Byron Bay + Health Retreats + Healthy Travel

Gaia – A week I needed more than ever

12 May 2016
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The last three months at JSHealth have been huge! From writing a second book and selling my Sydney home to moving to Los Angeles and then touring South Africa and the UK, promoting my new book – all the while searching for a new home and an office space for my team! It seemed like all these major work and life decisions were being made in such a short amount of time – and don’t get me wrong, they’re all amazing, exciting things… But my body was screaming at me. My mind was tired.

The time we spent on the road for my book tour were some of the most magical weeks of my life. Truly. I have never experienced such love and support for the book. I was giving out my energy to TV, radio, events, book signings – all things I love – but I was living off adrenaline. I know that I’m the kind of person that can work damn hard for a period of time – non-stop, all day, every day. But I also know, that after those huge work periods, I need some time to switch off, regain my energy and recharge a bit. Not to mention, I had to read the final manuscript for my second book (!) in deep silence and solitude.

My retreat to Gaia could not have come at a more perfect time – 5 days, all to myself – a total mind and body rejuvenation.


Gaia Retreat & Spa

Set in the hinterland of Byron Bay, Gaia is nestled on 25 acres of breathtaking Bunjalung Country land. Founded in 2005 by Gregg Cave, Ruth Kalnin, Olivia Newtown-John and Warwick Evans, Gaia – meaning ‘spirit of Mother Earth’ – is poised on the highest point of the Byron shire. You can just feel nature hugging and healing you. I knew as soon as I arrived…

This is the place to go for a deep rest and a reset.

This is the place to go and pamper yourself – when you truly deserve it.

This is the place to go when you just want to lie amongst nature, read, be fed a nutritious meal and have some of the best treatments – the ones your body is begging for.


What a Gaia day looks like:

7:30am: Sun salutations and stretching in the Yoga studio.

9:00am: A slow and amazing buffet breakfast served on the terrace, looking out over the most beautiful natural surrounds.

10:30am: Optional workout/walk or tour around the organic veggie patch and a cooking demonstration (did someone say vegan Chocolate mousse?)

12:30pm: A light lunch with lots of veggies and some good quality plant-based protein.

2:00pm: Recharge and rejuvenate – you could head to the spa for a treatment or your room for a DVD binge (Could this place get any better?).

5:30pm: A talk on health and wellness or an hour of the most calming meditation practice.

6:30pm: A three-course dinner – served in style and inspired by the produce picked from their own organic garden!

8:00pm: Return to your cosy room for some proper rest and relaxation.


Gaia at a Glance

  • An intimate, boutique retreat – offering just 23 elegantly appointed rooms – with all the privacy needed to melt away from everyday life.
  • Individually tailored programs based on the personal choice of guests – from total relaxation to more specific goals like detox or weight-loss.
  • World famous on-site Gaia Day Spa – I had the Kahuna massage, Macadamia oil/scalp treatment and body scrub – simply incredible.
  • A menu that changes daily and features organic, locally sourced produced – prepared by world-class chefs no less.
  • No set-date or schedules – you can check-in and check-out any day.
  • Ongoing support to transition you back into your everyday life.


Three important lessons – inspired by Gaia

  1. The power of nourishing food 

The food at Gaia was mind-blowing. Every meal is made with produce from the garden, carefully prepared and plated up with such love. Gaia reflects what I truly believe in – eat with balance and celebrate your meals. From a buffet style breakfast, to the best paleo muffins for morning tea or the sugar-free dessert to finish off that amazing three-course dinner – there is no restriction or deprivation. Just love and deep care (they even have organic wine if you wish!).

Some of my favourite meals:

  • Anything and everything from the breakfast buffet!
  • Warm cauliflower and brussel sprout salad with farro and the most amazing mustard-vegan cheese dressing.
  • Vegan black-bean tacos with avocado and corn salsa.
  • The Balinese stir fried brown rice and veggies.

My mind felt clearer, my body felt energised – it really does show you the power of good, nourishing food (check out my signature JSHealth cleanse for an at-home detox!).

 Gaia Food

  1. Switching off social media can be life changing

 As much as I love social media as a source of inspiration and for helping us stay connected to family and friends – I really needed a break from the constant Instagram/Facebook/Snapchat cycle of my work.

I usually always do my own social media posts but to make sure I got the most out of my recharging week, I sent the snaps to my Sydney team to upload on my behalf. Over the week I felt my whole nervous system relax and experienced the hugely positive impact of going without social media every once in a while.

From now on, I’m going to switch off social media for one day a week and commit to entering the JSHealth Stress Free Zone for at least 20 minutes each day.


  1. The benefits of solitude

 Solitude is so underrated – I seriously believe we all need more of it in our lives! Time to ourselves, time in silence, time to learn to love your own company. I think it’s so important to learn to be ok on your own; enjoy the space created in your mind; it helps you nourish the most important relationship – the one you have with yourself!



One last thing…

 As you can tell – I just loved it. I came home feeling rested and cleansed. I feel so full of energy – ready to tackle all of my big work projects. Self-care is so essential for a healthy life. You don’t always need a retreat to do so… But consider it something for your bucket list. The most important thing is to look after yourself every day – with nourishing food, a break from social media every once in a while and of course, some quality me-time!


P.s. I also embarked on my signature JSHealth cleanse which you can access here which really helped detox my body during the week.


To find out more about Gaia and all the incredible experiences they offer, or to book your own retreat, go to: or email

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