If you follow us on social media you would have noticed our recent trip to the amazing Gaia Retreat and Spa, located in Ballina, just outside of Byron Bay. They invited us and Danielle (our yogi and soon to be natural food chef), to experience their spa retreat package currently on offer – we thought about it for, oh, all of 3 seconds before saying yes, yes YES!
‘Amazing’ is the word that comes to mind to describe this place, though still the understatement of the decade because words can’t describe how out-of-this-world, heaven-on-earth place is! Gaia is stunning, delicious, relaxing, rejuvenating… it’s total bliss.
Looking at Gaia Retreat and Spa’s website, you can’t help but think ‘luxury’. And it is just that BUT it’s luxury in a relaxed, laid back, no-makeup, wear-your-tracksuit-pants-all-day kinda way… which is our kind of place! In fact, we’ve never stayed anywhere else in the world where we’ve felt more at home! The staff are so welcoming and it’s very obvious they want every guest to leave feeling healthier, happier and more relaxed than they arrived. You can’t fake that!
Just like we spend time and money on doctors, naturopathy, gym memberships and supplements to better our health, we think that investing in our own self care and self love is just as important for optimal health and happiness. This is where a visit to Gaia Retreat and Spa comes in…
Our visit to Gaia couldn’t have come at a better time – we were in need of a break from the busy-ness of everyday merrymaker land. For you, it could be the stresses of family or work. Whatever the case, just know it’s the perfect place to escape negative people in your life, toxic environments (like the job you hate) or simply to just check in with yourself and your life . It’s most definitely the perfect place to celebrate life and thank yourself for all your hard work. Never underestimate self care and self love –sometimes, you have to be a little selfish to be selfless!
Gaia is a retreat where you can literally hand all decision-making over to the staff… a time to truly stop and just ‘be’, to connect with yourself and nature.
During our stay, every evening we received a special Gaia card with the next day’s activities – things like: fun tabata workouts, yoga classes, meditation sessions, emotional healing talks and skin care chats. The only decisions we had to make were whether or not we wanted to attend the activities, relax in our beautiful room, walk in nature or enjoy a spa experience (we did all of the above and can now highly recommend… all of the above!).
Every morning began with an 90 minutes of blissful, restorative yoga, our instructors Danielle and Christine were absolutely amazing (and very inspiring!).
It was then straight to brekky for us! HELLO amazing, delicious breakfast and herbal tea buffet – yes – we said herbal tea buffet! The brekky buffet was full of fresh local fruit, hot porridge, gluten free cereals, smoked salmon, avocado and tomatoes… not to mention the abundance of super food toppings to sprinkle over everything! We tried a little of the porridge (even though it had a teeny bit of rice flakes) just because it looked so darn yum! We can confirm looks did not deceive!
But wait, there’s more! Brekky didn’t stop at the buffet… oh no! We were also treated to a tailor-made hot brekky option. Tailor-made? Wha? Yep! At Gaia your dietary requirements are submitted to the chefs before your arrival… this means no need to repeat your foodie requirements a billion times…which only adds to the relaxation factor! Everyone’s meal is made according to what you can/can’t/prefer to eat! So you can guarantee you’ll LOVE every meal, rest assure it’s going to be delicious, healthy and make you feel your best.
During our stay we were treated to a skincare session with Gaia spa manager, Brigitte. She shared all the latest on Gaia’s new certified organic skin care range (which we’re currently testing out!) containing all natural ingredients with an emphasis on local Australian bush ingredients. YES PLEASE! We can tell you right now that we tested some of the products during our spa treatments and only have one word to describe them so far: BLISS.
My Gaia facial was by far the best facial treatment I’ve ever received. I was lucky enough to test out all the new Gaia Retreatment products. All certified organic and made with local plant oils with active native extracts. My skin felt relaxed and oh so hydrated. Perfect for me as my skin always tends to get a little dry heading in to the Canberra colder months! – Emma
Talk about complete goddess treatment! Starting with an amazing 15 minutes in the eucalyptus infused steam room, a detoxing body scrub, face scrub, hydrating face and hair mask, followed by a further 15 minutes of steam room goodness. But wait, there’s more! I was then rinsed off with coconut milk! Yes! A coconut milk rinse… epic bliss times infinity.... safe to say I smelt and felt AMAZING! – Carla
My massage was absolutely heavenly, just what I needed. My masseuse focused on areas of my body that needed serious release! It was such a restorative, transformational experience for me! – Danielle
As you can imagine, we all blissfully floated out of the spa after these treatments. For those who DO stay at Gaia, do yourself a favour and book in your treatments as soon as you arrive! If you’re planning a Byron Bay trip and not staying at Gaia, you can still book in for a day of indulgence at the spa! Spa day! Yay!
So back to the food…! Here’s a few snaps of our AMAZING (tailor-made… hehe) meals! There were many “OMG, this is best thing I’ve ever eaten!” moments.
We were also lucky enough to hear from Gaia’s head chef, Dan! He showed us how to make all sorts of delish dishes including tahini kale chippies AND an amazing choc raspberry mousse! We were so inspired by the amazing desserts we’re sharing a new Sweetener Free Vanilla Raspberry Panna Cotta recipe this week (you MUST try it, so easy, so yum, so good!).
Gaia Retreat and Spa really did help us get our bliss on, plus it gave us time to just be. It’s amazing when you have the opportunity to just be, ideas were flowing and inspiration was at an all time high – a great takeaway we’ve brought home with us! We loved Gaia so much we’re already planning our next trip… seriously, we might make it a yearly thing!
Emma + Carla
p.s here’s the Panna Cotta recipe and that’s what it looks like!