What a difference just six days can make!

It’s 6 am. It’s still dark outside, and cold.

I snuggle into the soft duvet – feeling cosy and warm, enjoying the feeling of smooth fine linen on my skin.

Check-out day today, and time to bid my designer bedroom sanctuary farewell.

There is so much about this place that I will miss.

After a quick shower I head on down to the spa. The air is crisp; dawn not far off.

Most members of the group with whom I have spent the past six days are already hanging out in the spa reception. We chat quietly and are called in one by one for a weigh-in and measure. I have no expectations – but 15 minutes later feel totally blown away by the results of my check-in/check-out  report.

I have lost an average of 1cm from my calf, upper thigh, buttocks, stomach, waist and chest, a total of 6cm in less than six days. I have gained 0.3% muscle and lost 1.6% visceral fat.

On arrival my blood pressure was 121/85, and resting heart rate, 75. Departure day—my blood pressure reading was is 96/66 and resting heart rate, 66.

I am not the only one staggered by their check-out results, all members of the group are amazed by the stunning difference to their overall health.

Something not measured at our spa check-out is the state of our mind space, but I will attempt to tell you about mine. After six days at Aro Hā—I was relaxed, my mind wide open and refreshed, and with lungfuls of clean Southern Alps mountain air. I am totally ready to take on the world once again.


All about it

“The world can only change from within.” – Eckhart Tolle 

I first became acquainted with Aro around five years ago. We were visiting Queenstown and had taken a little tiki tour to Glenorchy. Always curious about new developments and enamoured of all sorts of architecture, I noticed a series of structures that seemed very much a part of the landscape; they looked special, tasteful, the genesis of a place to be visited in years to come. A galvanised farm gate hanging loosely across a dusty track, discouraged entry. I noticed a logo that looked something like a bee and the word Aro Hā underneath.

When a few months later I heard of a stunning new must-visit health retreat, situated close to Queenstown, sustainable, intelligently designed, at one with nature, offering weary life travellers like myself a totally different wellness escape, I knew that this was a place I had to visit. And last month my Aro Hā bucket list dream became a reality.

I can honestly say that  this  physically stimulating programme has sculpted my body a bit, sharpened my mind and has left me yearning for more. With daily mindfulness practices, sub-alpine hikes, yoga, and heaps of dynamic movement, this programme is all that it’s made out to be plus so much more. The food is amazing, and the daily massages, well what can I say? Simply delicious! An Aro Hā retreat is equally wonderful for those travelling on their own, couples, mother/daughter combos and friends.


The J-Curve

“The curve initially falls, then steeply rises above the starting point”

There was so much depth to my Aro Hā experience: there were lows, then highs, and a few inbetweens, just like the J-Curve Damian told us about on our first night there.

For a body used to regular doses of caffeine, the odd snack here and there—the glass of vino at night, the detoxing process was for a while, quite challenging. Regular mountain walks involving long uphill climbs had my thighs singing out for mercy. And then there were those early morning wake up calls!

My relationship with my mobile device when away from work, has always been one of love-hate—so for me this part of the experience would fit into the inbetweenish slot.

As for the many highs, mere words and imagery barely do it justice, but I shall try. Aro Hā as a place to stay, is simply stunning in every respect—from the accommodation, to the architecture and interior design, the landscaping, the gardens, and fabulous facilities. The views are stunning, no matter where you are. That feeling of hygge is everywhere.

The people, including team leaders, facilitators, other staff, and  guests  with whom I shared those six days, enriched the experience big time. I love them all.

I have always been a bit of a foodie—and am fascinated by new flavours and ways in which to prep new dishes.  Aro Hā cuisine is an explosion of new flavours, textures, and tastes, each meal so thoughtfully curated and creatively plated. Eating mindfully became an easy thing to do, so in the moment was I with each amazing meal experience.

Afternoon spa sessions were gratitude moments in every way: slow, stretched out, easy conversations, hot pools, and deliciously spot on massages. Spa time should, I reckon, become a national pastime, fixing relationships and solving problems!



As Seen On Tripadvisor

A week at Aro Hā  made me feel alive, invigorated, with a magnificent lightness of head, soul and limb. The experience lifted the fog in my brain and everything in life felt easier and simpler when I came home. My eyes and skin looked clearer, dark circles banished, body trimmed … but the real joy was the way I felt … much more than the fact that I looked healthier.

I am sleeping better, more energised, have fewer aches, feel calmer, more relaxed and in a great mindset to appreciate life.

The mindfulness practice is invaluable and has given me the tools to sustain this state.

Everyone at Aro-Ha is wonderful … the retreat leaders, chefs, yoga instructors, hiking guides, masseuses… they are all warm, kind, supportive people who are passionate about improving the lives of everyone they encounter.

This place is truly unique and it is life changing. If you have an opportunity to spend time here then immerse yourself fully in the experience and go for SEVEN days if you can.


Aro Hā Health Spa

aro-ha.com33 Station Valley Rd, Glenorchy / 03 442 7011 / adventure@aro-ha.com

Around an hour’s drive from Queenstown Airport or 45 minutes by car from Queenstown on the Glenorchy Road.

Transport to and from the airport available.

Aro Hā offers luxury health retreats throughout the year—the bulk of which are five nights, but there are some that are four nights and for those craving a longer experience, there are some seven-night retreats as well.

Newsflash: Aro Hā now offers a scholarship programme to six lucky applicants each year.


Words: Fran Ninow


aro-ha.com33 Station Valley Rd, Glenorchy / 03 442 7011 / adventure@aro-ha.com