PURE WELL­NESS

WHO - - Travel -

NEW ZEALAND’S ARO HA WELL­NESS RE­TREAT IS NOT FOR THE FAINT- HEARTED, BUT YOU WILL LEAVE FEEL­ING RE­FRESHED AND RE­JU­VE­NATED. BY AMY MILLS

The gen­tle chimes of a Ti­betan bowl awake me from my deep sleep, fol­lowed by a soft voice out­side my win­dow an­nounc­ing sun­rise yoga.

I throw on my yoga clothes – as well as a beanie, boots and down jacket as it is only a cou­ple of de­grees out­side – stum­ble out of my room and make my way to the cedar-clad main build­ing un­der a star-filled sky. Re­treat leader Chris leads us through a flow prac­tice, and as the class draws to a close, I can now see Lake Wakatipu and the sur­round­ing snow-capped moun­tains out of the large glass win­dow. I sit for a mo­ment, and take in the breath­tak­ing scenery and the soli­tude.

This is how days be­gin at Aro Ha Well­ness Re­treat, a “tran­si­tional space” lo­cated at Glenorchy in the sub-alpine glacial val­leys of Cen­tral Otago, about 40 min­utes from Queen­stown on New Zealand’s South Is­land.

A morn­ing yoga class would usu­ally be fol­lowed by my beloved dou­ble-shot flat white, but cof­fee is banned at Aro Ha, as is wine, re­fined sugar, gluten, meat and dairy. That said, chef Jenny pre­pares de­li­cious, nu­tri­ent­dense ve­gan cui­sine, us­ing pro­duce grown on-site and sourced lo­cally, and the three plant-based meals each day are one of the high­lights of the five-day re­treat.

Each day con­sists of a three- to four-hour hike; some of which have me curs­ing my de­ci­sion to visit, es­pe­cially on day three when the 6km trek up Mount Ju­dah is prac­ti­cally ver­ti­cal. Af­ter­noons at Aro Ha in­volve lunch, strength train­ing, mas­sage – which sounds lux­u­ri­ous but is more of a ne­ces­sity for my aching mus­cles – a range of work­shops, con­trast spa ther­apy (saunas, a spa and an icy out­door plunge pool) in the plush Ob­sid­ian Spa, a restora­tive yoga class fol­lowed by a group din­ner.

All ac­tiv­i­ties and meals at Aro Ha are en­joyed as a group, which helps build a sense of com­mu­nity and friend­ship that gets you through the chal­leng­ing mo­ments.

Ad­mit­tedly, it isn’t for ev­ery­one – there was a day of si­lence and a juice fast in­volved – how­ever, for those with a gen­uine de­sire to immerse them­selves and start gen­uine changes to their life­style, this Zen-like utopia is the ul­ti­mate place to re­set.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Australia

© PressReader. All rights reserved.