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The stresses of modern life fade away with a trip to one of the country’s best-known health retreats, I discovered during my weekend away.
Health retreats have come a long way in recent years. Boot camp clichés are firmly a thing of the past. Now, the old, young, health-conscious, and those not so health-conscious come together to take a step back from the everyday and recharge and restore.
One such retreat successfully refreshing souls for the last 15 years is Gwinganna Lifestyle Retreat in the Gold Coast’s Tallebudgera Valley. What began as one woman’s health journey has now extended to a multifunctional haven of well-being — and even brags to have the Southern Hemisphere’s largest spa — with countless awards to boot.
Several packages are available for visitors, including different accommodation styles, meaning your experience is fully customisable. My stay over a weekend in one of Gwinganna’s Wellness Suites was fabulous from start to finish. Take it from me: the luxurious finishings, amazing vistas, and the chorus of the forest each evening guarantees a rewarding, relaxing stay.
It doesn’t matter if you’re a health retreat newbie or a bona fide veteran, every touch point of your weekend has been made with you in mind — next to nothing is left to chance. Whatever way you choose to stay, the property is the epitome of blissfulness, with warbling birds and grazing wallabies around every corner.
So, what can you expect from a Wellness Weekend at Gwinganna Lifestyle Retreat? Here are my highlights from my stay:
As the sun’s first rays hit the escarpment at Gwinganna, you can’t help but feel some magic in the air. Daily happenings are split into Yin and Yang, the former underlined by slower and more functional movements, while the latter is more active and challenging.
Early mornings can be spent in many ways. How about one of 16 different sunrise hikes around the 200-hectare property? Or, if you’re feeling a little less active, a restorative Qi Gong session — an ancient Chinese active meditation — will leave your inner peace game strong. And the views from the plateau overlooking the Gold Coast and the Pacific Ocean? Stunning.
After breakfast, there’s yoga, pilates, dance classes to while away the morning. There’s also access to a host of other facilities including the ever-enticing infinity pool, fully equipped gym, and tennis courts. Go as fast or as slow as you feel — the choice is yours, after all.
Back to class? Not quite. These mid-morning masterclasses are facilitated by experts delivering informative and fun-filled sessions that are as engaging as they are educational. Topics covered include sugar consumption, alcohol intake, caffeine, sleep, and stress management. In my sessions I discovered the power of micro-adjustments on overall well-being, and rejoiced in the fact that these lifestyle changes aren’t actually as hard to implement as I originally thought.
Mealtimes are plentiful at Gwinganna, with a menu entirely dairy and gluten-free. For those who usually consume both, don’t worry, the food is incredibly delicious. An enlightening chat with Co-Head Chef Steven filled me in on Gwinganna’s cooking principles, based on the understanding that sculpting a diet rich in health benefits and nutritious fare doesn’t have to be difficult.
On the contrary, the ethos of all food here is embedded in the principles of S.L.O.W. Seasonal, meaning it’s fresh and in season; Local – quality food that hasn’t travelled huge distances; Organic – because there are enough chemicals in our lives; Whole foods – nothing processed, what you see is what you get. The result is delectable dishes across the board.
Naturally, apple cider vinegar shots are a morning favourite — they are optional, however. I was surprised by how much eating well over two days lifted my mood and energy levels — it was completely noticeable. Repeat after me: healthy living does not equate to bland food!
After a beautiful lunch, it’s time for some self-care. In the Gwinganna Spa, a plethora of treatments are available, meaning there’s always something for everyone — and in most cases, there are multiple things! Across 33 rooms, this incredible venue calms the mind with an elevated outdoor deck overlooking the verdant native forest. During your session, your therapist will meet you and lead you across raised wooden walkways while discussing what you’d like to achieve from your treatment.
I opted for the Dermal Purification Facial and felt like a new man. Natural clarifying and anti-congestion ingredients will do that for you! Another Gwinganna Spa favourite includes the Lymphatic Drainage Massage, a considered approach to encourage drainage of lymph nodes.This treatment is great for post-surgery recovery and alleviating fluid retention. This whole process organically removes waste products from the body and is excellent for detoxification.
Of course, many can’t look past the Hawaiian Bodywork treatment; a robust rhythm-based massage where the therapist uses hands and forearms to shift physical and emotional tension. Often multiple body parts will be touched at once, helping lower blood pressure and improve circulation, flexibility and immune response. Whichever treatment you choose, just know that you’ll be in great hands.
After my rejuvenating Spa session, all there was left to do was slip on my robe, sip some tea, and Zen hard. This is Gwinganna Lifestyle Retreat, after all.
Your own rejuvenating stay at Gwinganna Lifestyle Retreat awaits. Find out more about this beautiful Gold Coast getaway at Destination Gold Coast.