Ok, we know this customer review below is kinda glowing and we are chuffed (mwah, Cecelia). But we think Cecelia Morris is well qualified to give us compliments. She and her husband, Ian Choppock, treat themselves to an annual yoga retreat, travelling far and wide in their goal to nail the ideal experience. Griffins Hill was among the first they tried, and now they are regulars. Here's why.
By Cecilia Morris
Sometimes, in our search for a retreat that combines yoga, beautiful setting and wonderful food, we come away disappointed. But there is one place that my husband, Ian, and I have continued to return to over the past several years.
This is the wonderful restorative retreat that Frank Jesse, a senior yoga teacher, and Jane Gibb, chef and landscape gardener, provide in the setting of their home at Dunkeld, a little village in Western Victoria.
We arrive and unpack. The view instantly transforms us. At the foot of the Grampians -- what a grand landscape! The night sky is amazing, and the moon never seems so majestic as here. The bedroom with en-suite faces this view, like a picture-perfect postcard.
Then, there is the excitement of the food. Being somewhat of a foodie, I am not easy to please. But Jane excels in cooking and presentation, producing exotic and healthy dishes from around the globe. Her extensive vegetable garden, wonderfully sourced fruits and cheeses, all locally produced, make meal times a glorious adventure.
Frank bakes bread daily that is so tantalizing I would come here for the food alone. The flavour, scent and presentation of meals are compelling. And to sit on the balcony, with the mountains as a panorama, eating and sharing with other like-minded people is an experience not to be missed.
Now I haven’t mentioned the yoga. Frank gives outstanding sessions of Iyengar yoga. Even for Ian, who is a beginner, Frank's instruction is perfect. Although I do attend yoga in Melbourne, Ian only does yoga at these retreats. He is always eager to attend Frank’s classes. No gymnasium can provide the flexibility and mind focus that Frank’s classes offer.
In the afternoon, we do a "restorative" yoga practice - meaning a focus on breathing and supported postures. It is the only time that I feel totally revitalized and at the same time internally calm. I have learned, with Frank’s attention to detail, how to adjust my body when I am in a pose.
As a somewhat seasoned traveler and explorer of life, Griffins Hill is a must in our yearly calendars so that we can experience life to the fullest. I leave with renewed energy and the ability to understand my body and its need both physically and mentally. I continue to practice at home, and I continue to enjoy life at its fullest.