If you love someone, send them to Gwinganna Lifestyle Retreat

As I write this, I am sipping a cup of Gwinganna’s signature tea, hand crafted using premium Australian lemon myrtle and aniseed myrtle. For a moment, I can imagine I’m back here:gwinganna gwinganna-2

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.

gwinganna-4Everywhere was so quiet, so peaceful, so relaxing. It’s all open to the air and the breeze and the good vibes, and so close to the beautiful wildlife you could almost reach out and touch it.
gwinganna-5 gwinganna-6

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-7 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.gwinganna-8 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!gwinganna-9


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)

Quinoa sushi

Mushroom pate (oh mah gawwwd!)

Vegetarian frittata


Raw date and almond slice

Tahini balls


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.gwinganna-14 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.gwinganna-15So 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!

*I was a guest at Gwinganna Lifestyle Retreat thanks to Gwinganna and Tourism and Events Queensland. I’m going to marry you all.

Made a Veggie Mama recipe for yourself? I'd love to see it! tag #veggiemamafood on social media and let me know!
  • PhemiEology

    *sighs wistfully*.. its 12 degrees in Melbourne right now
    (2.5 weeks off summer might I add!)… and these are the things I miss about
    being a Queensland gal… and yet I never managed to go here when I lived there
    *double wistful sigh*…

    • http://www.theveggiemama.com Veggie Mama

      What even… Melbourne! come on now. 12? Yeouch.

  • http://www.woogsworld.com/ Mrs Woog

    I went years ago and had the most amazing time. Longing to go back. And I will marry them all as well xx

    • http://www.theveggiemama.com Veggie Mama

      Imagine how beautiful and lovely and well-catered our wedding will be :)

  • http://Ancientwisdomformodernwellness.com/ Keri Krieger

    Hello beautiful Stacey! I am so super glad you had an amazing time. So touched by your lovely words! Gwinganna is such a special place. I work with the coolest people! I didn’t want to be a nerdy gusher at the time but I do love reading your blog. Your sense of humour makes me laugh out loud ALL the time! Your stuff has been super inspiring as I set up my own ‘proper’ blog recently ((ancientwisdomformodernwellness.com). Big big love Keri. ( aka the Rockupuncture chick) xxx

    • http://www.theveggiemama.com Veggie Mama

      Ermagherd! helloooooo! Is it weird I want you to pat my hair? I am SO excited you have a blog, so now I can pump you for information but in a non-weird-stalkery way. Thank you so much for popping up here! xo

      • http://Ancientwisdomformodernwellness.com/ Keri Krieger

        hahah! Too funny! Is this gonna turn into one of those group/cult weddings where we’re all wearing (thats WAY too many wares!) crocheted doilies on our heads? Any way no, hair patting not weird! My besties + I have a Friday Goddess Breakfast club that involves us curled up on a couch like a puddle of kittens patting each other… its cool. E-stalking and info pumping welcome xo

  • Lisa Mckenzie

    I would love to go there,since Nikki’s post I have been dreaming of booking myself in.I love how they grow their own food and everything is so serene ,it looks amazing!

    • http://www.theveggiemama.com Veggie Mama

      You should do it for your birthday!!!!

  • http://www.hairromance.com Christina @ Hair Romance

    Oh I want to go to there.

    • http://www.theveggiemama.com Veggie Mama

      Me too!

  • http://www.stylingyou.com.au/ Nikki | Styling You

    Oh my spiritual home … thanks for linking and taking me back there for a few minutes xx

    • http://www.theveggiemama.com Veggie Mama

      I totally should have made you make me the tahini balls x

  • Penny

    Ooooooh. want.

    • http://www.theveggiemama.com Veggie Mama

      hehe same x

  • http://wonderwebby.com/ Jasmin Tragas

    Ohhhhh. Looks so lovely, sigh.

    • http://www.theveggiemama.com Veggie Mama

      It feels even lovelier!

  • Neen

    I’m sold. Going to make it my 2014 resolution to go there.

    • http://www.theveggiemama.com Veggie Mama

      oh my gosh, do it. You won’t regret it!

  • http://www.snippetsandspirits.blogspot.com/ [email protected]

    Thank you for the retreat, sounds like heaven on an Eco-friendly organic stick!

    • http://www.theveggiemama.com Veggie Mama

      Just the way I like it!

  • thelifeofclare

    How I would love to spend a couple of hours there! It looks absolutely stunning!

    • http://www.theveggiemama.com Veggie Mama

      It felt amazing even in those short hours!

  • http://www.notjustamummy.com.au/ Naomi_Not Just A Mummy

    I am dying, DYING to go here. It’s actually on my list as a possible thirtieth birthday present for the year after next. By the sounds of things, it’s the kind of place you walk into and can actually feel all the tension just seep straight outta your body. Gotta get me some of that

    • http://www.theveggiemama.com Veggie Mama

      Oh you should totally do it. Turning 30 needs a getaway like this, for real x

  • http://www.bloggersbazaar.com.au/ Bec Zacher // Bloggers Bazaar

    I have always wanted to go here! looks A M A Z I N G

    • http://www.theveggiemama.com Veggie Mama

      It IS!

  • http://www.missandmisters.me/ Bridie @ Miss And Misters

    Oh sigh….

    • http://www.theveggiemama.com Veggie Mama

      You would love it!

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