Our Vision Statement

The vision for WHY Retreat is to create an oasis along the journey towards wellbeing where visitors can gather the skills they need for better physical, emotional and spiritual quality of life. Whangarei Heads Yoga offers classes and retreats October through May.

About WHY Retreat & Whangarei Heads Yoga

Built by Rob and Jo Woollacott, WHY Retreat includes the Whangarei Heads Yoga studio and accommodation opened 2014. The retreat was conceived mid-Pacific as they were returning to NZ after 16 years cruising with their yacht, Blue Moon.

Forced to return to New Zealand in 2010 when Rob was diagnosed with cancer, they were determined to create a healing space for themselves and others. Rob remained well until he passed in 2017, and this experience taught them much about living with and overcoming chronic illness, stress management, nutrition and holistic practices. Rob’s positive attitude in the face of 4 separate stage 4 diagnosis and his focus on maintaining health rather than treating disease was an inspiration to all who knew him.

Nestled between the spires of Whangarei Heads, WHY retreat is surrounded by spectacular views,  beautiful native bush, pristine beaches and  some of New Zealand's top short hikes.  Jo is a nature lover, and will gladly lead you on one of the many beautiful hikes around the area.

About Jo

Jo Woollacott is a highly experienced and multi-faceted professional with a strong focus on rehabilitation and holistic health transformation. Her extensive background and qualifications make her well-equipped to assist individuals in improving their overall well-being. She embarked on her yoga journey at 16, combating a childhood posture defect that thwarted her sports ambitions. In 1979, she completed her first Yoga teacher training, initially to delve deeper into her own practise. With a global pursuit of diverse yoga and meditation styles, workshops, and trainings, Jo cultivated a wealth of knowledge. Her deep understanding of yoga enables her to help individuals achieve physical and mental balance.

Jo’s interest in vegetarian cuisine and alternative health led her to become a massage and reiki master, as well as a holistic health coach. In addition to being a Yoga Alliance Registered Yoga Teacher, Jo holds various certifications, including Pilates instructor, Total Gym Incline Body Weight instructor, Pelvic Floor Specialist, Kaizen holistic health coach, Touch for Health, Reiki, and Gaia practitioner. Jo is a registered Personal Trainer with REPS (Register of Exercise Professionals) and is endorsed by the Exercise Association of New Zealand. This allows her to provide tax-deductible stress management programs under SMEAEP (Stress Management Exercise Association Endorsed Provider.

For over a decade, Jo has served as the owner-manager of WHY retreat, infusing it with her passion for well-being. Her life's narrative includes a business career.  living on a sailboat, globetrotting adventures, and a poignant chapter—supporting her late husband's seven-year cancer battle through natural methods. Subsequently she won an award for a manuscript on creating healthy habits. The book is yet to be published, but it is available as an ONLINE COURSE through this website.

Jo's biography is an odyssey of resilience, holistic wisdom, and a dedication to the intertwining paths of yoga and well-being. She is passionate about her commitment to a multi-faceted approach to health and wellness and loves to share her knowledge with her clients and those who join her retreats.

Getting Here

The closest international airport is AUCKLAND, which is about 3-3.5 hours by car from the retreat. There is a regional airport at WHANGAREI, a 20 minute drive away. There is also a bus service from Auckland to Whangarei (2.5 hours). Whangarei town center is about 35 minutes by car from the retreat. We have no public transportation here but we can help with transfer to the retreat.


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