If heaven were a place on earth, it would have a sign pointing to a place perched high on a plateau in a hidden region of the lush Gold Coast hinterland, a place called Gwinganna.
With sweeping views of the ocean and surrounding valleys, wallabies to greet you as you wander to and from your room, an organic food garden, and spa sanctuary centred around towering eucalypt trees, there is so much more to this place than its idyllic surrounds. It’s what the Gwinganna experience teaches you, and for me, it was life changing.
Mum took me to Gwinganna for a week at the end of my radiotherapy and it was the best gift I could have been given as I set out on my path towards a long and healthy life.
A day at Gwinganna starts with Qi Gong as the sun rises out of the ocean, followed by a morning of walks and activities. The Gwinganna philosophy centres on listening to your body’s needs, so there is always a yin and yang option. There is a seminar each day on topics such as stress, nutrition, movement, relationships, while the afternoons are dedicated to spa dream time.
The staff at Gwinganna live and breathe what they preach, there is an air of calm that makes you wish you could bottle it and take it home with you. And the expertise, attention and care that you get from the therapists and healers at Gwinganna is hard to find anywhere else.
The Lomi Lomi massage given by a Hawaiian healer is something I will never forget. It left me so glowing and radiant, I glided to the dining hall with an unshakeable smile, much to the amusement of my mother and other guests, one of whom said with a knowing grin, ‘oh, she’s been Lomi Lomi’d’. I was also fortunate enough to be cast under the spell of bodyworker Stephen McInnes who is renown for his magic hands, and his signature tribal dance.
Gwinganna instils in you the importance of being present, of letting go of whatever it is in your life that may be holding you back, and not worrying so much about what’s ahead that you miss what’s right in front of you. Embracing this concept, I turned off my phone for the week. Having no distractions from the outside world was utter bliss.
I left Gwinganna feeling inspired and empowered with the knowledge I need to live a healthy and happy life, and making a commitment to myself to take time out at least once a year to switch off as I did there.
Whatever your reason for going to Gwinganna, it is impossible to leave without being inspired to make at least one positive change in your life.
Photographs provided by Gwinganna Lifestyle Retreat www.gwinganna.com