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Retreat FAQs

What happens on a retreat?

A retreat is designed to give you an ideal environment to practice in so there is a combination of meditation, study, reflection and free time. Depending on the theme of the retreat a typical retreat day will go something like this:

  • 6:30 am – Rise
  • 7:00 am – First meditation
  • 8:00 am – Second meditation
  • 9:15 am – Breakfast
  • 10:30 am – Morning activity (discussion, workshop or meditation)
  • 1:15 pm – Lunch followed by free time
  • 4:30 pm – Afternoon activity (discussion, workshop or meditation)
  • 6:00 pm – Dinner
  • 7:30 pm –  Evening activity (discussion, workshop or meditation)
  • 8:30 pm – Puja (devotional ritual)
  • 10:00 pm – Bed

Where are retreats held?

Most Wellington Buddhist Centre retreat are held at Strathean, a large old house in lovely gardens just south of Otaki.

The Wellington Young Buddhists retreat on Labour Day weekend (26 to 28 October 2019) will be held at Riverslea Retreat. Riverslea is a homestead-style lodge in a beautiful patch of native bush along the Otaki River Gorge.

How do I get there?

To Get to Strathean

If you are driving, Strathean is 2.1km along on Old Hautere Road,  off SH1, just before Otaki. Ideally it takes about an hour from Wellington to get there. But bear in mind you may be travelling through Friday night commuter traffic, so it could take up to two hours.

To Get to Riverslea

If you are driving, Riverslea is 7.4km along Otaki Gorge Road, off SH1, just before Otaki. It takes about an hour to get there from Wellington, but this depends on traffic.

Car Pooling

We can operate a car pooling scheme. Please let the organiser know if you would like to get a lift to the retreat, or have room in your car for someone, or would like to be picked up from the train station in Otaki or Waikanae. The organiser will get back to you with arrangements.

A contribution towards petrol is welcome, if you can afford it. If you are a driver and don’t need the contribution, please pass it on to the retreat organiser who will put it in the retreat fund which is used to help people who can’t afford to pay fully for a retreat.

What should I bring?

You will need to bring your own pillows, sheets and duvets or sleeping bags, towels and personal toiletries. Also loose clothing for meditation and pens and paper to take notes.

All cushions, blankets, and stools for meditation will be provided, but please feel free to bring your own if you prefer.

What is the accommodation like?

Accommodation at Strathean

Strathean is based around a large two storey house and its annexes. Accommodation is mainly in single-sex dormitories, but there are a few single rooms available.  Please let the organiser know if you require these or if you need to be downstairs or close to a toilet.

Accommodation at Riverslea

Riverslea has a large lodge with bedrooms. Within the lodge it has 6 sleeping rooms with bunk style single beds. You can see pictures at their website here.

What about food?

All food is provided. Meals are vegan but there is milk, cheese and eggs available for vegetarians. If you have a special dietary need please let the organiser know when you book.

How is the cooking and other duties done?

Please sign up for cooking and washing up when you arrive. Each cooking team will include an experienced person to assist you.

There will be some work needed to set up for the retreat at the start and to  clean at the end. These duties are shared by the retreatants.

Do I have to be on the whole retreat?

Normally, yes, as people arriving and leaving the retreat can cause disruption. But please talk to the organiser if you need to arrive late or leave early.

Why do you need to know about health problems I have?

We need to discuss any health issues to ensure you have a safe and enjoyable retreat. This is so we can identify your particular needs and do our best to meet them.

It does not mean you will be excluded from the retreat. One of our order members (who is a trained nurse) will contact you to discuss the problems. All information will be kept confidential and destroyed after the retreat.