Mount View

Reading Retreats Australia

Relaxing with a good book is your only priority at a reading retreat

Do you ever feel like you don’t get enough time to simply curl up with a good book? It’s so easy to get distracted, or to feel like you just can’t get into the story. 

Enter: Reading Retreats Australia, AKA a bibliophile’s dream.

Started by two well-known faces on the Newcastle book scene – Katie Bleus and Emily Devine of Betty Loves Books – Reading Retreats Australia is exactly what the name describes: a retreat dedicated solely to reading.

reading retreats australia hunter valley
Reading Retreats Australia founders Emily Devine & Katie Bleus

Well, there’s more to it than that (Katie and Emily’s retreats feature plenty of pampering), but the crux of a reading retreat is to getaway and have reading be your one and only priority. 

The pair were inspired to start their own reading retreats after seeing similar getaways available in the UK, and realising there was no such thing for book lovers like them in Australia.

reading retreats australia hunter valley

With the Hunter Valley on their doorstep and a bookstore at their disposal, the pieces of the puzzle came together and Reading Retreats Australia was born.

So, what can you actually expect on a reading retreat?

“It’s all-inclusive, you don’t have to lift a finger. From the moment you arrive to the moment you leave, your time is completely yours to read and relax,” Katie said.

reading retreats australia hunter valley

We’re talking a cosy house with heaps of space for reading (and lots of fireplaces to snuggle up next to), chef-prepared meals, lush grounds to explore, plenty of tea, coffee, and snacks, and a welcome gift bag including books from your bespoke reading prescription by Katie and Emily.

reading retreats australia hunter valley

The prescription is based on a survey guests complete before the retreat, and can be taken to the weekend away and beyond.

“You can bring along a book to the reading retreat or you can come along and be surprised by what we recommend specifically for you… Everyone will get a reading prescription and people can take it home, laminate it, take it to bookstores, and keep it with them as a guide to what they might enjoy.”

reading retreats australia hunter valley

The days are punctuated by delicious meals by Hot Luck Kitchen, wine thanks to Briar Ridge Vineyard and beer courtesy of IronBark Hill Brewhouse, but whether guests want to enjoy them solo or together is up to them.

“If someone doesn’t necessarily want to have a group dinner, which is something we offer on both nights, they don’t have to. We can serve them in a different part of the house, or they can have it in their room.”

reading retreats australia hunter valley

This way, if you need to totally decompress and have some quality alone time, you can, or if you’re feeling social, you’re able to chat with other people who have similar interests. Or, you can simply be around others in companionable silence.

“There’s something really special about being able to read quietly in company and not feel the pressure to be social or talk.”

Want to book a retreat for yourself? Reading Retreats Australia only has a couple of rooms left for its July and October retreats this year, but make sure you keep an eye out for future dates.

Photography: Lee Illfield

Reading Retreats Australia