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Gwinganna Lifestyle Retreat review

Caroline Smith promises herself a relaxing weekend to reset at Gwinganna Lifestyle Retreat, a Gold Coast health retreat. Instead, she finds herself spellbound and on an active path to a healthier future, surrounded by nature.

From the minute I arrive at Gwinganna Lifestyle Retreat, I am entranced by the lush natural surroundings. Every sense is heightened – every colour brighter, sound clearer, smell more intoxicating. The magic is tangible.

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Gold Coast hinterland views at Gwinganna Lifestyle Retreat

Premium Wellness Suites

I’ve come here for the retreat’s ‘Winter Wellness’ experience. For three nights of recharging and energising in the Gold Coast hinterland. I’ve checked in to one of only three premium Wellness Suites. They are set in low-rise timber buildings that hug the side of an escarpment with views across the bushland to the distant Gold Coast and beyond to the calm sweep of Moreton Bay. The stone, egg-shaped bathtub on my deck is invitingly set to take in the views and vivid sunsets.

I breathe in the calm and exhale the busy life I left behind just a short time ago. The interior of the spacious suite is furnished with warm natural hues; there’s also what appears to be a Tardis. On closer inspection I find that it is, in fact, an infrared sauna for two, complete with interior and exterior colour therapy functions, to sweat out toxins, worries and stress. The enveloping mechanical arms of the suite’s massage recovery chair transport you with a soothing (or invigorating) full-body massage, for as long as you wish.

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Meditation Suite at Gwinganna Lifestyle Retreat
Villa at Gwinganna Lifestyle Retreat
Villa at Gwinganna Lifestyle Retreat

The Gwinganna lifestyle

My weekend package is filled with optional activities. The spectacular natural environment has motivated me to embrace a change in routine and to soak up as much benefit as I can. So, I’m up at 5.30am to learn a mindful qi gong asana as the sun rises from the ocean while pademelons calmly graze nearby the infinity pool. Then, a bushwalk at my choice of the easier pace takes us past a labyrinth, deep into the rainforest to hug a majestic 1,000-year-old fig tree, reminiscent of something out of Avatar. All this before breakfast. Then it’s off to a yoga session suitable for all levels while others opt for a dance class, Pilates and other yin and yang energy options in the lead-up to lunch.

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Gwinganna's Mind & Body Pavilion

Dining at Gwinganna

The culinary magic worked by the Gwinganna kitchen team is worthy of a MasterChef episode, with expert guidance provided by consulting wellness chef Samantha Gowing. I can promise (as did they) that you will never go hungry and never feel like you are on any sort of diet… other than a fully satisfying, organic and delicious one. Local (home-grown on site) fruit, vegetables and herbs are incorporated as much as possible. Fish, meats and other proteins are plentiful and sustainably sourced. Sweet treats like the signature Gwinganna tahini balls are in such high demand that you can order some to take with you when you go.

butternut pumpkin ghnocchi

Gwinganna Spa Sanctuary

Afternoons are your own. You can choose to relax by one of two infinity pools, attend a wellness seminar, do nothing at all, or, like me, visit the Spa Sanctuary. It is the largest of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere. My aromatherapy massage, Himalayan body scrub and emotional, light hypnotherapy session ‘The Journey’ offered a taste of the spa’s diversity in treatments – there are also facials, every type of massage imaginable and even equine therapy.

You can also make the most of the Wellness Lounge, which includes five sensory relaxation experiences designed to reduce stress, support sleep, improve circulation, increase collagen production and detoxify. Add an InBody Assessment when you arrive and be sure to book in your treatments at the same time, to further customise your stay and ensure your best experience.

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Bath for two? © Gwinganna Lifestyle Retreat
Crystal Steam Room at Gwinganna Lifestyle Retreat
Crystal Steam Room at Gwinganna Lifestyle Retreat

The staff, lecturers, teachers and hosts are knowledgeable, passionate and committed to helping you achieve your goals; whatever those may be. The guests, from all walks of life, come with open minds, genuinely wanting to improve their lives, learn, recharge and disrupt less-than-healthy routines and habits. A stay at Gwinganna Lifestyle Retreat can transform and transfix, teach or tempt you to find a healthier path; it’s all up to you.