Blissing out at The Billabong – a restorative gift to you!

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Hi Everyone and welcome back to the blog,

Well recently I decided to take a week out and give myself, a self imposed ” digital detox”! I just wanted to get away and feel disconnected from the constant “hub-bub” that is our modern lives.

The non-stop emails, texts, Instagrams, Facebook messages etc etc.

That constant bombardment from all angles, at all hours of the day and night was just becoming too much and I felt myself asking: ” Is this really all there is?”

This constant barrage of technology and faceless machinery!

And then I happened upon an advertisement for The Billabong Retreat!

As I read the advert I could hear harps playing, bluebirds fluttered overhead with the promise of my arrival and my focus suddenly became whimsical and full of unicorns and rainbows ha ah ha.

Could this place really only be a one hour drive from Sydney?

Could salvation really be that close at hand?

Well the simple answer was – YES!

Salvation was just around the corner from where I lived and within minutes I was all booked in and ready for solitude.

And then – much to my surprise the panic set in.

“What have I done?” I asked myself.

“There is yoga every morning and afternoon and lessons on “mindfulness” – how will all that be relaxing?” – I pondered.

“And what will I do without my phone and emails for an entire week?” – I quizzed myself, feeling oh so very self important.

“Could the world really keep on ticking, without me standing with my laptop and i-phone at the ready?” I mused.

I felt like some crazed addict, already panicking weeks before I was set to go.

But go I did.

And I have to say it is one of the most fabulous experiences I have ever had.

The Billabong Retreat – was just that….

A Retreat!

A retreat from my ordinary life!

A retreat from the mundane!

A retreat from the constant bombardment of technology!

A retreat from the ” flim flam” of life!


For me –  it was a retreat into a very magical, personal and special place. It felt like I was taking a bath in nature each and every day.

Being able to take a bath on my balcony was something I shall never forget. And neither will the little wallaby who got more than she bargained for as she looked around for where the rustling was coming from ha ha ha!

It was me – leaning half out of my bath tub trying to get a photo of her on the rock ha ha ha.

Then there was the opportunity to simply sit in my warm bath and feel the wind in my hair, watch all manner of birds parade past in the Billabong and dart from tree to tree. [ the birds that is - not me ha ha ha ]

It really was pure magic!

I have actually never been one for sitting in a bath to be honest, as I tend to get very bored after about 5 minutes – but there at The Billabong Retreat – a 2.5 hour bath became quite the norm! I just felt totally connected to nature and I was absorbed 100% into it’s sounds, it’s look, and it’s whispers.

What would have been a 5 minute walk in the city, became a 2 hour wander at Billabong!

I actually took an entire small case of books with me for the week.

I did not read one.

I was simply too enthralled with the show that nature had prepared in all it’s glory!

So what is it that makes this place so special?

There are a number of factors in my opinion:

  1. Location and scenery: The Billabong Retreat is nestled into it’s environment with such clever and meaningful architecture – that you truly feel at one with the surrounds.
  2. Layout: the layout is super thoughtful and really allows people to connect with each other – especially before and after meals, which adds this wonderful human connectivity to the experience that is often lost in the rushing and ” phone/tv/laptop fixation” of the modern world. Here – we were back to the land of no tvs and a lovely fire to sit around – and the effect was profound. People connected and took the time to acknowledge and get to know each other.
  3. Lodgings: whilst communing with others was easy and effortless – it was also easy and effortless to slip away to a private comfy chair, lounge, balcony, path or room and get lost in your own thoughts and company. As a single traveller this was perfect for me, as it allowed me to  chat when I felt like sharing and then retain my own space when I wanted to be alone. The same can be said for groups or couples travelling together – they could meet new people, or return to the privacy of their own group in another location.
  4. The Food: The food was so incredibly yummy and the passion of the chefs just beautiful. Each and every meal was heralded with an explanation by the chef of the day, as to what they had prepared, why, and where the ingredients were sourced. Mostly all products are sourced locally from the area’s farmers and the flavours reflected that. All vegetarian, made with love and care and super delicious. Meal times were community times. It was refreshingly nice.
  5. The Staff: I do not think I have been to many places where the staff are so wonderful. The most genuine, caring and fun bunch of people. Every single person working there from check in staff, to yoga teachers, to staff in the spa – they all just exuded the most kind and beautiful natures. And that really added to the experience. There was no ” rehearsed pitter patter ” here. Just genuine conversations and welcoming smiles! What more could you want!
  6. The Owners: I was lucky enough to be at the retreat when owner Paul von Bergen was conducting the Mindfulness lectures. His story and the creation story of The Billabong Retreat is inspiring and life affirming and one you can read on their website. So I encourage you to visit and do that – as then you will see the ” heart and soul” that brought this wonderful Retreat into being – and should you choose to stay, that knowledge will be with you and make it even more special. Another interesting note was that Paul’s wife Tory is an artist and much of the artwork on property is hers. And that certainly adds even more, to the charm of the place. The dream catcher in my room was particularly gorgeous. If it had been for sale I would have snapped it up for sure!
  7. The Spa: I am not usually one for massage, but I treated myself to a few massages and they were wonderful. There are a host of services on offer – so do yourself a favour and schedule a few whilst you are there.
  8. Yoga x 2: I simply loved the twice daily yoga classes – at 7:00am and 3:30pm! This twice daily ritual was invigorating to my mind, body and spirit! And all I had to do was walk there – a huge 5 minute trek from my room! All the teachers were wonderful and each brought their own personal touch to their classes. And the yoga room itself!!!! Well – that has to be seen to be believed! There are photos on the website – but even those stunning shots do not do this space justice. It is simply the moist restorative and nurturing place to do yoga.
  9. Meditation: Many tips were given on a host of meditation techniques which was great, as it enabled the guests to find a practice that suited them. I love meditation – so that was fabulous for me. Calming and reassuring somehow.
  10. The Vibe: All activities are optional! And there was absolutely no pressure at all to participate in anything. If you want to take yoga or attend a lecture – then turn up. And if you don’t – then don’t. And that is the beauty of the place. Some days I attended all activities and on others I chose to simply stay in my room or take a stroll. The vibe was just super relaxed and easy going! There are no TVs and no wifi – though some people chose to stay pretty close to their phones – it is recommended to keep them in your own private space for the benefit of other guests. On another note – there were screenings of movies a few nights during the week and the choice of films were great – mindful and inspirational – which really complimented the entire experience.

So – as you can see – I loved it.

In fact – I have already booked my next visit and am going to take my Mum as a birthday treat!

So in a nutshell – my advice when visiting this Australian Bush Wonderland:

A – try and stay for an entire week if you can. It takes the first three days to truly switch off from the outside world and really benefit from the relaxed vibe. If you can really let yourself become immersed in the place for a week you will feel so enlivened, recharged and refocused. Most people seemed to stay for 3 days – but I must admit that I loved the indulgence of staying for 7!

B – if you stay in a deluxe cabin with the bathtub on the balcony  - be brave and get naked out there. It is strangely freeing!

C – again, be brave and turn your phone and laptop off when you check in. Advise your friends, family and relatives to call the landline at reception if there is an emergency. Trust the world will carry on without you, and set it up to do so, whilst you are gone. Then you will really chill out and relax.

D – Pay attention to your own reactions to everything when in this environment. It might just tell you a lot about yourself. It did me ha ha ha!

E – Look out for deer, rabbits and wallabies. They are too cute!

F – head to the Billabong from 5:00pm – 6:00pm as the sun goes down. Watching nature wind down for the day, has a calming effect and nurtures you into ” end of the day mode” too!

G – the view from the Lodge is amazing too – if not staying there – ask another guest who is staying there to take you up – it is worth a look!

H – the Gazebo by the Billabong is amazing to sit in and ponder life and the Billabong – so check it out early on and don’t miss out!

So  - that is it from me.

Another incredible destination has been found. So – if you live in Sydney – get there now heh heh. And if you live in Australia or overseas – next time you are planning a trip to Sydney, put this little treasure on your ” to do ” list!

And finally – to all the staff at The Billabong Retreat – congratulations on a very special little corner of the world!

See you again soon.


And till next time – remember – we are all just doing the best we can!

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