Thursday, December 15, 2011

So this one time, at Gwinganna.

A few months back I was lucky enough to win a weekend at a beautiful spa retreat in Queensland. Gwinganna.

Can’t tell you the excitement I felt. Three days of sun, warmth, being waited on and getting massages.


I tweeted while packing to ensure I had the right clothes. Yes they all replied, Queensland was warm. I packed my sun dresses and summer frocks to laze beside the pool along with my thongs and sandals.

Upon arrival I was greeted with fresh juice, wraps and herbal tea.

I was pig in shit happy.

Then something happened.

24 hours in and I was not all that happy. I was quite cranky and feeling rather negative. I would have quite liked a bloody drink by the pool or a cupcake with a cup of tea even while I curled up and read a book.

This old cricket stand is the only place you can get WIFI coverage, note the lack of blue sky too, not helping my cranky pants wearing attitude.

I hadn’t packed a fleece like everyone else for the 5.30 am wake up call to go and do Tai Chai and salute the morning sun while looking out towards the ocean. I didn’t appreciate being told that I had “capped my joy” because of my desire to always be pleasing other people. Yep, I already know that, thanks anyway. I wanted to check twitter or watch late night TV, but these things are not available at Gwinganna.

I went for a Hot Rocks massage and when I came out I had a migraine coming on. So I booked in for another remedial massage to see if that would help.

After my late arvo massage I was late for dinner and our 200ml of daily (organic) wine allocation had been packed up, I asked for my rations and was questioned to ensure I wasn’t just trying to sneak out another glass, I guess by this stage I must have looked like someone keen to drink whatever they could get.

I had become so annoyed with myself for not feeling my pig shit happy feeling that I had to give myself a good talking to. I was being cooked for, served amazing totally organic meals and the people I was meeting were all friendly.  I had three spa treatments in one day for god’s sake. What the hell was wrong with me?

When I got back to my room at 8.15pm, I got out my ipad and attempted to get some kind of coverage, there was none. So I got out my note paper and pen to try and work out what was wrong with me.

It became quite clear.

I was missing the sugar I didn’t think I usually had that much of.

I was missing my mid morning cup of tea that I didn’t think I needed and the little snack that went with it.

I wanted more wine with my meal because social drinking makes me happy and I like meeting new people, having a drink and chatting all night long.

I wanted to relax more.

The view from my room.
The next morning I slept through my friendly 5.30am wake up call and skipped the exercise options and relaxation classes. I went straight to the pool and stayed there ALL day, only leaving for meal times. I wore my summer frocks and if not in bare feet then I slipped on my strappy heels that were not designed for mountain areas.

Totally delightful day, it was heaven and I didn’t really want to leave, having now found my happy place. But I did think it would be nice to go home and have a wine and some cake and a big baked potato with cheese and sour cream (Gwinganna is not a big fan of dairy food).

The surprise was that on my return I didn’t do any of that. That in the last two months since I went away I have attempted to feel as good as I did on the day I left. I have started serving the family meals with things like Quinoa and lentils and lots and lots of leafy greens. I have started each day with a shot of Apple Cider Vinegar, I don’t really know what it is going to do for me, but it doesn’t hurt (pretend you are 21 again and taking vodka shots, same heat and foulness).  I am also not drinking alcohol at all or eating the usual suspect snacks.

Since Gwinganna I have lost nearly four kilos. I never went expecting this to be an outcome. While I was there I would have sworn to you that I just needed a pack a day Tim Tam habit to make me happy.

Would I go back? Totally. But I would be more organised with what I wanted from the weekend. I would have my own schedule. – but I would still do the deep water running classes again, which are words I never thought I would ever type.

If you have the means, give Gwinganna a go. You deserve it, but pack a fleece, it is cold in them there hills, no matter what twitter tells you.



  1. I think I need this place you know.

    But I can tell you right now that I would spend the first two or three days, wandering around like Heathcliff on the moors, bereft without internet, alcohol and above all caffeine.

    And yes, it is a myth that it doesn't get cold in Queensland. The only people who say that are people who have never lived there for any length of time! =)

  2. Wow Claire! That's an amazing outcome from a weekend away. So stoked you won!

  3. Thoroughly enjoyed reading about your experience Claire! Amazing, your post trip changes are wonderful too!

  4. I have been. Took some getting used to but well worth it. A must do x

  5. I love your honesty in this post.

    No sugar coating it (pardon the pun).

    Well done on the 4kgs too.

  6. Congrats on your weight loss! That pool looks divine. I wouldn't mind spending a day chilling by it and finding my bliss, either.

  7. I've been waiting to read about this - and I can see why you waited to share it. So great to be able to reflect on it and see the bigger picture of what that weekend gave you. It sounds wonderful.


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