REST & RENEWAL – Walking & Writing Wellbeing Retreat
Time out at Carnarvon Gorge
* 5-day retreat in the forests of central Queensland
* guided walking in the Carnarvon Gorge
* daily mind-body-spirit writing workshops
* exclusive explorations of the host property, including a guided tour and significant cultural sites
* luxurious safari-tent camping at private property nestled amongst sandstone cliffs
* delicious meals prepared on-site
* maximum 8 spaces.
A gorgeous 5-day wander around the magnificent forested landscape of central Queensland designed to give you time out. It is an opportunity to reset your priorities, clarify thoughts and set new pathways forwards as we emerge from the intensity of COVID-19.
This trip is gentle and fun, offering rest and renewal as well as the companionship of walking and writing buddies.
The research is in: walking is good for us – and writing is good medicine. Combined with cosy beds, great food and a campfire beneath big night skies to close the day, this holiday is a sublime opportunity to restore your sense of wellbeing.
Join us for four nights on a private 72,000-acre property. Sleep under the stars in glamping style safari tents with comfortable posturepedic beds and fresh white linen. Feast on local cuisine and raise a toast each evening to the beauty of the world around us and the shared laughter of newfound friends.
Each day we’ll venture out on a hike, taking into consideration the groups fitness level and abilities.
This trip is a rare opportunity for immersion in Australia’s pristine natural ecosystem, as we discover cryptic creatures, awe-inspiring rock formations, ancient Aboriginal art, inland streams and gorges. Simultaneously, the writing component will lead you on a journey into your own interior.
Amidst it all, our hiking and writing adventure will deliver a series of thought-provoking workshops designed to inspire and motivate, facilitated by award-winning journalist and author, Stephanie Dale. The workshops will be held around the campfire, during lazy afternoons or before breakfast to ignite your writing spirit through the day. Stephanie will be on hand each day to answer your questions and offer writing guidance.
Our writing workshops are:
* Song of the Soul: cross the bridge between thinking about a great idea and doing it!
* Creative Journaling: writing as a tool for navigating challenging times and restoring wellbeing
* Every Body’s Story: discover how the stories you tell live in your body and impact your health.
Our form of sustainable ecotourism has been developed to ensure you see Outback Queensland the way nature intended.
Stephanie Dale is an award-winning author and journalist with a passion for pilgrimage. She is the founder of The Write Road, a writing for wellbeing initiative for new writers, as well as writers who are looking for guidance.
In 2017, Stephanie combined her passions for walking and writing and launched Walk & Write holiday adventures, starting with the final 115kms of the Camino in 2018.
Stephanie is no stranger to pilgrimage: she has walked the Camino in its entirety twice, in 2005 and 2019, and in 2007 walked 1500kms across Italy and through Balkans.
She is the author of several books, including the acclaimed travel memoir My Pilgrim’s Heart (which featured in the Huffington Post).
Her latest book, Write Your Way Home, will be released in 2020.
Stephanie is currently undertaking a PhD at QUT to better understand why writing is good for our wellbeing.
From her starting position as tea lady, a job she took way too seriously (trust us, tea is something of an obsession with her), she wins the gold star for giving everything a go.
As a former police office, Suzanne, joined the ICON team with not only a can-do attitude but also a bloody-well-will-do attitude too. If she’s in charge of a tour or helping to organise independent travel for you, you can be rest-assured it will be like her tea, done to the highest and most meticulous standard.
On arrival in Roma join us at Royal on 99 where we’ll gather our small intimate group and introduce you to our workshop facilitator, Stephanie Dale.
After our introductions we shall take you to the safe off-street car park where you may leave your car (FOC) and from here you can sit back in the comfortable minibus to our outback retreat (approx 2 hour drive).
All we have to do now is unpack, relax and enjoy a few sundowners around the camp fire before dinner.
This safe, relaxed atmosphere is the ideal time to discuss your writing ideas and thoughts.
After a breakfast we’ll spend the time in our introductory writing session.
This is your time to talk about your interests and bounce ideas in the small and intimate group (max 8).
When we are ready we have a half day of adventure planned with the property owner. His passion and knowledge of the country is sure to inspire you.
We’ll be walking cross country on private land which is not available to the public.
Walk locations can be varied depending on the group’s interests, fitness levels and weather, but may include the Dawson River and its side gorges, White Horse Mountain, Cycad Gorge and Fern Gully.
All you need to carry is your water bottle, camera and all important notebook and pen.
On your return to camp, use the time before dinner to relax, chat or find your spot to get your thoughts down on paper.
Today we will rise early as we delve into a stunning landscape of towering cliffs, colourful gorges, endless views and sites steeped in historic and cultural connections.
We’ll travel to Carnarvon Gorge National Park from the retreat (about 60mins). We’ll walk the formed return track along Carnarvon Creek while exploring the main gorge and key attractions such as the Moss Garden, Amphitheatre, Wards Canyon and Art Gallery.
As this is a private group there is flexibility enabling us to choose a walk depending on fitness, interests and weather conditions. Which ever track we choose everybody is going to appreciate the absolute majesty of this incredible pocket of Queensland’s outback.
If we have time and the temperatures are good, we’ll use natures own swimming hole before we leave.
Time will be put aside for writing, it may be somewhere in the Carnarvon Gorge or back around the camp fire.
We’ll start the day with another thought provoking workshop led by Stephanie.
Late morning we can take a picnic break and climb the hill overlooking the camp ground. There will be some clambering involved, but it will be worth the effort. From here we can see the property in all its glory (you’ll even have phone service from up here if you need to phone home!).
From here we’ll take a short stroll around the base of the hill. Enjoy the peace and serenity. Take your time to sit in silence and just absorb the beauty of nature all around you.
This afternoon is free for you to really get down to the business of writing . . . steph
We’ll enjoy our final dinner together around the camp fire.
Rise early to discuss your final thoughts over breakfast. Then we’ll retrace our steps back to Roma by mid morning for our final farewells.
I came tired and I’m going home empowered.
The changes we’ve seen in each other’s faces has been a joy. A wonderful weekend of friendship and celebration.
I was lost in the clutter of my mind. This journey has been inspirational.
This experience was much more than I expected. A powerful and transitioning journey to self. I feel like a new person.
I have never experienced anything like this before. I have learned to trust my decisions.