Local Mum Jacqui takes us on a photographic journey as she shares her experiences of…
Review: Billabong Retreat
Myself and my very good friend have just returned from 2 amazing days spent at Billabong Retreat. This is something which we’ve both had on our bucket lists for some time and it didn’t disappoint.
So what is Billabong Retreat?
Billabong Retreat is an eco-certified bush sanctuary offering yoga, meditation and mindfulness retreats. It’s located just under an hour from Sydney in Maraylya. Its retreats are all-inclusive including accommodation, organic vegetarian meals, plus a variety of daily activities such as yoga, mindfulness, meditation, workshops and more.
The stunning location for Billabong Retreat, nestled in the bush surrounding a peaceful billabong, meant that from the moment we arrived we were immersed in nature, and this was something we had eagerly anticipated as it is a key part of the retreat’s holistic approach to health and wellbeing and such a welcome escape from City life.
The retreat accommodation comprises of a series of treetop cabins, and there is also shared accommodation available.
The main public areas of the retreat consist of a cosy outdoor lounge complete with log burning fire and loads of warm blankets for even the chilliest of days, a light filled indoor lounge room, the stunning glass walled yoga/meditation room and a welcoming dining room.
There’s also a mineral outdoor swimming pool (it was too cold for us to attempt a swim during our stay but it made for a great sun filled spot to relax beside) and of course, there’s the AMAZING wellness centre.
We shared a twin room with ensuite shower room and WC in the Lodge which is one of the two shared accommodation options. The Lodge is a spacious home (originally the owners’ home) and it overlooks the Billabong. Inside the main shared area was a massive, well equipped kitchen and dining room plus a comfy lounge with gas fire and our favourite part – the deck overlooking the billabong.
Our room had an oil filled radiator so we were snug as a bug, but there were also hot water bottles for each person and a split AC system which I’m sure would be fantastic for Summer visitors.
A Revelation in Mindfulness
I’ve been told all my life that I need to learn how to meditate but have resisted, and was just a little anxious when I entered the room for our first session with Heather. Could I do it? Would it work for me? What if I do something silly?
From the moment Heather welcomed the group into the yoga room on night 1 for our mediation session, all those worries just disappeared. Her friendly, welcoming and calming manner relaxed me immediately. Heather spent some time with us as a group working on relaxing and being mindful and then asked “who’s ready to bliss out?” And bliss out we did. What an experience …. I’m hooked!
The menu at Billabong is entirely organic and vegetarian and I have to admit that I’m a meat lover so I wasn’t entirely sure what the vegetarian menu would consist off. I was sure I would really miss my favourite grilled chicken but I needn’t have worried. The food, all lovingly prepared by chef Toni, was delicious. She explained to us that the food principal at Billabong is “SLOW” – seasonal, locally sourced, organic, wholefoods and all served with that same infectious warmth of personality that each and every member of the Billabong team seemed to exude.
There is no alcohol available at the retreat, guests are allowed to bring their own, it just can’t be drunk in public areas. We did take along a bottle of wine and had a small glass each night sitting under blankets on the Lodge verandah listening to the relaxing buzz of nature around us.
Oh, on that subject, despite it being Winter, the mozzies were still out in force so don’t forget your insect repellent!
So what kind of person can you expect to meet at a Billabong Retreat? If our stay was indicative it is a real mix of all ages and nationalities. We met singles, small groups of friends, couples, older and younger…a real mixed bag. For the most part, everyone was on their own “journey” but it was lovely to catch up and chat in the dining room and we met some simply fascinating and friendly people.
Did we love it?
Well that’s an easy question to answer…a resounding yes yes yes. Each of us took something home from our time at Billabong…a promise to ourselves to continue to meditate, a greater understanding of gut health and the impact of stress on our bodies, a new appreciation for yoga and a general inner peace and relaxation which remains today…almost a week after coming home.
We were promised bliss….and we found it. Billabong Retreat is the perfect, easy escape from modern life and a real treat to the senses. A huge thank you to Paul and his amazing team, we can’t wait to come back x
- Location: 41 McClymonts Road, Maraylya, Sydney, NSW 2765
- Phone: 02 4573 6080
- Website: http://www.billabongretreat.com.au/