Vanuatu retreat

Sunset over a calm lagoon

Imagine doing tai chi and qigong in this tranquil paradise. This is our magical retreat location at sunset. Wow.

This retreat took place in May 2023. Planning is underway for another retreat, which is likely to be in 2025.

Please text or phone Jocelyn Watkin on 027 493 9851 to have a kōrero (chat) about any of her other retreats, classes, courses or workshops. Alternatively, please use the Contact Form to get in touch with her.

Details of the Vanuatu retreat in May 2023 to stress less and live best with Kia Ora Tai Chi

Where: Paradise Cove Resort, Vanuatu

If you are tired of feeling stressed or sick of being tired, or if you want to sample the legendary health benefits that tai chi and qigong can offer, then this retreat is for you.

Testimonial: Jocelyn makes tai chi such an enjoyable experience! She makes everyone feel welcome, no matter what age or level of experience. I love Jocelyn’s humour and her patience too. Tai chi has helped me focus on my breathing and posture. I feel invigorated after each session.”  (Cynthia, February 2020)

You can discover the secret of having more energy and reducing stress by joining me, (Jocelyn Watkin), for eight days/seven nights in the tropical paradise of Vanuatu. You’ll learn easy and flowing tai chi and qigong to help you to:

Woman taking a deep breath on a beach at sunset

  • breathe your way to better health
  • calm your mind to relieve anxiety and worry
  • tap into the Chinese Five Elements to get even more amazing health and energy benefits from your qigong and tai chi.
  • understand the techniques and skills that really work for you, which you can use to feel more energised, less tired and to manage stress long-term, once you return home.


There’ll be plenty of “you time” to re-discover your inner paradise, too. Visualise this – after a short flight from New Zealand (just over three hours) you could be:

  • soaking up the sun on the powdery white sands
  • bathing or snorkelling in the turquoise waters of the lagoon
  • lolling in a shaded hammock, swaying in the fragrant island breeze that gently sighs through the palm trees.
Hammock slung between shady trees on a white sand beach

One of the hammocks at Paradise Cove Resort. The perfect place for reading or maybe a somnolent snooze?

And, that’s just the arrival day!  You can do more of this on other days. Imagine your first full day:

  • Wake up to a tropical continental breakfast with yummy cereals, toasted breads, melt-in-your-mouth croissants, fresh juices and a platter of delicious tropical fruits. (Vegetarian, vegan, gluten free or lactose free diets can be catered for)
  • After breakfast, relax and enjoy health-giving, stress-busting tai chi and qigong in a shady, thatched beach fare. You’ll be with a small group of other learners and led by a fully-qualified instructor. Yep, that’s me (Jocelyn Watkin).
  • The afternoon is free to:
    • Explore the island.
    • Chill out in the on-site swimming pool or the lagoon with its private coral beach.
    • Check out the fantastic snorkelling by wading into the soothing lagoon waters. Or, maybe take an exhilarating leap from the jetty?
    • Take a relaxing zzzz in your own deluxe villa with its delightful mix of Melanesian architecture and European style. Each villa is set in a lush tropical garden and there are just 10 villas in total to ensure peace and quiet.
    • Lounge with a good book in a deck chair under the palm trees or maybe while gently swaying in a hammock.
  • Late afternoon, you can saunter into the on-site bar and restaurant (The Nakamal) for a cool drink of deliciousness and lazily watch the sun go down.
  • You can choose to be on your own or in the company of like-minded others for the afternoons and evenings.
  • Delectable and scrumptious lunches, dinners and snacks can be purchased at the on-site Nakamal. Or, you can choose to prepare and cook your own meals in your own villa’s kitchenette. (Please bring or buy your own ingredients).
  • After gazing at sunsets and later the millions of stars twinkling overhead, you can amble back to your comfy, private villa and sink into a blissful sleep, lulled by the soft whisper of the lagoon waters.
Sunset sky reflected in the calm waters of a tropical lagoon

Fabulous sunsets at Paradise Cove Resort

Sounds divine! Tell me more

This retreat is for you if you are any of the following:

  • Working or retired.
  • Are sick of feeling tired, or are at the end of your tether and want stress relief that really works.
  • Curious about the stress relief and other amazing health and energising benefits of tai chi and qigong that you’ve heard about and want to sample these for yourself.

The Stress Less, Live Best Retreat is ideal for beginners as well as tai chi and/or qigong students who want to grow and develop their knowledge.

You need to be aged 18+ to participate.

Testimonial: “Thank you so much for your lovely tai chi classes. The feeling I get is of empowerment and understanding of how we can use our body to help in our daily life.” (Caroline, January 2020

What’s happening, when and where?

  • Saturday 20 to Saturday 27 May 2023, at Vanuatu.
  • 8 days/7 nights at the intimate Paradise Cove Resort, which has just five 1-bedroom and five 2-bedroom villas.
  • 4 sessions of health-giving, energising qigong and tai chi with a qualified instructor. Each session will be for 3 hours and numbers will be limited to a maximum of 14 participants.
  • All of this is just a short flight from Auckland to Port Vila, Vanuatu.

New registrations for 2025 (all in $NZ) and still be confirmed.  Prices, when available, will be in $NZ (New Zealand dollars)

  • 1-bedroom villa: Estimated $xxxx* per person, share twin (note: there is only one queen-sized bed in the 1-bedroom villas so this accommodation is better suited to a solo traveller or a couple). Plus: return airfare and any PayPal and credit card fees.
  • 1-bedroom villa, single occupancy: Estimated $xxxx + estimated $690 (single supplement) = $xxxx*. Plus: return airfare and any PayPal and credit card fees
  • 2-bedroom villa: $xxxx* per person, share twin. Plus: return airfare and any PayPal and credit card fees.
  • 2-bedroom villa, single occupancy: $xxxx + estimated $690 (single supplement) = $xxxx*. Plus: return airfare and any PayPal and credit card fees.
  • Payment will be made to Kia Ora Tai Chi, by online banking from a New Zealand bank account (without surcharge) or by PayPal, MasterCard or Visa, which will incur a surcharge of 3.5% to 4%.
  • Please arrange and pay for your own return airfare to Vanuatu. i.e. through your own travel agent or online with Air Vanuatu. Note: your travel agent or Air Vanuatu could charge credit card fees.

*Until paid in full by the participant, events beyond our control such as currency exchange rate fluctuations, pandemics, changes in airline ticket prices and surcharges, or changes in the costs of services or facilities may result in variations to the estimated price.

Please contact Kia Ora Tai Chi to arrange your payment by using the contact form on the Kia Ora Tai Chi website:

Please note that all payments are non-refundable after 1st March 2023.

In special circumstances a refund or partial refund may be offered after 1st March 2023. Please refer to the 2022/2023 Kia Ora Tai Chi Tours and Retreats Terms and Conditions for the full cancellation policy. This can be requested using the contact form on the Kia Ora Tai Chi website:

Flights to/from Vanuatu: In 2023, Air Vanuatu is the only airline that flies direct from Auckland to Port Vila and ONLY on Wednesdays and Saturdays. If you are flying from Auckland, please book these flights with Air Vanuatu:

These are the flights for May 2023

  • To Vanuatu: Saturday 20 May, 2023: Leaving Auckland International Airport at 12.10pm, arriving at Bauerfield International Airport, Port Vila, at 14.25 (3 hours, 15 minutes flying time)
  • From Vanuatu: Saturday 27 May, 2023: Leaving Bauerfield International Airport (Port Vila) at 7am, arriving Auckland International Airport at 11.10am (3 hours, 10 minutes flying time)

 What is included in the price (once paid in full)?

  • Transfers to/from Paradise Cove Resort from/to Bauerfield International Airport, Port Vila, if travelling on the same Air Vanuatu flights from and to Auckland as listed above. (To Vanuatu on Saturday 20 May and from Vanuatu on Saturday 27 May).
  • 7 nights’ accommodation in a luxurious villa at Paradise Cove Resort.
  • 7 luscious, tropical breakfasts at Paradise Cove Resort.
  • Four 3-hour group sessions of in-depth tai chi and qigong with a focus on how to reduce stress and live best
  • Snorkelling gear, reef shoes, kayaks and stand-up paddle boards.
  • Mountain bikes to explore the area.
  • Wi-Fi in the restaurant area at Paradise Cove Resort.

 Yes, I’m in. Sign me up

View from the shady trees and out over the turquoise lagoon

The glorious Paradise Cove Resort

What is NOT included in the price?

  • Return air fares to/from Vanuatu
  • All meals (other than breakfast at Paradise Cove Resort)
  • Note: Paradise Cove has a bar and restaurant on site (The Nakamal) where you can buy your own delicious lunches, dinners, snacks and drinks. The chefs aim for the best blend of Melanesian and Mediterranean cuisine. They can provide special dietary meals, such as vegetarian, vegan, gluten free or lactose free. Should you want to prepare your own meals, you can bring your own ingredients or buy locally as there is a kitchenette in your villa. This has tea/coffee facilities, fridge, freezer, gas stove and a microwave.
  • Sunset drinks and all alcohol.
  • All other drinks (other than the juice that is served with breakfast)
  • Any additional activities and tours while in Vanuatu, including a possible group outing.
  • Personal travel insurance (compulsory). Please ensure your travel insurance includes cover if you are diagnosed with Covid-19 before, during travel and during the retreat.
  • All personal items, such as laundry, souvenirs and shopping, etc
  • Credit card surcharges when paying the price of the retreat.
  • Any Visitor Visa fees that apply.

Visa entry requirements

Currently, (as at May 2023) Vanuatu Government requirements, citizens from New Zealand, Australia and UK (and many other countries as listed by the government), can obtain a Visitor Visa on arrival providing you meet the conditions on entry for the visitor visa. For more information, please check the Vanuatu Government’s website on their visa requirements:

Please note that visa requirements may change before we arrive. We will advise up-to-date requirements closer to the departure date, but it is the responsibility of the retreat participant to check and follow visa entry requirements and to ensure your passport is valid. Your passport must have at least six months validity, from your last day in Vanuatu.

I’m all good with that. I want to RSVP.

Comfy cane chairs and tables in an open-sided tropical, thatched-roof building

The Nakamal restaurant and bar at Paradise Cove Resort

What is Vanuatu like? Vanuatu is a string of island pearls glistening in the South Pacific. It is between three to 3.5 hours flying time from Auckland but years away from the stress of everyday life. The name Vanuatu means “Our Land Forever” in many of the local Melanesian languages. The capital, largest city and commercial centre is Port Vila, which is on the island of Éfaté.

Aerial view of turquoise lagoon waters with coral reef, white sandy beach and shady trees

Fantastic snorkelling at Paradise Cove Resort

What sort of paradise will we be staying at? Paradise Cove Resort is a lush tropical paradise on the South shore of Mele Bay, which is about 15 minutes drive from Port Vila. Your accommodation will be a self-contained, gloriously-private and luxurious villa. The beach and fringing reef at the resort has a rich variety of marine life. This means fantastic snorkelling straight from the beach or off the jetty. The resort also has a swimming pool.

Weather in Vanuatu: In May, the average temperatures are balmy and range from 21 to 28°C, which will be a welcome relief from the rain and cold of New Zealand at that time. Should you need it, the villas have air conditioning in the bedrooms and a ceiling fan in main part of the villa.

Vanuatu sounds ‘vantastic’!  I’m ready to go.


More about the qigong and tai chi sessions on Vanuatu

Person doing tai chi on the beach at sunset. One hand appears to capture the sun just as it is setting.According to traditional Chinese medicine (TCM), everything in the universe, including us humans, is made by five elements: earth, metal, water, wood and fire.

You will learn the 5-Element Qigong at this retreat. It appears simple but it is a powerful exercise and breathing programme that harmonises those five elements within you. It is especially effective for increasing energy levels, improving health and managing stress.

“Qi” (pronounced ‘chee’) is the life energy inside a person that circulates throughout the body to provide inner strength and maintain good health. The word can also mean “life force”, “breath” or “oxygen”.  According to TCM, the stronger qi you have, the healthier and stronger you are.

“Gong” translates as “method”, “skill of” or “exercise”. Qigong is a skilled exercise which will help you to get more oxygen and life energy.

At the retreat, you will also learn a unique set of tai chi movements that are designed to relax, refresh and revitalise you.

Qigong and tai chi are natural exercises that are in harmony with nature. They are good for your body as well as your mind, and are helpful at reducing stress. There are no pills, no jabs and we don’t tell you what you can or can’t eat or drink.

This is what you’ll learn at the Stress Less and Live Best Retreat:

  • 5-Element Qigong and tai chi for better health and rejuvenation. This will be easy-to-learn and is especially effective for improving overall well-being and to release stress and anxiety.
  • How to calm and clear your mind so you can learn how to relax and feel refreshed and revitalised.
  • How to breathe your way to better health.
  • How to use qigong and tai chi to feel more energised, bust stress and live best once you return home.

Here’s a ‘sneak preview’ of some of the qigong you’ll learn in Vanuatu. This lovely movement is called “Palm tree swaying in the breeze”:

 I need to Stress Less and Live Best.  Count me in.

Retreat leader and qigong & tai chi instructor

Jocelyn Watkin has helped people of all ages and abilities to reduce stress and improve their overall health, fitness, balance and well-being with qigong and tai chi since 2003.

She is the founder and director of Kia Ora Tai Chi with extensive experience in teaching qigong and tai chi face-to-face or online for regular weekly classes, workshops and retreats, at schools, a medical centre and a retirement village.

Testimonial: “We think you are a great teacher and inspire the people you are working with.” (Ken and Ann, February 2020)

She is registered as a group exercise (with own choreography) contractor with the New Zealand Register of Exercise Professionals (REPs), which is the recognised quality mark throughout Aotearoa/New Zealand. She is approved as a strength and balance group exercise provider with the Accident Compensation Commission and has numerous tai chi and qigong instructor qualifications. She also has a New Zealand Diploma of Teaching.

Jocelyn invites you to join her in paradise to learn specially-designed, stress-busting tai chi and qigong to help you to live calmer, stronger and healthier.

Testimonial: “I really enjoyed your style, Jocelyn. Friendly, caring, informative and non-judgemental. You made me feel relaxed and welcome. Thank you.” (Participant in the Stardome mini-retreat, March 2022)

Covid-19 requirements for 2023

All participants will need to abide by Air Vanuatu and the Vanuatu Government’s health advice and regulations as they apply in May 2023. There are also additional requirements, which have been set by Kia Ora Tai Chi, operators of facilities and services for the retreat in Vanuatu. The current requirements (as at March 2023) include the following.

  • If you are Covid-19 positive before you leave your home country, you will not be able to attend this retreat until you test negative.
  • Any participant who tests positive for COVID-19 while in Vanuatu (or who develops symptoms of COVID-19 and cannot get tested) is required to isolate for seven days or until a negative test. You will not be able to join in with any retreat activities during your isolation period or socialise with other retreat participants.
  • Isolation can be undertaken in hotels and resorts of your choosing and at your own cost.
  • Medical care should be sought if there are any danger signs or if symptoms have not improved within 5 days.
  • You will need to pay all medical expenses in Vanuatu for any ailments and injuries, including COVID-19.
  • A negative RAT test is required 24 hours before departure from your own country (this can be your own test; it does not need to be supervised).
  • There is no requirement for international travellers to Vanuatu to quarantine or be tested upon arrival if there are no symptoms and there has been no recent exposure to COVID-19.
  • Full vaccination against Covid-19 is encouraged but not required.
  • Wearing of face masks is encouraged on flights, during travel and at Vanuatu airport but not required.
  • All participants at this retreat may be required to wear a mask for all indoor retreat sessions and also when on shared transport in Vanuatu with other retreat participants, unless an official mask exemption is provided.
  • Please be aware these requirements could change on or before your arrival in Vanuatu and all travellers and retreat participants must abide by the laws, rules and requirements that apply at that time.

Jocelyn Watkin and any assistant instructors for this retreat have been fully vaccinated for Covid-19, including with all boosters.

Cancellation Policy on payments made by participants

  • On or after 1st March 2023, all payments become non-refundable
  • Please refer to the 2022/2023 Kia Ora Tai Chi Tours and Retreats Terms and Conditions for the full cancellation policy. This can be requested using the contact form on the Kia Ora Tai Chi website:

To find out more or to sign up for the Stress Less, Live Best Retreat in Vanuatu in 2023, please use the contact form on the Kia Ora Tai Chi website:

“To be comfortable in the cold, keep moving; to be comfortable in the heat, hold still; to be comfortable in the world, stay calm and clear.”

(Extract from Chapter 34 of the “Dao de Jing” by Laozi (aka: “Tao te Ching” by Lao Tzu). Translated by Ursula K Le Guin.)

Woman slumped at a work desk with a dream cloud above her head of palm trees, sunshine and jandals

Stress relieving tai chi and qigong on a tropical island. Don’t just dream about it.

I invite you to join me in paradise: