The place I was referring to is a retreat centre outside of Sydney which gives retreats for people from Sydney and surrounds. They seem to work hard and certainly take the dharma seriously, but I think it is probably a lot less severe than a traditional monastery in Asia.
Discovered this book too - The Zen Monastic Experience
Robert Buswell, a Buddhist scholar who spent five years as a Zen monk in Korea, draws on personal experience in this insightful account of day-to-day Zen monastic practice. In discussing the activities of the postulants, the meditation monks, the teachers and administrators, and the support monks of the monastery of Songgwang-sa, Buswell reveals a religious tradition that differs radically from the stereotype prevalent in the West. The author's treatment lucidly relates contemporary Zen practice to the historical development of the tradition and to Korean history more generally, and his portrayal of the life of modern Zen monks in Korea provides an innovative and provocative look at Zen from the inside.
Looks interesting. I suspect the prevalent notion of Zen amongst the Western middle classes is probably idealistic in the extreme.