lifestyle medicine and cancer retreats gawler foundation
Cancer Retreats
MS Retreats
Wellbeing & Prevention Retreats
Training & Professional Development

Welcome to The Gawler Cancer Foundation and the Yarra Valley Living Centre

The Gawler Cancer Foundation and Yarra Valley Living Centre is a not for profit, non-denominational organisation, that promotes a whole-person (holistic) and integrative approach to health, healing and wellbeing.

Whether you’re faced with a cancer diagnosis, living with multiple sclerosis, or simply want to reach a greater level of overall wellbeing, we’re here to provide you with quality education, guidance and support at our Lifestyle Medicine based retreat programs, in the beautiful Yarra Valley, Victoria.

Our mission is to improve the recovery outcomes and quality of life for people affected by cancer or multiple sclerosis, and to assist those looking to create a greater sense of health and vitality in their lives.

For over 30 years we have been achieving this through the delivery of lifestyle-focused cancer retreat programs, multiple sclerosis retreat programs and general wellbeing retreats programs at our Yarra Valley Living Centre.

Take charge of your healing and wellbeing at The Gawler Cancer Foundation and Yarra Valley Living Centre…

Situated within 40 acres of picturesque Australian bushland in Victoria’s beautiful Yarra Valley, our purpose-built retreat centre offers a peaceful sanctuary way from fast-paced modern life, to immerse in the teachings and focus fully on your own health and wellbeing needs.

On the grounds are special spaces designed for quiet meditative practice; landscaped gardens provide many places to enjoy nature; and our biodynamic and organic vegetable gardens provide ample seasonal produce for the delicious plant-based wholefood meals served by our infamous retreat kitchen.  You can learn more about our centre and take a video tour of our facilities here.

During your retreat stay you will participate in experiential learning sessions, delving into the scientific benefits behind our recommended 7 Essential Elements, as well as receiving the counselling and support to implement these elements into your everyday life.

Our 7 essential elements, as briefly outlined below (from an anti-cancer perspective), work to encourage the body’s own innate healing potential and to generate a sense of inner peace and wellness.  Please click here for a more detailed explanation and to learn how these practices can help you achieve your own unique heath and wellbeing goals.

1. Regular Meditation
A regular meditation practice can help to rebalance and support the body’s natural regulation processes and it’s inherent capacity to heal itself.  There is now an impressive pool of research that points to the therapeutic benefits of meditation for people living with cancer, including improved immunity, pain management, stress reduction, mental wellbeing and cancer healing outcomes.  At our centre we pride ourselves in offering an experiential learning experience – our participants are guided and supported in developing a sustainable personal meditation practice.

2. Good Nutrition
Good nutrition is fundamental to a lifestyle medicine approach; and at our centre we promote the use of a plant-based wholefoods diet to create an anti-inflammatory, alkaline environment that detoxifies the body, aids digestive and immune functions, and supports the body’s natural healing processes.
According to the World Health Organisation, around one third of deaths from cancer are due to the 5 leading behavioral and dietary risks: high body mass index, low fruit and vegetable intake, lack of physical activity, tobacco use, and alcohol use. Our dietary approach addresses all of these dietary risks, with a strong focus on therapeutic nutrition.

3.  Power of Mind
The re-evaluation of our core beliefs and values, and the practical application of affirmative thinking can stimulate both the conscious and unconscious mind to assist one’s personal health and wellbeing goals.

4. Emotional Healing
Free up emotional and physical energy to boost immunity, this tenet of lifestyle medicine involves releasing pains of the past and resoling negative emotions. Opening your heart to positive experience and emotions supports healing.

5. Purpose and Meaning / Quest for Meaning
Serious illness places our mortality right in our faces and as such, often prompts a personal search for deeper meaning and purpose.  To survive cancer or chronic illness is a goal in itself but identifying the purpose in your life and your reason for living, can have a significant impact on your quality of life.

6. Moderate Exercise
Exercising in moderation can help improve survival rates for people with cancer, support pain management, increase vitality, boost immunity and mental health.

7. Effective Support
Adequate social support is essential for anyone diagnosed with cancer. Illness brings with it many challenges and uncertainties during it’s different phases. Appropriate support can influence both the severity and outcome of the illness.


Our mission is to assist with improving your recovery and quality of life.

Learn more and register for our next available cancer retreat program here. View upcoming retreat on our calendar here.