Billabong Retreat Sydney – Yoga, Mindfulness and Eco Retreat

June 5, 2012 · 28 comments

Billabong Yoga Retreat Sydney

Wow. Okay. Where do I begin to recap on a bliss-filled 48 hours at Billabong Retreat on the way to Richmond, NSW? Should I start with the delicious vegetarian food, the awesome tent I was in, the yoga, breathing, and vocal sessions, the tea ceremony, or the purrrty scenery?

Billabong Yoga Retreat

Shall I start with the food, as that’s what you’ve come to expect? :)

The Food

Billabong Yoga Retreat Sydney

On arrival there was a spelt and fruit based slice and tea on offer (and caffeinated products because for the addicts, there was no point spending the whole weekend with a headache!), and some delicious tasting filtered rain water. Technically they can only recommend us drinking from two of the taps (the bubbler and the kitchen tap) but the rest of the water is rain water, so no issues with brushing teeth with that water.

Billabong Yoga Retreat Sydney

Stacks of mandarines, green apples (my favourite!), bananas and seedless red grapes kept making appearances in front of me, and were soon in my belly :) There was a stash of Freedom Foods bikkies for the sensitive tummies amongst us, and we were welcome to help ourselves to snacks through the weekend from the kitchen.

Billabong Yoga Retreat
I can smell all the spices now!

Mignon, the chef, fed us well for our main meals as well as baking up a storm. Most of the produce was local when possible, and in season was the way to go. Seconds were often had!

Breakfasts

Billabong Yoga Retreat

OMG people, I ate hard boiled eggs for the first time since I was maybe six. I thought it was the least egg smelling way to get back into eating eggs. I’m still a long way off eating runny eggs. Small Steps!

Billabong Yoga Retreat

Lots of fresh breads, jams and spreads on offer. The gluten free loaf was from the freezer, but hey, it was there!

Billabong Yoga Retreat

Porridge on the first morning was cinnamon, morning two there was vanilla added, and I think it inspired a winter of porridge eaters.

Billabong Yoga Retreat

With bananas with Greek yoghurt, local honey and home made muesli (unfortunately not gluten free) for those after something lighter. I think most people went for a little bit of everything!

Lunches

Billabong Yoga Retreat

A spicy pumpkin soup. Probably towards the edge of this wuss’s chilli coping range. But delish!

Billabong Yoga Retreat

Roasted Mediterranean vegetables baked with ricotta.

Dinners

Billabong Yoga Retreat Sydney

A plate of ‘nachos’. A little mix up meant there were some difficulties for the guy with the nut allergy, but he didn’t die, so all went well :P (He’d forgotten his epipen and all!) The salads with our meals were amazing! Simple, like with cabbage, apple, walnut and dressing, but crunchy and tasty.

Billabong Yoga Retreat
(excuse the dodgy photo)

A vegetable curry and a dhal, seconds were sought by a lot of us!

Desserts

Yes! We were given dessert :) Like I said, no one went hungry this weekend!

Billabong Yoga Retreat Sydney

Berry sorbet with tofu cream and crumble.

Billabong Yoga Retreat

MMm poached pears. Gotta love cinnamon!

If you’re going, and have dietary requests, such as allergies, intolerances or if you’re vegan, they can cater for you at Billabong. Jut let them know when you book, and have a chat to the chef when she gets there on the first afternoon to make sure accommodations are made :)

The Facilities

Billabong Yoga Retreat Sydney

I got to experience the walk-in tents. Don’t let anyone tell you they are too cold! With a super thick doona,blankets, hot water bottle and oil heater, I overheated on the first night! Meep!

Billabong Yoga Retreat Sydney

In the long term, they hope to only have the rooms along the ridge overlooking the billabong, with ensuites etc. But for now, the tent and old cottage serve well! Short dash in the rain to the loo at 3am, but I lived to tell the tale ;)

(Check out the premium cabins here)

Billabong Yoga Retreat Sydney

Billabong Yoga Retreat Sydney

Billabong Yoga Retreat

The showers all have little egg timers for 4 minutes. My first shower was so under two minutes, but I couldn’t get in under 4 on the Sunday, because I decided to wash my hair with the biodegradable shampoo and conditioner. It was soft and fluffy once it dried :)

Billabong Yoga Retreat

Below are some of the other parts of the main building – the fireplaces, the super comfy couches, the yoga room and the view.

Billabong Yoga Retreat Sydney

Billabong Yoga Retreat Sydney

Billabong Yoga Retreat Sydney

Billabong Yoga Retreat

All the art is by Tory, one of the owners.

Billabong Yoga Retreat

Billabong Yoga Retreat

Billabong Yoga Retreat

Billabong Yoga Retreat Sydney

The Sessions

Billabong Yoga Retreat

The yoga and meditation sessions were WONDERFUL. There was such a mix of experience in the room, from people who’d done nothing along those lines at all, to some of me who get so distracted meditating, to people who’d done yoga for 15+ years. But everyone got something new out of the weekend. I focussed on my breathing, an was able to take home some yoga techniques to help with my stress reduction and anxiety management that I’ve applied already!

(and for those of you that know me, no, it wasn’t all “woo” ;) Lots of practical stuff)

Tea Ceremony

Billabong Yoga Retreat

An amazing part of the weekend, we were guided through a mindful tea making exercise with the gorgeous Basia from My Tea Ritual. Taking note of all the aspects of the tea making, from the sound of the water, to the blooming of the tea, to the heat of the cup and the taste on your tongue. At least 3 people were “wow, I can do THIS at any time with my normal tea” to create a peaceful, portable ritual. Yep, even during 3:30-itis at work!

I had an amazing weekend and would certainly recommend it to anyone who needs to escape but can’t really find more than the weekend to do it. You walk in, and an instant calm just… happens! The place it only 45 mins from Sydney (3 hours from Newcastle by train, but that’s another story and I slept for a lot of it :p), and they pick you up and drop you back from the station if you go by train :)

Billabong Yoga Retreat

Billabong Retreat can be stalked via their website, blog (where Paul promises he’ll start putting up recipes soon!) and their Facebook Page (skim for a pic of my group and for spur of the moment offers for last minute bookings)

You can also sign up to their mailing list and receive a generous discount on your first stay! (Currently $200 which means your first stay can be $399 twin share for their Two-Night retreat package)

Billabong Yoga Retreat

Basia’s tea ritual information, bookings and products such as blooming tea and tea pots is over at MyTeaRitual.com and she’s on Facebook and Twitter. You should consider booking her for a team building day to help your staff appreciate their cuppas that little bit more mindfully rather than just for the caffeine hit ;)

The rest of my pics for the weekend are over on Flickr.

I stayed as a guest of Billabong Retreat, and loved every moment! My only gripe is that 48 hours is just enough time to get used to it… would love to go to a longer retreat next time. :) And while it rained pretty much the whole weekend, that simply added to the beauty – and who doesn’t love falling asleep to the sound of rain?! :)

{ 28 comments… read them below or add one }

Elizabeth June 5, 2012 at 3:24 pm

Jealous! That looks like such a beautiful place to unwind. The tents look like fun too – more like glamping than camping.
Elizabeth recently posted..My Winter city

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Fiona June 5, 2012 at 3:46 pm

was AMAZING

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Fiona June 5, 2012 at 6:39 pm

Oh and there was the teeeniest amount of caffeine consumed, about 50mL of green tea during the tea ceremony. Do I fail?

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Elizabeth June 6, 2012 at 6:06 pm

I’ll allow it. You probably even get bonus points for stopping at 50mL ;)
Elizabeth recently posted..My Winter city

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Fiona June 7, 2012 at 9:18 am

And I got a lot out of the experience :)

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edenland June 5, 2012 at 3:41 pm

I LOVE THIS.

I want to go … looks absolutely divine. Just what the Soul Doctor ordered. (If there was a Soul Doctor .. I just invented him. In my head.)

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Fiona June 5, 2012 at 3:47 pm

Dr Soul would totally recommend this place.

I think I need to go back!

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Hannah June 5, 2012 at 6:36 pm

Oh wow, this place looks quite amazing! Those look like my kind of tents – and I HATE camping unless it is high summer, dry and there are bathrooms and electricity. So, yeah, I hate camping but I think I could hack this. I so want to get into yoga and meditation – maybe a retreat would be just the ticket? x
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Fiona June 5, 2012 at 6:38 pm

It was a great intro for me, the instructors pushed us to give everything a go by modifying things so we could achieve them, but there was no pressure to do anything. Naps are always an option, and a siesta was scheduled from after lunch saturday (I went for a walk instead)

:)

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Rah June 5, 2012 at 6:53 pm

I’m not a yoga girl and I WANNA GO!
I’d even eat the vego food ;)

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Fiona June 5, 2012 at 6:55 pm

I reckon you could wangle it :) It was a great intro to yoga for me! I mostly took on the breathing, but some of the poses were great for un-cricking the spine from too much time over this laptop ;)

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Neko June 5, 2012 at 10:40 pm

I’m kinda Jelly about the weekend away idea. Sometimes it’s fantastic to get out of your normal surroundings and relax ( and spend a little on the side too :P)

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Fiona June 6, 2012 at 7:20 am

Yup. Doesn’t really matter where, does it? Evena day in the park can be awesome with noone to bother you

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Neko June 6, 2012 at 1:16 pm

There is still some pretty places to sit or look around. one place is in a park and i got to see trees and rocks and a brief glimmer of city/ houses in the far distance. was pretty

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Fiona June 6, 2012 at 1:19 pm

:)

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Hannah June 6, 2012 at 6:25 am

I’m not big on “unplugging” or enjoying the wilderness in general, but this looks so peaceful, so relaxing, that I’m dying to go, too! I wonder if I can find something else similar nearby.
Hannah recently posted..Around the World in 80 Plates: Florence, Italy

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Fiona June 6, 2012 at 7:16 am

I didn’t manage to ‘go dark’ oops!

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Hannah June 7, 2012 at 8:21 pm

This looks lovely, and the food amazing, but I have to say that the outdoor toilet would be a deal-breaker for me if I was spending money on “rejuvenating”. As someone who has to get up in the night at least twice to go to the bathroom (damn my tiny bladder!), that would make me so miserable.

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Fiona June 7, 2012 at 8:26 pm

You’d just have to get one of the cabins with ensuite. Down the track they will all just be the ensuited version. Time and money first! :p
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Misha - The Bling Buoy June 8, 2012 at 10:08 am

Oh that looks like absolute bliss! I would love to go there.
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Pink Ronnie June 8, 2012 at 4:03 pm

Sounds like such a wonderful retreat! All that wonderful food. It must’ve been so nice and so utterly refreshing to get away for 48 hours.
Ronnie xo
Pink Ronnie recently posted..Why are you dropping so much hair?

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penny June 8, 2012 at 7:59 pm

It looks spectacular! I could totally go a relaxing weekend – or month- there. I love a wooden setting too.

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Fiona June 8, 2012 at 8:01 pm

Or three months? ;)

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Grace June 8, 2012 at 10:00 pm

Oh wow! That place looks absolutely divine ! All that food looks so delish. I wouldn’t have had any problems with the boiled eggs…nom!!!
And yes, so true. Nothing like waking up to the sound of the rain. That bed looks really comfy ! :)
Grace recently posted..FYBF – How to par-taaay in your 40′s edition

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Fiona June 10, 2012 at 2:16 pm

It was pretty comfy, I usually struggle with beds other than my own.

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Christie @ Fig & Cherry June 10, 2012 at 12:59 pm

Looks blissful and the food certainly looks much better than other retreats I’ve seen. Great review!

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Fiona June 10, 2012 at 2:13 pm

That’s what happens when you focus on putting LOTS of fresh, local produce into your body :)

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Kylie @ Octavia and Vicky June 10, 2012 at 2:55 pm

Ohhhhhhh, this looks SO good. I was transported there just reading this post but how I’d love to go there for real.
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