Nestled in the rolling hills of Goomburra, the Darling Downs Wellness Therapies and The Grain Shed Retreat is a true escape for those wanting a peaceful place to relax, rejuvenate and bask in natural beauty.

Owned by Bel du Bois, an occupational, sleep and massage therapist, and Neil Erskine, who is completing his counselling qualifications, this NDIS-registered rural retreat has been designed to provide therapy services to its clients, but it has also become a destination for short stay, luxurious accommodation. “We wanted to be disability friendly but not look clinical,” du Bois said. “Anyone with a disability wants you to see the person and not the disability, and that’s what really motivated us here. I wanted to get the kids out of that clinical setting and into the country.”

Working closely with their builder, du Bois and Erskine transformed an old grain shed into a beautiful, luxuriously appointed retreat where they not only host clients in a gorgeous natural setting, but also hold fun workshops, yoga classes and romantic getaways. Darling Downs Wellness Therapies & The Grain Shed Retreat began as a dream captured in du Bois’ dream book where she had been saving clippings for decades. She and Erskine had been childhood sweethearts, but life had taken them in different directions until they reconnected a few years ago. Little did either of them realise how the dreams they had been carrying separately were about to become a reality together. “Bel’s dream book had everything that is on this property,” Erskine said with a grin. He bought the property as a family retreat location with his parents 17 years ago. “I always thought of doing the same thing, but I never got excited enough to do something about it.” Now the two have excitement in spades; their faces alight as they outline dreams and plans to transform other buildings on the property for outdoor adventure therapy with obstacle courses and rope swings, retreats for crafts, women’s wellness and artists, and as a destination for weddings. “I’d like it to be an enhanced wilderness,” Erskine said.

“It’s such a beautiful place, and when people come and experience it you get excited all over again seeing it through their eyes.” Du Bois agreed, saying, “It’s really nice to be able to share it; nice to be able to work in an environment that you feel so strongly about. It’s a really nice way to become part of the community as well. It’s a great way to connect.” While du Bois and Erskine work on their other dreams, they continue to live out their current ones, welcoming kids out to their NDIS registered property to do their therapy on nearly 900 acres of open eucalyptus forest where native plants flourish and majestic eagles nest. “So much of their development comes from play,” du Bois said, “And particularly outdoor play. Parents love the changes in their kids, the openness, chattiness and confidence. They’re different kids going back home after being on the farm. It’s so nice to be able to offer that.”

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