Recently I decided to treat myself. But not in the usual way that some people do. I'm not one to go down to the shops and by myself a block of chocolate to indulge on (I truly believe that is not a healthy habit!). I decided to spend a bit of money and escape to a retreat to truly get the benefits of relaxation.
To be honest I'm not really one to really treat myself. Yes I grew up with the usual consumption of chocolate and sweets, but as I got older and could buy these myself, I really didn't see this as a treat at all. And to be honest, I have always thought that I'm not deserving of much. I know this is such a negative way to think, but I very much wasn't in the headspace to think positively towards myself. And I do not blame myself or anyone around me for thinking this way, because tbh we have grown up in a world that is just so GO GO GO. Many of us are told to push through the stress, strive for more, and try our hardest to be better than everybody else. But we are only human.
Only in the recent year did I decide that enough was enough. I finally came to realize that it is important in life to STOP and REST. To discover stillness and live in the present moment. And I know from my personal experience that this is such a hard thing to do in our daily lives. I live in a house of 6 people (plus a crazy dog), so I barely get some quiet time. So I decided enough was enough, it was time to break free and do something for ME for once.
Retreats are perfect for 'me time', a sweet escape from the busyness of real life. When looking for a retreat, I found it difficult to find one I really wanted to go to. They all look so good! I live in Victoria, and whilst there are many retreats here that look absolutely lovely, I really felt like I needed to get out of the state, to truly get the benefits of rest and renewal. Finally I came across Billabong Retreat located in Maraylya, Sydney, and needless to say, how could someone turn down this escape? Even the name sounds dreamy! Head to their website here.
I booked the Treehouse Dorm, the cheapest of the deals which sleeps 4 females to a share room with a shared bathroom and seperate toilet. You can go as a group, or as a singular gal, as I did. The girls who were in my dorm were absolutely lovely and we were all there for the same reason - to rejuvenate! You can also choose from a range of other rooms, these include; a Deluxe Cabin (which has an indoor and outdoor bath, and sleeps a max of 3 people), a Treehouse Ensuite (a simple and private twin or double roomed cabin, sleeping a max of 2 people), a Lodge Ensuite (a private ensuite room in the lodge, sleeping a max of 2 people), the Cottage Share Bath (situated in the heritage cottage, there are 3 simple twin rooms with a shared bathroom), and a Lodge Share Bath (your choice of a single or twin single private room in the lodge with a shared bathroom and seperate toilet). There are so many packages to choose from, with a room for every budget and taste. I honestly think that next time I will be going for the Deluxe Cabin, because who doesn't love an outdoor bath and their own space for a few days?
What I love about this retreat is that it is completely eco-friendly! You don't have to bring your own linen, because all rooms are equipped with Ecodownunder linen, towels and facewashers, which are completely organic. Soap, shampoo and conditioner is provided, and they also use rainwater for showering, taps and toilets, which has significant economical, social and environmental benefits!
And I must mention the yoga, because who on this earth doesn't reap the benefits of Yoga? It is trully a spiritual practice that allows us to connect out mind, body and spirit through the art of movement. Billabong Retreat offers yoga classes twice daily of which you can choose to attend. Whilst I was there, Dynamic Yoga was scheduled for 7am (perfect for waking you up, minus the caffeine), and Yin Yoga was scheduled 3.30pm (a perfect time to wind down). You can also book a private class with a yoga teacher for extra. All the yoga teachers at Billabong Retreat are qualified, with extensive experience!
Along with yoga, a range of workshops are provided depending on the retreat program you choose to attend. I attended the Wellness Essentials Retreat, which runs every week from Wednesday to Friday. My retreat was hosted by the lovely Larissa, who made us all feel welcome, guided us through yoga and meditation, and provided us with daily guidance. Health is looked at holistically, with workshops incorporated into the program which explore topics including healthy eating, fermented foods, gut health, meditation, stress management and exercise. You can also choose to book in a private treatment or consultation at their spa, with offerings such as massages, facials, an infrared sauna session, reiki, naturopathy, hypnotherapy and kineasiology on the menu (at an extra charge). I personally chose to indulge in a infrared sauna session, which is something I have never tried before! So many benefits from that experience I tell you!
Don't forget to bring your bathers, because there are also swimming facilities on site at Billabonng Retreat! They have an outdoor pool which contains magnesium chloride, and is heated by an eco-friendly solar hot water system (it can be cold in Winter). The benefits of magnesium are continuously proven by scientific studies, as magnesium has the ability to be absorbed trandermally (through the skin), producing effects such as relaxation, reduction of stress and anxiety, calming of skin irritations, reduction of aches and pains, and even has detoxifying properties. You can also swim in the beautiful billabong, however this is done at your own risk as it is a natural waterway!
And to finish off, the food prepared at Billabong Retreat is OUT OF THIS WORLD!! Absolutely phenomenal! Seasonal, locally sourced, organic, wholefoods. Prepared onsite by a qualified chef who is passionate about natural food, meals are served buffet style. Whilst I was there, Simon (one of the chefs) served extraordinary meals that were prepared with love. All meals at Billabong Retreat are vegetarian, not because they promote vegetarianism, but because they love people to fill their plate with all the nutrients! You will never go hungry, because their meals are legit so wholesome and filling, you will honestly just want more even when you are full! What's also fantastic is that they cater for allergies and intolerances (note: they do prepare allergens in the same kitchen, so they can't guarantee that 100% of them won't be in their food!).
So I highly suggest you check out Billabong Retreat, it is legit an escape from this busy world. Located 45 minutes out of Sydney, you can drive there (there is a parking space for each cabin), or catch a train to Vineyard station and get a subsidised taxi for an extra $10 each way . If your from interstate, jump on a plane and start your journey from Sydney, or drive there (I know I will be next time, because I hate flying!). I will be definitely returning to Billabong Retreat sometime this year once I sort myself out!!
If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to send me a message, I'd be more than willing to answer! Also if you end up visiting Billabong Retreat, let me know how you go!