For many, the idea of a retreat has changed. Gone is the desire for a clinical, pressed and perfected luxury hotel where a phantom cleaner tidies after you whenever you aren’t in your room.
Instead what people are increasingly looking for is human connection and luxury retreats have answered that desire in suit.
I wasn’t to know this when I first embarked on my weekend trip to River’s End Retreat in Goolwa for the Artist’s Escape.
Met with River’s End’s smiling owners, Jamie and Trudy Bishop, upon entering the historic home, you feel as if you’ve entered a second home.
Their weekend retreats begin prior to the actual retreat with instructions to bring a few drinks of your choice to share. Instructions that I followed intently, as had the group attending.
Friday night’s welcome is all about meeting each other with Jamie and Trudy facilitating the conversation. Retreat attendees mingled with local artists over a few drinks in their gorgeous living area and kitchen.
The rooms are all furnished comfortably, with the option of single or double beds, with ensuite bathrooms. They all carry the same rustic charm that follows the theme of the retreat. Warm beiges, cool blues and pieces of art in every direction.
The views are also spectacular, with the Murray River and Hindmarsh Island in the horizon, the sunsets and sunrises are quite spectacular as are the range of wildlife that you’re to see. In fact, witnessing a cloud of birds feed on fish in the Murray was a specific highlight during breakfast.
The gourmet breakfast, cooked up in a storm by Trudy, makes for a hearty morning before a full day of art gallery exploration (and a fair bit of actual painting).
We’re led by local artist Dzint Jurevicius who is introducing the small group to the thriving art community in Goolwa.
We’re transported from gallery to gallery, from Artworx Gallery to the Arts Centre at the Old Goolwa Police Station; where high end art meets local pieces. We even end up at Dzint’s own gallery, Twin Pines Gallery on Hindmarsh Island to see the scope personal work.
After a full day of exploring and art hunting, we return to River’s End for lunch and begin our own creations.
Taking place in River’s End’s coach house which boasts a pool table and bar, the group gather around a table and have a crack at painting. With Dzint’s gentle instructions, we’re given the opportunity to paint in our individual styles. Even if it involves finger painting (in my case).
A leisurely afternoon leads to a break and then the sit-down dinner. With three gorgeous courses and a range of different bottles of wine and beers floating around the table, there Saturday night dinner is a definitive highlight.
The retreats encourage bringing along a few bottles of wine, just remember that you’re sharing.
Leading to a Sunday morning breakfast and enough time given for finishing touches on our art, it was time to showcase our pieces.
Then heading to Signal Point Gallery where our efforts throughout the weekend were showcased and offered for bidding. The weekend closed off with the Goolwa coming out for a few drinks and to buy a few pieces for charity.
Gorgeous views, delicious food and cultivating that forgotten artistic side, the River’s End Retreat Artist’s Escape was a dream getaway close to home.
For upcoming retreats at River’s End Retreat, head to their website at https://riversendretreat.com.au/