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The ultimate dog-friendly escape

Updated: Mar 16

Holidays can be tricky when you’re a dog owner. Should you organise a pet-sitter? Send your dog to a boarding kennel? Call in a favour with friends and family?


It would be so much easier if you could just take your dog with you. After all, dogs are part of the family, their dogs are their fur babies. You wouldn’t leave your baby at home alone, would you?


Revitalise Escapes founder Jo Surkitt has come up with a solution for dog-lovers and their pets: The Off the Leash Doggy Wellness Retreat.


Jo says that a lot of people are needing a break but they don’t know what to do with their dog if they go away.


“I created this retreat because every single dog owner I know struggles with finding pet-

friendly activities and accommodation. It’s been a tough couple of years and people are wanting to get away but they don’t want to leave their pups at home. Some dogs have become so used to having their humans around 24/7 that their owners are genuinely concerned about separation anxiety if they go away.”


According to the national Pets in Australia survey conducted by Animal Medicines Australia, over a third of Australians have a pet and over 60 per cent of dog owners refer to their pet as part of the family. Around 25 per cent of these owners won’t leave home without their pet and this same survey found that the number one reason people avoided getting a dog was organising care for them if they wanted to go away.

Jo says, “With 90 per cent of survey respondents saying that their pets have a very positive impact on their lives, it seems crazy to exclude pets on a retreat that is geared towards wellness, relaxation and joy - the very things our pets give us.”

The new escape welcomes small groups to the Freshwater Creek Cottages, a retreat located on a 50 acre property near the beach.

Dog owners will be treated to everything from massages, reflexology, sound healing, clay classes and unique healing sessions, while dogs enjoy grooming sessions and treatments like pet osteopathy, massage and reiki.


There will be a live art therapy or drawing session where dog owners can immerse themselves in creative drawing, mindful walking with dogs, morning yoga, tai chi and meditation sessions, as well as wellness sessions on topics like health and wellbeing, sleep and managing stress.


“The beauty of this retreat is not only that you will be in lush green countryside near the

Great Ocean Road staying in cosy, yet spacious cabins with open fires; it’s that your dog is 100 per cent welcome. There are no restrictions. Everything is pooch-safe so there’s nothing they can chew or ingest that will harm them. The accommodation is pet-friendly. The activities are designed with dogs in mind and the surf beach is dog-friendly so you don’t have to worry about upsetting anyone. You don’t have to bring everything for your dog if you don’t want to - we take care of everything from food to tennis balls,” says Jo.

Guests have access to bicycles, surfboards, tennis racquets and other sporting items, and the cottages are a 15-minute drive to the beach. The property features 20 acres of farmland with sheep, cows and pigs and, in the evening, a mob of kangaroos comes down to graze near the cottages. The cottages sleep between 2-6 people so singles, couples, adult families and friends are all welcome.


“Imagine being able to rest and rejuvenate with your best mate by your side in one of the most beautiful places on the planet. Complete freedom combined with total relaxation and fun. Isn’t that what we all need right now?” says Jo.


Does this sound like your dream escape? Click here for more information.




















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