Sponsored by Queensland
By Katie Cunningham
When Allana Ferguson had visited the Gold Coast previously, the football player turned commentator had stayed close to the beaches, experienced thrills and spills at the theme parks and sampled many tantalising treats of the buzzing restaurant scene. But her latest trip to the sandy strip saw Ferguson trade the fast lane for pure Zen.
With her GPS turned inland, Allana uncovered the pristine pocket of the Currumbin Valley, home to flowing freshwater creeks, lush green canopies, and healing health retreats. It may only be a 25-minute drive from the airport, but it feels like a world away.
“I got to experience something completely different in Currumbin Valley, which was still close to everything, but a completely different atmosphere and vibe,” she says. “For me, working five or six days a week and having two young kids, to be able to just pull up and hear the sounds of nature – I genuinely felt like I was immediately unwinding.”
In this lesser-known side of the Gold Coast, Ferguson was able to recharge – and emerge reinvigorated. Here’s a footy head and working mum’s guide to experiencing Queensland at a slower pace.
Get to know thousands of years of local history
First stop, Jellurgal Aboriginal Culture Centure – an Indigenous owned and operated cultural centre – to meet with Indigenous cultural guide Jade Weeks. Jade offered a tour of the centre before the pair embarked on the Jellurgal Walkabout tour, a rare opportunity to learn about the First Nations history of the renowned Burleigh Headland.
Here, Dreamtime stories associated with the creation of Jellurgal, traditional Indigenous life, bush tucker, fishing and hunting are generously shared with visitors to the land. The tour also highlights the important ecological practices and connection to the land displayed by the Yugambeh speaking people for thousands of years. All while trekking through landscapes – with beautiful dense green terrain on one side and the bright blues of Tallebudgera Creek and and surfers riding the waves of Burleigh on the other.
“It was beautiful. While it was still on the coast, you got to see it from a different perspective,” Ferguson says. “We got to make ochre. Jade pointed out a few different native plants and animals, which was really cool. And we bumped into Uncle Steve, who’s an elder in the area, and he also shared stories about his land and the people there.”
Fuel up before winding down
There’s no shortage of artisan makers and nourishing eats in the Currumbin Valley, but few can beat Pasture & Co, positioned amongst lush greenery and endless foliage, and home to an abundance of cheeky native wildlife waiting to say hello. It’s a vibe that can only be described as nourishment-meets-relaxation.
“It was all organic foods – fresh and local. I ordered the chicken and kale salad bowl with a freshly-squeezed juice and let me just say, the fruit in Queensland is so much better than anything I’ve had before. Seriously, the juice was amazing,” she laughs. And it’s not just the food and fruit that Pasture & Co has nailed – their coffee was so good that Ferguson stopped in for another on her way back to the airport.
Check into “the most amazing place on earth”
Any woman juggling motherhood, a full-time job and the million other life admin tasks that can seemingly consume their entire existence should know the importance of taking a well-deserved break from the daily grind. The perfect remedy? Eden Health Retreat.
Set across 400 acres of peaceful and lush green rainforest, this is where Allana called home during her stay. “Eden is the most amazing place on earth. As soon as I got there, it was like a breath of fresh air,” Ferguson says.
The five-star wellness escape offers everything you need to pause, reset, and heal your body from within, with treatments that can be tailored to your goals. As well as enjoying top-notch yoga, Pilates and gym sessions and a heavenly full body massage, Ferguson tried out new things like a breathing class and an abdominal healing treatment. It was life-changing.
“None of it was too woo woo – I’m not very woo woo, I’m an ex-football player so I like to get the job done. But what Eden did for me was help open my eyes into how holistic health can be, and it doesn’t actually take much time.”
Eden equipped Ferguson with new tools for looking after her mind and body – and she left feeling like she’d had “the best few sleeps of my life”.
“But also, just completely wound down,” she adds. “I have a pretty busy life with young kids, and it gave me the opportunity to be really present. I definitely left feeling relaxed and calm.”
Scratch beneath the surface and you’ll find something unexpected in Queensland. For more inspiration, visit Queensland.com.
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