Cape South: The life-changing wellness retreat tucked away in Hawke’s Bay

In seven years of almost constant travel – to all seven continents – right now, I think I’m the happiest I’ve ever been.

Here’s the secret. We’ve just arrived at a picturesque wellness retreat nestled amongst the rolling coastal hills of Hawke’s Bay. And it’s run by two of the most genuine, lovely humans you will ever meet.

Cape South is a holistic health and wellness retreat about 20 minutes’ drive from Havelock North. It’s set on 16 acres of gardens with sweeping ocean views.

The resort runs regular retreats – such as a five-day detox or Summer Shine programme – with tailored plant-based foods and activities like morning yoga.

We were only there for one night to get a little taster, but even that was extraordinary.

We were met at the homestead by Kate and Cam McLeay, who run the place. They are the kind of people you instantly want to hug – and feel like you’ve known for a long time.

They also have a dog called Indi. If you’re a dog lover, Indi is allowed to mix with guests and gives lots of cuddles.

Cam starts by giving us a tour of the historic homestead, which dates back to 1903. It was an old doctor’s surgery in Waipawa, which was moved to the site and tripled in size – the extension keeps with its traditional style. The retreat has six rooms in the homestead and two in the cottage, all with ensuites.

After settling in, we sit down with Kate and Cam for one of the best plant-based meals I’ve ever had – prepared by their chef with fresh ingredients from the garden.

After dinner, we lie down in the lounge for a round of sound healing run by Kate. We’re wrapped in blankets and have weighted masks placed on our eyes. Kate then uses chanting and singing bowls, which produce a rich, resonant tone to send us into total relaxation.

Following the best night’s sleep in years, we wake for a sunrise yoga session with Cam before a delicious plant-based feast awaits us for breakfast. Some of the treats include green juices made from organic veggies, a vitamin C chia pudding and buckwheat waffles.

Afterwards, Kate performs a reiki and energy healing massage on us both. She’s a reiki master – alongside a trained sound healer, massage therapist, polarity energy healer, reflexologist and acupressure practitioner and the results are impressive. Kate identified where my energy was blocked and how that was manifesting in my day-to-day life.

I learnt the importance of keeping calm in an increasingly chaotic world. The way Kate explained it and the impact it had on me will stay with me forever.


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First published by Stuff. Click here to read the full article.