The Rawpirations team recently escaped reality to head into the countryside and visit Back 2 Earth, a raw vegan retreat in the coastal town of Berry, NSW. About three hours North of Canberra and 2 hours from Sydney, the Shoalhaven region is a perfect place to find great food, delightful villages, stylish shops and award winning restaurants. We spent two nights at Back 2 Earth, best known as a health retreat that offers raw vegan cuisine, float tank experience, massage and psychotherapy.
The first thing we notice upon arrival at the retreat were the beautiful views overlooking a scenic terrain, everything here was at rest. Even the animals at Back 2 Earth are calm. They range from miniature horses, ducks, chickens, goats and alpacas.
Back 2 Earth is not only popular for the great hospitality and views, but also the amazing raw vegan dishes. On our first dinner we were served a huge rainbow layered salad bowl with a variety of home grown salad greens, tomato, beetroot, carrot and marinated dehydrated mushrooms, topped with coriander avocado dressing. Every element of the dish was yummy wholesome organic goodness nourishing our bodies. Its great knowing the food served by the owners Marc and Jenny is straight from their garden and onto the plate. Dessert was equally impressive and delicious. We were served a raw vegan tiramisu, a perfect finish to our day.
The retreat’s entire menu is vegan, based on consuming living plant foods in their original raw state. The live enzymes in raw food improve food digestion, repair cellular damage and create billions of new cells everyday. Other benefits are – beat cravings, increase energy, mental and emotional clarity, stabilise mood and improve your skin, hair and nails.
The following day we were served a delicious creamy vanilla chia parfait, served with freshly squeezed juice and raw vegan banana bread. Hands down, our favourite breakfast dish. After a nutritious breakfast we headed into Berry’s town centre which is only a seven minute drive from the retreat. The gorgeous village has many art galleries, cafes, restaurants, antiques and collectibles shops, beautiful heritage buildings and cottages.
We then headed off to the Beach at Shoalhaven Heads which was only a 10 – 15 min drive from the village to spend an hour or so soaking in some ‘vitamin sea’ .
That afternoon back at the retreat we decided to see what the flotation therapy tanks were all about! Flotation therapy is a way of achieving deep relaxation by spending an hour lying quietly in the darkness, suspended in warm water solution of Epsom salt which is what actually makes you float. This experience is designed to eliminate distractions and allows you to zone out by way of true sensory deprivation unlike when you lay on a mattress, our brains process the pressure of the bed on our skin, the feeling of temperature and hearing of sounds. The benefits include reduced stress, creative thinking, accelerated learning, relief from muscle aches and improved mental and physical well-being.
If you’re concerned about claustrophobia, there is a sliding door that easily opens at any time. It feels like what you can imagine the sensation of lying on a cloud or the weightlessness of being in space. First timers may find it difficult to get in a comfortable position and zone out, however it becomes easier once you relax your neck and muscles. After the floatation therapy we were extremely calm from being in a mediative state for a little over an hour.
Dinner was raw vegan pizzas which we made using dehydrated herb pizza bases and ingredients from the garden such as avocado, tomato, basil, pesto sauce and then drizzled with homemade sweet chilli sauce, cashew nut cheese and lemon infused olive oil. We were simply blown away by how delicious they tasted and how much they filled us up! The Dessert was a peppermint crisp tart and it was just divine!
The next day we woke up early to pack up and leave. We sat outside looking at the beautiful green hinterland only to be served our last meal from the retreat which was banana dehydrated pancakes, chia pudding, vanilla cashew nut and berry yogurt, drizzled with chocolate sauce and fresh fruit. Another amazing meal served to us by Marc, the talented raw vegan chef. After saying our goodbyes, we left the retreat feeling full of energy and feeling great.
Overall, Back2Earth is a perfect place for those seeking peace, serenity and to rejuvenate and unwind. Every day life can be so busy, and the countryside helped us slow down and focus on the more meaningful things in life. Marc and Jenny were so friendly and approachable; and always happy to have a chat. Back2Earth is perfect for couples, a ladies getaway, solo guests and even families.
For those seeking guidance on raw food, you can experience tailor made food workshops which are held at Back 2 Earth all throughout the year or learn fun and experimental ways of using a Vitamix and dehydrator. If you’re visiting Berry, be sure not to miss out on the organic fruit and veggie box Marc and Jenny sell which is filled with local and seasonal goodies, plus herbs straight from their garden!
You can check out their recipes on instagram by looking up #back2earthrecipes
Photography: Margit Selg
Visit the Back 2 Earth site here!