A little piece of heaven, that’s how I felt when I ran away to Byron Bay. I’m the type of gal that loves a mini escape and I enjoy spending these on my own from time to time. It’s important to take time for yourself and unravel from our highly switched on lives. For me it’s about the opportunity to come up for air, to breathe and be inspired. Why am I telling you this? Well I did this in Thailand and it gave me the space and confidence to take a leap and launch Aquacove®. So in the name of research I find myself on the miniest of mini breaks in Byron Bay and having never been here before I didn’t know what to expect. In a nutshell, Byron is about the beaches, surfing, staying chilled, food, more beaches and more surfing. I don’t surf so here are a few other things that I fell in love with….
Guesthouses who would have thought? Aaman & Cinta Luxury Guesthouses - a little gem a la Hamptons meets Byron, offering shared villa style accommodation perfect for couples, girlfriends escaping or single travellers. You have your own room, private bathroom and balcony with shared pool and the option of also renting out the whole villa. The owner Veronica and host Sappho made me feel welcome and loved like I was a returning guest – it was meant to be! Within in minutes I was in the pool and unwinding at a rapid rate! On top of all of this luxury are freshly baked muffins each morning and the inclusion of local tea, coffee, homemade muesli and freshly baked local Artisan bread. What else could you wish for? For similar style accommodation also take a look at Atlantic Byron Bay.
Coffee and Cocktails - I have a holiday love affair with both at all times! Byron Beach Café is in a stunning location with beautiful views directly onto Clarkes Beach (the main beach). The Top Shop Café is another top spot for great coffee, it’s a little out of the way on Carlyle street at the top of the hill but that’s what makes it a little cutie. I stopped on my way back from a massive the walk to the lighthouse (see below) and while the seating is limited, the menu is set up for this with inspiring, healthy take away options to pick up on your way to and from the beach.
KinoKo sushi bar & restaurant serving fantastic Japanese food is popular with the locals and and a comfortable perch if you’re eating for one. My pick was the pan fried salmon coated with crispy sesame seeds, served with shiitake mushroom risotto and salad. I could eat this every night, simply delicious.
St. Elmo influenced by tables of Spain (and Rob Lowe) offers tapas and shared dishes, great atmosphere and a mean Spanish version of a G&T with rosemary and fresh peach. Another perfect find if you’re flying solo, the gorgeous guys behind the bar will keep you company while mixing a very special cocktail . St. Elmo also has a lovely wine selection and the food was all equally tempting but since I was meeting a friend for a drink we kept it light selecting the Seleccion de Quesos (three Spanish cheeses with house made bread, quince paste & grapes) and the Bocadillo de Cangrejo (Sliders of soft shell crab with smoked chili aioli & pickled cucumber) Simply SENSATIONAL!
Shopping is eclectic and diverse as you would expect , I found everything from hippie crochet dresses to big name stores like Witchery and Lorna Jane. However, my favourite form of retail therapy when running away are those boutiques that make you feel like you have truly escaped. I love it when I can wander and dream about decorating my imaginary holiday house. Ahoy trader is just the place for this with an exotic mix of all things home, life and travel from leather sandals, casual clothing, roundie beach towels and original art including vibrant cotton cushions designed by the talented local artist and owner Jai Vasicek. I wanted to pull up a chair and just relax with a magazine while sipping a Byron Bay Chai. Check out the website for more beautiful photos of their pieces.
Spell and the gypsy collective have a definite local following and here is where you can truly immerse yourself in a bohemian daydream and become as one with Byron. Their signature Kimonos are stunning in a gorgeous range of colours and styles. I was very tempted to add one in my suitcase but walked away with a dream catcher instead (as you do!).
Unexpectedly there is only one road in and out of Byron so traffic was always a little bumper to bumper. My tip is to consider accommodation within walking distance to town and the beach. On my first day I walked along the Clarkes Beach to The Pass, a popular spot for surfers and perfect for letting my mind wonder with the beautiful views. For a more challenging hour of power on my second morning I headed towards Wategos Beach, with an amazing nook of luxury houses to drool over while heading along the track to Cape Byron Lighthouse. Really there is only one word for early mornings in Byron - INVIGORATING!
Byron Bay to me is sort of like a sub-tropical, more hippie version of Daylesford in Victoria. There is something spiritually engaging and uplifting about both places and I guess that’s why there’s such a diverse and eclectic mix of people that love Byron and while I was only visiting for two days it was enough for a mini recharge. There is much more to see, do and eat so if you're heading this way pack your Birkenstocks, hire a bike, buy a Kimono, order the local beer and you’ll fit in just fine!
It wasn’t love at first sight but Byron Bay I’m under your spell.
Until next time xxx