Inspired living

Discover Yarra Valley Living Centre in VIC

Discover Peaceful Yarra Valley Living Centre in VIC

Credit: Yarra Valley Living Centre

Situated on 16 hectares of picturesque native bushland and nestled between rolling hills at the foot of the Great Dividing Range, the Yarra Valley Living Centre offers a peaceful sanctuary away from the rigours of everyday life.

The experience

The Yarra Valley Living Centre gives you the chance to immerse yourself in the retreat program teachings and to focus fully on your health and wellbeing needs.

Natural bushland and landscaped gardens provide an abundance of flora and fauna to observe and enjoy and around the grounds, you will find many specially designed spaces for quiet contemplation and relaxation.

Take a leisurely stroll along the walking trails, explore the labyrinth down by the Little Yarra River, take in the mountain views from the gazebo at the highest point of the property, or find a bench in your favourite part of the gardens to rest and just be.

There is so much to discover and enjoy at the stunning Yarra Valley Living Centre.

The retreat centre can accommodate up to 40 guests in single, double, twin or dormitory-style accommodation. The single, double or twin rooms have their own private ensuites and both the dormitories have two bathrooms for comfort and convenience.

Shared areas of the centre include a large communal dining room, a group session room, a lounge/break-out space and two purpose-built meditation sanctuaries.

The centre also houses therapeutic rooms that offer a variety of body therapies and counselling services (services vary and are subject to availability), as well as a well-stocked resource centre selling a large range of health and wellbeing resources, including books, CDs, DVDs, meditation stools and juicers.

Treatments and services

The Yarra Valley Living Centre offers retreat programs across the following specialised categories: cancer, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, general wellbeing and disease prevention, mindfulness-based training and professional development.

During your stay, you will be immersed in experiential learning sessions focused on the “Seven Essential Elements”, developed by Yarra Valley Living Centre, for good health and wellbeing. These are seven evidence-based interventions that are widely recognised for their health benefits and include:

  • Regular meditation — this helps bring the body back to its natural state of balance. In its natural state of equilibrium, the body has an innate capacity to heal itself, but that balance is often compromised by stress, lifestyle and environmental factors.
  • Good nutrition — if you put the best food into your body, you give yourself the best chance of your body remaining healthy. Many organisations around the world share and support the benefits of a wholefood, plant-based diet to detoxify the body and support its natural healing process.
  • Power of the mind — as taught by the Gawler Foundation, this encourages the re-evaluation of core beliefs and values, and the practical application of positive thinking and positive imagery to stimulate the conscious and unconscious mind to assist the body’s healing process.
  • Emotional healing — this involves the process of releasing pains of the past and resolving negative emotions to free up emotional and physical energy to boost immunity.
  • Quest for meaning — finding your purpose in life can have a significant impact on your life experience. Retreat participants are invited to reflect and share their ideas and beliefs on a range of topics that relate to meaning, purpose and spirituality.
  • Moderate exercise — exercise provides a huge range of health and wellbeing benefits including increased vitality, improved immunity, mental health, pain management and a reduction in many causes of mortality. Retreat participants are encouraged to engage in yoga, qigong and walking.
  • Effective support — this important element can encourage a positive mental state, reduce stress and help people develop better coping strategies. Social isolation, on the other hand, has been shown to undermine the body’s immune system and therefore your capacity to heal.

The Yarra Valley Living Centre expert team of facilitators will provide you with the scientific assurance and the tailored guidance and support to be able to implement these practices into your everyday life. You will return home feeling revitalised, balanced and empowered to live your very best life.

Please note: The degree to which each retreat focuses on these individual elements depends on the length and purpose of that particular retreat.


Pricing for weekend retreats starts at $650, four-night retreats start at $1690 and six-night retreats start at $2090 per person (including GST), depending on your choice of accommodation.

Meditation teacher training pricing differs slightly. The three-night training starts at $990 and the four-night training starts at $1990 per person (including GST), depending on your choice of accommodation.

The price covers all elements of the program classes, materials, accommodation, delicious plant-based wholefood meals, snacks and beverages.

Optional extra services, which do involve additional costs, include transport, body therapies, counselling sessions, laundry services and purchases from the pharmacy or resource centre.

Financial Assistance for Cancer Retreat Programs

The Yarra Valley Living Centre understands that high medical expenses and/or the inability to work can result in financial hardship for people living with cancer. Due to kind donations, Yarra Valley Living Centre is currently able to offer additional bursary funding to make its life-changing cancer programs more accessible. Pricing for cancer retreat programs now starts at $845 per person (including GST), depending on your choice of accommodation. Certain criteria must be met to be eligible for the bursary assistance program and amounts offered are dependent on individual financial circumstances and are determined upon application. Please contact Yarra Valley Living Centre to register your interest in this program.

The food

During your stay retreat, you will be nourished with delicious, plant-based wholefoods carefully prepared according to the Gawler method by the retreat kitchen.

The majority of the produce used by the kitchen is seasonal and grown in the centre’s expansive organic vegetable and herb gardens and fruit orchards.

A bottomless herbal tea and dandelion coffee station is set up in the dining room and can be accessed all day/night.

The kitchen caters to all allergies, so please let the centre know at the time of booking if you have any special dietary requirements.

Things to remember


At the Living Centre, there are no caffeinated coffee or tea beverages, so it is recommended that you minimise or eliminate your intake of these drinks a few weeks before the program so you can avoid withdrawal symptoms and gain the most out of your time there. On offer is a great range of herbal teas, dandelion coffee and juices to complement the delicious menu.


Both participants and staff value the delightfully clean and fresh country air and the smoke-free environment of the centre. In recognition of this, and in line with the principles taught, smoking is not permitted anywhere on the property.

Perfume and cologne

People who are on chemotherapy, who have allergies or chemical sensitivities can become very sick from perfume and aftershave, so it is requested that products containing these not be used during your stay. Relax, let go and enjoy your natural self.

Retreat atmosphere

Unless there are exceptional circumstances, it is better for you, and the group as a whole, if guests do not have people visit them at the centre during the program. If you feel there is a particular need, please speak with one of the therapists.

If you bring along a mobile phone, please keep it turned off and be mindful of other participants’ enjoyment of the retreat by making any calls away from buildings and out of earshot of others.

Medical services

Yarra Valley Living Centre is a non-medical facility. However, it does have close links with local medical practitioners should the need arise. If you anticipate requiring specific medical assistance (eg blood tests etc), a referral from your own doctor is necessary. Please let the Living Centre know in advance if you have any particular needs.  Due to the remote location, the closest hospital is an hour away by road, so it is recommended you take out ambulance cover or (if applicable) ensure it is included in your travel insurance.

Getting there

The Yarra Valley Living Centre is located at 55 Rayner Court, Yarra Junction [Melways Map Ref 288 J12], in Victoria’s Yarra Valley, approximately 70 kilometres and one and a half hours from Melbourne.

Airport/Melbourne CBD transfers:

There is a shuttle bus service from both Melbourne Airport and Melbourne CBD to the Living Centre. This service can be arranged as part of the retreat booking process. Fees are $50 per person each way ($100 per person return).

If you would prefer to arrange a private transfer, there are two service providers currently offering this service to the centre. Contact details can be provided at the time of booking.

Public transport:

The nearest train station is Lilydale (approximately 30 minutes by car). Trains depart from Melbourne and the trip takes approximately 55 minutes. Further details can be obtained via ptv.vic.gov.au.

A bus service operates between Lilydale Station and the township of Yarra Junction. The bus route is #683 and further details can be found at martyrs.com.au. The centre is a 4km journey from the bus stop in Yarra Junction.

Visitor tours can be arranged (by prior appointment) between 9am and 5pm Monday to Friday.

Connect with Yarra Valley Living Centre

W: gawler.org

P: 03 5967 1730, 1300 651 211

E: info@gawler.org

A: 55 Rayner Court, Yarra Junction Vic 3797