Why Tasmania is the place to go for ‘starbathing’, the latest wellness trend

From guided astronomy evenings to stargazing stays, Tasmania – or lutruwita – offers some of the best dark sky experiences for travellers wanting to reconnect with nature...

4 mins

Chances are you’ve heard of ‘forest bathing’ – known in Japan as shinrin yoku. It’s the act of being calm and quiet while in the surroundings of trees. The term first emerged in the 1980s, although, it only became popular in recent years as the demand for health and wellness experiences have grown.

But now, a new trend is set to take over. Hoshi yoku, or ‘starbathing’, is all about spending time under the night sky for improved headspace and mental clarity. Much like forest bathing, it's all about being mindful and connected to your natural surroundings and being in the present moment: something many travellers are now striving to achieve on their adventures. 

Starbathing can be performed anywhere where there is good visibility, but for those wanting to transform it into the ultimate wellness experience, we suggest turning your attention to Tasmania –  or lutruwita, as it's known by its Aboriginal inhabitants. Located in the South Pacific Ocean, just south of mainland Australia, Tasmania is not only a wonderful place to admire clear dark skies, but it's also one of the world's best places to see the southern lights (Aurora Australis) during its winter months (May to August). 

Here, we highlight some of the top ways to experience starbathing in the Australian island state, including dark sky retreats, guided astronomy evenings, and unique accomodation options for private gazing. 

lutruwita is one of the best places to see the Auora Australis (Dietmar Kahles/Tourism Tasmania)

lutruwita is one of the best places to see the Auora Australis (Dietmar Kahles/Tourism Tasmania)

Eagle Nest Retreat has some incredible rural stays, ideal for starbathing (Lusy Productions)

Eagle Nest Retreat has some incredible rural stays, ideal for starbathing (Lusy Productions)

A dark sky retreat

As part of Tasmania's Beaker Street Festival, NOCTURNA is a weekend-long dark sky retreat on the island’s east coast, considered one of the darkest inhabited areas on Earth.

Taking place from 11-13 August 2023 at the sustainable outdoor venue Spring Bay Mill, attendees are encouraged to disconnect from the digital world by turning off their phones. By doing so, they can fully immerse themselves in the natural world and embrace Tasmania's pristine dark skies in the best way possible – without light pollution.

The special event focuses on Indigenous astronomy and storytelling, plus a Dark Sky Dinner with Tassie food, scientific talks, live music, yoga sessions and cold-water swimming during daylight hours.

NOCTURNA is all about embracing the darkness (All About Adventure/Tourism Tasmania)

NOCTURNA is all about embracing the darkness (All About Adventure/Tourism Tasmania)



“NOCTURNA is a celebration of our still-pristine dark skies in this part of the world, We are so lucky in Tasmania to still be able to gaze up and experience the enchantment of a star-studded sky. We’ve designed NOCTURNA to be a recharging weekend retreat and a chance to embrace the darkness while connecting with nature and each other.”

- Margo Adler, Festival Founder and Evolutionary Biologist

Guided astronomy evenings

Wanting a closer look at the cosmos? The Astronomical Society of Tasmania hold their popular Public Night Sky Viewing evenings (check their website for scheduled events) at their Mount Pleasant observation centre throughout the year. Using telescopes, experts help their visitors – whether seasoned stargazers or night-time newbies – zoom into the many wonders of the night sky.

Alternatively, head to Mount Wellington (kunanyi) with Walk on Kunanyi to join a group astronomy tour of the southern stars. Guests meet at the Springs, before spending an hour and a half peering through professional telescopes into the universe, and hearing cultural stories from the palawa on the luwari wurungkali (night sky).  

Starbathing stays

The Retreat at Pumphouse Point (Jarred Seng)

The Retreat at Pumphouse Point (Jarred Seng)

Want to experience starbathing in privacy? There are plenty of places to stay around Tasmania that offer opportunities to enjoy the dark skies from the comfort of your accommodation.

Pumphouse Point on Lake St Clair has two heritage buildings of 18 rooms, with views across both land and water. This luxurious stay is all about connecting with nature, especially when booked into the Retreat Suite, with its floor-to-ceiling windows providing panoramic night-sky marvelling. You can even practice starbathing in the literal sense, by hopping into your private outdoor bathtub. 

Tucked into the forest near Great Oyster Bay, Freycinet Lodge's Coastal Pavilions are eco-friendly and custom-designed to blend into their surrounding landscape, with glass-panelled walls allowing you be fully immersed. You'll be nestled within the trees with views poking out to the sky and sea. For a guaranteed coastal view, book into the Bay View Pavilion

At Eagles Nest Retreat, you can gaze up at the milky way above bucolic farmland and the silhouette of Mount Roland. What makes this stay even better for wellness? Each of the three ‘nests’ have an outdoor bath of some sort – from a jacuzzi to a lakeside spa – so you can soak up the stars in total, secluded bliss.

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