How to turn your hobbies into sensational holidays

Whether you’re into gardens, photography, yoga or art – hobby holidays mean you can indulge in your passion on vacay while giving your wellbeing an extra boost.

Booking a holiday that includes a hobby is like taking something that’s good for you and then adding an extra health benefit to supercharge the experience.

In a study of 1400 people, researchers found those who engaged in more frequent, enjoyable leisure activities had lower blood pressure and BMI (body mass index).

In another study, there was evidence it can also reduce stress levels and elevate feelings of wellbeing.

So, are you ready to swap your standard “drop and flop” for something that ties in with a personal interest?

Here are six hobby holidays to inspire your next vacation.

For the plant lovers

Got more than a passing interest in kangaroo paws, wisteria and cherry blossom?

Renaissance Tours offers you the chance to indulge your plant passion with its range of tours to some of the world’s most beautiful public and private gardens.

Destinations include New Zealand, Japan, Scotland, Singapore, South Africa and our own Norfolk Island and country Victoria.

For the wellness seekers

Perfecting your downward dog doesn’t have to take place in a gym or indeed any kind of urban setting while rushed between appointments and engagements.

Combine yoga with a holiday in a stunning setting and you can enjoy a wide range of health benefits, from increased feelings of wellbeing to improved heart health.

The Inner Joy Retreat, by Happy Buddha Retreats, in the Blue Mountains, NSW, is a good example of what a yoga holiday can provide, offering both seasoned yogis and newcomers a chance to connect the mind and body with the environment around them.

The two-night packages include accommodation, meals and all workshops.

For the art enthusiasts

Unleash your inner Monet (or at least learn the tools to get started on your artistic journey) by booking an art retreat with Artable.

Led by accomplished artists, the multi-day tours take place in Australia and overseas, each one allowing you to hone your painting skills under your artist’s guidance, along with a little support from your fellow artists.

From a five-day Modern Impressionism Retreat in Tasmania with Colley Whisson to a 10-day Pastels in Greece Retreat on a Greek island with Liz Haywood-Sullivan, you simply choose the location and style of art you want to immerse yourself in and Artable will take care of the meals and accommodation.

For the foodies

Whether you are into cooking or eating or both, cooking vacations are the ultimate hobby holidays for culinary enthusiasts.

The perfect recipe for Aussie gourmands?

A Culinary Nomads Tour by Luxury Lodges of Australia, featuring a six to nine-night flexible itinerary tailored to your preferences.

It includes Cape Lodge in WA’s Margaret River, The Louise retreat in SA’s Barossa Valley, and Lake House in Victoria’s Daylesford.

Experiences include cooking classes, visits to cellars and farmers’ markets, and meals in highly regarded restaurants.

For those who would like a longer trip, tacking on a visit to Spicers Peak Lodge in Queensland’s Scenic Rim is not only possible, but recommended.

For the underwater explorers

Hobby holidays don’t get much better than hanging out with our gilled friends under the water.

While the Great Barrier Reef continues to advertise the lion’s share of diving and snorkelling holidays and tours, consider heading further afield to the remote Cocos (Keeling) Islands and/or Christmas Island for an underwater adventure of a lifetime. Australian Wildlife Journeys has a tour that takes in both destinations.

Christmas Island offers more than 60 dive sites to choose from, while Cocos (Keeling) Islands are known for an extensive range of coral and marine life.

Seven-night tours include accommodation, return airfares ex-Perth, transfers and dives.

For the photography appreciators

Some photography tours are better suited for amateurs, while others are geared towards semi-professionals.

Award-winning landscape photographer Mark Gray doesn’t specialise in one or the other, offering a large range of tours across the country, as well as New Zealand, Europe and the United Kingdom, for every kind of photographer.

Australian tour destinations include Uluru, the Great Barrier Reef, Kangaroo Island and the Great Ocean Road.

Overseas destinations include Iceland, England’s Lake District and Norway’s Lofoten Islands.

Tours include private tuition, extensive group photo critiquing and post-processing sessions, as well as transport, meals and accommodation.

Written by Dilvin Yasa.