From the massive landmass of Australia to the islands of New Zealand, the South Pacific has many unique botanicals that are found nowhere else on earth. With their active lifestyles and increased sun exposure, Aussie’s and Kiwi’s understand the power of nature—as travelling skincare enthusiasts will quickly learn. So, the next time you’re Down Under, give your skin a break from surfing or trekking through the bush to explore some of the region’s top beauty products and wellness experiences.
Top Skincare Products
Known the world over for using only the purest natural ingredients, Jurlique has its own biodynamic farm in South Australia where it grows 35 varieties of plants and flowers for its products. The company has its own boutiques in major Australian cities, many of which offer spa treatments; visitors will find Jurlique prices much more affordable than they are stateside. Learn more.
Mecca Cosmetica’s 25 stores in Australia and New Zealand provide a steady source of cutting edge makeup, skincare, and fragrance lines to beauty junkies in the Southern Hemisphere. Stop by for an in-store skincare consultation, makeup lesson, or personal fragrance analysis. They even offer telephone consultations. Learn more.
Originally created in Australia—but now based in the U.S.—Hissyfit was inspired to produce superior sun protection products to fight the increased exposure to light from the hole in the ozone layer. Today, the line is helmed by creative director and Oprah’s long-time makeup artist Reggie Wells, and features cosmetic and skincare solutions. Among the standouts: The easy-to-use Clockpot color palettes and Saving Face Foundation-Highlighter with SPF 50. Learn more.
The products in this range of hair, skin, and spa treatments contain native ingredients sourced directly from a consortium of Aboriginal tribes, plus they are not tested on animals. Try the Align Facial Elixir with lemon myrtle and hematite to treat acne and even out skin tone, the Macadamia Facial Hydrating Cream, or the Quandong Hair Mask that is made from native Australian peaches. Learn more.
When the founder of Rationale was unable to find skincare products that worked with his skin type, he decided to study cosmetic chemistry and create his own line. Today, Rationale can be found in dermatologist and plastic surgeons’ offices across Australia. Among the standout products are the Preparatory Cleanser, a rich cream that can be rinsed or tissued-off depending on your skin’s level of dryness, and the Skin Refining Serum that smoothes the skin’s tone and texture with both alpha and beta hydroxyl acids. Learn more.
Developed by cosmetic physician Dr. Geoff Heber, Ultraceuticals features a wide array of fragrance-free products, making them ideal for sensitive skin. Harnessing the power of patented delivery systems and effective formulations of anti-aging vitamin A, vitamin C, and alpha hydroxyl acids, Ultraceuticals regularly receives beauty awards in Australia and New Zealand. Look for the Daily Protective Moisturiser SPF 30+, Ultra Moisturiser Eye Cream, and Ultra C Facial Cream 23%. Learn more.
Lucas’ Pawpaw Ointment
Australians swear by this stuff, created more than 100 years ago by Australian botanist T.P. Lucas from the fruit of the pawpaw tree—that’s Australian for papaya. The antibacterial ointment works wonders on everything from chapped lips and bug bites to sunburn and diaper rash. Learn more.
The key ingredient in this eponymous skincare line is honey from the manuka bush, found only in a few areas of New Zealand. Research suggests that manuka honey has antibacterial properties up to 100 times greater than other types of honey, so be sure stock up while you are in the area. Learn more.
Top Wellness Experiences
For green guilt-free pampering, you can’t beat the iKOU Day Spa in Leura, located about an hour and a half west of Sydney in the Blue Mountains, where the energy is sustainable and even the beds are made of recycled material. The company recently opened a second location in Sydney’s Paddington neighborhood, but if you can’t make it to the spas, you can still shop online for iKOU’s signature lined of organic skincare, perfume, and eco-friendly housewares. Learn more.
Daintree Eco Lodge and Spa
Nestled deep in the 135 million-year-old Daintree rainforest of Queensland, the site of the Daintree Eco Lodge is known to the area’s indigenous peoples as Wawu-Karrba, or "healing of the spirit." The Daintree’s spa integrates Aboriginal medicine and spirituality into its services, including the signature Walbul-Walbul treatment—a warm oil massage, desert salt exfoliation and mud treatment with water from the property’s on-site waterfall. The Daintree also uses rainforest water and ochre mud in its Daintree Essentials product line for face, hair, and body. Learn more. See Fodor’s hotel review.
Hepburn Springs and Daylesford
About an hour north of Melbourne, the resort towns of Hepburn Springs and Daylesford are home to Australia’s highest concentration of natural mineral springs. A plethora of spas can be found here, where visitors can sample treatments that harness the area’s calcium, iron, sulphur, and magnesium-rich waters. Learn more about Daylesford and two favorites, the Hepburn Bathhouse and Spa and Shizuka Ryokan.
Gaia Retreat & Spa
High in the hills above laid-back Byron Bay, the Gaia Day Spa at the Gaia Retreat is the place to go for haute hippie pampering. After a Bay Sea Salt and Mineral Polish or Lymphatic Drainage Massage, show off your glowing skin over an organic vegetarian lunch at Gaia’s tasty Kukura House restaurant.Learn more. http://www.gaiaretreat.com.au/
Day Spa Sydney at the Observatory Hotel
Join stressed out Sydneysiders as they unwind with a four-hand massage or caviar body treatment at this ultra-luxe city retreat. The spa uses its own hand-blended Observatory Hotel signature range as well as some La Prairie products. See Fodor’s hotel review. http://www.fodors.com/world/australia-and-the-pacific/australia/sydney/review-41122.html
For pure indulgence, try the Rotorua Mud Body Polish at the award-winning Polynesian Spa overlooking New Zealand’s gorgeous Lake Rotorua. Or just relax in one of the spa’s many soothing outdoor alkaline mineral pools. See Fodor’s spa review.