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June 10, 2013

Gwinganna – Australia’s only eco-accredited health retreat

A wellness weekend at Gwinganna Health Retreat – I could repeat the corny line and say that this assignment was tough, but someone had to do it!  The truth is, I know how lucky I was to spend time at this amazing retreat.

Set high on a mountaintop, just over the Queensland border from New South Wales, Gwinganna marries eco with luxury, my favourite combination. As Australia’s only eco-accredited health retreat, the focus is on healthy body, healthy mind and healthy planet.

My Wellness Weekend comprised of Friday afternoon to Sunday afternoon. The focus is exercise, relaxation (including stunning spa treatments) plus some of the most amazing organic food I have ever eaten.

gwinganna health retreat

gwinganna garden viewFrom my arrival to the top of the mountain on a cool Friday evening, we were shown our rooms. There’s a choice of accommodation from luxury suites, to rooms in a renovated mud brick cottage – which was my choice. I loved the charm of the cottage, plus each room has it’s own ensuite – with a bath.

The first meal, Friday night set the standard for what we were to expect from the kitchen and Gwinganna’s garden. It’s hard to describe the food without sounding too over the top, but it really is that good. I counted three large vegetable/herb gardens at Gwinganna and they are seriously impressive. It’s one of the things they are most famous for – their organic gardens, and what they do with their food.

Salads, of all varieties and positively alive with freshness and flavour, made me realise the power of good food. I thought I ate well – and I do, but this was a whole new level of wellness. I think that is the point of a weekend like this; you can hit the refresh button on your daily habits, how you eat, what you eat, and what exercise you do or don’t do. Gwinganna shows you what is possible in a few short days.

The weekend unfolded with a pattern. Early morning rising to watch the sun rise across the Pacific Ocean as you do Qi Gong – moving meditation, which is not unlike Tai Chi. Then it’s a brisk walk/ climb up a mountain, then back to a well-deserved breakfast, again, a stunning combination of flavours and optimum, organic nutrition.

The rest of the morning, there is a choice of activities, dance, yoga, stretching, boxing, and pool exercises. It’s an energy packed morning until morning tea. Then followed an hour’s educational talk, that was impressively up-date and informative, health based solutions on the latest science and the best of nature.

gwinganna retreat dining

After lunch, the afternoons are what they call Dreamtime – relaxation. Most guests choose to have a spa treatment in the stunning spa complex; I call it a complex because there are more than 30 treatment rooms here! Choices include the classic massages, facials as well as some more boutique treatments. Suffice to say that the treatment I had was one of the best two hours I have spent in many a month.

gwinganna health retreat

Another aspect of Gwinganna is you connect with people. Travelling solo, like most people I can be reticent at a big community table with strangers. But here, everyone shares more than the food. Most people coming to Gwinganna are looking to improve their life, in the most holistic way possible. So people open up and, while the setting is luxurious, the sharing is down to earth. I met some lovely people going through some real life challenges.

If you can afford to invest in possibly the most experientially ideal two days you could possibly conjure – do it. Gwinganna sits on top of a mountain both literally and figuratively as a shining example of how life could be. I know I’ve bought back home a few new things to incorporate to make my life healthier and happier. I just need to continue to do it!

For more information on Gwinganna checkout their website.

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