SIBA Retreat Centre

SIBA Retreat Centre is a beautiful Buddhist retreat centre in the Snowy River country of East Gippsland, Victoria. Formerly ONTOS, it was founded by Lama Choedak Rinpoche and formally opened and consecrated by His Eminence Chogye Trichen Rinpoche in 2006. During this time His Eminence gave the dharma name Tsarchen Choeling.

SIBA has all the requisites for the perfect retreat. Simply being at SIBA calms the senses and heals the mind. SIBA is a welcoming and peaceful refuge and when group retreats are on the unique atmosphere is well known to visitors.

Click here to view photo gallery of SIBA Retreat Centre. 

Retreats10-day Calm Abiding retreat '09

There is a year-round varied programme of retreats, some lead by Lama Choedak Rinpoche and some by resident or guests teachers. These include:

  • Calm Abiding Meditation - Each year Lama Choedak Rinpoche leads a four day retreat during the March Labour Day holiday (VIC) and a ten day retreat late September/early October which is our most popular retreat of the year.
  • White Tara (with Lama Choedak Rinpoche) - a beautiful meditation for developing kindness and compassion, increasing spiritual vitality and overcoming fears. (Australia Day holiday, January)
  • Health and Wellness - revitalise your mind and body through yoga, meditation and alternative health practitioner consultations. Easter holiday.  
  • Medicine Buddha (with Lama Choedak Rinpoche) - discover the connection between wholesome thoughts, your health and happiness. August.
  • Tai Chi and Meditation (with Lama Choedak Rinpoche) - Tai Chi Academy of Canberra and Rinpoche combine energies to present the teachings and practice of moving and sitting meditation. Mid-April.
  • One-month Ngondro (with Lama Choedak Rinpoche) - intensive group and individual practice sessions on the preliminary practice of Tibetan Buddhism. End of year.
  • Introduction to Buddhism - learn about the fundamental of the Buddha's teachings on this weekend
  • Nyung-ne  - devotional meditation practices combining the Eight Buddhist Precepts 
  • Yoga - several times a year yoga retreat are held by visiting teachers

For a full list and dates for coming retreat go to RETREATS page


DailyThe gong is rung to start another meditation session

All activities are open to the public.  Please ring to let us know if you are coming as the programme is sometimes interrupted when we have retreats and other special activities running.

Daily 6am - Green Tara Puja
The residents come together daily for tradionally Buddhist prayers and chanting. You can request the puja be dedicated to those who are going through difficulties as well as the deceased.


Sunday 9.00 am - Ngondro Preliminary practices
Includes Refuge and Prostrations, Generation of Bodhicitta, Vajrasattva mantra, Mandala Offering and Guru Yoga.
Sunday 11.00 am - Calm Abiding Meditation
Single-pointed meditation on Mindulness of Body and Mindfulness of Feeling/Breath.
You are welcome to stay for Sunday lunch

Tuesday 6.00 pm - Rongton Buddhist Philosophy Studies
Listening to recorded teaching by Lama Choedak Rinpoche and other teachers.

Wednesday 6.00 pm - Chenrezig Practice
Meditation on Buddha of Compassion and recitation of mantra OM MANI PADME HUM

Weekly - Soor Practice of the Deceased
You can forward the names of those recently deceased that you would like this practice dedicated towards.


Bairnsdale Monthly Meditation Group
Meditation session and dharma talk presented by a resident of SIBA. This group is suitable for complete beginners. All are welcome. Bring your meditation cushion if you have one.

          When 10am to 12 noon Saturday
          Where Steiner Kinder, 72 Lucknow St, East Bairnsdale
          How Much A donation towards fuel costs and hire of premises is gratefully received

The actual saturday of the month on which the meditation group meets varies to work around our events. We send out a group email to our East Gippsland friends at the beginning of the week to let them know there will be a group the following saturday. If you wish be on our mailing list email us with your details or call 03 5155 0329.

8-week Calm Abiding Meditation Course

8-week courses are conducted in the theory and practice of Calm Abiding Meditation in Bairnsdale and Sale annually. If you would like to kept up to date with the details of these courses then you can email us or call 03 5155 0329.

ResidentsHis Holiness Sakya Trizin blessing the flock at SIBA is 2009

SIBA is run and maintained by a group of friendly residents dedicated to principles of peacefulness, service and kindness. Every morning at 6am they gather to greet the new day with Praises to Buddha, Green Tara puja and other prayers and chanting in the beautiful meditation hall that overlooks W Tree sending out positive vibes through the district. There are frequently other group practices in the day as well as dharma study groups.

Fortunate Flock

The Fortunate Flock

Fortunate Flock is the rescue programme for seventy lambs that were destined for slaughter.

Read more about this special project and how it brings happiness and benefit to all sentient beings...and how you can help!

FacilitiesGolden House

SIBA is set on 108 acres with a one acre organic veggie garden, five acre orchard, dozens of chooks, pasture lands for rescued animals and plenty of bush and wildlife . The property includes three large quality meditation halls (the largest seating over 300), large geodesic domed dining room and commercial kitchen. Accommodation includes 16 well fitted en-suite accommodation units. There are also facitilities for solitary retreat.


Accommodationmotel room

The "Shared Room" accommodation rate is for comfortable ensuite motel-style rooms in bunk beds. There is generally up to four people per room but two rooms can accommodate eight people. Pillows, doonas and mattress protectors are provided but we ask that you bring top and bottom sheets and a pillow case. If you are unable to bring your own bedding please let us know and we can provide it for you.

Bush Cabins

We also have single, double and twin room ensuite accommodation but availability is limited.

There is accommodation suitable for physically challenged.

SIBA also has a number of bush cabins that are ideal for solitary retreat with their own kitchenette facilities. Toilet and shower are provided in an amenities block.

There is also accommodation in region by clicking on the following sites for Buchan (25 mins) and Lakes Entrance (1 hr).


There are many beautiful locations for camping and campervans on unpowered sites. Campers need to bring their own equipment. There is an amenities block with hot showers.



Family Retreat Dec '07Families and Children

At the end of every year SIBA conducts a five day Family Retreat to allow people to come together and spend a summer holiday with a difference. Naturally, children need to have a responsible adult keeping an eye on them. 


Delicious Vegetarian FoodFood

All food is vegetarian and delicious and much of it is sourced from the organic garden. Three meals are served daily except on Buddhist Precept days (which is once of twice a week) when no food is consumed after lunch. The main meal during meditation retreat is at lunch.

People with special dietary requirements can be catered for. Please let us know at the time of booking.


Rinpoche on the moveHow to Get Here


From Canberra

The drive take about six hours. Click here for a map of the route via Bombala, Cann River and Nowa Nowa.

Please note: Barry Way, which is between W Tree and Jindabyne (allow 3 hours), is a well maintained, but unsealed, picturesque mountain road. It is narrow, steep and windy in places and should only be used when there has been no rain. Contact SIBA before setting out for advice on the condition of the road.

From Melbourne

The drive takes about six hours. Click here for a map.

Car Pooling

We are usually able to co-ordinate carpooling from Melbourne or Canberra at the beginning or end of a retreat. If you're able to assist with transport by taking passengers to and from the Centre, or if you are looking for a lift, please let us know when you book.

Public Transport

From Melbourne

A V-Line train leaves Southern Cross Station, Melbourne, at 7.12am on Wednesdays and Fridays, except public holidays, arriving in Bairnsdale at 11.06am (check train times before travelling). V-Line recommends you book your seat on the train - tel 136 196. It's $6 extra to get a seat in the first class carriage.

From Bairnsdale

Dyson's Buchan Bus Service (0419 742 539) runs between W Tree and Bairnsdale on Wednesdays and Fridays only. It departs W Tree at 8.25 am travelling via Nowa Nowa and Lakes Entrances to Bairnsdale where it usually meets the 11.06am arriving train from Melbourne and can take your luggage.

The bus then departs Bairnsdale from the bus stop in front of Coles at 2.50 pm. The bus arrives at SIBA at 5.15 pm. One way fare - full $14.10/concession $7.00.

From Canberra

There is a bus service from Canberra to Bairnsdale that runs a few days a week. Unfortunately, it does not connect with the Buchan Bus. Contact us if you are coming from Canberra by public transport and we can help with arrangements.


Flying into Melbourne can be preferable to Canberra as the public transport connection is better from there. You may need to stay in Melbourne overnight as the train to Bairnsdale leaves early. Email us for the name of accommodation near Southern Cross Station.

What to Bring

For your convenience please bring the following items with you:

·    Bed linen (two single sheets and a pillow slip) - we provide doonas and pillows. For those travelling interstate or by public transport we have linen to provide for you.
·    Layers of warm, comfortable, loose clothing suitable for meditation as well as slippers/thick socks to wear indoors.
·    Slip-on shoes and walking shoes.
·    Towel, toiletries and other personal items eg ear plugs.
·    Torch and an alarm clock.
·    Meditation cushions are provided. You are welcome to bring your own meditation cushion and mat if you prefer.
·    Pen and paper for taking notes. If you have your own retreat manual from previous retreats bring that too.
·    Cash - to make an offering to the teachers or you may want to buy something at the dharma shop.

Booking Information

SIBA has a new secure on-line retreat registration and credit card payment facility. Most of our retreats use this facility. Payment needs to be made in full. If you have any questions regarding this service or you do not have a credit card please contact us

For other retreats you can download the relevant registration form from the RETREATS listing. Please fill this in and return it either by fax, post or email. Please pay in full by the date specified on the registration form to minimise administration.

Please make cheques out to "SIBA Retreat Centre". We also accept money order money order.

Payment of the deposit will secure your place at the retreat subject to full payment being made by the date specified on the registration form.

Cancellation Policy

If you have made payment we reserve the right to retain the deposit amount specified on the registration form should you withdraw from the retreat.

Contact us

SIBA Retreat Centre
2592 Gelantipy Rd
W Tree, Victoria, Australia 3885

Email us  |  Ph 03 5155 0329

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Quote of the Day

“The way is not in the sky. The way is in the heart.”
The Buddha