NSW Tourism Minister Sandra Nori plants a rainforest tree with Olivia Newton-John at the opening of Gaia Retreat and Spa.
NSW Tourism Minister Sandra Nori plants a rainforest tree with Olivia Newton-John at the opening of Gaia Retreat and Spa.

Olivia?s $4m health centreshares a ?piece of heaven

By DARREN COYNE

IT WAS a pleasant surprise having an Aussie icon like Olivia Newton-John serving the early afternoon drink, but what was with the prawn?

At first glance it had looked like one of those cowboy cocktails ? just the thing to enjoy while gazing dreamily off the balcony of the region's newest resort, the Gaia Retreat and Spa, at Brooklet.

Dazzling smile for the television camera and Livvy slipped away like greased lightning, weaving through the hundred or so guests at the retreat's official opening on Saturday.

"She's very hands-on," explained general manager Gregg Cave, of his famous fellow director. "She's been here all week painting the decks, getting ready for the opening."

Yeah, that's all wonderful, but what about the crustacean in my cocktail?

Then realisation struck. It's one of those health places where people pay big bucks to exercise, relax and rejuvenate in a luscious environment; eat nutritious food and drink lots of juice.

Bugger! As if they'd be handing out cowboys.

A toned trio stretching and rolling about on big, bouncy exercise balls just below the balcony, confirmed the horrible truth and provided the perfect distraction to ditch what turned out to be Tom Yum Goong soup.

At least there was some decent bubbly on offer!

Meanwhile, NSW Tourism Minister, Sandra Nori, was waxing lyrical about Gaia being a boutique resort which added to an already vibrant mix of North Coast tourism experiences.

"Gaia's eco-friendly initiatives are impressive. Not only are they recycling water, using compost and growing their own garden, the restoration of the local rainforest is part of their plan," Ms Nori said.

She then joined Olivia, both resplendent in deliciously inappropriate white cotton slacks, to plant a cute lilly-pilly rainforest tree to mark the opening.

Costing about $4 million, the retreat will cater to up to 40 well-heeled, stressed-out city folk, escaping to the lushness of the North Coast for a quick detox or a series of treatments.

"For me, Gaia provides a beautiful environment to restore my spirit and get back to normal," Ms Newton-John said.

"I love the North Coast. I have loved it for 25 years, and now I can share my piece of heaven with others."

Mmmm...it was all as wholesome as Sandra Dee, but by then I was hangin' out for a ciggie.

Which begged the question: Adjourn to Strop's pub for a stiff drink or check in for a much-

needed detox?



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