My husband gave me a wellness retreat at Gwinganna Lifestyle Retreat for my 40th Birthday this year (I do not say that lightly; it was a HUGE deal for me, and I am extremely grateful for this BIG gift). This was, without doubt, the best gift I’ve ever received. Gwinganna was on my bucket list for a long time. I was delighted that my husband James noticed this. How could three days in a magical place without my children and total indulgence for myself not be incredible?
As soon as I got on the plane to fly from Sydney to Gold Coast, I knew I was in for a retreat. It was a novelty to travel without my two children under the age of four. For the first time in years, I was able to read my magazine cover-to-cover, gaze out the window, and daydream without interruption. I also arrived without being covered with food scraps, liquid spills, or baby vomit.
I digress, Gwinganna! We were picked up at the airport by a small group and taken to the magnificent south Queensland hinterland where Gwingana lived amongst 200 acres of rolling tropical terrain. Kay was a slim, radiant woman who radiated the words “I’m freakin healthy” all over her body. Kay’s age was unknown to me, but she appeared 10 or 15 years younger. I heard the words “I want what she is having” several times over that weekend.
Take a swim in the Gwinganna Pools.
The wellness weekend started with lunch, followed by an orientation and a stroll around the grounds. There was also a sunset stroll along one of many walking paths, followed by dinner before an early night to prepare for the 5 am start. This place is so amazing that I feel like I could write an entire book. I will move on to bullet points so you can have a quick overview of what a Gwinganna wellness weekend consists of.
Note: I am not affiliated with Gwinganna. (I wish I were J) This is a personal account of what I experienced at the retreat.
Who goes where?
- What I saw was mostly women, but there were some couples as well as a few males.
- Ages 25 to 65
- The majority of people arrived on their own, but we all came away knowing so many interesting and new people (which was something I loved most about it).
A Typical Gwinganna DayAt Gwinganna, everything is optional. If you want to spend the entire day by the pool, you can. But for me, the daily schedule and activities were a highlight. Mornings were hectic, and afternoons relaxed. Dreamtime was the name of the free afternoon time. This time was for reading, enjoying spa treatments, swimming in the infinity pools, relaxing in the crystal steam rooms, or doing whatever you liked.
Sunrise Qi Gong is a great way to start your day.
This is an example of a typical work schedule:
- 5:30 am – Wake up
- 6 am – Gong at sunrise (simply stunning)
- 6.45 am: A relaxed or moderate stroll through the extensive hiking trails
- Breakfast from 7.30 am to 9.30 am (you’re hungry at this point).
- Stretch Class (9 am) (similar to Yoga)
- 9:30 to 11 am – Scheduled activities, e.g., Dance, boxing, and aqua aerobics (both were excellent)
- 11 am – Morning Tea
- 11:30 am – Pillars of Wellness Seminar (will explain more).
- Lunch at 1 pm
- If you have booked treatments, you can do them at this time.
- Afternoon Tea – 4 pm
- Relaxation at 6 pm
- 7 pm – Dinner
Frittata for Breakfast
Breakfast frittata, anyone?
- I enjoyed every meal.
- Nutritionists and chefs can use these menus to help them with their work.
- Local, fresh, and organic
- All types of food requirements catered for
- Slow food is seasonal, local, organic, wholefood
- Favorite personal
Gwinganna offers the largest selection of spa treatments that I have seen on my retreats. Although it looks unassuming, the spa is actually one of the largest in the Southern Hemisphere, with 33 specially designed spa rooms. The hotel is beautifully designed, and the tropical native garden has been integrated into it. You feel as if you are entering a cocoon when you enter through the front door.
Both the selection and quality are excellent. Gwinganna’s treatments have won numerous spa awards. Examples of treatments include Live Blood Analysis and Nutrition Advice, Aloha Lomi Lomi ritual, Acupuncture facials, and a variety of massages.
What did I try?
I decided to try out two therapies, one that focused on my mind and the other on my body. I chose something that I would not have done anywhere else: Equine Therapy. It was definitely off the beaten track. Equine Therapy involves horses helping with therapy. Jane, an amazing physiotherapist, guided me through treatment. She integrated horses into treatment. (The exercise took place at a picturesque paddock in Gwinganna). We looked at behaviors and patterns that were no longer helpful and had become unconscious. The therapy was incredibly positive, emotional, and moving. The 80 minutes went by in a flash. This experience was so profound that I felt like I could have written an entire blog about it.
The Spirit of Sound was my second therapy. It was an award-winning Gwinganna treatment that was so relaxing and dreamy that I soaked it up. The Spirit of Sound massage is unique because it’s choreographed with tribal music. (The therapist would massage you in time to the music if that makes any sense.) Hawaiian Basalt Stones are also used to massage the body, and it feels divine. This ancient treatment is believed to awaken the psyche and cells by working on the meridians. For me, I must say that in the end, I felt deeply relaxed.
Nourishing Hub Wellness Weekend
- Beautiful, wholesome food prepared to the highest standards
- These are the lovely people I met on the weekend
- The breathtaking grounds
- Infinity pool with ocean view
- No wifi for the majority of the day!
- Award-winning spa treatments
- Equine Therapy
- Staff – they are all extremely well trained and pay attention to your needs