Qii house Eco Meditation Retreat, nestled in a lush rainforest on top of Erskine Falls, in Lorne, Australia offers guests a quiet respite designed to connect them, on a deeper level, with nature. Originally designed in 1977 by architect Edgard Pirrotta, the Qii house concept is quirky. From the rooms to the gardens, everything your eye touches is unique and inspiring. Living areas are colorful, featuring mod pieces intermixed with one-of-a-kind sculptures made from glass, stone and wood. The entire property is designed using Feng Shui principles with the intention of allowing one’s chi or energy to flow freely. Fish bowl windows frame views of tree tops and the bush landscape. And now Qii House owner, Heather Kolb is looking to take her vision of the retreat center even further with a Forest Therapy Walking Track. We spoke with Kolb to learn more about her vision for Qii House.
HL&S: What inspired you to purchase Qii House in 2007?
As a child and into adult life, I realized the magic potions the natural world could weave, the calm and the inspired energy. I was also mindful of the frantic pace of a changing world.
Forest Bathing and Nature Meditation were not terms I was then familiar with; but I would escape the frantic pace of the digital world with my late husband every other week for a “breath of fresh air.”
I had a wish that we could have “Balyang Sanctuary” (a beautiful local park) in our back yard. My husband would say; don’t be ridiculous! So early into widowhood I found myself frequenting the Great Ocean Road and the beautiful Otway landscape for some R&R.
When I saw the Qii House, it was love at first sight (albeit a project to behold, in need of TLC) and the vision was immediately of a place for renewal and relaxation. I now have the Great Otway National Park in my backyard!
What vision do you have for Qii House moving forward?
Apart from delighting and igniting the adventurous spirit of the Eco Tourist; and providing guests with a place to rest and to restore good energy flows, I would like to install an evidenced based Forest Therapy Walking Track. The Great Otway National Park and the Qii House setting offers the perfect criteria for maximizing personal health and well-being via Forest Therapy.
Forest Therapy has become more popular and was endorsed in the 1980s in Japan as a researched-based therapeutic modality.
It has since become recognized in North America, and is infiltrating into Australia. It is now being promoted by Healthy Parks Healthy People Central, an Australian initiative aimed at connecting people to nature. Dr. Qing Li, a Japanese professor is at the forefront of research on “Forest Bathing” and believes the action of inhaling the natural antimicrobial essential oils emitted from plants and trees is similar to aromatherapy. So, my overall vision is to be able to provide a space and to be able to teach guests about Forest Therapy—a new modality that will contribute to the reduction of lifestyle related diseases and to even reduce health expenses.
What do you hope guests will feel/receive from a visit here?
I hope guests connect and be one with nature; to reconnect with/nurture yourself, to savor the moment and to get back to nature’s rhythm and just “BE”. Getting back to basics is key and to be present in the moment.
I want guests to feel the breeze against their skin, listen to the murmur of running water, the wind rustling the trees, the birdsong, taste and inhale the aromas of foliage, gaze at the trees, and touch and smell the texture of the bark and leaves.
How are you different from other Retreat Centers?
Qii House is a unique spiritual Spa destination, situated 550 meters above sea level in the heart of the Great Otway National Park. Qii House Lorne is immersed in a lush forest canopy and misty mountains.The Qii House experience will promote self-awareness and provide simple natural remedies on how to live a healing lifestyle. Qii House Lorne will be first to have an evidenced based Forest Therapy Track endorsed by a certified Forest Therapy practitioner; workshops will be available, and guests will have access to a Forest Therapy guide.
Contact Qii House
With her love of health and writing, Melissa has written for such publications as Shape, Natural Solutions, Yoga Journal, Self and Pilates Style, and has created recipes and food-oriented stories for such publications as Delicious Living and Cooking Light.