How to have a detox holiday on the Sunshine Coast
It’s been a big year; make that a HUGE year and I know I’m not alone in lamenting the lack of ‘me time’ this last 12 months has allowed for.
Holidays are now about jamming as much as possible into the shortest amount of time (four weeks annual leave? Pfft!), meaning we usually arrive back at work exhausted, left to remember our trips in a flurry of Instagram likes.
Now’s as good time as ever to schedule in a holiday that’s all about you; filled with healthy food, self-care, lots of down time, just the right amount of exertion, and permission to breathe. With healers, organic cafes and health retreats hidden all over the Sunshine Coast, let this be your guide to the perfect DIY detox holiday (colonics optional).
Step 1: Slow down
When you’re used to operating at a the pace of a freight train on a deadline, it can feel almost unnatural to look at your calendar and see days wide open.
Allow yourself to settle into the village vibe on the Sunshine Coast and take your time to appreciate the little things; particularly when it comes to shopping for food and preparing your meals.
Not too long ago Kunara Organic Marketplace in Forest Glen was just a simple roadside stall selling fruit and veggies, but now locals flock to the ‘supercentre’ to stock up on local organic produce, vitamins, bulk wholefoods, dairy and meat. A new integrative health centre is due to open its doors in the New Year at the complex, with GPs working alongside naturopaths, osteopaths, pilates and yoga teachers, physiotherapists and more.
A regular roster of health talks, workshops and hands-on cooking classes are also on the menu. On a recent visit, we joined chef Monica Topliss (who has authored two recipe books for Kunara and released her own line of gluten-free wrap mixes) for a gluten-free pasta making class.
We watched on as she whipped up fettuccine based on lupin flour and loaded the freshly-cooked pasta with wild herbs, chickpeas, hazelnuts and parmesan. It was phenomenal. Turns out lupin is 40% protein and is set to be the new quinoa, too – you heard it here first!
- Pick your own strawberries at Strawberry Fields (season starts June 2016) in Palmview, The Wild Berry Company near Noosa (season runs June to October), or Cooloola Berries near Gympie (Farm-gate open 7 days 9am – 4:30pm, June to November).
- Talk to producers at local farmers markets like Kawana Farmers Market (Saturday mornings), Yandina Markets (Saturday mornings) and Noosa Farmers Market (Sunday mornings).
- Shop from roadside fruit and vegetable stalls in the hinterland.
Step 2: Breathe (and sweat)
Sitting for eight hours straight at a computer does not a healthy body make!
Get reacquainted with nature and breathe deeply as you explore one of the many hinterland and national park walking trails – from a short stroll to see Buderim’s Serenity Falls to a slightly longer one to cool down under Kondalilla Falls near Montville. Or, follow the coastline on the Caloundra Coastal Walk or Noosa National Park (look up for koalas dozing in the trees!).
Detoxing doesn’t always mean deprivation. Beyond Experiences are a new bespoke tour company centred around wellbeing in the great outdoors (with a healthy dose of pampering thrown into the mix).
During their ‘Noosa Fresh Air’ package, you’ll take a stand-up paddleboarding yoga class, be treated to a pedicure at the Noosa Marina (complete with bubbles), eat a healthy lunch at Noosa Boathouse and cruise down Noosa River in an eco electric boat.
Co-founder Emily Mills says, “we find groups of women, more than anyone, will lock in plans to travel together annually or quarterly, giving them a chance to relax, rejuvenate and pamper.”
If you want to cancel out the noise and chaos of the world, head to Eudlo for an introduction to meditation at Chenrezig Institute.
Really committed to finding your zen? Book in for one of their courses and stay on-site for a fully immersive experience.
And whether you’re a dedicated yogi or total beginner, plan to head to the coast in October 2016 for the epic four-day Wanderlust Sunshine Coast. This Woodstock for yogis is filled with classes and workshops with renowned teachers, motivational and spiritual talks, and everything from hula hooping to SUP yoga, mandala making and sunrise beach dance parties.
At night, the (organic) drinks start flowing and the stage is taken over by local and international musicians.
- Explore the pristine eco-system of the Noosa Everglades during a 1/2 day or full-day tour with Kanu Kapers, or a two-day/one-night canoe safari with The Discovery Group.
- Feel the wind in your hair as you canter along Noosa North Shore beach with Noosa Horse Riding.
- Join a morning SUP yoga class on the Noosa River with Kat Harding (@yogakiss) between October and April, or book in for one of her yoga retreats.
- Breathe in deeply and feel your respiratory system benefit from the natural healing properties of the Salt Caves in Mooloolaba.
Step 3: Book in for a power cleanse
Hidden in a picturesque pocket of the coast in Kin Kin, 50-minutes drive north of Noosa, Living Valley Springs has been helping stressed-out executives and frazzled high-flyers unplug, unwind and un-bloat for 25 years.
When you book in for their seven-day Power Cleanse program, you’ll kick things off with a consultation and live blood analysis with one of their highly-qualified (and completely lovely) naturopaths. From here they help to plan out the perfect blend of treatments and areas for you to focus on during your stay.
Need to lose weight? They’ll tailor make your food and exercise plans. Need a little more help on the emotional side of the fence? Their counsellors, restorative spa therapies and talks may be more of a focus for you. Whether you’re just in need of a time-out from life or dealing with disease, as soon as you drive up the driveway at Living Valley, you know you’re in good hands.
Whichever program you choose, the Turkish steam bath will become a key part of your days as you sweat out toxins and give your body a serious dose of love. You can also expect cleansing juices, detox shakes, organic meals (don’t fret, there’s even meat on the menu!), facials, massage, colonics, health and lifestyle lectures and stretch classes.
You don’t need to go the whole hog and join in the three-day fast during your stay, but either way, the food at the end of the supervised and controlled cleanse – not to mention the clarity of mind and glow that comes with it – will make it all worth your while.
Step 4: Indulge in self-care
It wouldn’t be a detox without some lymphoid clearing, skin refreshing, hands-on spa treatments so take this as permission granted to treat yo’self!
If you really need some serious time out, take a trip to Bali just outside Noosa when you step inside the gates of Ikatan Spa. They offer full-day retreats combining massage, yoga, meditation and spa treatments, along with fresh and healthy meals (and even a cheeky glass of wine with lunch!).
Up in Flaxton, you can soak away your troubles in Casa Di Natura’s chlorine-free hydrotherapy spa and feel the combo of heat, buoyancy and massage work their magic on exhausted bodies, increasing blood circulation and leaching toxins. Afterwards, sweat it out in the infrared sauna and cool off in the magnesium swimming pool – boosting your stress-fighting and calcium levels at the same time.
The health benefits of magnesium are also well utilised at Noosa Spring Resort‘s spa. Whether you’re working your way through the various zones of the HydroMassage pool, getting your zen on in the flotation pool, detoxifying in the infrared sauna, invigorating your circulatory system in the blitz shower or slathering yourself in Dead Sea mud and nodding off in the thermal capsule, you can be assured you’ll feel like a new person after a day here.
- Book in for some harp therapy or a healing voice session at Lift in Maleny.
- Get clued up on earthing at Rainbow Recovery Centre in Maroochydore.
- Take some time out to meditate in an Epsom salt-loaded water pod at The Float Space in Maroochydore.
Step 5: Eat Healthily
If there’s one place where good intentions go to die, it’s in your food choices come holiday time. Whether you’re battling allergies or intolerances, or just want to eat clean, it can be difficult mapping out where to eat during your trip.
Luckily, there’s an ever-growing organic cafe scene on the coast and The Shak Organic Cafe & Wine Bar in Buderim is leading the charge. Order anything from their menu and you’ll be assured it’s made up of the freshest, chemical-free and organic ingredients, prepared with love.
The Gatherer bowl (pictured above) is the stuff of organic foodie’s dreams, loaded with sauteed kale, mushrooms, honey-roasted pumpkin, quinoa, dukkah, avocado and a poached egg (but just quietly, everything on the menu is good!).
Come Friday and Saturday evenings, a ‘smalls’, ‘bigs’ and ‘treats’ menu is offered with organic wines and a small selection of craft beers. Make a booking as space fills fast!
We also love:
- Kunara cafe at the Kunara Organic Marketplace in Forest Glen (hello, raw caramel chocolate pie!).
- New Earth cafe in Coolum (raw, organic, gluten and dairy free).
- Elixiba on Ocean Street in Maroochydore (for Ayurvedic, raw, gluten free and Paleo meals, and active botanical-infused cocktails).
- Vanilla Food at Belmondos in Noosaville (for their Matcha green tea and Blue Majik smoothies).
- Greenhouse Cafe in Caloundra (vegetarian organic goodness).