Olivia Newton-John's Gaia Retreat & Spa is one of her big passions in life. Just 20 minutes from Ballina Airport and 15 minutes from the centre of Byron Bay in northern NSW, it's a place where people go to relax, revitalise and recharge. Gaia is on the highest point of the Byron Shire and has a wonderful outlook across rolling green hills.
Olivia and her close friend Gregg Cave launched their dream retreat in 2005 and it's been a few years since Getaway last visited. Natalie Gruzlewski met Olivia for an update on Gaia and one of the first things she saw was how huge the tree Catriona Rowntree planted in 2006 now is. There are 2500 trees and it's something all visitors are invited to add to.
Every time Olivia returns to Australia, Gaia is the first place she goes. She has a house in the area and visits her retreat every day for treatments.
She's very excited about the new gym. It's called Viha which is Sanskrit for "sky". It brings nature in from all sides and continues the healing and growth Gaia is all about.
They've added a gift shop, fitness centre and walking tracks, and many rooms have been refurbished in a style you might call eco-luxury.
Gaia is all about choice. There is a base two-day package and guests have the freedom to add to it from the many things on offer. You can do as much or as little as you like. Daily yoga or tai chi classes, stretch classes, Pilates, meditation, wellness talks or a game of tennis. There's a spa, sauna, heated pool, bush and nature walks and 65 treatments in the award-winning day spa. Personal training, private meditation and nutrition consultations are also available.
There are daybeds and hammocks dotted around the property which are the perfect place to catch up on the books you want to read. Or you can just wander around the grounds and pick fruit in the orchard.
The Samira Lookout is where you'll find the Zama yoga room. It is the highest point in the shire and has spectacular views from the ocean to the Nightcap Ranges.
The Sura Terraces have been fully renovated with luxurious bath and private day bed.
The Balinese-style Kukura House is the central greeting, meeting and eating point and the food is unbelievably good. Much of the restaurant's food is grown organically on the property or sourced from local farmers and suppliers. Meals are designed to enhance your health and wellbeing and the chef is qualified in macrobiotics, ayurvedic cuisine, raw food and nutrition.
Gaia Retreat & Spa on 10 hectares in the Byron Bay hinterland.
Gaia Retreat & Spa two-night packages cost $912.50 per person twin share. They include all meals, yoga, massage and activities.
Virgin Blue has flights to Ballina.
One-way fares from:
- Sydney $79
- Melbourne $149
- Adelaide $185
- Hobart $199
There are limited seats which may not be available at peak times or on all flights. Fares quoted are one-way booked on the Internet. An extra $15 is charged for phone bookings. A credit card surcharge of an additional $2 per person per one-way flight is applicable. Fares are subject to change.
Prices correct at February 25, 2010.
For further information
Ph: 136 789
Gaia Retreat & Spa
933 Fernleigh Road
Ph: (02) 6687 1216
Book five nights or more in a twin or double bedroom and receive 50 percent off the second person's stay. All gourmet meals, daily morning yoga, retreat activities, $200 day spa voucher and airport transfers are included.
There are limited spaces and bookings must be made before March 19, 2010, for stays until August 31, 2010. Blackout periods apply and offer is subject to availability and is not for pre-existing bookings. Airport transfers from Ballina or Coolangatta are at allocated times.
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