Experience Review: Gaia Retreat & Spa

Set on eight hectares of hinterland with a view of Byron Bay, Gaia Retreat & Spa has 22 rooms and has won many awards as a leader in the health and wellbeing sector.

As we land into Byron our limo transfer texts us to say he has arrived. The service is outstanding from the get-go and as soon as we drive through the large iron gate, I immediately drop my shoulders and relax. We arrive on one of the earliest flights hoping for early access to the amenities and are offered breakfast on the balcony. 

The chef curates each meal’s menu after picking veggies from the garden and fresh eggs from the chickens. They also have bees on site and the honey is delicious. The food is a masterpiece on the plate and I’m pleasantly surprised by the knockout coffee (thought it was something we were going to have to give up for the weekend). We sit enjoying our breakfast overlooking the greenery and listening to the native birds with Olivia on our minds, you can feel and see her everywhere.

We take a walk in the garden and get ready for our spa treatments. I’ve chosen Byron Bay dream (you get $300 towards the spa as part of your package). This involves a full body polish, a cocoa butter body masque, hot oil scalp massage and a full body massage which is incredible, it finishes with burning sage and a soft gong.

After our treatments, rooms are ready, they are cabins in the forest and we have one each. They are equipped with everything you need and it’s all the little things I notice. We get fresh roses in our rooms each day and when they are taken away the petals are sprinkled down our stairs and onto the path. There is a welcome gift with a drink bottle, gaia reusable bag and some of Olivia’s sample skin care. There are fresh lemons and limes with filtered water to alkalize the body each morning.

Next up is lunch, there is never a set menu as the chef walks through the organic garden and decides not long prior to serving, it is incredible. We then have free time before a choice of yoga, sound meditation or an evening stroll.

Dinner is a 3 course masterpiece with wine on offer! We choose a local organic wine and the restaurant is buzzing with spa guests and outside guests. It’s great to know you can come and enjoy the incredible food even if you aren’t staying. We then find out most of the staff have been there since the very beginning, including the chef (I wish he’d open a restaurant in Sydney!). 

Dan Trewartha truly is incredible in the kitchen and if you asked me my favourite part of the retreat, the food is definitely the top contender. His Instagram handle is @dan_trewartha, he works with all the local farmers and chooses their best seasonal produce each day. At dinner we are given the activities sheet to choose from for the following day, things like, yoga, punch & crunch, breath of bliss, cooking class, health talk, forage, awakening your fitness, let’s get physical, cacao and sound mediation, world dance rhythms, meditation, core & glute strength, Pilates, exercise for life and qi going to name a few.

After the incredible dinner we take an early night and are looking forward to what the next day brings. I notice there is no TV which is excellent (although I do like to watch the news each morning) and the room I have chosen doesn’t have a bath which is a little disappointing.

After 16 years, the original owners: Olivia Newton-John, Gregg Cave, Right Kalnin & Warwick Evans sold Gaia on October 21 to Twiggy Forest for an estimated $30 million. I didn’t know this at the time and am pleased to report it very much feels like Olivia is still there. They even have her favourite blue velvet loveseat at the door.

The cost is a hefty $2,500 for 2 nights in a single or $3,750 in a double. It includes all your gourmet meals and snacks, $300 spa voucher, welcome gift, all activities, full use of facilities and limo transfer to and from the airport. 

In my opinion, it is worth every cent and I’m already dreaming of my next visit. Applause to the incredible head chef Dan Trewartha and the gorgeous Scottish yoga teacher who has also been there from the very beginning. We’ll be back!