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Lifestyle : Rest and Relaxation 12
1HERSA1 0029 Escaping the everyday is the new luxury. Offer valid from 6th January - 31st March 2012. Rates are based on two nights stay on twin sharing basis in a Heritage Suite. Other terms and conditions apply. It takes a heightened experience in natural surroundings to redefine what luxury means. Experience new luxury at the award-winning Wolgan Valley Resort & Spa, Australias truly exclusive conservation-led resort. Bordering the Greater Blue Mountains World Heritage Area, Wolgan Valley is just a three-hour drive from Sydney. For more information call 02 9290 9733 email firstname.lastname@example.org or visit wolganvalley.com Summer Temptation This summer, get away to Wolgan Valley Resort & Spa. Stay two nights in a Heritage Suite and enjoy gourmet breakfast, lunch and dinner daily, all non-alcoholic and selected alcoholic beverages, and two nature-based activities per day for just $1,450 per person, representing a saving of $500. Also included are pre-dinner canapés and summer inspired cocktails on one evening of stay and 25% discount on all spa treatments and retail products in our Timeless Spa. Additionally, stay for two nights or more from Sunday to Thursday inclusive and receive a complimentary 60-minute spa treatment per person, valued at $330 per couple. Dodgy weather thrills twitchers Rare tweets . . . the Royal National Park is a birdwatchers' delight. THIS summer's poor weather isn't bad news for everyone --- at the Royal National Park, the wildlife and plants have been thriving in the cooler, wet weather. With its abundance of birdlife --- there are about 300 species living within its boundaries --- it is on a par with parks such as the US's Yellowstone and Kakadu in the Northern Territory. Its mix of rainforest, coastal heathland and wetlands means a diverse range of birds thrive in the park, says birdwatching guide Steve Anyon-Smith, who has hosted tour groups for 15 years, including a new one-day birdwatching tour. ''People are amazed at how many different types of birds there are,'' Anyon-Smith says. He says visitors, both local and international, are gobsmacked by the park, which is just 30 minutes from Sydney. ''We take them down to a picnic ground at Audley and there's half a dozen kinds of parrots just sitting around the trees and they think, 'Where's the cage door? Why is there so much wildlife here?' ''It's just so close to Sydney and we've got this forest full of wildlife --- they just can't believe it.'' Birds include the rock warbler, the southern emu-wren, albatrosses, peregrine falcons and lyrebirds. Birdwatching is the second-biggest special-interest travel market after sport, Anyon- Smith says, and is suitable for those who are new to the whole idea, as well as experienced watchers. ''It's very distracting,'' he says. ''You stop thinking about all the problems in your life --- it's hard to do it in a half-hearted way.'' The tours cost $396 for half a day for up to four people and $596 for a full day, including lunch. See royalcoastwalks.com.au. Sarah Thomas THE SUN-HERALD SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 26, 2012 29 Balanced breaks Women-only retreats combine surfing with yoga, writes Sarah Thomas. Soul sisters . . . surfing and yoga are great for body and mind. COMBINING the exhilaration of surfing with the benefits of yoga, meditation and healthy eating provides an ideal rejuvenating and invigorating weekend away. Belinda Wehner has run women- only surf and yoga retreats for five years at Broulee, near Batemans Bay on the NSW south coast, and says the two activities complement each other very well. ''You have the yoga and relaxing and going inward and then you have being adventurous and being outside and having a bit of an adrenalin hit. You get the best of both worlds,'' she says. ''It's a really good place where we can just focus on our group dynamic and switch off the outside world.'' Wehner runs about five or six retreats a year in groups of up to 12, catering to beginners through to experienced surfers. The yoga is tailored to surfing, targeting key areas of the body that are used while hitting the waves, as well as helping to build stamina. The retreats also include three vegetarian meals a day using organic produce where possible. ''A lot of people leave really inspired and didn't know vegetarian food could taste so good,'' she says. Wehner says many of the participants have made good friends at the retreats, adding that a women-only environment helps as it reduces the pressure. ''The atmosphere is a bit different -- it's more supportive. It's not necessarily about whether you get the best wave, it's more about being in the water and having fun.'' The retreat includes five surfing lessons, three vinyasa yoga classes and meditation sessions. Wehner says people are able to relax and unwind and know that they are taken care of. ''They know they're going to get into the ocean, that they're safe and looked after and that I'm going to find them the best surf for the day. And when they get back, they've got this sacred place to come and relax.'' The next retreat, from March 9 to 12, costs $795 but Wehner also runs overseas trips, such as a 10-day Hawaiian retreat in September. See tidaldreamings.com.au or brouleesurfschool.com.au. Rest and relaxation SPECIAL REPORT
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