The story of the estate. São Lourenço do Barrocal has been in the same family for more than 200 years, and it was José António Uva (who is eight generation of the same family) who had a vision to turn the family property into a farm retreat he could share with others. The passion and dedication behind José António’s dream, and what he has created, is incredibly inspiring.
The interiors. Perfectly simple and calming. The interior design was led by José António’s wife Ana’s design studio, AnahoryAlmeida (also responsible for the interiors of many of Lisbon’s finest restaurants) and it is a dream.
Hortelão, their outdoor restaurant. The most beautiful place to dine between Spring through Autumn, this slow-food, farm to fork restaurant is located next to the pool, right by the organic kitchen garden, and is the perfect place to enjoy a dinner under the stars.
GWINGANNA LIFESTYLE RETREAT
TALLEBUDGERA VALLEY, QUEENSLAND • WELLNESS RETREAT
Gwinganna Lifestyle Retreat is tucked away in the Tallebudgera Valley (in the Gold Coast Hinterland) and is an incredibly serene wellness sanctuary in an unbelievably beautiful nature setting. Gwinganna offers guests the most perfect opportunity and space to focus on rest, wellness and recovery.
Surrounded by ocean and valley views, the silence of the bush will hold you. The word Gwinganna translates to ‘lookout’ ~ as named by the local indigenous people, the traditional custodians of this land ~ which is very apt given its position offering views from
Moreton Bay to Coolangatta.
Driving through the Tallebudgera Valley, on approach to Gwinganna, you know you are arriving somewhere special. High on a plateau on over 200 hectares (500 acres) in a hidden region of the Tallebudgera Valley, the promise of abundance and calm beckons.
Gwinganna offers guests the opportunity to customise their experience to best help transform their lifestyle habits. It is considered a wellness haven maintained by healthy boundaries (guests are restricted from bringing and consuming: cigarettes, drugs, food, caffeinated drinks and alcohol on to the property). Gwinganna's retreats are specifically designed to assist guests during any withdrawals from the world in a beautifully isolated environment, providing a cocoon from external distractions and stress, and a visit to Gwinganna is a commitment to stay on retreat and respect their philosophy so they can help re-evaluate lifestyle habits that do not foster wellness, energy and calmness.
They have an incredibly diverse range of packages (including several specialty options) on offer. The introductory two night weekend stay is a good one for busy people or those wanting to try a retreat for the first time, while the five and seven day packages will provide the best results. Over three or four days choose a package with different themes throughout the year, allowing you to try something different each time you visit. Many guests also now choose to combine packages together creating their ultimate Gwinganna experience.
There are also several different accommodation options on offer, with options for all budgets and varying levels of luxury and privacy, including the Villas, the Meditation Suites, the Orchard Suites, the Peel House, and the Heritage Houses.
The Gwinganna Spa Sanctuary is a lush, calming, incredibly beautiful indoor/outdoor space that is world-class, and in fact the largest spa in the Southern Hemisphere. You can book in for daily (or twice-daily, even three-times daily if you can squeeze them in) treatments and stress and wellness therapies. It's very beautiful here.
Gwinganna achieved Ecotourism
Certification back in 2010.
Why I love it
I feel very lucky to have had the opportunity to visit Gwinganna twice on two different packages (the first time was the two night 'Gwinganna Wellness Weekend', and then second time was the four night 'Triple S - Sleep, Sugar, Stress' package), and have really enjoyed both experiences. I love Gwinganna for its amazing nature setting, the incredible food (you will never go hungry - the meals are organic, wholesome, nutritious, colourful, and interesting), the hikes, the views, the daily Qi Gong classes, the Spa Sanctuary treatments, and the Nia dance classes (my favourite!). I also love touring around their beautiful organic fruit and veggie garden. If budget allows, I recommend booking one of the Moonarie Villas, which are perched on the edge of a ridge with beautiful views, private plunge pool and come with your own golf buggy to use for your stay. All of the accommodation options are great though and you don't really end up spending too much time in your rooms, between meal times, wellness seminars, hikes, yoga, spa treatments, activities and so on. In saying that though, you are always encouraged to choose to do as little or as much as you like - so if you just feel like sleeping and resting all day, you can absolutely do that as well. I remember back on my first visit my first impression being that Gwinganna felt like a bit of a 'school camp', and it kind of does (and group sizes are not necessarily that intimate, they are more on the bigger side), but if you go in knowing this - and that you will be sharing a table with a group of 6-10 different people at each meal time - you will be fine.
Gwinganna provides an incredible opportunity to take time out for yourself - to focus on healing, resting, and being kind to yourself. A perfect reset.
About the owners
The inspiration to develop a property like Gwinganna began after owner, Tony de Leede’s father passed away from heart disease at age 49. Tony's mother decided to change her sedentary life to embrace healthy eating, daily ocean swims as well as tai chi, yoga and meditation. Tony watched his mother transform her lifestyle and decided early in life that he would one day create his own retreat.
For more than 50 years, the property was owned by Kevin Weldon. It was then a space for people to absorb Tallebudgera Valley’s natural beauty and take time out to see, study, explore and relax together. Tony fell in love with the property and decided to retain most of the distinctive features he thought to be fundamental to Gwinganna. Continuing with the environment in mind, the development of Gwinganna has seen older buildings renovated and striking new buildings constructed using reclaimed timbers.
What to do nearby
Nia Dance Class
What to bring