I have just returned from a blissful weekend away at Ghost Hill Road retreat in Bilpin, just shy of 2 hours’ drive from Sydney. I am feeling super relaxed and grateful for the experience, and so decided to honour this with a blog post.
I first stumbled upon Ghost Hill Road when I was searching for a yoga retreat to attend with one of my best friends. Initially I was drawn to Ghost Hill Road because it provided the perfect balance of yoga, relaxation, and free time, and owners Brenda and Alan were super accommodating in terms of creating a bespoke package to suit our needs, with as much or as little yoga and massages as we wanted. I was also stoked to discover that Brenda followed a Paleo lifestyle, so I knew that my eating needs were going to be well looked after during my stay. My first experience was so wonderful I vowed to return, and to take my partner along.
Fast forward to December 2014, when I was clearing my emails one evening before bed, and I was thrilled to discover an email from Brenda informing me that I had won a Facebook competition where my prize was a weekend away at Ghost Hill Road for two people, complete with breakfast and yoga!! To my absolute delight, Brenda also extended the invitation to our furry child Charlie. So excited!
Turning up to the property on Friday afternoon with my partner and our cattle pup Charlie, I noticed myself feeling instantly relaxed, and it was like I was falling in love with the place all over again. As soon as we entered the property, we were greeted by Portia, a gorgeous 7 year old Kelpie who was eager to meet Charlie (the pair became inseparable over the weekend), and then Brenda with her beaming smile personally welcomed us, making us feel like we were guests in her own home.
Enter the cottage…a luxurious, spacious home away from home, equipped with everything you could want for a getaway. On the dining table was a welcome note along with a cheese platter, some dark chocolate, and some local Hill Billy Cider to kick the weekend off with! Kitchen comes stocked with gluten-free and regular muesli; pancake mix; organic coffee along with coffee machine; a selection of quality teas; organic milk; and provisions for a paleo breakfast such as free-range eggs, bacon, mushrooms, parsley and tomatoes. Lounge room with board games, heaps of magazines, television, a stack of DVDs, and a comfortable couch. King sized coma-inducing bed where you are guaranteed a restful, blissful slumber, and then my favourite – the bathroom with a deep double spa, candles, and bath robes, all overlooking the luscious greenery. You don’t even need to pack toiletries because in the cupboard is a brand new toothbrush and every essential bathroom supply you can think of. For colder nights, there is a real log fire you can start up to keep yourself toasty, and air conditioning for warmer weather.
There is a lovely outdoor area with table, chairs, umbrella and a BBQ which we fired up on our second night. We ordered a BBQ pack from Brenda which was utterly divine and as I mentioned to Brenda, totally underpriced! The pack consisted of organic, grass-fed steaks, garlic butter, baked potatoes, a fig and walnut salad made with ingredients from the retreat’s own garden such as mint and salad greens, and for the non-Paleo eaters, some rustic garlic bread. Dessert was a glorious gluten-free walnut brownie, with fresh cream and strawberries.
My partner and I both took part in Saturday morning’s complimentary 9am yoga class, which Brenda teaches on the sunny deck of the main home where she lives. The view from the deck is spectacular, and you really feel the tranquility of the property which is set on acres of stunning bush land, with ducks frolicking in the property’s dam, and Charlie and Portia chasing each other around the spacious greenery which backs onto the National Park. Brenda’s style is so adaptable, the class suits everybody from beginners (my partner’s first ever class) to advanced yogis.
You could easily just stay on the property for the entire duration of your stay and feel adequately entertained and equally rested, but we decided to take Charlie on a bushwalking adventure in Mount Victoria, a 20 minute drive west from Ghost Hill Road. Here we completed a 4 hour bushwalk and around half way through I realised we should have ordered a picnic pack from Brenda and Alan! They really have thought of everything.
Although we really didn’t want to leave, and even Brenda suggested there was “no rush” in checking out, we departed just before midday on Sunday. We decided to explore the local area before heading home. There is an abundance of orchards, many of which you can enter and pick your own apples, plums, peaches and pears from. We also stopped at a fig farm, a fresh apple pie bakery, and the apple bar – an atmospheric bar serving local ciders on tap, as well as regular drinks and a selection of food.
If you are thinking about embarking on a relaxing getaway, I would highly recommend Ghost Hill Road for peace and tranquility. You won’t meet a lovelier couple who go out of their way to look after you during your stay. I can’t wait to return, and I know Charlie is missing his new-found friend too.