Stop, retreat, relax

What would happen if, just for a few days, you stopped; took time out from juggling multiple responsibilities; and slowed down the pace of your life, just long enough to reset?

The three-day relaxation escape at Billabong Retreat, Maraylya, has been created to provide visitors with the chance to do just that: to ‘be’ rather than ‘do’ and put all modern stresses on ice.

The meals are unlike anything your average healthy home cook could whip up – and there’s always dessert.

Situated 45 minutes from Sydney, the 30-bed eco-retreat is set on a bushland block, complete with two billabongs decorated with lily pads, and a host of other flora and fauna.

There are no fake relaxation soundtracks or aromatherapy tools used here. You need only pause upon arrival to be soothed by the chorus of birds, frogs and cicadas singing, and the light, refreshing air.

The accommodation ranges from divine luxury (private tree houses) to affordable chic (shared cabins). If you really want to spoil yourself, opt for the Treehouse Deluxe: a gable roofed boutique villa perched on the escarpment overlooking the billabongs, which comfortably sleeps two. If the view alone doesn’t blow you away, the stunning freestanding bath on the balcony will. The Treehouse Deluxe is equipped with air-con, but purposely omits a television.

You won’t miss TV though, as there’s an optional relaxation program that runs over the three-day course. It features yoga, crystal bowl meditation, meditative colouring in, live music, a movie night and a nutrition talk. The activities are mild enough for the yoga novice and moderate hippy, but can also be intensified upon request. And best of all, if you want time out to sleep or go for a walk, that’s encouraged.

There’s a pool on site, a library, a main hall and ‘the deck’ where the 20-plus people doing the same program as you hang out during downtime.

Only organic, locally sourced, vegetarian food is served. And there are always few delicious options to try. The meals are unlike anything your average healthy home cook could whip up – and there’s always dessert.

Massages and facials are highly recommended optional extras. If you really want your nerves ironed out, request a treatment in the hut bordering the billabong – it’s pure luxury.

The most celebrated feature of retreat, however, is that it’s non-pretentious. There are no unrealistic expectations to become a yogi master. It offered the perfect mix of chill-out time, good food, nature and exercise to soothe the mind and really de-stress the body.


Yasmin Noone experienced the three-day/two-night relaxation program, staying in the tree house deluxe at the Billabong Retreat (NSW). Standard cost is $600 per person twin-share or $900 for a single, which includes all meals and snacks, an activities program, and accommodation.


By Yasmin Noone

Billabong Retreat
t: 02 4573 6080
a: 41 McClymonts Road, Maraylya, NSW, 2765


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