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Gaia Retreat

Gaia Retreat and Spa Retreat

Early on Thursday morning, my friend Cathy and I boarded a Virgin Blue plane, our bags laden with track suits, T-shirts, daggy baggies and plenty of reading material as we headed to Ballina Airport.

We were spending 3 nights at Gaia Retreat and Spa to work on the 3 R’s -Relaxing, Renewing and Rejuvenating. Gaia is a health and spa retreat, founded by Olivia Newton John and located in the lush rolling hills of the Byron Bay Hinterland.

As we entered the small but quaint airport terminal at Ballina, we were immediately welcomed by a happy, smiling representative of Gaia who loaded our bags into the car for our 30 minute journey to the property.

From the moment we entered the gates at Gaia Retreat & Spa we were in another world. The scenery was breathtaking with green, undulating hills as far as the eye could see. Cath and I were gently directed to the alfresco dining area on the expansive balcony which overlooks the beautiful and hypnotising Hinterland. A tray promptly arrives with herbal teas and fresh fruit as the simple process of checking in is completed.

As we soaked up the calming and oh so peaceful atmosphere, I noticed a peculiar and unfamiliar sound... it was the sounds of silence.

I was gradually beginning to unwind. Gaia means - mother earth and I was surrendering myself to the serenity of mother earth. I could actually feel myself becoming grounded and at peace. 

Olivia Relaxing 

Our shared accommodation was decorated in simplistic, calming, earthy tones and the room was clean and comfortable, however, there was no TV to be seen. How was I ever going to cope without regular news updates and my favourite programs?

Gaia retreat and spa offers a variety of packages, services and facilities with an on-site day spa and health spa. It’s your choice, you can simply relax and indulge your spa retreat fantasies, attend fitness programs or explore your creative side with various classes. 


Pampering ourselves

After unpacking our things and choosing our beds, we headed into Kukura (meaning main meeting place) for lunch, by this time we had both built up a healthy appetite. Each guest has their meal prepared individually, taking into account any dislikes and allergies. You don’t have to make any decisions at Gaia as the dishes arrive at your table looking like a work of art, brimming with the freshest vegetables picked daily from their own organic garden or sourced from local suppliers. We finished off our delicious lunch with fruit and cups of herbal tea (there are about 20 varieties).

The remainder of the day was idly spent lazing on the luxurious day beds overlooking the magnificent vista. Within minutes my companion had peacefully dozed off.

At dinner that night we opted to sit at the communal table, although, some couples chose to sit together and others preferred to sit on their own. The choice is yours.


A lovely lady by the name of Fran joined us for dinner and explained that it was her first day of a 5 day detox program. She was ready to take up the challenge and we were eager to monitor her progress.

Dinner at Gaia is a 3 course meal (except if you are detoxing) and the main dish is either fish or chicken. I have to confess, Cath and I were happy to discover that wine could be purchased with dinner.

Thankfully, Gaia is not a boot camp, if you want coffee or red meat – you only have to ask.

Every evening, Gregg Cave manager of Gaia, business partner and close friend of Olivia Newton John, visits every table to charm and entertain his guests with his lively personality and witty humour. He is clearly passionate about his job and is genuinely concerned by the welfare of each and every guest. There is nothing that happens at Gaia that Gregg is not aware of.

All of us at the table feel that his face is familiar. We racked our brains until we remembered that he was an actor on the Australian TV show, Carson’s Law. In fact Gregg has an extensive and diversified background in show business and art dealing.

Cathy, Gregg, Lana and Fran

After a restful night’s sleep, we were awoken at 7:30am by the reverberating clang of the gong, alerting us that the yoga class was about to begin. Cath, the ‘yoga guru’ was already dressed and ready to go, however, I was still a little sleepy, “I’ll meet you there”, I tell her.

Wake up gong

Unfortunately, I was too late for the yoga class so I headed into breakfast where a delectable feast of everything healthy was on offer. Every day the innovative menu changes, however I found it hard to resist the brown rice porridge, it’s the best tasting porridge I had ever eaten... I must get the recipe... I also enjoyed the scrambled egg wraps. The chef is an absolute genius. I want to take him home!

My chance encounter with Australian TV celebrity Richard Wilkins

After lunch, it was time for my 30 minute session with the naturopath followed by my much anticipated 90 minute deep tissue massage at Amala Spa.  As I entered the spa, I felt as though I had entered the pearly gates. The alluring surrounds, fragrant aromas awakening the senses, and the warmth and expertise of the committed and professional staff was just what my body and soul needed.

The massage was heavenly, the best I have ever experienced.  My therapist instinctively knew where my trouble spots were.

There are so many activities on offer at Gaia, just to name a few;

  • Daily Yoga in the Zama Yoga room
  • Cardio Circuit
  • Meditation
  • Body Balance
  • Pilates
  • Tai Chi on Samira Lookout
  • Qi Gong
  • Milky way Dinner on the Tevana Deck
  • Sculpture / Art Classes
  • Talks on Health and Well-Being
  • Day & Night Tennis court
  • Heated Salt Water Swimming Pool
  • Day Beds and Hammocks
  • Bike Riding
  • Bush &  Nature tracks
  • Sauna and Spa
  • Outdoor Fire
  • On site Tennis coaching
  • On site Personal Training
  • Private Meditation and Nutritional consultation
  • Personalised Yoga Classes

Making friends around the bonfire

The following day, there was a cooking classes scheduled, a Pilates session and later, a stretch class at Samira lookout, the highest point of the property. As we honed our breathing techniques, we witnessed an extraordinary sunset that bathed us in glorious golden, orange tones. Bliss...

Sunset at Gaia

Our final day had arrived all too soon, before we departed, we were taken to the top of the hill to plant a tree as part of Gaia’s commitment to regenerate the rain forest. The soil was so rich, digging was made easy. We attached metal tags with our names and the date of our stay as the gardener promised to nurture our trees for our return visit.

Lana and Cathy plant trees

Before long, we were warmly farewelled by Gregg and transported to Coolangatta airport located about 45 minutes away.

We vowed to be back...

PS Fran’s detox program was a success, she felt rejuvenated and her eyes sparkled with wellness.

Gaia Retreat and Spa Retreat

933 Fernleigh Road, Brooklet. NSW 2479.

Telephone 61 2 6687 1216

Please Note:
Lana’s  stay at Gaia was at her own expense.

©wise womens world 2008