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Going cold turkey at the Golden Door Elysia Health Retreat

It’s rather like being at Disneyland and not going on the roller coaster or having a hot dog. I’m in the beautiful Hunter Valley surrounded by famous vineyards and I can’t have a single drop of vino.



I’m spending five days at the Golden Door Elysia Health Retreat and Spa going cold turkey on sugar, salt, caffeine and of course alcohol. It’s only five days I tell myself upon arrival, trying to keep calm and sensible about this mini-break, but I have to admit to a slight sense of trepidation. I reassure myself with memories of my first visit five years ago having the same feelings on the first day but very quickly sliding into the daily routines here and absolutely loving it.



It’s the 25th anniversary of this famous retreat and with over 40% returners year in and year out they’re clearly doing something right. Voted the best Australian spa as well as the best in Oceania in last year’s prestigious World Spa Awards is surely testimony enough.


People come here for a variety of reasons but essentially they fall into four categories:

  • Recovering from loss
  • Kick starting a new project/phase of life
  • Contemplating change
  • Rest and recharge


But as Naomi (back for her third time) tells me, for her it’s all about the “escape” and I can certainly endorse that!


You can come here to relax and be nurtured and do nothing or participate in the Golden Door programme. With over 95 activities, seminars and classes over a seven day period you would need to stay for six weeks to do it all!



And that’s before you even set foot in the Spa which has a comprehensive menu and the most delightful and professional therapists.



Whilst there might be a lack of alcoholic beverages the food here is outstanding. It’s clean, healthy and deliciously tasty with 80% of the veggies, herbs and spices grown on site in the organic garden on the property.


After only a couple of days I can already feel the magical effects of the detox and exercise. Pass me another cup of the superb signature golden door herbal tea - who needs vino?!



For details of rates and packages go to


Written by: Jenny Rowland
Published: 12 March 2019

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