The name Aro Hā means ‘in the presence of divine breath’. The divine Aro Hā wellness retreat certainly took my breath away – from the alluring landscape and the brilliance of the mindful-living teachings, to the beauty of the souls I connected with.
Located in Glenorchy, 40 minutes from Queenstown, Aro Hā is nestled in Lord of the Rings land, surrounded by snow-capped mountains, rolling farmland, and lakes.
A six-day wellness programme at the retreat can transform your mind, body, and soul. I experienced yoga, pilates, strength classes, alpine hiking, mindfulness, and a daily massage. I ate vegetarian cuisine that resembled art. It was a time to learn strategies to de-stress, slow down, unplug, and set goals for a happier life.
At Aro Hā, technology is out, and connecting with nature is in. This award-winning retreat is eco-friendly, yet luxurious, with a range of accommodation from Monastic Eco single rooms to Eco Suite Private king rooms.
The highlights are many – a daily hour-long massage, an outdoor spa in the midst of nature, healthy-food workshops, and amazing movement options, all the time meeting strangers who become friends. The activities are optional, but I didn’t want to miss anything!
Aro Hā managing partner Damian Chaparro says people go to the retreat to reset and “to find themselves”.
Chaparro inspires guests with his teaching of emotional intelligence, philosophy and what he calls “Vitamin N” – the importance of nature and nurture of both yourself and those around you. Having true connections with others can feel “palpable and delicious”, he explains.
If one person can be inspired to change, then eventually the world can too. This philosophy is at the heart of Aro Hā, says Chaparro.
I left this special place feeling empowered, with my soul uplifted.