Instead of surrounded by toys and toddler ephemera. Although it is quiet here today, so there’s that.
Back in September, I went to the ProBlogger conference on the Gold Coast. Surrounding that weekend was a bunch of cool tourism-related fun outings for bloggers to experience and share with all of you. I clicked the box marked “Gwinganna” when it came time for me to choose, and crossed my fingers I’d be picked. I don’t think there’s anywhere in Australia that I wanted to go more at that time than here. Oh my lordy, it is Veggie Mama all rolled up and packed prettily with pastel linen in an eco-friendly and sustainably-sourced post-consumer-waste cardboard box.
What’s not to like from a Lifestyle retreat, though, really. The carefully-prepared organic food from five-star chefs? The luxurious digs (I didn’t get to see them, but I’m going to hazard a guess they’re amazing)? The first-class spa treatments? The organic garden? The activities? The quiet? You could give me one of those things and I’d be happy, let alone a whole weekend full of them.
We were only there for a few hours though, long enough to take a tour around the property, learn about the history of the place, see all the amenities, and want to get in the chemical-free infinity pool. Oh my.
And one of the coolest things is that the main buildings in the “village” are all heritage buildings from around the area, painstakingly rebuilt and looked after here. It is amazing. Gwinganna is the only eco-certified health retreat in Australia and New Zealand, working toward best practice in sustainability. They have an extensive environmental impact program in place, including energy efficiency, water treatment and recycling, and a commitment to only using organic produce and skin care. Recycled timbers are sourced from woolstores and wharves for all new buildings.
The winner of countless awards (for real, they even won more the night before we got there), Gwinganna specialises in stress management, lifestyle, and health education. They focus on rest, recharge and rejuvenation, and a few friends have even found their lives totally change after they’ve spent some time here, digging down deep into what makes them happy and what they want out of life. It’s hard not to leave here with a new state of mind and a solemn vow to eat kale and do yoga every day. After our tour and information session (with a wholesome snack of herbal tea and a crunchy fresh apple), we made our way down to the spa for morning tea and treatments. Oh how I love treatments. I was only distracted from the excitement at what lay ahead by this impressive spread of healthy eats. Wanna know what we had? Of course you do!
Avocado citrus smoothie
Chilled cucumber soup with tomato salsa
Togarashi tuna roll with daikon and sesame (didn’t try this, obviously, but others loved it)
Mushroom pate (oh mah gawwwd!)
Raw date and almond slice
And then we were whisked away for our amazing spa experience. I was SO lucky to enjoy the Rockupuncture treatment – a cool fusion of Japanese-style acupuncture and hot stone therapy. The divine Keri (who just radiated peace and calm) asked me a few questions as to what my days are like (hello breastfeeding mother of two toddlers who gets 0% sleep), and set straight to work. I’d been ill with sinus issues a few weeks before, and had one pocket just behind my eyebrow that wouldn’t clear. The very second the needle went in over the top, it cleared the sinus in one go! I’m no stranger to acupuncture, but even I was surprised at that. The rest of the time was spent laying with the needles in and hot rocks on top of those, laying in full relaxed state. THEN Keri came back and did a massage. I pretty much floated into the stratosphere at that point.
The aim of Rockupuncture is to deliver a lush spa therapy (it succeeds!) customised to individual needs. The restorative multi-level treatment can assist in developing greater resilience, is calm and soothing, and unique in its ability to activate the sympathetic nervous system. It is used to treat adrenal fatigue, stress, anxiety, emotional issues, sleep disturbance, pain, and debilitating exhaustion (hi). It will leave you feeling nurtured, restored and nourished. Like, totally nurtured, I felt like I wanted to sit in Keri’s lap and have her stroke my hair, she had such a caring vibe. Like I was SO important.
My second-favourite thing was getting to see the organic garden, and meeting Shelley, the gardener. She was an absolute hoot! She knew everything there was to know, and taught us so much in the short amount of time we got to know her. The love for her garden is so evident, and she takes such pride in her work.
She took us through the herb garden, stopping to pull off parts of plants and insisting we smell it or try it, and gave us a few uses for each one off the top of her head. I wanted to pump her for information about everything, and I bet if she had the time, she would have talked all day. When we left, she had slipped a couple of pages of notes in our bags, outlining medicinal herbal remedies, simple ways to use herbs, and a super-useful planting guide. The fruit, veggies and herbs in the garden all end up on the plates at Gwinganna, and their food philosophy is to take good, fresh produce and do very little to it. Everything is minimally processed, sourced locally (if not on-site) and has a true nourishment focus. You can even download an eBook of their recipes here. Our last stop for the day was to do Qi Gong in the pavilion, something that they thoroughly recommend you do at the absolute crack of dawn. It was so nice to stand there in the cool breeze, eyes closed, feet firmly on the floor, doing the gentle movements. There are a few activities that Gwinganna offers, from yoga to swimming and even hikes around the beautiful Gold Coast hinterland. I wanted to do one of everything.So you want to go, right? Yeah, me too! Whether you send yourself or someone else, it is a wonderful gift to give for Christmas or birthdays, and can really be life-changing. If you want to know more, you can find the website here , and accommodation packages here. They range from two days to a week (hi again). They’ve got some specialty stay packages, and even 20% off for Christmas! Gwinganna is only 30 minutes drive from the Gold Coast airport, yet it feels a world away from anywhere. Just how I like it. And if you want a little glimpse of the luxury and rejuvenation for yourself, they have an online store of their products and books here. I thoroughly recommend both the tea and the Organic Food for Children cookbook.
Oh take me back!