The Good Index Visits: Hunter Valley’s Wellness Weekend
The Good Index team visited The Hunter Valley Wellness Weekend Retreat and we have put together a visit recap which breaks down the retreat into certain areas, includes real photos and a detailed overview of our first hand experience!
Retreat Category: Yoga, Eco, Pamper, Outdoor Activity
Location: Hunter Valley, New South Wales
Attendee: Men & Women, 40+
Good For: Adults only, who wish to immerse themselves in natural bushland, open their minds to aboriginal learnings, indulge in vegan meals and explore the landscape of the Hunter Valley.
This two and half day vegan, wine, and wellness retreat backdropped against the serene and tranquil Hunter Valley bushland, offered a balance of relaxation, rejuvenation, and education, which was the ideal way to disconnect from the daily grind and focus on self-care.
The daily schedule offered a variety of activities to cater to different interests and preferences. Gentle Yoga classes to start the day, nature walks with an aboriginal leader that gave insight to the spiritual learnings of the land and that we all are one with the Earth. Informative workshops were also included: on wellness and nutrition which helped participants learn new skills and improve their health. Not forgetting the half-day wine tour through Hunter Valley, exploring the region and visiting organic vegan wineries!
The staff at The Hunter Valley Retreat were friendly, supportive, and professional, they created a comfortable and positive environment, making retreaters feel at ease and taken care of throughout their stay. The staff included two team leaders, a yoga teacher, an external chef and an aboriginal leader: all knowledgeable, passionate, and experienced in their respective fields. There was a family orientated sense of community among the coaches and retreaters, encouraging social interactions and fostering a sense of belonging.
Accomodation provided private rooms with an ensuite with a small decking area at the front of the room provided a luscious bushland views. The bedrooms consisted of spacious rooms with a comfortable queen bed with all necessities; bedding, toiletries, towels and even a kettle with assortment of coffee and teas and a mini fridge. A touch when entering the room was a welcome note from the retreat, attached with a complementary bottle of organic wine and vegan chocolate!
The vegan cuisine was created by an external chef named Jeevi, was thoughtfully prepared, nutritious, and beautifully catered to the dietary needs and preferences of the retreaters. A range of cereals, fruit, smoothies, coco yogurt, tofu scramble, lentil omelette were available with various breads and spreads and an assortment of teas. There was also the offering of a barista made coffee with any milk of choice that completed the morning. Lunches and Dinners consisted of flavourful vegetable curries, and colourful salads. Jeevi, is of Indian background, so had knowledge and creative control to prepare meals that were full of flavour! The use of fresh, organic ingredients and locally sourced products can add to the overall experience of the retreat, not only nurturing your mind, also nurturing your body correctly!
Offerings & Activities
Through the itinerary there were a list of activities that could be incorporated into your day and were welcome to do as little or as much as you like: Morning Yoga, a warm space which involved gentle movements to stretch the body, focusing on breathing and the setting of intentions for the day.
An insightful fire ceremony and bushland walks with Aunt Babanginy is also part of your itinerary. There was so much wisdom gained from Aboriginal spirituality and culture. Aboriginal spirituality places a strong emphasis on the relationship between people and the land. Aunt Babanginy told of a deep understanding and respect for the natural world, and the recognition that all things are interconnected. Learning from Aboriginal culture helped the retreaters develop a greater appreciation for the environment and the need to protect it.
Who said wine can’t be well? On the second day there is the wine tour, which retreats are chauffeured around by a team leader. Many wineries in the region have adopted sustainable practices and are committed to producing high-quality wines while respecting the environment. A winery featured on the tour was Tamburlaine Organic Wines, which is Australia’s largest organic wine producer. Using organic and biodynamic practices in their vineyards, and their wines are vegan-friendly. The Staff were very attentive, knowledgeable and created a fun, friendly environment. It was a great opportunity to learn more about the winemaking process and to taste some delicious vegan and organic wines while exploring the gorgeous surroundings of the Hunter Valley.
Massages were also included within the stay, either allocated on the Saturday or Sunday. A deeply relaxing one hour Lomi Lomi massage which focuses on promoting physical and spiritual healing. It involves the use of rhythmic, flowing strokes with the forearms, hands, and fingers, combined with stretches and joint rotations. It helps to release tension, improve circulation, and promote a sense of well-being.
Facilities included the main communal room which hosted meetings and meal times, a conference room where the morning yoga was held, Private massage room located just off the accomodation block and fire-pits scattered to enjoy after dinner, toasting marshmallows. Beautiful bushland all around the accommodation, with pockets of relaxing areas around the communal areas and in your accommodation too. There are many bush walking tracks all around the retreat centre which many of the retreaters took advantage of during their stay.
Retreaters included men and women, aged mostly around 40’s and above, looking for an escape from their daily routine to feel relaxed and nourished, with an element of fun and not too far to travel from Sydney! There was such an open, friendly environment that all retreaters embraced each other became great friends after their stay together.
There is access to Wifi throughout the property, however phone service was limited in some areas, but its always encouraged to try to have a ‘digital detox’ and fully embrace the experience with no distractions. In pockets of free time, take in the surrounding wildlife, the property has friendly wild horses that retreaters are able to visit and feed. There is also private property in which the leaders and family do live, so always important to be respectful of trespassing and the level of noise while attending the retreat.
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