Gliding in through the open gates to the Golden Door Health Retreat in the Hunter Valley, I felt an enormous sense of calm envelop my body.
It must have been something to do with the surroundings, the vineyards and the Brokenback mountain range. It really is so incredibly beautiful you have to catch your breath as you cast your eyes over the vast countryside with trees dotted about and hills with purple hues and perfect blue dappled sky before you.
As I looked around and took in the splendor it reminded me of an Albert Namatjira painting I fell in love with in Alice Springs once.
See what I mean!...
Once I had arrived, and completed orientation and check in, I was shown to my room which was a beautiful villa. The first thing I noticed was that it smelt so heavenly, and it was elegant and luxurious. And then I saw the bath. All I can say is wow! I knew right then that I would be soaking in relaxing bubble baths in the evening.
My villa overlooked the beautiful landscape where I would find my afternoons spent on the balcony just listening to the sounds of nature and the animals and insects doing their thing. It’s funny how when you have time in nature it makes you highly attuned to the sounds that are going on around you, there were kangaroos hopping around and dragon flies filtering past, I saw birds and insects building their nests and all of these new cacophony of sounds became the chorus that gently lulled me to sleep at night.
During my time at this spectacular retreat, as well as taking the opportunity to completely unwind, I got involved in some of the activities that were offered, the stretch classes and yoga were fantastic and I also played tennis too. I must admit that it was the first time since the eighties, so I was a bit rusty. Luckily the coach was an ex Australian tennis champ and she was fantastic with a good sense of humour and it was such a fun exercise to do with everyone. By the end of it we had all gotten to know each other better. Just in time for lunch!
There are a plethora of optional activities on offer at Golden Door so you really can do what suits you, whether it’s high impact or low impact even golf or deep running in the pool. There are two pools one indoors and one located outdoors to soak up the springtime rays.
In the mornings at sunrise I took part in tranquil Tai Chi Qi Gong, which was such a spectacular way to start the day. We practiced up on meditation hill and took in all of the incredible scenery.
This is what early morning looked like. I love how you can see the clouds and mist across the top of the trees and feel the stillness in the air.
What I loved about Golden Door whilst I was there was that I never felt compelled or obligated to get involved in anything if I didn’t want to. I also found that there was no pushy up-selling or trying to get you to fork out on spa treatments if you didn’t want to do them.
There are a wide variety of treatments and spa activities you can enjoy if you so wish. Golden Door has its own wellness experts, at your fingertips and you can have sessions with a naturopath, fitness coaches, massage therapists, hypnotherapists, reflexologists, healers, nutritionists and spa therapists.
There’s a wonderfully relaxing spa area where you can jump from steam room to pool to spa, I loved getting a pummelling in the spa and then lying out on a lounger in the private female only garden. As part of my stay I indulged in the soul awakening session which was very cosmic and provided me with a deep sense of renewed energy and a peaceful haven to explore.
I would highly recommend it as a way to unravel and remove old patterns from your life and restore your sense of self. This is done by way of source field energies whereby your body is immersed with quantum based frequencies which then triggers the body to heal itself.
Another treatment I enjoyed was the Watsu Golden Door Signature Treatment which takes place in a private heated pool. Combining the therapeutic benefits of shiatsu with warm water, a therapist supports your body in the water, relaxing your spine in different ways and creating a deep sense of relaxation with gentle gliding and flowing movements. Watsu can assist with acute and chronic pain, postural imbalances and stress related disorders. I felt extremely zoned out afterwards and a complete sense of peace.
One of the highlights of my stay at Golden Door was the very simple yet extremely delicious meals. Simplicity was the key in the kitchen and the combination of ingredients were so beautifully chosen that you could taste every single ingredient in each dish, it wasn’t overpowering or fraught with competing tastes.
I’m recollecting one of the most delicious meals I experienced and that was the Thai Fish Cakes with Quinoa. Lucky for us the chef was very kind enough to share his recipe so here it is!
Thai Fish Cakes On Quinoa
- 160 g snapper fillet, bones and skin removed
- 160 g salmon fillet, bones and skin removed
- 160 g peeled raw prawns
- 2 teaspoons chopped fresh coriander
- 3 teaspoons fish sauce
- 2 teaspoons chilli sauce
- 3 egg whites
- 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
- 2 kaffir limes leaves, shredded
- 1 lemon, zest and juice
- 1 tablespoon avocado oil
- 100 g (1/2 cup) quinoa
- 1/2 lemon, zest and juice
- small handful fresh coriander (cilantro) leaves chopped
Finely chop the snapper, salmon and prawns in a food processor. Add coriander, fish sauce, chilli sauce, egg whites, garlic, lime leaves, lemon zest and juice and avocado oil. Mix together briefly. Shape into 8 patties.
Lightly oil a non-stick frying pan and cook the patties in batches for 3 minutes on each side.
Meanwhile, wash the quinoa in plenty of cold water and drain. Put in a saucepan with 250 ml (1 cup) of water. Bring to the boil and then reduce the heat, cover the pan and simmer for 10-12 minutes until all the water has been absorbed. Leave to stand for 5 minutes, then mix with lemon zest, juice and coriander. Serve the fish cakes on a bed of quinoa.
Nutrition per serve: Energy 1168 kj (279 Cals); Protein: 31 g; Total Fat: 10 g; Carbohydrate: 15 g; Fibre: 3 g; Sodium: 591 mg.
My time at Golden Door was memorable and very special and I will most definitely be going back again. I would recommend it for anyone who wants to escape the daily grind and enjoy a peaceful and nourishing break.
To book and find out more about The Golden Door Health Retreat click here.