Report from mother earth and all that is "Gaia"

A view from the "Wheel of Life"

Your daily life
Is your temple and your religion.
Whenever you enter into it,
Take with you your all.

Kahlil  Gibran

Greetings from Mother Earth…I should say the “spirit of mother earth”.. which is "Gaia", a health retreat and spa in the hinterlands of Australia, a place I have taken myself to for a mind-fix…five days of therapeutic bliss.

A few months ago I had the notion to visit a health retreat, feeling it would help me prepare for "empty nester syndrome" after dropping my fourth and last child at boarding school. I proceeded to do my due diligence and came across the following…

Surrender to the beauty and healing culture of the internationally recognised Gaia Retreat & Spa, nestled in the breathtaking Bundjalung Country hinterlands of Byron Bay (Australia).. Poised on the highest point in the shire and set on 25 acres, Gaia has 20 beautifully appointed retreat style bungalows/villas set in lush subtropical gardens. This boutique property will seduce you in drift into infinity with its endless beautiful vistas.

You can consider me officially seduced and drifting into infinity.

I can not begin to describe the feeling after spending just three days at Gaia, it has totally captured me. This is not my first visit to a health retreat but it is my first visit to Gaia and I know it will not be the last.

I liken it to a little hideaway, your own personal sanctuary. 
Simple and elegant accommodations, beautiful, healthy and delicious food…
spa and therapeutic treatments that could tempt anyone out of their cocoon 
and activities to keep you motivated and spiritually connected.

Upon arrival, it was pure joy to see the expanding landscape. 
If you have been following Collage of Life for a while, 
you know that Tahilla Farm is a place that is near and dear to my heart 
and it is the first thing that came to mind when I glanced around Gaia..
mother earth working her best kind of magic.

The views are melodic and embracing.  
Folds and folds of lush green grass sweeping from one hill to the next.  
A nature walk outlines the property, a horticulturists playground 
with a beautiful collection of native Australian flora and fauna. 
In the midst of it all, a wonderful organic vegetable and herb 
garden filling our plates for every meal.

There are many strategic points to contemplate life 
and the view.  Day beds are scattered throughout the property, 
Adirondack chairs, a hammocks and my favourite
a dozen boulders strategically placed around a space for a blazing fire.


In my mind there could be no better place 
for connecting to mother earth…. 
every where you turn..
a quintessential Gaia experience.

The highest point of the property is "Samira Lookout" with spectacular views..
from mountain ranges to the sea. Samira- in Sakskrit means “god of wind and breeze, 
a place to gather your thoughts". Within this spot you have the opportunity to walk 
a labyrinth, inscribed into the earth that takes you to a statue of Buddha.  
Walking among the windings of the labyrinth you lose track of direction, 
trusting on the shape of the pattern…it essentially is meant to quiet the mind 
and lead you to a contemplative state. Having tested the theory, 
I can say that it works…if you walk slowly and thoughtfully.

Labyrinth outline…a work in progress.

The labyrinth is the symbol of Gaia..and rightly so. 
During your journey at Gaia you trust in the people around you to lead 
you a contemplative state, to help quiet your mind and body…and they do just that.

From the Buddha you turn to "Easterly", 
a magnificent sculpture across the way.

She is grounded, she is strong, 
she is the center, she is life. 
Amongst her, an artful arrangement
 of boulders of different shapes and sizes…
it is breathtaking.

"Easterly" created by Australian sculptor Loui  Fraser….

“The sculpture refers to the figureheads on ships that lead explorers 
and adventurers to new lands, portraying the feelings the artist has as a woman 
living on the easterly point of Australia which greets the new day, everyday,
 for the rest of the country to follow.
Mixed media 2006

I will stop here… touching on a just a few of the experiences at Gaia…there is so much more. If you are interested in a health retreat, I encourage you to have a look here. Be sure to view the video to take in the full experience.

I will say, that no matter where you go or what you do, it is the feeling you take with you at the end of your journey that matters most.  I feel the transition from one journey to another, one more exciting and fulfilling for having experienced Gaia. Personal mountains have been climbed and with that a few bits of baggage have been thrown to the wind. A health retreat experience is something you have to be open to and if you are…it is just the beginning. Even the crazy ones like the one I created below...

A new beginning for me, my first attempt at clay sculpting with
a twist of Henry Moore.

If you are interested in a health retreat
 in your corner of the world
you could start here.

For more information on Gaia…click here

The "Wheel of Life".. created by Australian sculptor Suvira  McDonald
Illustrating the essential spiritual teaching of
Life's Natural cycles:seasonal cycles, the waxing and
waning of the Moon, the tidal ebb and flow. 

A special thank you to fellow guests~Felicity, Scott, Chris, 
Loretta, Rita, Katia, Ruth and Georgie 
for the shared laughter during our days at Gaia…
It was a pleasure sharing the journey with you all!
Until next time… 

Jeanne Henriques


  1. It looks like it was the perfect cure for "empty nest syndrome" and a lovely place to relax for a few days!! Thanks for sharing your beautiful photos! xoxo

    1. Your very welcome Sandy…and I agree..the perfect place to kick start..and perhaps visit forever more.. xx

  2. Dear Jeanne: Wow - what more can I say? The photos of this heavenly place on Earth are breathtaking. Your mind must be swirling in clouds of peacefulness. I am happy for you.

    1. Thank you Kathleen…still holding onto those clouds of peacefulness now that I am back in Vietnam. Loved your birthday post for your mother today…93 wonderful years!! xx

  3. What a beautiful and inspiring place to be, literally and figuratively.

    1. It truly is Jennifer..thank you for stopping by. I enjoyed your adventures around Cat. St. in Hong Kong. I have fond memories from that journey… xx

  4. Looks so peaceful. The Art and views are gorgeous.

  5. I know that being envious is bad………………….but how can I not be? This looks amazing and reminds me of scenery/skies I loved in Australia. So glad you found it rewarding Jeanne. A wonderful start to another year. Thanks for sharing and hopefully I will spend time in a similar place some day.
    BTW, your clay sculpture is fabulous!

    Hugs - Mary

    1. Thank you Mary…I dreaded that class. In the end, it was one of my favourite activities! xx

  6. As you informed us you are off for a relaxation in the hinterland I knew it is Gaia. Isn't it a paradise? Glad you could enjoy it as I did in 2008. Safe your power you have gained and be careful with spending it too much at once.

    1. Wise advice Rena…I know exactly what you mean. So glad we walked the same paths..xx

  7. How wonderful! I'm just imagining what this experience must be like. Thanks for the photo tour.

    1. Your very welcome would love the food experiences here…just wonderful. You would be cooking up a healthy Australian storm, I can see it now! xx

  8. sounds + looks heavenly + thanks

  9. Jeanne, this is simply beautiful! I love the "Easterly" sculpture. You've given me the energy to begin investigating what health retreats may be available in my "neck of the woods". So happy you are having a peaceful time! xox Melissa

    1. So glad Melissa…and what a great idea. I am sure you have lots to draw from. Happy researching! xx

  10. Jeanne, I am enchanted by this beautiful place. IT does indeed look like the perfect place to relax, regroup and contemplate your new adventures.

    I hope that you have a wonderful time.

    xx Elizabeth

    1. Thank you Elizabeth..I did..let the new adventures begin! xx

  11. Dear Jeanne - Looks like Eden there! You are such a world traveler, and I love it when you share the "best of the best." Stunning photos!! I am adding Gaia to my list. Cheers, Loi

    1. Thank you Loi, I am so glad you are travelling along with me. I am sure you would love it..I even spotted signs for a few antique shops along the way. ;)

  12. PS - Happy New Year! Hope you had a wonderful Tết!!!

    1. Thank you! I missed Tết..but now that I am back in Saigon..I see flowers, flowers everywhere. Time to add to our garden. It is a lovely time of year to travel to HCMC…the weather is perfect..spring is in the air and everthing is growing wildly..and I mean wildly! ;)

  13. Jeanne, This looks amazing. Sign me up. Your photos alone transport me. I'm with Loi, putting this on a someday list. I love that you did this for yourself after dropping your last child off. After years of mothering, we could all use a refresher and some pampering. Thanks for sharing this.


    1. Your very welcome Kim..I am glad I planned it. The meditaion, yoga, treatments…I could not think of a better way to "transition" from one path to the next. xx

  14. THAT WOMAN LOOKING DUE EAST………… STUNNING!I doubt I will ever get to see her BUT I will send your post on to two SISTERS in AUSTRALIA who maybe one day could benefit from GAIA.Do you know that means JOY in ITALIAN………what a B E A U T I F U L spot you found.
    So, do tell how does the house feel now?Or are you still traveling?You and Mister H will have lots of time now to discuss the GIRAFFE STATUE!You have to tell me where he got that idea from??!!!!XXXXXXXX

    1. I thought you would enjoy "Easterly" Elizabeth. I am back at Chateau Mango…Day 1 and am managing to avoid empty bedrooms. As for the giraffe statue…it all started on a safari in Botswana. I will write and tell you all about it…for it also involves a hedge. That Mr. H is truly CRAZY! xx

  15. I'm breathless at the splendor and meaning of the retreat.

    You have the beginning of a personal contemplative sanctuary.
    Your nest will be full.

    1. As always Edgar…you could not have said it better. Always magic to your words. ;)


Post a Comment

Can I just say....that I so enjoy what YOU have to say. If you would like to write to me directly, I would love to hear from you...

Popular Posts