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Golden Gwinganna

Gwinganna Lifestyle Retreat

Who goes to Lifestyle Retreats? Some go to reverse overindulgence, or a stressful period such as divorce, major illness, or the death of a loved one. Others use it to kick-start an exercise program, quit smoking, create better eating habits, to reset a good sleeping pattern, some just want ‘me time’ and enjoy some quietness with reading, healthy eating and being pampered in the spa. Garth Wright went for all of the above and found a simple way to live better.

Gwinganna is a great example of the rapidly rising trend for people like me, over 50, who are dedicating part of their year for the betterment of their mind, body and spirit and no one does it better than multi award winning Gwinganna Lifestyle Retreat.

I recently joined 53 guests for the booked out Optimum Wellbeing package. The common goal for all: to get back in tune with feeling healthier and happier.

Each day there’s time for moving, learning, eating and chilling out. Remember, you don’t have to do anything BUT it’s encouraged to get up early and participate in the morning activities. Getting up before 6am was never my thing…until now. The most important and fun part of my day is now getting up as the sun rises.

qi gong


The day starts at Gwinganna with an early wake-up knock on your door. It’s quite easy the first morning to ignore the knock and go back to sleep but as the saying goes – nothing like a great start to the day and Gwinganna starts with qi gong – a moving meditation, similar to tai chi, has you taking in energy for the day ahead.

Qi gong is followed with a walk, there are a few to choose from or you may prefer a yoga session before breakfast.

The food…ahhhhhh the food. The Gwinganna Menu is worth a 7 day visit, alone. Gwinganna’s food is simply superb and is gluten, processed sugar and dairy free. I never would have thought banana bread could be as tasty without processed sugar. Every meal is organic and supercharged with flavour, with plenty of fish, chicken and meat served at lunch and dinner.

For breakfast we are treated to a big beautiful spread of fresh fruit, porridge or granola, and a hot dish that might include a mushroom omelette wrapped in a buckwheat crepe. After breakfast, options are aplenty. You can spend 30 minutes of stretching followed by a gym session, pilates, dance class or you might wish to just do your own thing.

The daily lecture takes place after morning tea. A real favourite among guests as we discuss the very latest in personal health and wellness. Notebooks are provided to ensure you take home the knowledge you’ve gained.

retreat pool

From 1pm a healthy and big lunch. After lunch it is yin time (slowing down and relaxation time) with free time for a nap, a spa treatment or time to just relax by the retreats two pools.

The spa contains over 30 treatment rooms that offer massage, facials, aromatherapy, acupuncture, and other healing therapies. It was not unusual to find this author spending most afternoons in and out of the sauna and steam rooms, or being massaged head to toe or napping in his robe on one of the comfy lounge day beds.

After an easy restful afternoon with a late arvo nap, dinner is served at 7pm and most folk get into the routine of an early bed-time after the first few days.


Tribal Dance

Completely lose your inhibitions with throwing your limbs in all directions, facial expressions and to be as uncoordinated as you possibly can.

Everyone buys in – 90% of our entire group did it and while we were initially self-conscious, by the end the room was charged with positive energy and quite an emotional experience with quite a few tears. The positive emotional effects Tribal Dance has on you is very hard to explain. It’s one of those things that is best described with a famous Molly Meldrum / Nike quote “do yourself a favour, just do it!”

Gwinganna accommodation



My 7 day stay at Gwinganna provided me the tools to better cope with anxiety and stress. I now spend more time in the moment, I have learnt better ways to eat which miraculously has improved my sleep and energy levels throughout the day.

The staff at Gwinganna are just wonderful people. Full of knowledge and with many years experience, the Gwinganna Team just have a natural want and desire to help, encourage and pass onto others what they know – a simple way to live better.

I had a few settling issues the first two days, but that was to be expected – a sugar loving, six double shot coffees a day and a 30 year packet a day smoking habit. I knew the challenge ahead and was pleasantly surprised with the lack of withdrawal symptoms.

It has been four weeks since my stay at Gwinganna and as I write this, I go to bed with excitement of the thought of actually rising at 5:30am the next morning. With new found energy, I’m up – walking, a little meditation and exercise before a healthy breakfast. My energy levels during the day have never been better, no more sleepy periods during the day. Proudly now an ex smoker.

About the author


Life Begins At

Life Begins At Magazine is the ultimate lifestyle publication for those who are retired, semi-retired or approaching retirement. But most importantly, those who believe that life really does begin at 50! Life Begins At has loads of features from celebrity interviews, domestic and international travel, home improvements and gardening, health and well-being, as well as financial tips and advice. The magazine is designed to meet the needs of a whole new generation of informed, healthy and active retirees.

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