Creative Writing Retreat AustraliaMission Beach, Far North Queensland
How about a writing holiday under palm trees?
Join me in the World Heritage-listed Wet Tropics of Australia, Far North Queensland on an exclusive small group writing retreat.
Writers of all levels are welcome.
Retreats are on hold in 2023
We are changing things up in the new year and sadly we can no longer offer retreats in Mission Beach.
But we hope to offer a new retreat in the near future.
Find out when we resume retreats in Far North Queensland,
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What would happen if you gave yourself the gift of a creative writing retreat?
What would happen if you took a pause from everything that keeps you busy to nourish yourself with creative, expressive writing exercises, mindfulness, daily yoga, healthy home-cooked food and long beach walks?
Imagine falling asleep to the sound of the ocean and starting your day with a sunrise walk along an empty, palm-fringed beach that extends as far as the eye can see.
Imagine sipping your preferred morning beverage sitting under palm trees, scribbling first thoughts into your journal.
Imagine your senses are alive to the sounds and smells of the rainforest and the ocean. You are deeply relaxed and connected. Your pen glides effortlessly over the page. Your mind is awake and alive. Imagine the joy of deep creative connection.
Sharpen your powers of observation Experience the unique environment of the World Heritage listed Wet Tropics in Far North Queensland and fill your voice with a sense of wonder. Connect deeply, emerge restored and creatively re-charged.
Give yourself the gift of a creative writing retreat
This Australia writing retreat is suitable for anybody who believes in the soul-nourishing power of writing.
Whether you have an established writing practice or have always wanted to write but never had the time, this retreat is for you.
There will be plenty of free writing time, guided writing exercises, workshops and feedback, including one-on-one feedback. The retreat is designed to nourish mind, body and soul. Feedback will be constructive and gentle and you have the option to share as much or as little of your writing as you wish.
We begin our days with gentle yoga, beach walks and a short meditation and end with opportunities for after-dinner chats and readings.
We combine the quiet, contemplative practice of Yin Yoga with gentle Hatha yoga to connect deeply. Yin Yoga is as much a physical practice of releasing tension, softening and lubricating tight muscles and joints, as it is a contemplative practice in stillness and mindful awareness.
We use mindfulness practices of the Vietnamese Buddhist Zen monk Thích Nhất Hạnh to learn how to feel at home in the present moment using the breath as an anchor. Whether you are an experienced meditation practitioner or new to meditation, the practices used in this retreat are simple yet very powerful to calm the mental chatter and to feel grounded.
All activities are optional and there will be no judgement if you prefer not to join the yoga sessions and meditations, or if you skip a few. This is your retreat and whatever we do is there to serve your wellbeing and your creative process.
Your home away from home in magical Mission Beach
where World Heritage-listed Rainforest meets the Great Barrier Reef
You will be staying in my private absolute beachfront home which I have operated as a popular holiday rental for many years. It is located right on the beach and a 2-minute walk from the Village Green, where you will find local restaurants, a juice bar, a live music venue and a few funky shops, including an art gallery.
The house features a spacious living room and kitchen, four tastefully decorated bedrooms, a library, a large wrap-around veranda with floor to ceiling bistro blinds so that it can be enjoyed in any weather. There are plenty of individual break-out spaces, including a lush pool area and a day bed where you can let your writing flow and retreat into your own inner creative cave.
We are located 2 hours south of Cairns in an unspoiled beachfront town where two World Heritage sites meet, the oldest rainforest in the world and the Great Barrier Reef.
There’s a walking track right outside the house that will take you through remnant littoral rainforest along the foreshore. The ocean is right outside and the stinger net is 100 metres away.
The area boasts plenty of walking tracks and natural swimming holes and we offer guided excursions to stimulate your senses and to nourish ourselves in nature’s embrace.
To take the stress out of your holiday, this retreat is all-inclusive (alcoholic beverages can be bought at cost price).
We provide nourishing home-cooked meals made from locally sourced ingredients. We offer a wide range of vegetarian options.
ABOUT MISSION BEACH
Mission Beach is a small laid-back beach-side community and one of very few places in the world where two World Heritage sites come together: ancient rainforest and the Great Barrier Reef.
It is home to the highest number of the endangered Southern Cassowary living in the wild in Australia. This majestic flightless bird is only found in two places in the world, in Australia’s Wet Tropics and in Papua New Guinea.
Conveniently located between the airports of Townsville to the south and Cairns to the north, Mission Beach consists of four separate neighborhoods spread along a 14km stretch of unspoiled palm-fringed beach. It’s what Port Douglas looked like before development.
Iconic Dunk Island, just opposite, was home to a thriving artists colony in the 1970s established by Bruce Arthur, an Olympic wrestler turned tapestry maker. In 1969 it was the setting of the film Age of Consent by British director Michael Powell, starring a teenage Helen Mirren opposite James Mason who plays a successful artist who moves from New York to a tropical island seeking inspiration.
But its reputation as a place where artists come to retreat from the world to loose themselves in creative pursuit goes back to the 1908 bestseller Confessions Of A Beachcomber by E.J. Banfield, a Townsville journalist seeking refuge on a deserted tropical island after suffering burnout.
- 4 x nights accommodation in a beachfront property with private pool
- All breakfasts & lunches, welcome dinner, farewell dinner, tea, coffee, juice and fresh coconuts
- Guided excursions in the World Heritage-listed rainforest
- Daily morning yoga & meditation
- 5x writing workshops + daily writing and feedback sessions
- 1-hour private mentoring session (includes feedback on your draft up to 1000 words)
- Return transfer to/from Cairns airport in shared private car
- Pre-retreat Zoom meeting
Early BIRD PRICE* available now!
Private Room with en-suite (only available at some retreats) $2595 $2295
Private Room (shared bathroom) $2295 $1895
Twin-share Room with en-suite (only available at some retreats) $2095 $1695
Twin-share Room (shared bathroom) $1695 $1495
Bring a friend and share a room.
SPECIAL EARLY BIRD rate: $2750 for two in twinshare (shared bathroom)
A non-refundable deposit of $ 450 will reserve your spot.
*All prices in Australian dollars
*Early Bird expires two months prior to retreat start
- One-on-one mentoring session with Dr Kerstin Pilz
- 1x 60 minutes via Zoom or in-person: $175
- or buy a package of THREE individual mentoring sessions for $455
Includes reading up to 1500 words of your work per session
The priceless things you will take away with you from this writing retreat:
- a stack of new writing
- insight into your creative potential
- a new sense of wonder and deep connection with yourself
- mindfulness practices to keep you centred and focused
- re-newed focus on where you are headed as a writer and on life’s journey
- self-care practices and a deeper understanding of the transformative power of writing
- knowledge of easy yoga asanas you’ll be able to do at home to prevent writer’s back pain, hunched shoulders, tightness in hips and legs
Hi, I am Kerstin, your retreat leader.
I am a former academic with nearly 20 years university teaching experience, a RYT 200 qualified yoga teacher and a published author.
My publications include an academic monograph, book chapters for Oxford University Press, peer-reviewed academic articles as well as travel features including for The New York Times, The Australian, The Sydney Morning Herald, and for travel industry magazines in the Maldives. I am currently completing my memoir Never waste a good crisis.
A series of difficult life challenges made me discover the healing power of writing. I believe we are the authors of our own life. It is never too late to write a new chapter.
I created WriteYourJourney in 2017, whilst living in Vietnam, to share the tools that helped me heal, grow and transform.
Since then I have helped over 2000 women experience the joy of creative self expression and the healing power of writing in retreats and online courses.
To learn more, watch my TEDx talk about The Healing Power of Writing.
Here’s what we’re not going to do:
- therapy; We’ll use writing as a form of self-care, to get to the deep stories, but we are not therapists, we just facilitate the journey to access your true voice
- network to get published or pitch industry experts
- lecture you on plot or structure; Of course I’ll share with you everything I know about the nuts and bolts of storytelling, crafting good sentences and characters, but I’ve retired from my position as University teacher. I am here to guide you towards the stories you need to write and to discover your voice
- athletic yoga; we’re not about Ashtanga or Power Yoga, but will make you feel fabulous with Gentle Hatha Flow and Restorative Yin Yoga
- critique your writing; of course we will share our writing in daily reading circles and I’ll be available for one-on-one feedback, but this retreat is about letting your writing flow without judgement or anxiety
- preach Eastern philosophy; we are about using mindfulness and sound bowl balancing sans all the esoteric fluff
Praise for our Writing Retreats
As the week progressed, we all went deeper and deeper into our creative expression. I particularly liked that there were a variety of approaches to opening up our writing: visual, verbal, drawing.
The yoga, meditation, sound baths and excursions were all wonderful. Kerstin attended to every aspect of being in a foreign country. The individual consultations were extremely helpful, motivating and inspiring and as a result, I am leaving with a project that I knew I needed to do but was avoiding.”
Heidi, craniosacral therapist, Woodstock, NY
“If you are thinking of a writing retreat, I wholeheartedly recommend Kerstin’s retreats, for seeing with fresh eyes. You will love the self-care, stimulation, reflection and perspective it provides. The writing experience on the retreat prompted us to hone in on our unique voice. Writing sessions focused on a theme such as beginner’s mind, writing for the senses, storytelling, memoir and crafting a personal creative manifesto.
Kerstin was adept at crafting a gentle writing curriculum experience that opened us up to our voice and skill. It was so valuable for me to work with themes, prompts and exercises to dust off and access my voice.
An individual hour-long sound bowl meditation with Nigel was included and involved the placing of sound bowls around us and on our body. It was the deepest of relaxation experiences. That night I slept like I hadn’t slept for a long time.
Kerstin arranged a well-balanced itinerary and journey through the week. The yoga and writing complemented each other perfectly as we attended to both practices.”
Terri, life coach, Sydney. Read her full write-up on her blog Quiet Writing.
The individual sound bowl session that I had with Nigel was my first time doing sound bowl meditation. I will definitely be trying it again, it was so relaxing and calming, literally the best thing ever!
The overall organization was fantastic. I enjoyed everything about An Villa! The staff were fantastic it was so good of them to provide us with all that we needed and go out of their way to ensure that we were comfortable.”
Flora, poet, activist & youth worker, Melbourne
Tropical Writers Retreat Australia
Mission Beach 2022
Price per person from: $1425*
A $ 450 deposit will reserve your spot.
We always try to fill your spot or move your deposit to another retreat in case you need to cancel. 😎
*Early Bird Price available until eight weeks prior to retreat start
Have more questions? Please get in touch:
What kind of writing will we do?
We will do timed free writing exercises to carefully selected writing prompts. The power of freewriting is that it allows you to bypass the harsh inner critic. You write straight from your core, without stopping to think or edit or worrying about grammar and spelling.
At the end of each session there will be a sharing circle. Sharing your writing is totally optional, as the aim of writing practice is to allow you to write freely, connecting with your unedited inner voice.
The writing sessions are aimed at any level of writer, whether you are working on a project, or simply writing for yourself as a way to make sense of your personal self-narrative and to experience the healing benefits of writing.
What makes writing so effective as a wellbeing practice is the fact that we use narrative to create meaning for ourselves. Our identities are made up of the stories we tell about who we are, what has been and where we are headed.
Writing is a way of letting go of everything that no longer serves us. We release untold stories. We name painful emotions. And then we turn the page of our journal and write on.
When we write our thoughts and feelings down, honestly and raw, we gain insight into our motivations and actions. We learn to say “Ah, I can see now why …”. That’s when we will be able to write new, healthier, self narratives.
The health benefits of writing about both negative and positive emotions and life events have been confirmed by a number of scientific studies. Professor James Pennebaker at the University of Texas at Austin conducted the first qualitative research study on writing as a tool for healing in the early 1980s.
What if I don't write in English?
The writing you will be doing in this retreat is for your eyes only. Sharing is optional and only invited for selected prompts.
How much meditation will we do?
All activities are optional and there will be no judgement if you’d rather not join us for yoga or meditation.
No meditation experience is necessary for this retreat and you will not be expected to sit in meditation posture for more than 15 minutes at a time.
What kind of yoga will we do?
In case you are new to Yin yoga here’s some info:
Yin Yoga uses long-held floor poses that allow us to go deeper in the body to access the fascia and the tissue around the muscles, the joints and the energy pathways that run through the body,
Yin Yoga is a great complement to more energetic styles of yoga and other forms of physical exercise, like running or cycling, that work the muscles.
By working on the meridians of the body, activating ch’i flow, Yin Yoga helps to nourish our internal organs and the denser tissues of the body with vital fluids.
The practice can also give you greater range of motion, improved joint mobility and flexibility.
The most important benefit of Yin Yoga, no doubt, is that it helps to release deeply held tension not just on a physical level but also on an emotional and mental level.
The practice activates our parasympathetic nervous system, allowing us to rest and digest, making this a deeply healing and nourishing practice.
7:00–8:00 Gentle morning yoga & meditation
10:00–12:00 Writing workshop
13:00–15:00 Rest & time for your 1-1 mentoring session
15:00–17:00 Afternoon Writing Workshop or excursion
18: 30 – 20:00 Dinner
20:00 – 21:00 veranda chat
Terms & Conditions
• Full payment for all bookings required two weeks prior to retreat start. Any bookings made thereafter, must be paid in full.
• Given the uncertainty caused by the Covid-19 pandemic, it is recommended that you purchase private travel insurance in case you won’t be able to attend due to lock down measures.
How do I reach Mission Beach?
You may also choose to rent a car, especially if arriving with a friend, as this will give you more flexibility.
Mission Link offers daily airport transfers to Cairns.
If arriving in Townsville, it is recommended to arrive by hire car (it’s about 3 hours).
For more information, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org