We love getting outdoors. We live where the country meets the sea. We have friends visit and we watch them decompress. It’s this experience that we want to bottle, to share with others. The beautiful freedom of connecting with nature, of being at one with the elements - the earth, air, fire, water.
We believe there is a consciousness & creativity movement rising. People are more aware, they are consuming less, demanding innovation through better ways over new and the same ways. They are seeking experiences that enhance and inspire. People are moving to co-creation & co-llaboration as the new norm. They are seeking out-of-town getaways to reconnect.
Our solution was to give you the spaces to get back to nature to reconnect and the freedom to stay simply or creatively at the foot of the Otways, amidst the manna gums, swamp gums, black wattle and blackwood and deeply disconnect from the demands of modern life. Be invigorated by star-lit nights, the open skies, the joy warmth and connection of open fires and thoroughly relax and unwind in your intimate private bush setting.
Participate in our Conscious Creative Living Experiences or add-on the experiences you desire to Create your own Re-Treat experience by choosing from our menu of local experts ‘tai chi’, ‘surfing’, ‘yoga’, ‘biking’, ’meditation’ with the underlying theme of digital disconnectedness & creative re-connectedness. Indulge in communal eating or indulge in keeping to yourself. We extend this sanctuary as a venue for intimate special occasions/events, corporate strategy days with a difference & are happy to hear your needs.
Our hope is that during your stay, you light a fire, make yourself a cup of tea, read a book, go for a surf or a mountain-bike and that the positive impacts stay with you when you return to life or even better, that you integrate more of these practises when you return home. Mindfulness & tools for mindful-being, talking, creativity, experiences, minimalism, slow living, minimal waste, wholefoods. We limit our guests to just 4 adults to ensure your intimacy in private settings, allowing couples to truly benefit from quality time. Our numbers also cater perfectly for the ultimate weekend away as groups of couples, or with the boys or the girls on a surfing, mountain biking or yoga Re-Treat experience, while or our Cactus Re-Treat makes the ideal accommodation for a Family digital detox back-to-nature weekend Re-Treat experience introducing or reminding the kids what it means to get back to nature. All of our practises are based on personal experience and conveyed with passion, integrity and honesty. Just an hour and a half out of Melbourne. Discover & reconnect with nature and yourself in this unique experience. The benefits are intangible.
For every booking, we vow to plant a tree to continue the regenerative process of the land.
Our name Jareseben (Ja-re-se-b-en) is the collective of our family members who live here and Re-Treat is a term that we’ve coined ; it is the art of treating one’s self by getting back to nature to disconnect & rejuvenate mind, body, spirit. Re-Treating is the joy of this indulgence re-occurring across a weekend or a number of days.
So here it is, we’ve created the spaces, inspiration & tools for you to get out of town, disconnect from the demands of busy city life and re-connect with at least one of the elements in the hope that will drive a fire in your belly to be your own very best version of you.
Renee Smith -Co-Founder
A strategic innovative brand marketer with over 18 years experience connecting brands to their customers. Passionate about developing authentic connections and conversations with people, to bring them an experience or empower them with the knowledge to live well and be their own change agents.
Jason Keeble - Co-Founder
A quality and detail driven accomplished builder with over 30 years experience, specialises in creating energy efficient homes. Passionate about great Architecture, how a home works with it’s environment elevating the whole living experience and to have positively influence on people in their reconnection with the elements.
What Came Before, The Eco Bits & Creativity
History of the Land
Indigenous First Nation people from the Wadawurrung community have lived on the land along the Great Ocean Road and into the Otway National Park for nearly 60,000 years. Communities lived, hunted and gathered respecting the natural abundance the coastal area provides. Areas along the coast of Point Addis and Point Danger play significant part of First Nation history, with mittens, wildlife corridors and sacred sites evident today. Natural fauna and flora of the region is rich. The Waduwarong bloodline is recognised as one of the last remaining regions to proudly be home to 5 generations of First Nations people living on the land. The history of the language is being gathered and protected by local elders to retain it’s integrity.
European Settlers arrived in the region in the 1800’s displacing people and clearing land for farming of sheep, cattle and dairy. The region grew quickly and is playing an active role in reconnecting with it’s indigenous heritage. Our first school was established in the 1860’s and is now home to local primary school. The area of Bellbrae remains for farming, environment and agriculture and boasts a thriving arts community. Our property was original farming land and when Vickery’s Road was put in the land divided into acreage lots. The original owner of the property was an environmental scientist, who built by hand the mud bricks mined from the damn and created by hand by the local youth on their school holidays to build the farmhouse. During some 3 years in construction, he and his family resided in The Barn, before our humble mud brick house, fondly known as the ginger bread house was completed. His foresight revegetated a forest plantation of almost 25 native and indigenous varieties to the region. A Melbourne couple resided following this, holidaying here on weekends, before the owner previous to us, housed native animal rescue here, nursing and restoring indigenous kangaroos, birds back into the wild. The nature and the land has a special healing quality that is clear to those that visit.
The Eco Bits
We are conscious about living a sustainable existence so we do our bit and when you visit we love that you get to do it with us. Every little action is part of our ongoing journey towards a fully conscious grateful existence.
Nature - we have planted over 200 native and indigenous trees & plants and continue the work to restore vegetation as nature would have it in forests, under-planting trees and protecting wildlife corridors, while also minimising soil erosion.
Water - we run on rain water as our only supply of water to the property, so ask that you consider the water that you are using and are mindful to have enjoyable but conservative showers. We have installed a solar outdoor shower at The Cactus Re-Treat so you can enjoy an exhilarating outdoor shower experience and have an outdoor bath coming to the Shipping Container in the coming months. The water in our damn is irrigated to water our growing veggie garden, edibles garden, fruit trees and indigenous bush tucker.
Energy - our goal is to be carbon neutral - we have solar power and generate enough electricity to power the energy that we use and we encourage you to minimise your usage in order to really benefit from the connection to nature. 12V power is available in each of the Re-Treats to charge portable speaker/phone and we have included digital detox boxes in all abodes to encourage you to switch off when you arrive. We encourage you to remove your shoes and connect with the earth beneath when you arrive - grounding is so beneficial.
Bio-Diversity, Waste & Sustainabiity - we use non-chemical cleaning products to ensure the health of our septic system and to that of the environment. We have worm farms and composts to reduce our waste and produce our own organic matter to fertilise our gardens practising permaculture disciplines for maximum efficiency & sustainability - we ask that you use depose of your waste in the suitable compost, worm form or recycle bins.
Reuse, Reclaimed - our unique accommodation has been designed under the guiding principles of reuse, recycle, reclaim and where possible we have insulated to provide stronger thermal mass to minimise energy output. Our Yurts coming in Spring are designed for long lives and it’s flooring is recovered timber from local demolished sites.
We hope that with increased exposure to eco living that we can educate and inspire.
It is our belief from experience that when you take the time to turn off external influences that do not come from nature, that your active creative mind explodes. We believe in the power of nature to stimulate mind, body, soul and in this, a creative stimulus erupts. Let the mind unwind, the body feel alive through your chosen experience and the soul will awaken. Creative Conscious Living is about being present, aware and making conscious choices in how you spend your time, how and what you consume and all that follows. The beauty is that we are creating a forever model. Come join us.
Private BBQ Area
& Fire Pit
Eco Toilet (now here!)
“There is such a special energy here. From the moment you arrive, you are relaxed by nature.”
“Such fun - I love the mexican re-treat and loved star-gazing in front of our open fire. I put my phone away and I didn't touch it for a whole day.”
“I felt like I was in my own private bush and I slept through the night - it's been months since I've done that. I want to stay forever.”