Last year when I was visiting the South Island, on a day trip to Glenorchy I noticed this amazing looking eco accommodation there. It wasn’t actually open but I loved the look of it and thought I’d really like to stay there one day.
When an ad popped up from them a few months ago offering a four day yoga retreat I jumped at the chance to attend.
Camp Glenorchy Eco Retreat has been named as one of TIME Magazine’s top 100 places to stay in the world. It is nestled in a breathtaking setting, amongst the mountains of Glenorchy. Don’t let the name fool you. This is definitely not a camp site! Think of a rustic American summer camp but on a luxury level and that’s the type of experience you will get here.
There are a few different accommodation options – from luxury cabins with en suite bathrooms to bunk rooms with shared bathrooms.
Me and my friend checked in for the retreat on Friday 13th August and checked in to our bunk room – Rock Daisy. It was a freezing day but the rooms are so well insulated we were so cosy in there.
We started the retreat at 4pm with an introduction from our hosts – yoga teacher Sarsha Hope and breathwork facilitator Emma Ferris. We did a walk down to the lakefront in Glenorchy then followed this with a yin yoga class before heading to the dining room for dinner. Dinners are early here and all food is dairy and refined sugar free – you wouldn’t even know, it is so tasty. The retreat is all about the early to bed, early to rise philopsophy and you will feel amazing for it at the end I promise.
How beautiful is the dining room?
Dinners are usually lighter with a more substantial breakfast and lunch earlier in the day.
Day 2 begins with a sunrise yoga class. Sunrise in August tended to be around 7.30am so not too much of an early start. Herbal teas and fruit are provided and then we were straight into an energetic flow class with Sarsha.
After the class we were led through for breakfast – this was definitley the best meal of the day! Homemade granola, coconut yoghurt, fruit and freshly squeezed juices and smoothies were just some of the goodies we had laid out for us.
After breakfast we got our first taste of the infamous ‘sharing circle.’ I won’t go into too much detail in case you want to do one of the retreats yourself but if we thought this was just a yoga retreat we were wrong. The sharing circle began as something daunting but by the end of the retreat we were all sharing our greatest dreams, deepest insecurites and really connecting.
We were given journals and did a number of exercises in groups or in pairs. One of the exercises was writing a letter to our childhood selves and what we would want them to know.
This was followed by lunch and another walk.
After the walk there is some free time in the afternoon to just relax, read or do whatever you fancied. Herbal teas etc were always available along with fruit and an afternoon tea treat every day. As part of the retreat everyone got a 60 minute full body massage so this was also scheduled for in between all of the scheduled activities.
By the time evening came around another restorative yin yoga session followed by dinner and another early night.
Day 3 and we were up bright and early for another sunrise yoga session. This really set us up for the day and made us feel energised for the day ahead.
Having the views of the mountains everywhere you looked was one of the best things about staying at Camp Glenorchy. Also – you don’t have to be doing a yoga retreat to stay here, you can book accomodation here if you’d just like the experience of staying here although they run lots of different weekends like food and wine weekends where you can learn to cook from a chef.
After breakfast we had a session with Emma on breathwork and the power of the breath. From Emma’s website:
“Beyond the obvious — providing oxygen to your mind and body — breathing is directly impacted by the stress reaction our body experiences. While stress is a normal part of life and at times is good for us, our body isn’t designed to be hijacked and pushed into long-term fight, flight or freeze mode. There are multiple reasons why our modern-day life triggers a stressful reaction and therefore a change in breathing habits.
Understanding the ‘why’ behind stress is crucial if you want to make a change in your life. The next step is building an arsenal of weapons to help you deal with stressful moments and life events along the way.
Poor breathing habits compound over a lifetime and take a toll on health and happiness. Many of us are unaware we’ve been stuck with those bad habits for weeks, months or even years.
Worst of all is that most people tend to go after the symptoms such as neck pain, stress or anxiety, instead of understanding and solving the underlying problem.
As a result, at least half of the world suffers from a breathing dysfunction without even knowing it.”
Instead of heading out on the walk today, my friend and I had our massages scheduled for this afternoon. It was heaven after all of the yoga and stretching we had been doing. I’d check into Camp Glenorchy for the massage alone.
After dinner we were promised a surprise instead of our usual yin yoga before bed. Some of us had an idea about what it was but the rest of us had no idea.
None of us expected an ecstatic dance session that’s for sure! Sarsha was on the decks, all the lights were turned off and we were told to just dance. No routine or instructor to follow – just do what you feel. Everyone was a bit shy at first and a bit nervous but as soon as everyone got rid of their shyness we had a full on rave in the dark for an hour and it was awesome! As a ballroom/latin dancer this was particularly hard for me as I’m so used to following strict rules and routines when it comes to dancing but I loved it.
Bottom line is – if you’ve ever thought of doing a retreat, the Nurture Me Wellness Retreat at Camp Glenorchy will be life changing. I highly highly recommend it. They are held throughout the year so head on over to the Camp Glenorchy website and sign up for the next one. They do sell out pretty quickly which is just testament to how popular they are.
42 Oban Street
03 409 0401