Hi SWIISH readers, Maha here... do you ever have that feeling where you really just want the world to stop for a few minutes so that you can just have a little peace and quiet and a moment to yourself? No emails, no calls, no social media, no cooking, no cleaning, no-one asking you to do anything.... sounds like bliss, right?
Well, a couple of months ago, I was feeling incredibly run down, and stressed out. It's been a huge year at SWIISH, and I had been burning the midnight oil for longer than I would like to admit. I'm a huge believer in self-care and looking after yourself emotionally as well as physically, but somehow that all just kept slipping down the list of priorities. I couldn't help but think that I needed a couple of days to go somewhere where I could reset. Where I could just sit and be. And that's where Billabong Retreat comes in.
I first found out about Billabong Retreat from Instagram (just like everything else these days hahaha!). I saw an incredible photo of a luxurious outdoor bathtub on a balcony overlooking the bush and I thought - "OMG! WHAT IS THAT PLACE?!". After a little research, I discovered it was Billabong, an eco-yoga retreat, set in bushland, about 45 minutes from Sydney. Aside from twice daily yoga and meditation, plus organic whole food cuisine, they have a day spa and various workshops. It didn't take me long to decide that this was exactly what I needed.
So, feeling over-worked, over-tired, and truthfully just kinda overwhelmed, I booked in to stay for two nights, and at the same time, attend one of the Mindfulness Essentials workshops.
As soon as I turned off the main road and headed along tree-lined streets toward Billabong, I found my stresses immediately beginning to melt away. And from the moment I arrived, there was an instant sense of calm. The best part was knowing that there was no mobile reception and no wifi. BLISS!
Cuddled between huge gum trees and Australian wildlife, there are different types of cabins and rooms to suit everyone, making it an accessible place to escape the hustle and bustle of the city. I stayed in a Deluxe Cabin; nestled in the bush overlooking the billabong. I was thrilled when I saw my very own outdoor bathtub, exactly like I'd seen on Instagram. Heaven.
I spent my first afternoon curled up on a couch in front of the fireplace on the communal deck, reading my book, and listening to the sound of the birds - literally, birds were the only sounds you could hear. I chatted with a few of the other guests, and headed to dinner. I had an early night, falling asleep in my room at 8pm (yes - 8pm!!!). I slept like a baby.
The remaining days started at 7am with a morning session of yoga followed by the yummiest brekkie of eggs, oats, chia porridge and fruit. Everything at Billabong Retreat is vegetarian, wholesome, organic and locally sourced so I knew that my body was being nourished.
At the Mindfulness Essentials Workshop, we learned about the history and science behind mindfulness and why it’s good for our health. The staff are all fully qualified, super friendly and want you to leave Billabong feeling refreshed and ready to tackle anything so I also opted for a one-on-one yoga/meditation session, where the instructor and I developed a simple five minute routine that I could follow each morning once I got back home.
Needless to say, the spa at Billabong is also heavenly and a must do when you visit. I had a relaxing reiki session, which is a healing remedy designed to treat the mind, body and spirit’s energy flow. And I don’t need to tell you how good the massage was! Total bliss and a few zzzz’s were had.
In between all this, I found time to go for walks down to the billabong. Down there amongst the trees, you'll find a yurt, complete with a few hammocks. I recommend spending some time down there, looking at the reflection of the trees in the water. So relaxing.
All in all, my stay at Billabong was exactly what I needed. Time to myself, to unwind, and to reset. It definitely helped me to get back on track, and I left feeling calm, happy, and at peace. I haven't stopped raving about Billabong to basically everyone hahahaha and I know without a doubt that I will go back again soon. If you get the chance to go, I highly recommend it.
To find out more, or to book, head to the Billabong website.
Maha stayed as a guest of Billabong Retreat, however all thoughts and opinions are her own.