Set in native bushlands, a stone’s throw from the ocean’s edge and just over the Queensland-New South Wales border lies the holistic lifestyle resort, Cabarita Ocean Health Retreat.
The Cabarita Ocean Health Retreat has star power in attracting guests from near and far for its reputation for kick starting a new, healthy way of life. Leveraging nature’s resources and fresh, organic foods, it offers guests a complete ‘body, mind and soul’ break for the busy, unwell and those just craving a getaway.
Integral to the success of the retreat are the people who manage your healing process. Brook Ramage is the co-founder and managing director. His career is a long history of titles dedicated to helping people find a healthier, less stressful existence. Together with the late Susie Peterson, and her brother Drew Peterson, the three visionaries created the retreat in 2011. Susie was the driving force of the resort, and is remembered fondly by Ramage and Cabarita staff as an inspiring, strong and beautiful woman. Her passion in her final years was to create a special place where people could come and make lifestyle and dietary changes that would turn their lives around.
Visits to Cabarita fall under the three, five or seven-day programs. Regardless of the length of stay, a few things remain the same. Take for example the 5.30am wakeup call and the six kilometre beach walk before breakfast. The retreat’s beachfront location puts guests in the front row for whale watching at the right time of year, and the sunrise walk allows guests to revel in the salty spray from the ocean bathed in early morning light. All in all, it is an inspiring way to start the day.
Central to the health program are food and nutrition. Executive chef Louise Miller has always used cooking as a way to nurture the people around her. Based on a paleo ethos, each meal is made using largely organic ingredients and not a sniff of sugar, refined grains or alcohol will be found in her kitchen. Portions are small, but full of flavour brought by spice, exceptional cooking techniques and first-class ingredients. Nutrition is taken the extra mile here, with the aim of sending guests home with dietary knowledge that will assist them in improving their health beyond the retreat.
While an exercise regime keeps guests busy from morning until lunch, the variety of classes, from tai chi to boxing, paddle boarding, yoga and pilates, keeps motivation high through a changing tempo. Bicycles and boogie boards are available for those who would rather have more freedom in their morning activities. Down time can be spent relaxing by the pool or booking in for some private exercise and nutrition classes. Guests can also opt for relaxing in their beautiful suites. Each is decorated to a certain theme (France, New York and China, for example), has a deep bath for soaking and is the only place where mobiles and computer devices may be used. Otherwise, the entire retreat is technology free for guests.
Do not forget to book yourself in for spa treatment or two and relax in the expert hands of the beautiful French therapist, Isabelle Decis. The detoxification from exercise and lack of alcohol, caffeine and anything fun, really, could leave you feeling a bit sorry for yourself. A mid-stay pampering could be the kind of positive nudge needed, giving you a glimpse of what the healthy you might look like when you have completed your entire health journey.
Words Alice Thompson Images supplied by Cabarita Ocean Health Retreat