I'VE never had so much fun on my back.
With my feet stuck through loops at the end of resistance bands and with my legs dangling from the sky I thought "what have I got myself into?''.
The answer was a whole lot of fun.
I was in the middle of a reformer Pilates class while enjoying a relaxing weekend getaway at Hope Island at the Gold Coast.
With the health and wellness industry booming, travel destinations are now cashing in on this very lucrative business.
Being able to combine beauty services, massage and exercise with a stunning destination, great food, drinks and live music in one spot sounds like heaven to me.
On the northern tip of the Gold Coast, Hope Island offers a slower pace for those looking to unwind or escape their busy lives, or just enjoy a weekend away with some friends.
Unlike many destinations, you don't have to travel far, if at all, to relax and have a good time.
While I could easily have stayed for a week to enjoy every moment of the divine environment, I instead pushed myself to do as much as I could in 24 hours at Ramada Hotel Hope Harbour.
It turns out I felt relaxed within an hour of stepping foot through their doors, and completely rejuvenated 24 hours later when I left it behind.
First I tried the microdermabrasion. A big word that meant very little to me.
The lovely beauty therapist explained it as a deep exfoliation with little bits of diamonds.
I actually quite enjoyed the strange sucking and abrasiveness on my face, and it certainly spruced me up.
Then there was a massage, which was an hour of pure bliss. The masseuse assured me I'd sleep well that night as he worked on some pressure points in my neck. He was right.
After a night of good food, fantastic drinks and a sing-a-long with the live band while overlooking the marina, I was up early to have a go at stand up paddleboarding.
We launched the boards at Paradise Point looking across to South Stradbroke Island. The group was excited as there was talk of stingrays being about that morning.
After a shaky start, I actually got the hang of it pretty quickly.
I must admit I was feeling the effects of the night before until I was up on my board gliding (well, zigzagging) across the calm water looking at the birds flying around.
Suddenly I felt at one with the destination, I was completely in the moment and completely relaxed.
That morning, dolphins and stingrays were spotted by our group and I left the class feeling like I'd just had a priceless meditation experience.
Which brings us to the reformer Pilates class.
Lying on a bed type thing, which slides horizontally forwards and back, while using resistance bands was a really fun way to exercise.
It looked like a torture machine but was quite the opposite.
By now I felt like I was walking on air and couldn't believe what you could do for your mind and body in just 24 hours.
There were plenty of other options to broaden your health and wellness experience both at the harbour and not far away.
You could also try boating or shopping and dining close by at Sanctuary Cove, or get out and explore the Gold Coast hinterland, just a short drive away.
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