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Roadtest: Couple’s Wellness Retreat

Ashleigh Went

When I saw the words “couple’s wellness retreat” appear on my screen, I nearly cried with relief.

The truth is that I’d faced a few challenging months. Nothing world shattering, just a busy period at work, combined with training hard in the gym. The stress was catching up with me, and the ‘overwhelm’ I was facing was starting to manifest in my body: my hormones were all over the place and my immune system was suffering. I needed some help.

Amy Booker of Wellness at the Bower was kind of like my wellness guardian angel.

Even in emails, she had a soothing effect. Words like ‘massage’, ‘yoga’ and ‘relaxation’ literally brought tears to my eyes, and by the time of our wellness retreat rolled around, I was practically giddy with excitement (and maybe a touch of exhaustion).

After a scenic two-hour drive, my partner James and I pulled up at The Bower and met owners Mark and Sue at the reception desk. Mark gave us a very brief introductory spiel and we then strolled to our beautiful Bower. The house is like a little villa, with a double spa bath, fireplace, block out blinds and delightfully huge king bed.

Awaiting us on the dining table was a huge basket filled with produce fresh from the market, alongside a personalized guide for our wellness retreat. Wellness at the Bower not only provides all your food for the retreat but also a bottle of sparkling to help you relax and unwind. In our guide, we found healthy recipes for each of our meals, including Atlantic salmon and spicy avocado sauce, grilled spicy chicken and salad, and protein pancakes.

After we’d settled in, Amy arrived for our couples massage session.  James went first, while I sat and watched the incredible birds outside – rosellas, king parrots, and rainbow lorikeets. When my turn came, I had to fight not to fall asleep – the massage was so relaxing, despite the fact that Amy was working on the various knots I’d accumulated.

After Amy left, we put together a little platter of cheeses and dips, filled our glasses with sparkling and relaxed in the massive double spa bath.

Afterwards, we lit a fire in the fireplace, cooked ourselves a healthy dinner, rolled down the blackout blinds and had a blissful night’s sleep.

The following morning, we headed out to Total Eco Adventures for our SUP (stand-up paddleboard) lesson on the river. After a quick lesson from our seasoned instructor Shane we were on our way, paddling up the river, pointing out to each other sting rays below and birds above. We had a lot of fun paddling and it was a nice way to get active together. If you’re a competitive couple (like James and me) then it’s especially fun to race – but mostly we just enjoyed the gorgeous weather and each other’s company.

Following our SUP lesson, we returned to our Bower for some lunch, and then met Jacqui Berry for our naturopathy session. If I’m being perfectly honest, I wasn’t sure how this part of our wellness retreat would go. I’m a little bit skeptical and James is a nutritionist, so naturopathy isn’t usually something he’d explore. However, we gave it a go and were pleasantly surprised. Having struggled with hormonal issues and fatigue for months, it was interesting to get a fresh perspective on my health. Jacqui gave me some suggestions for different treatments and supplements to try, and I left feeling a little bit more in control of my health – something I’d been lacking. Jacqui was lovely and made us feel very comfortable, even when we discussed quite personal health issues.

Our last ‘activity’ for the day was a Couples Massage Workshop with Amy. This was one of my favourite parts of the retreat. James and I took turns on the massage table as Amy taught us how to massage each other. Given that James and I are both quite into our fitness, it was great to learn how we can soothe each other’s sore muscles. Not only was it educational, but it was also really relaxing to be massaged outside in the company of the birds.

That evening, we used the spotlight that’s installed on the balcony to look for possums and wildlife. We didn’t spot much, but it was nice to be together out in nature. We lit the fire, cooked and ate dinner together and sat in front of the fireplace reading before winding down for another perfect nights sleep.

On our final morning, we woke early and went for a walk around the property. There really is so much to see – echidnas, cows, birds, and of course all the beautiful trees overhead.

We returned to the cabin and met Danelle for a yoga session on the deck. I really enjoyed our session, Danelle made us feel really comfortable and the session was a good blend of some more challenging poses and relaxing ones. We finished with a guided meditation and some aromatherapy, which was absolutely delightful.

We whipped ourselves up some chocolate protein pancakes and regretfully made our way home, vowing to return soon.

There were so many things that I loved about our Couple’s Wellness Retreat. Firstly, Amy went above and beyond to make sure that we enjoyed our stay. She was really happy to let us just relax and choose which activities we wanted to do (every retreat is different) and we felt very well looked after.

Importantly, we had time to relax and to bond as a couple – but we also were able to take a lot from the experience. We learned some practical skills (like new recipes, massage techniques and of course our SUP lesson), but it also reminded me how important it is to take time out and recharge.

Just before we left, I read through the guestbook and realized just how many people love the Bower. There were couples who had returned three or four times, proposals, babies, honeymoons and more. It’s a very special place, and I felt very honoured and grateful to have been able to enjoy it.

I’d recommend Wellness at the Bower for anyone who needs a break from the stress of everyday life, or for couples like James and I who like their relaxation with just a touch of exercise and wellness. We loved every moment and can’t wait until we’re able to return again.

the essentials

What: Wellness at the Bower Couple’s Retreat
Where: 2352 George Bass Drive, Broulee NSW
How much: 2 night couple’s retreats start from $999, dependant on season and chosen activities. This specific retreat was valued at $1980.

The author received her treatments free of charge from Wellness at the Bower. This editorial complies with the Australian Consumer and Competition Commission’s guidelines on Online Reviews. Read our Sponsored Post Policy if you would like more information.


Ashleigh Went

HerCanberra ACTIVE Editor Ashleigh Went has a passion for all things health and wellness. As someone who loves champagne and cheese almost as she loves a sweaty workout, she's all about living a healthy, balanced lifestyle. She can usually be found with her nose in a book, planning her next adventure, in the gym or updating her Instagram @wentworthavenue. More about the Author