Relax, Rejuvenate & Recharge // Billabong Retreat Sydney Review
All images were taken & edited by me unless otherwise stated.
45 minutes away from Sydney - is a hidden sanctuary perfect for relaxation and rejuvenation, leaving you feeling all recharged. This hidden gem is Billabong Retreat - the ultimate wellness retreat and a certified eco lodged!
I was lucky to be invited for 2 nights stay at the Billabong Retreat back in August to experience this wellness sanctuary tucked away in the bush at Maraylya (near Windsor)! Without further ado, let me give you all the DL on my experience at Billabong Retreat!
BILLABONG RETREAT - THE VISION
Inspired by the yoga and health retreats in Thailand, the founder of Billabong Retreat, Paul Von Bergen's vision for Billabong Retreat was to create a healing space to reconnect to nature, of ourselves, others and the nature around us. It is non-religious and open to all people of any belief or background. It is a place to find peace of mind, contentment and discover wellness.
S.L.O.W. NOURISHING VEGETARIAN MEALS - THE FOOD
Let's talk about the food first, shall we because food is life and I love food.
Seasonal. Locally Sourced. Organic. Wholesome.
That is the food philosophy the Billabong Retreat practised and preached. All the meals are prepared with love and passion by their very own chef - think delicious homecooked vegetarian meals! We had Angie Cowan from Love Life Gluten Free whipping up delicious and nourishing meals for us throughout our stay.
Now, I do love my veggies but I am definitely not a vegetarian by any means as your gurl do love a good steak every so often.
However, I was totally surprised at how satiating they were and I did not miss my fish/chicken/meat at all despite the chilly end August weather! Angie sure did an amazing job at keeping all of us full and happy! Totally dreaming about her delicious brownies, curry, roast potatoes..... as I am writing this post!
THE LOCATION & SURROUNDINGS
From the abundance of trees and water to the sound of chirping birds and insects - you will feel an immediate sense of calmness upon arriving! There's something so grounding about leaving the hustlers and bustlers of the city behind and being completely immersed in nature.
I stayed in the Ensuite Twin Private Room where I spent quite some time reflecting, journalling and watching movies (yes, I did download a few movies on my Netflix account ;D). The rest of my time was spent between the common area, yoga room and venturing out into the nature. With an unlimited supply of herbal teas (this is where and how I got hooked on the Qi Wellness Tea), heated lounge area, comfy chairs, colouring supplies and books - there are plenty of things to keep you occupied whilst rejuvenating and recharging!
WHAT TO DO - THE PROGRAM
There were 2 sessions per day - one at 7AM and another at 3:30PM. As it was more of a VInyasa flow and it was pretty relaxing, I went to both sessions. Of course, you have the option to go to either. The yoga instructor - Sarah was amazing and took us through each sequence slowly, making sure that we are getting the form and breathing right! It has been a while since I last did yoga (I used to do Power Yoga regularly 4 years ago) - so this has definitely help me ease back into each flow!
RETREAT PROGRAM - MINDFULNESS ESSENTIALS
There is a range of retreat programs available for the retreat attendees depending on the days you attend. Mindfulness Essential was the program that was on during my stay and it was perfect as mindfulness is something that I have always wanted to incorporate into my day-to-day life. The Mindfulness Essential Program was also facilitated by Sarah, which includes breathing techniques, workshops and simply being present in the moment.
My biggest takeaway from the session was Sarah's breathing technique. In order to help you "focus" while mediating - Sarah has recommended calculating each breath from 1 to 50 (or whatever counts work for you. So if you're just starting out, maybe start from 20). Breath in - 1; breath out - 2.... all the way to your goal count! Personally, I find this technique a lot easier than focusing on the movement of your stomach. Give this a go and let me know how you find it! :)
There was a nighttime meditation session after dinner each night but I have decided to skip the night sessions as we did meditate in the mindfulness program during the day. I figured it might be a little too much meditation in a day. (Yes, that's possible ;) I do believe in balance and not overdoing it if you're not feelin' it!)
Instead, I spent some time with my new found friends chatting, playing board games and consume an insane amount of Qi Wellness Tea.
There's a range of treatments available at the retreat (Not included in the retreat package and will incur an add-on cost) such as infrared sauna, a range of massages, reiki, naturopathy and hypnotherapy. I was long overdue for a pampering session so I booked myself in for a 1 hour hot stone massage. BEST. $150. SPENT.
I left feeling so relaxed and not going to lie, I was extremely tempted to book in another session the next day. Unfortunately, I am not balling at that level yet to blow an extra $150 for another massage ;) #TreatYoSelf #InModeration
There was no wi-fi on the premise, only minimal and patchy 3G connection with Telstra and Optus. Perfect for those of you who are looking for a digital detox and complete time away from technologies!
I didn't quite comply with this department as I had a few clients' work to deliver. Not an excuse I know but I had just started my marketing consulting business so it was a choice I made. I did, however, make a conscious decision to only work after breakfast and put my laptop away after lunch. We are all about that balance right ;)
It was also this retreat that made me realise for the first time - I am OK with merging my lifestyle, travel and business into one. What exactly does that mean? It means I am completely fine with never completely switching off when I am on a holiday and would love to work and travel at the same time (YES to building a lifestyle business!)
You guys know I am all for treating yourself and placing self-care as a priority! Billabong Retreat has definitely checked all the boxes:
✓ Location ✓ Experience ✓ Food ✓ Fully recharged ✓ Leaving Feeling Mindful ✓ Amazing People
If you are looking for a quick restart in the midst of your busy life - you should definitely check out Billabong Retreat! They have a whole range of options available from a day retreat to as long as a week! The rooms vary from the quad room, deluxe cabin, treehouse ensuite to lodge ensuite to suit your budget and the group size (on your own? with your partner or your little family?)
They are currently having special prices at the moment on the website so be sure to take advantage of their specials at the moment!
As always - if you have any questions at all, leave them in the comments below and I will get back to you :)
Signing off with this sign from the retreat - Choose Your Own Path.