Wanderlust Festival – The Return Down Under

Note: Wanderlust (n.). A strong desire to travel. What does it mean to me? A hunger for exploration, a penchant for daydreaming, a wandering mind, a lust, a yearning, an open soul. Wanderlust. My favourite word in the English language.


Photo Credit: Sasha Juliard.

Yoga. Music. Wellness. A weekend away to get back to nature and reconnect with yourself. To meet like-minded individuals and get lost in meaningful discussions. To energise and learn. To nourish and enjoy. A relaxing retreat in an idyllic setting. Welcome to Wanderlust.


Photo Credit: Ali Kaukas.

Returning down under for its second year, the much-adored Wanderlust Festival is already sending me into summertime daydreams. With two events scheduled for early next year – one at the Wairakei Resort in Great Lake Taupo from the 29th January until 1st February, and the second on Cockatoo Island in Sydney Harbour from 20th to 22nd February – I’m already counting down the days. Wanderlust Great Lake Taupo 2015 (poster) What is Wanderlust? It’s a mindful living festival for the conscious soul; an experience that celebrates being alive. From yoga, music, and outdoor adventure, to nourishing organics, eco-living, and inspiring speakers, this is a journey for the mind, body, and soul. Launched in California in 2009, it’s already the biggest multi-day yoga lifestyle event in the world. Count me in! Who’s behind Wanderlust Dowunder? NZ-born Jonnie Halstead and his American wife Jacque; he’s an events and music festival expert and she’s an established yoga teacher. The perfect marriage for an experience that hamonises music with yoga, with all that good eco-friendly stuff in between.  Each magical location is chosen to inspire those who attend and encourage symbiosis with their surroundings.

“Wanderlust is an opportunity to grow the mindful living community and to help the like-minded connect with nature and each other,” Jonnie says. “We look forward to bringing people together to celebrate, exchange ideas and experience the best things in life.”

Amen to that!


Photo Credit: Ali Kaukas.

The details… Who: yogis, music lovers, families, foodies, eco warriors, and mindful adventurers. What: a multi-day yoga living festival coming down under in summer 2015. Where and when: two locations – New Zealand and Australia. NZ: Wanderlust Great Lake Taupo (Jan 29 – Feb 1) at the beautiful Wairakei Resort. Think soaring volcanic peaks, geothermals, bush-clad hills, hiking and mountain bike trails, Huka Falls and, of course, the fresh water lake.


Huka Falls. Image source: Great Lake Taupo.

Australia: Wanderlust Cockatoo Island, Sydney, NSW (Feb 20 – 22). Right on the spectacular Sydney Harbour, I can’t think of a more beautiful spot for a mindful festival than this little island steeped with history.

Photo Credit: Telani Kumar, Weekend Notes.

Sunset on Cockatoo Island. Photo Credit: Telani Kumar, Weekend Notes.

Accommodation: You can stay onsite either in four-star hotel accommodation, “glamping” tents or any of the other local offerings (a short shuttle bus in Taupo or ferry ride in Sydney). What’s involved: Yoga – experience transformative yoga and practice with renowned teachers. The NZ lineup includes international yogis Ana Forest, Eoin Finn, Kerri Kelly, Suzanne Sterling, Tiffany Cruikshank, and Cameron Shayne, along with Australasia’s Duncan Peak, Claudine & Honza Lafond, Mark Whitwell, Nikki Ralston, and Kara-Leah Grant. Music – enjoy live music from some of the best conscious artists. The Taupo lineup includes Xavier Rudd, Nahko & Medicine for the People, Nightmares on Wax (DJset), The Twoks and the yoga disco beats of DJ HyFi. Local support includes  Sola Rosa, DJ Spragga, Dick Johnson, Aroha, Anna Coddington and Esther Stephens. Nature – get back to nature with adventurous outdoor activities like paddle-boarding, hiking, mountain biking, and even meditative rafting. Food and drink – dining by well-known chefs and sustainable brands with local wines and craft beers. Talks: be inspired by the thought-provoking speakeasy series featuring mindul business and spiritual leaders including Dr Libby (holistic nutrition specialist), Alexie O’Brien (the former head lululemon Atheltica Australasia), Matteo Charles (inspirational artist), Pete Longworth (global photographer) and Swami Govindananda (international meditation teacher). Other activities: Imaginative art and plenty of family-friendly fun. Tickets: tickets will go on sale late August/early September once the full schedule is released. You can buy them here. Tickets provide full access across the entire schedule of events including accommodation and food and beverage. Third party adventure activities are at an additional cost. There are three ticket options:

  • Full festival ‘Sage’ passes
  • 3-day ‘Seeker’ passes
  • Choose any combination of single-days with a ‘Pilgrim’ pass.

Photo Credit: Trish Meyler.

Cue summer daze and distant daydreams. I’m already imagining the sunrises and sunsets and days filled with adventure. All that uncomplicated presence and mindful exploration, now that’s something to look forward to. It also happens to be my birthday on the 29th of January, so I know how I’ll be celebrating. Yoga, music, food, wine, and nature; it’s a dream escape for this busy mind. What more could a birthday girl ask for? For more information check out www.wanderlustfestival.com. You can find Wanderlust Festival Australia on Facebook and Twitter, or Wanderlust Festival NZ on Facebook and Twitter here.


Photo Credit: Sasha Juliard.

Note: All imagery by Ali Kaukas, Trish Meyler, and Sasha Juliard taken at Wanderlust Festivals around the world.

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