Pictured: Rachel Grunwell at Rotorua’s Polynesian Spa
ROTORUA, Thursday 25th January 2018: Health and wellness expert Rachel Grunwell, who grew up in Rotorua, has been announced as the new brand ambassador for New Zealand’s leading hot spring and luxury spa experience, Polynesian Spa.
A mother of three, Rachel is a yoga and meditation teacher, wellness magazine columnist, keynote speaker, healthy recipe creator and runs the Inspired Health website and social media channels with a combined fan base of around 20,000 Kiwis.
Polynesian Spa chief executive Gert Taljaard says they selected Rachel to be their ambassador because of her influential health and wellbeing background, but also because Rotorua is very close to her heart. She was born and raised in Rotorua and even once worked with the complex as a massage therapist.
“It’s great to have an ambassador who has had a lifetime relationship with Polynesian Spa having spent her childhood years growing up enjoying our pools and her early career working as part of our team. Having authentic ambassadors on board is very important to us” says Taljaard.
As brand ambassador, Rachel will be inspiring people to lead a naturally healthier lifestyle by integrating the benefits of mineral bathing, spa treatments and mindful moments into their wellness regime.
“I’m excited to be part of the Polynesian Spa family. I can’t wait to share real-life and science-backed wellness wisdom to help people to be healthier and happier. I’m looking forward to being back in Rotorua more regularly and it’s great to be collaborating in an industry which I am passionate about” says Grunwell.
Ironically one of the two exclusive alkaline and acidic springs that feeds into the 28 pools that Polynesian Spa boasts onsite is named the Rachel Spring and the new ambassador has been excited to rediscover the history of the therapeutic and rejuvenating waters.
“What makes Polynesian Spa so unique is the access it has to these two wonderful springs. The alkaline spas from the Rachel Spring are hot and relaxing and leave your skin with a silky feeling while the Priest Spring relieves and rejuvenates tired muscles, aches and pains. It is very uplifting for the soul,” says Rachel.
Rachel’s first job is to assist with developing a wider range of healthier choices for the new 88Ra Café menu and will host the highly successful Mindful Moments Retreats during the year.
Mindful Moments Retreats will be held on the following dates:
Saturday 9th June – Sunday 10th June
Saturday 11th August – Sunday 12th August
Saturday 10th November – Sunday 11th November
To find out all the details check out the Polynesian Spa website. Click HERE
Rachel Grunwell is a wellness magazine writer, yoga teacher, health blogger, healthy recipe creator for Good magazine and an ambassador for the Achilles charity which helps Kiwis with all kinds of disabilities to participate in events.
Experience sun, sand, sea-life and unforgettable adventures and memories with your family in the Whitsundays. Rachel Grunwell shares her family’s holiday highlights.
Instead of buying my kids lots of “stuff”, I’ll invest in experiences.
Visiting the Whitsundays, in Queensland, was on our family’s bucket-list. The treasure: The Great Barrier Reef. This is one of the seven wonders of the world. It’s easy to reach for Kiwis. It’s about a 3hr flight to Brisbane and 1hr 15m flight to Whitsunday Coast Airport (Proserpine). Here are some highlights on what to do, where to stay and eat for a family.
After arriving at Proserpine, we drive in a hire car for 50-minutes to Bowen. This place is famous for a giant mango which cost $90,000 to make. We loved eating frozen mango here.
The area is renowned for mangoes, and growing lots of other vegetables and fruits. Nearby, you feel in paradise on the beach at Rose Bay or Horse Shoe Bay with clear sea views for miles. Swimming at Horse Shoe Bay was so incredible my son Lachie, 10, asked “can we stay forever?” We slept at the Rose Bay Resort which boasts a great pool, palms and sea views. I watched over the balcony as my kids splashed in the pool and then looked out to sea to try and spot whales.
For cheaper accommodation in Bowen, you can stay at Queen’s Beach Tourist Village. This is only a short stroll to sandy beaches, playgrounds and tennis courts. I met a guy here who has visited yearly for 26-years. It’s so beautiful and there’s so much sea adventures on your doorstep.
Up Flagstaff hill , you can view the bays of Bowen. You can see endless blue seas and the stunning curves of many islands.
We had a great dinner at the Grand View Hotel nearby. This is famous for being in Baz Luhrmann’s film Australia, starring Nicole Kidman. This charming and renovated building is an old-Queenslander-style beauty. For good coffee and a family-friendly menu, we enjoyed two places in town: The Le Sorelle Coffee House has a great playground on site and awesome menu. While, the Sails on Main, has a cool nautical theme, boats on display and also good kai. For dinner, you can’t beat fish-and-chips at Birds Fish Bar. Here you eat just-caught seafood overlooking the beautiful Bowen Harbour, fishing boats and watching the sunset here is magic.
From Bowen, we drove 50-minutes to Airlie Beach, the gateway to the Whitsunday island cruises. Walking along the Airlie Esplanade, beside the beach, is bliss. An amazing local café for smoothies, salads and fresh, healthy food is Bohemian Raw Café. We came here three times!
The Great Barrier Reef was better than we imagined. The moment my son Zach, 12, swam with a giant humphead wrasse fish (and other fish and coral of all rainbow colours) was magic.
Finn, 6, squealed over turtles coming close. He also loved the underwater viewing observatory and semi-submersible (like a submarine). Cruise Whitsundays offers an incredible all-day adventure to ‘reef world’. This is a giant platform in the ocean, which caters for all activities, a buffet lunch and so many adventures. If you have a bigger budget, you can hire a helicopter or go diving.
Look at those gorgeous blues of the Great Barrier Reef. Ahmazzzzzzzing!
Zach and I sharing memories underwater that we will treasure forever.
There are 74 island wonders in the Whitsundays. Another we will remember forever is Whithaven Beach. Cruise Whitsundays does a half-day trip here. The sand is 98% silica, a cool temperature and has the same texture as coconut-flour. The water is postcard-perfect. The white sand and aqua waters will be something I dream of returning to again.
Check out that white, white sand!
The water is so clear. It’s bliss here.
A great family-friendly place to is the 26-acre BIG4 Adventure Whitsunday Resort. This boasts pools, a new mega waterslide park, go-carts, mini-golf, tennis, outdoor movies, jumping pillows, and a kids’ club. There is camping, caravanning to luxury cabins. This place is so entertaining for kids. My kids met new friends here and had so much fun. While they enjoyed a movie here one night, I walked 10-minutes up the road to Yoga Therapies. This 90-minute yin yoga session was a highlight for me.
The accommodation highlight for my husband and I was the Mantra Boathouse Apartments. You look out over the Port of Airlie Marina and the hotel and pool facilities are swish. We had five cockatoos land on our terrace in the morning. I’m not sure who was more delighted – the bloke or the kids. Ten minutes walk away is the Anchor Bar and Grill. There’s a cheap kids menu and relaxed and friendly atmosphere here.
The Whitsundays delivered on magic memories for our family.
This article was published in print and on-line by NZME. To read it click HERE
Rachel’s trip was supported by Tourism Whitsundays. Find more to do: www.tourismwhitsundays.com.au
Rachel is the director of lifestyle website inspiredhealth.co.nz
Follow Rachel( InspiredHealth Facebook): https://www.facebook.com/InspiredHealthNZ/
By Rachel Grunwell
The way to achieve your wellness goals is through “progression, not perfectionism”.
These wise words ring in my ears as I attend a three-day retreat in the Bay of Plenty.
I’m at Resolution Retreats, high up in the quiet, peaceful and beautiful bush-clad hills of Papamoa. It’s so green here, the air is fresh and I feel blissful and chilled-out just simply being in this stunning location. It’s wonderful to have “me time” and to be in a supportive and welcoming place that nurtures good health. It’s a place just solely for women to transform.
Here, you can kick-start a restorative journey to improve your own personal and individual health goals.
I’m among about a dozen women, mostly aged 40s and over, who have different goals from weight loss to wanting to improve their overall health, fitness, food knowledge or happiness levels. Some mums and daughters (aged in their 20s) too are here for a special healthy holiday. Others just wish to take a breath, refocus and feel pampered.
Founder and nutritional consultant, Joelene Ranby (pictured below), says she and her team will support everyone on their individual goals. Questions are welcome at any time.
I love that she tells us we can go to the daily fitness workouts or health seminars, or opt out for relaxation time instead, if we wish. It’s a no-pressure environment. One option for example, is walking to the Kaiate Falls. I opted in for that and loved being in nature (I’m pictured by one of the waterfalls below – how bliss does that look)!!!
Ranby says she aims to inspire, educate and motivate women with tools on how to de-stress, recuperate and refocus.
She promises to keep things “simple”. She doesn’t want anyone “overwhelmed” and “trying to do everything all at once”. This is a key theme: “progression, not perfectionism”.
She implores us to focus on one important health message daily and think about leaving the retreat with one change to truly focus on back at home. This is because one change at a time, and little by little, we can transform our lives and achieve our wellness goals, she promises.
The itinerary over three days includes daily gentle yoga and different fitness sessions (here’s a pic below of a pool work-out). Seminars range from healthy eating education, to de-coding food labels, and there is a cooking demonstration done by a professional chef who shares helpful and healthy tips and tricks.
Everyone raves about the girly-girl pampering sessions (you can get treatments from massages and facials to pedicures on-site). I have a facial which is so good I fall asleep! And a back massage helps me to de-stress down another notch.
I like that the retreat kept things accessible, realistic, and there are lots of real-life ideas shared. Food is super healthy (like this yum meal pictured below), but filling, and I cope okay without sugar (I’m generally a chocoholic!)
The snacks are delicious too on the retreat. Check out this blissball goodness!
My bedroom is a tranquil oasis and boasts an inside and outside bath. Check out how lush it looks!
I left the retreat feeling inspired and relaxed. What an amazing place where women can focus on themselves… and truly escape briefly the never-ending to-do-list and needs of the kids, partners and work commitments. I’d recommend Resolution Retreats as a friendly place that can empower women with real-life tools to live healthier and happier.
Top tips from the retreat:
Quit the guilt.
Keep things simple and focus on one health goal at a time. Don’t overwhelm yourself. “Ladies tend to see the bar too high. We all do it!” says Joelene Ranby.
Protein can help to keep you fuller for longer.
Be organised with meals. It will help stop you reaching for unhealthy snacks.
Figure out the things that “slip you up” and plan around them ie if you love chocolate and chips perhaps don’t buy them or maybe keep them in a place you can’t see them.
Ask yourself before snacking: “Am I eating because I am stressed?”
Exercise and get your heart-rate up before breakfast – even if it’s just for a few minutes. It will help kick-start your metabolism.
This piece was published in Herald group newspapers. The piece was penned by Rachel Grunwell: wellness writer & columnist, marathoner, yoga teacher and the director of this lifestyle website InspiredHealth. Follow InspiredHealth on Facebook (click HERE) & Instagram (Click HERE). We have amazing regular health giveaways and inspiration on living “well”.
Resolution Retreats runs numerous retreats throughout the year, ranging from three days to three weeks.
Girl on an Adventure column 1 – published in Good Magazine
By Rachel Grunwell
There’s a saying I love: Challenge yourself; Change yourself.
So in essence, by tackling scary adventures outside of your comfort zone, you can boost personal growth.
That’s my excuse for signing up for Le Race – an 100km bike ride from Christchurch to Akaroa on March 25, 2017. I was scared silly about the idea. So, of course I immediately signed myself up.I signed up a training buddy too, TV3 presenter Mike McRoberts. I figured if I trained with Mike then no one would notice how terrible I am at this sport. All eyes would be on him. Oh, and he’s also a great training buddy and top bloke, of course.
After signing up, he pointed out a small detail. “Er, neither of us have bikes Rach”. Small detail though, right?
Thankfully Mt Eden Cycles shop owner, Mark Taylor, (pictured above) came to the rescue with some loan wheels for us two crazy journalists who love scaring ourselves stupid (over things we know nothing about). Mark “fitted” me to a bike recently, which made me laugh. Here was I thinking you only get fitted for things like wedding dresses.
It turns out road bikes come in nine sizes. I just told him to find me a midget-sized bike and I’d be right. But there was no getting away with that. He explains why it’s important to get the fit right. “Otherwise it could be a bit sketchy when you’re going fast down hills.” After that comment there was no further arguing from me. I prefer to keep the skin on my elbows and knees. So, he fit my midget frame to the bike frame, adjusted the seat and handlebars and then asked me to choose a colour preference in cycling helmet.
“Why bother,” I asked. “No one looks good with helmet hair anyway”. He agreed, but still asked me to please choose a colour.
“Challenge yourself; Change yourself”
I refrained from choosing the fluorescent pink helmet that caught my eye. I’m such a girlie girl, but I knew if I wore pink lycra too I’d likely resemble moving candy-floss. And remember, I want all eyes on Mike. Perhaps I could get him to choose the pink helmet…
Mark then kindly gave me some quick tips before unleashing me onto the street. He was probably worried about me crashing into someone’s parked Audi. I live in Mt Eden and so there’s a high chance of that. Perhaps I should move to another suburb?
He kindly taught me how to unclip my shoes so I can hopefully avoid “the zero mile an hour fall”. This is when riders usually stop at the lights, forget they are clipped in and then do a spectacular sideways crash – all in slow motion. So, he was kindly trying to save me from that hurt. To my body, but more importantly to the ego.
Wish me luck for my first ride. I hope you get to see a second column…
- Column by Rachel Grunwell – Good Magazine’s wellness columnist, a keen marathoner, qualified yoga teacher and director of the InspiredHealth website.
- Follow Rachel via Inspired Health on Facebook and Instagram.
By Rachel Grunwell
Want something memorable to do with the kids? Well, doing the Auckland Bridge Climb would be an absolute ‘high’-light, I promise you.
It’s an incredible adventure that can give your kids a new perspective on Auckland city. Some folks travel the world to do this. If you are lucky enough to live in Auckland (like me) then it would be a crime not to experience this! Or wherever you are in NZ, put it on your bucket list if you are ever in Auckland. It’s a lot of fun.
Here are 10 reasons why you should do it:
- It is the one and only bridge climb in New Zealand
- A tour guide tells you about the history of the bridge which is super interesting. Learn about the architecture, the stories around when it was built, how it works.
- The views are AMAZING including sea, boats, the Auckland skyline, the Auckland Skytower…
- See Bungy Jumping up close (or do it if you are a thrill-seeker)
Here are some picture highlights of when I did the climb with my hubby Damien, son Zach, aged 11, and his mate Alex, also aged 11. ps kids have to be aged 10-years-old and weigh a minimum of 35kg to do this.
Wearing onesies and ready to climb!
Hard-hats on. Game-faces on….
That’s the mind-blowing view we climbed for! It’s even amazing when it’s raining. Not even a drizzle could dampen this experience.
The hard-hat team. What an adventure.
We did it. We feel on top of the world up here whoop. Yeeeeees!!
We looked down on traffic, boats, sea… and a 360-degree view of Auckland City.
Here’s the team we climbed with. We all gave the experience the big thumbs up.
InspiredHealthNZ is run by Rachel Grunwell: Blogger, magazine wellness columnist, yoga teacher, marathoner and adventure-seeker.
By Rachel Grunwell
Seeing penguins at a zoo is great. But seeing blue penguins (korora) up-close in their natural habitat on the stunning Otago Peninsula is an awe-inspiring sight you’ll store in your memory bank forever.
I’m on a mum-and-son ‘adventure vacation’ with Zach, aged 11, and seeing the world’s smallest penguin delight in a world-famous reserve at the Royal Albatross Centre is something we agree is a pinch-yourself-kind-of-experience.
It’s dusk, the stars are overhead, we’re rugged up warm with eyes-wide-open at Pilot Beach as we gaze out over the pond-like sea with tiny waves lapping ashore.
I don’t know who is more excited. My kid, or this self-confessed big-kid.
I expect to see a couple of penguins way off in the distance. But incredibly we see 60 penguins over about 60-minutes – just merely a couple of metres away.
These penguins religiously come in nightly here to feed their chicks in nests on the hillside.
And wow, what a sight: They are dumped by the waves into shore in groups (called rafts). They waddle, drunk-like, out of the tide and onto the beach and then hot-foot it up the grassy hill.
By the way, they couldn’t give a toss about us nosey-parker humans. Actually, we must be a pretty funny sight for the penguins. We are among a tour group of about 30 people quietly huddled on a giant, lit-up wooden platform.
You don’t tire seeing these cute little birds. Every time a new bunch of blue-and-white bodies pops up out of the water, either my son or I nudge each other or whisper excitedly “there’s some more”. Zach and I now long to return to see the colony of royal albatross.
The New Zealand International Science Festival showcases a long list of events and experiences to inspire curiosity over the nine days (during the first week of the July school holidays) of the biennial festival. And with Dunedin now New Zealand’s first GigCity, technology (in all its glorious manifestations) is a big part of the offerings. You can dip in, or out, of as many of the events as you wish. Zach and I loved walking through a giant inflated brain and learning about its different parts and functions. And while Zach enjoyed witnessing the dissection of a sheep’s brain, I looked the other way! We could use computer technology to see underneath our skin and there were even real human body parts to marvel at. You name it and you can likely experience it here: Think microscopes, psychology investigations, dentistry workshops (Zach loved making a shark tooth from a mould) and even a workshop on how to ‘fight like a physicist’ (that’s learning how to win against a bigger opponent through physics ie understanding centre of mass, gravity and equilibrium etc). Another of Zach’s highlights was the music/explosions show by Dr Graham Walker and DJ Sixfootsix. Picture fireballs, explosions, marshmallow cannons, and liquid nitrogen clouds, mashed up to music.
Be star-struck by real stars at the Otago Museum’s Perpetual Guardian Planetarium. You get to sit back in a comfy chair and journey to the edge of the universe and back in a 360-degrees immersive theatre experience. You can’t beat the prices either. Children aged 4-18 pay $7, while adults are $10.
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An unexpected highlight was a two-hour Street Art Tour, called ‘Small City Big Walls’, through Dunedin city by guide Victoria Gilliand. I’m pictured underneath one of the artworks, playing around doing a yoga pose and pretending to be the bird’s prey…
About 25 colossal murals by world-famous artists are hidden on buildings throughout the city. Artists from places like Belgium, LA and Europe have been paid to create unique artworks that now make Dunedin an edgy and hip place.
It’s hard to choose a favourite artwork that stretch the imagination including a giant tuatara, to a mythical creature with Kakapo-like features, and even fish swallowing boats. It’s wonderful to experience the artwork, but hearing the stories about them from the guide makes this even more than just a colourful tour.
I heard a professor lecture on the topic of superfoods at Dunedin’s Technique Training Restaurant. I loved hearing about the super powers of certain superfoods, while I ate a three-course superfoods meal here. The lecture and topic was part of a unique event – part of the Science Festival – but anyone can reserve a similar dining experience here for crazy cheap prices. This fully licensed restaurant was established by the Food Design Institute to train future chefs, hotel managers and restaurant staff by industry professionals. So it’s a training environment, but a great night out that will hardly stretch the purse–strings. Check out the below link to find out when you can book a meal.
Find more to do in Dunedin https://www.dunedinnz.com
(This article was published in seven newspapers nationwide)
Rachel Grunwell is a magazine columnist & director of Inspired Health. Follow Inspired Health for giveaways and lifestyle inspiration:
By Rachel Grunwell
It’s a New Year and so it’s time for new adventures. Training for an “adventure” is a top way to keep fit.
It can also scare you out of bed in the morning to train!
A unique event (for walkers and runners) is the Tussock Traverse, one of the most scenic courses in New Zealand (on January 30).
It’s an off-road adventure like no other.
The event showcases the eastern area of the World Heritage Tongariro National Park encompassing Tukino and the Round the Mountain and Waihohonu tracks before finishing at the majestic Chateau Tongariro in Whakapapa.
Victory Events director Jason Cameron says most Kiwis can take part in the event. “Unlike its near neighbour the Goat, the Tussock Traverse is not highly-technical and is very achievable with its range of distance options”.
He says there’s an event option for most ages and abilities (6.5km, 13km and 26km). “It’s not highly-technical; it’s achievable”.
In the 26k expect some rock hopping through a lava field before negotiating the rolling lunar like landscape with volcanic sands through native vegetation before reaching formed tracks in the last 10km.
He says at one point in the race, entrants are “dwarfed by Mt Ngauruhoe on the right whilst capturing stunning views of Mt Ruapehu out to the left”.
Project Tongariro (formerly known as Tongariro Natural History Society) is the event’s charity partner and so entrants help give back, and conserve, the area too.
Pictured: Craig Kirkwood running in the 2015 Ironman NZ event.
One participant this year will be Craig Kirkwood, 41, an elite runner and coach from Tauranga. He “runs” Craig Kirkwood Coaching. He says this event will be “a training run” for the Tarawera Ultra 100km event on February 6.
His tips for doing the Tussock Traverse (which he came second in last year): Expect the course to feel 10% longer than running on-road, take a good quality raincoat in case the weather turns and “smile” and “enjoy it!”
* For more info check out: www.tussocktraverse.co.nz
Rachel is the director of inspiredhealth.co.nz/
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Piha Beach is only 40km from Auckland city and it’s one of the best escapes – for the stunning wild and wonderful surf and that beautiful black sand that sticks to your toes. But there’s a walk close by that’s absolutely magic too for a family stroll.
If you haven’t been before, you should check out Kitekite Falls walk in the Waitakere Ranges.
The walk kicks off at the end of Glen Esk Rd and the walk is well signposted; you can’t get lost. A colossal kauri tree stump greets you around here and my kids love to hide in it and pretend it’s a play house.
You must use special spray bottle provided here to blast your shoes to stop a lethal pathogen that is attacking our beautiful kauri trees.
On the walk you encounter a stream, bridges, beautifully-made steps including some that even spiral, and the lush bush here is an absolute escape. Feel the stress from your shoulders evaporate… The air here is just so fresh and energising. But the star of this show is the falls. You’ll stop in your tracks and “wow” will escape from your lips. You glimpse this multi-drop waterfall, that’s 40m high, first through the bush. Then minutes later the falls are near your toes and you rock-hop past it. You can swim here if you’re brave and don’t mind an ice-cold dip.
The walk takes 60-minutes all up if you take it leisurely – or shorter if your strides are strong and you’re not waiting for little ones to catch up.
By the way a doctor named this place. He felt the area reminded him of Scotland. Glen means valley (Gaelic) & Esk means water (Celtic).
ps. A great website on Piha is www.piha.co.nz which gives great ideas on things to do and info about the place.
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