From Recipes To Health Rituals: Gwinganna Revisited At Home

Robyn Foyster Robyn Foyster has been verified by Muck Rack's editorial team


Mar 15, 2022

There’s a quiet corner of my patio where an Aloe Vera plant thrives. Like everything in my garden, it doesn’t receive the attention it should but in spite of that this robust little plant simply can’t be shaken.

The special healing plant has significance for me because it was grown from a small cutting given to me by gardener Shelley Pryor, who has been tending to the lush organic garden and orchid at Gwinganna Lifestyle Retreat, since it first launched 15 years ago.

Shelley, who once told me that she successfully used Aloe Vera to heal multiple snake and spider bites she’s suffered from, is a font of knowledge when it comes to natural medicine to treat ailments. Aloe Vera is the perfect remedy for burns, insect bites or sunburn while dill water helps with indigestion and rosemary stimulates circulation. It’s all part of the rich knowledge about the wonders of mother nature that you bring home with you after a visit to Gwinganna, which is nestled in the Gold Coast hinterland.

Gwinganna Organic gardener Shelley Pryor
Organic gardener Shelley Pryor collecting fresh produce from her garden and orchid at Gwinganna Lifestyle Resort

During my last stay two years ago, Shelley demonstrated how to cut an Aloe Vera leaf and peel away the thick green skin so you can then take the white fleshy middle part and add it to your water container. Each day you can refill the water container and receive all the benefits from Aloe Vera-infused water.

It was one of many health rituals that I took home from Gwinganna.

Gold Coast Digital Detox: A Magical, Life-Enriching Experience2

Another was the Signature Tea, a gorgeous blend by the Byron Bay Tea Company that includes a subtle taste of lemon myrtle and aniseed myrtle that is particularly calming. One sip of this tea, and I am instantly transported back to Gwinganna where I focused on restoring balance in my life. The tea, along with the Signature Massage Oil ($35 RRP / 50ml ), is available from the online store along with Qi Gong, yoga and stretch videos ($15). For me, they are all ways to reconnect with this beautiful place that for so many of us helped to return us back to good health.

We’ve regularly featured the wonderful recipes on The Carousel, almost 30 at last count, and I encourage you to try them out here. Or better still visit this Lifestyle Retreat in person.

More recently, we’ve been featuring the recipes from the new book A Guide To Gwinganna.

 mushroom pate
Gwinganna Mushroom Pate from A Guide To Gwinganna

It marks 15 years of Gwinganna’s magical history. I read it from start to finish when I got my hands on it. I was fascinated to learn the stories first-hand from previous owner, Kevin Weldon, current owner Tony de Leede and members of the team past and present including the inspirational Wellness Advisor, and former General Manager Sharon Kolkka. For those who know and love Sharon, she is releasing her debut book How To Be Well, A Handbook For Women (Simon and Schuster) on March 30. In the book, Sharon and co-author Dr Karen Coates follow a five-pillared approach to wellness to empower you to lead your best life, and it certainly promises to be full of their wisdom on life.

A Guide To Gwinganna  book
A Guide To Gwinganna: Part of the proceeds from all sales go directly to Wildcare Australia. It is the fourth book from the retreat, and is available online via the online store or in person for retreat guests for $54.95.

Similarly, A Guide To Gwinganna provides useful lifestyle tips including nutritional, gardening and other advice which enables you to embrace healthier habits and integrate them into your life back home. Simply start by following their food philosophy of the SLOW food principle – eating Seasonal, Local, Organic, Wholefoods and choose ingredients with low human intervention. The book also outlines the benefits of following a detox programme and a vegan eating plan, plus sensational easy to make recipes.

A Guide To Gwinganna tonic superfood ball
Gwinganna’s Fig Superfood Ball from A Guide To Gwinganna

My favourites are the carrot, ginger and lime turmeric tonic (see below) and for those moments you need a sweet fix, the hazelnut and fig superfood balls are also hard to go past. But it’s the colourful rainbow salads that prove the winners because it’s so easy to resort to a default salad when there’s so much creativity and goodness you can pull together in just one salad.

So, while I may not be able to regularly visit Gwinganna, I can easily turn my hand to making their grilled asparagus salad with oranges, rocket and dukkah, wash it down with a revitalising ginger tonic or Aloe Vera-infused water and even practice Qi Gong in the morning’s dappled light.

It’s a joy to know that any one of these small things can take me back to the place that conjures up so many positive memories for me.

 Gwinganna tonic
Gwinganna’s Carrot, ginger and lime turmeric tonic

Carrot, ginger and lime turmeric tonic recipe

1 litre filtered water

2 medium carrots, grated

2 tbsp fresh turmeric, grated

2 tbsp fresh ginger, grated

3-4 limes, juiced

1 tbsp raw honey (optional)

Place water, carrots, ginger and turmeric in a pot, bring to a simmer, then turn off

heat and let it steep for 10-15 minutes. Strain tonic.

Finish with the lime juice and honey and serve in mugs while warm.

Can be stored ( strained ) in the fridge for 2-3 days. Reheat gently to serve.

NOTES Healing, warming and comforting this simple tonic is easy to make and ideal for those days when you need a boost or when its chilly outside.

This recipe is from A Guide To Gwinganna, which is available here.


By Robyn Foyster Robyn Foyster has been verified by Muck Rack's editorial team


Robyn Foyster is the owner and publisher of the lifestyle websites, and She is the only person to edit and publish Australia's three biggest flagship magazines - The Australian Women's Weekly, Woman's Day and New Idea. Robyn was Group Publisher of Bauer Media's most successful and prestigious magazines including Woman's Day, Good Health, Grazia and ran Hearst in Australia including Harper’s BAZAAR, Cosmopolitan and madison. Voted one of B&T's 30 Most Powerful Women In Media at the Women in Media Awards Robyn was a keynote speaker at Pause 2021, Cebit & J&J Women In Leadership. Robyn was also the winner of the prestigious Magazine Publisher Association’s Editor of the Year award.



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