hiking, swimming, and rejuvenating at such a fantastic part of New Zealand." website, edited

    • Review by Joanne

      "I had a great time at WHY Retreat. We were very well looked after by our friendly hosts, well-fed, and accommodated comfortably. I would thoroughly recommend WHY for a relaxing and invigorating getaway." website, edited


    • Review by Jillian from USA

      "What an amazing experience! WHY YOGA at Whangarei Heads was an absolute treat. The view from the house is breath-taking, beautiful beaches to explore and a lovely hostess who provides healthy and delicious meals!"

      WHY Retreat website, edited

    • Review by Laura from USA

      "Thank you Jo so much for an amazing relaxing trip. It was the vacation of a life time!"

      WHY Retreat website, edited

    • Review by Uli from Germany

      "Thank you for an amazing time! I especially enjoyed the one on one session. Jo, You are a magician!"

      WHY Retreat website, edited

    • Review by Rhi from United Kingdom

      "I had a great time and thank you very much for what I've learnt with you and your great classes."

      WHY Retreat website, edited

    • Review by Zana from Whangarei

      "Walked with a skip in my step and a smile and thought, " Jo's Yoga makes me happy." Thanks Jo!"

      WHY Retreat website, edited

    • Review by Chrissy from United Kingdom

      "Thank you for a lovely relaxing and restorative week of yoga and fun. The food was delicious, and Rob’s desert was especially yummy. Thanks to Rob for the boat trip – it was fabulous! I have made some wonderful memories and met some lovely people. Love and light to you both."

      WHY Retreat website, edited

    • Review by Eileen from Dunedin

      "Thank you Rob and Jo for a wonderful week. It has been relaxing and informative and fun. The food was amazing, lovely and tasty, very healthy and appreciated it being natural and not processed. You are great hosts. Your knowledge of the area was appreciated. I feel so relaxed and spoilt!"

      WHY Retreat website, edited

    • Review by Suzanne from Auckland

      "Thank you so much for this time. I have gained an experience I would never have ventured on and hope to continue doing yoga. What a wonderful couple you are."

      WHY Retreat website, edited

    • Review by Roshni

      "Stayed here for 2 days as an individual retreat - it was fabulous! Jo was very welcoming and accomodating. Amazing views/location, great to have access to yoga classes and food was good too! There are some great walks nearby and it is 15 mins drive to Ocean Beach which is the most beautiful pristine white sand beach with calm waves to have a dip in."

      WHY Retreat, edited

    • Review by Emily from UK

      "Prior to the retreat at WHY I had been to a workshop before and had been struggling with balance. As a result of attending the “Find Balance in your Life” workshop at WHY I now feel stronger knowing that I’m on the right path and doing the right things. The workshop, the accommodation, the free time, the hospitality and the food all exceeded my expectations."

      Why Retreat, edited

    • Review by Ffion from Wales

      "Attended a yoga retreat here at the beginning of February. I have never been to one before, and was traveling alone, Jo is a very friendly host and the accommodation made me feel right at home. Lucky enough to have a very comfortable room with a balcony over looking the bay. Enjoyable and healthy meals were provided. Great yoga and Pilates classes daily, with friendly locals also attending! It's located in a lovely spot, with great walks if feeling adventurous, with stunning bays less than 10 minutes drive away."

      Why Retreat, edited

    • Review by Louise D>

      "I've had a very restful and tranquil time staying here. Jo is an amazing cook serving up delicious vegetarian healthy meals each lunch and dinner. Yoga classes were relaxed and welcoming. I'd recommend to anyone wanting 'time out' and a kick start to a healthy lifestyle."

      Trip Advisor, edited

    • Review by Sander from Belgium

      "I enjoyed my week at the WHY very much. The place is amazing, beautiful rooms, shared living, dining room and kitchen for the guests. The view from the deck over the bay is amazing to relax in the afternoon or evening, plenty of walking trails around in stunning scenery and healthy delicious meals every day. Jo and Rob are such a friendly and wonderful couple they make it the perfect place to relax and recharge. I would recommend this to everyone!"

      WHY Retreat, edited

    • Review by Kim B. from Christchurch, New Zealand

      "We enjoyed great views across the bay from a lovely room which opened onto the deck. The meals were delicious and the yoga classes were a huge benefit. Jo and Rob were superb hosts and I would recommend taking the time to enjoy their retreat for anyone looking to rest, relax and revive."

      Trip Advisor website, edited

    • Review by Deborah from Auckland

      "Thank you, the rest was just what we needed. The lovely company, food, and yoga were the unexpected icing on the cake. We will see you again. You guys were fantastic!"

      WHY Retreat website, edited

    • Review by Matt

      "I really enjoyed being off the grid and relaxing for a few days with time to enjoy the scenery and amazing bush walks. The yoga was very relaxing and the entire experience was rejuvenating."

      WHY Retreat website, edited

    • Review by Sandra

      "Thanks for giving us the opportunity to go to this wonderful paradise. The surroundings, accommodation, yoga experience and group were all well chosen."

      WHY Retreat website, edited

    • Review by Sarah

      "I really enjoyed my time away at the Why Retreat. The walks were a great challenge with amazing views throughout both hill walks. I loved the opportunity to learn more about Yoga and experience some new Yoga techniques throughout the weekend. Definitely a great place to go and relax for a few days."

      WHY Retreat website, edited

    • Review by Pam from Whangarei Heads

      "I have been attending a gym of one form or another for a good number of years. Really haven't seen much change in fitness, fatness, or weight levels. Motivation became extremely difficult to raise. The manager at Anytime Fitness suggested I consult a personal trainer and recommended Jo Woollacott. Jo is the kind of person who can focus on you exclusively. She is always interested in you and your achievements."

      "At my age (64), I have started with internal problems and Jo always has a remedy. She is a personal trainer in every sense of the word. She has an amazing touch and gets to the base of any problem very quickly. At the same time, I am not pushed to do more than is possible for me and she always has my best interests at heart. Jo is a valuable asset to Anytime Fitness."

      WHY Retreat website, edited

    • Review by Bernadett from Whangarei Heads

      "I went for a kayak this morning and concentrated for a full hour on the core. I was bracing my knees as that is also all connected to the core and guess what? No sore right arm. Felt really good on my return. Though i must say, it was pretty calm out there. Also, I saw a baby seal sunning him or herself on a rock."

      WHY Retreat website, edited

    • Review by Sonya from Warkworth

      "I am a dance teacher in my mid-thirties and have suffered from a variety of neck problems and pain for approximately 10 years. I have seen many physiotherapists, chiropractors, osteopaths, and quacks in an attempt to find some lasting relief from the tension and muscle spasms that plague my shoulders and neck. I was referred to Jo by my mother and I can truly claim that I have finally found the answer to my pain problems."

      "Jo's initial assessment and treatment was swift and accurate, and by using her pressure point technique, she dealt to the problem areas. The headaches stopped and I could turn my head again. To my surprise, I did not suffer any pain the following day, which usually happens after an intense physio massage, and the relief I felt from Jo's treatment lasted at lot longer than any other treatment I have ever had."

      "I fully intend booking further appointments with Jo whenever I am in Whangarei. Jo also helped me with some core stability exercises. I have sought help in this area from other personal trainers, but thanks to Jo's easy to understand explanations and exercises, I finally found the muscles I have been trying to target. I discovered that I have been exercising the wrong muscles (outer abdominals) for years now. I look forward to seeing Jo again in the very near future."

      WHY Retreat website, edited

    • Review by Wendy from Whangarei Heads

      "I am loving your yoga, which is a big highlight of the week for me. I look forward to it every Monday, really. I have never felt so enthusiastic about it before and I can feel my yoga improving every week. Your teaching clicks with me and is spot on, many many thanks. Cannot believe it that you are a hop skip and jump from me, we are so lucky!"

      WHY Retreat website, edited

    • Review by Lisa

      "Jo, I just want to say how fantastic your class was today, as always. But particularly today, because even though I had some of my usual challenges in moments of it, I have felt incredible, almost normal, with more vertical integrity than for ages, and without pain all day since class! Thank you so much for your well balanced, nicely challenging, yet sensitively delivered classes. I am so so grateful for everything you have been doing to help me get free of pain. A huge breakthrough!"

      WHY Retreat website, edited

    • Review by Franz and Viki from Germany

      "We spent a great, exciting, and fun week with Jo and her husband Rob, living in a nice and comfy caravan with a beautiful view on the ocean. This property has an amazing energy and can make your stay be a retreat for mind, body, and soul, even as a woofer. We even joined one of Jo's yogalates hours and had a yummy dinner together with them."

      "Our project was building a paddio in front of the studio and gardening work. We gained a lot of building experience and had much fun finishing the project with Rob. Jo and Rob are both very special people, kind, helpful, nice, and caring. It was a pleasure to meet them. Whangarei Heads is definitely a beautiful place to stay and full of great spots waiting for you!"

      WHY Retreat website, edited

    • Review by Hilary from Wellington

      "Hi Jo and Rob! Just wanted to let you know that Jo and I had a wonderful time on our yoga retreat with you a few weeks back. I have been speaking highly of you to all my yoga friends down here, which is the best advertising you can get. Cheers to you both and all the best with your journey forward."

      WHY Retreat website, edited

    • Review by Stene from Christchurch

      "What a perfect little place to rest and recover! Wonderful hosts and the location is paradise. Food, ambience, and good books to read. Be as energetic or as relaxed as you want."

      WHY Retreat website, edited

    • Review by Lydia and Chris from Germany

      "From our room, we had a lovely view on the sea and the stunning countryside of Whangarei Heads. Everything is new in the accommodation and our room was nicely done up. The bed was comfortable and the rooms and facilities were very clean. We felt as snug as a bug in a rug. An amazing and quiet beach was not far away where you can go for a swim or just sunbathing."

      "We did also some walks. One was quite easy the other one to Mount Manaia, which was a little bit exhausting, but you get amply rewarded be the view. We attended a few of Jo's yoga classes and it was really nice. Perfect to exercise your body and relax at once. Jo and Rob were lovely, helpful, and kind hosts. The meals were delicious, healthy, and always freshly cooked. We had everything we needed and more. We would highly recommend and will definitely come back!"

      WHY Retreat website, edited

    • Review by Johannes from Germany

      "I enjoyed the retreat and was even able to start learning yoga. Another highlight was the visit to Blue Moon and Rob and Jo's beautiful hand built sailing boat. Would have loved to stay for a longer time!"

      WHY Retreat website, edited

    • Review by Pam from Whangarei Heads

      "Jo is the kind of person who can focus on you exclusively. She is always interested in you and your achievements. At my age of 64, I have started with internal problems and Jo always has a remedy. She is a personal trainer in every sense of the word. She has an amazing touch and gets to the base of any problem very quickly. At the same time I am not pushed to do more than is possible for me and she always has my best interests at heart."

      WHY Retreat website, edited

    • Review by Lisa from Europe

      "I have felt incredible, and without pain all day since class! I really appreciate the well-balanced, nicely challenging, yet sensitively delivered classes. I am so grateful toward Why Retreat for everything they have been doing to help me get free of pain, huge breakthrough!"

      WHY Retreat website, edited

    • Review by Cathy from Europe

      "I have not done the nostril breathing for year. It is very calming. The pace of the yoga classes and the words spoken by yoga instructor that gave us a choice in the poses are very useful."

      WHY Retreat website, edited