Could you use a little R&R? Does the idea of "shoes optional" and napping in a tree sound like a good escape? How about good food, good shopping, and calm waves? If you answered yes to any of these questions, load up and head south! Even if you answered no, load up and head south anyway. There's a wonderland of things to see and do that you don't want to miss out on!
Our neighbours in NSW practice a slower way of life that can be a refreshing change of pace to the rapidly expanding and faster paced Gold Coast. (For a day- Don't leave the Gold Coast for too long!)
As I headed down the M1 into NSW the first thing I thought was how much more tropical the landscape on the side of the highway looks. It’s a pleasant drive; there was a point where I was so enthralled in the scenery that when I came to my senses, I’m not sure how far I had driven. Although probably not safe, I don't remember the last time a road was so mesmerising that my brain shut off.
I was headed for Byron Bay, a town where the welcome sign says Cheer Up - Slow Down - Chill Out...and that is exactly what I intended on doing!
I drove through the town, which only took about 5 minutes, then up the hill to the lighthouse. With limited parking I was turned around to park a bit further down the hill. As I made my way back up the hill, I noticed two hang gliders in the sky. It was a windy day, but perhaps they were catching a different wind current than us folks on the ground because they floated with ease around the sides of the cliff and circling the lighthouse. It made me ask myself would I do it? Ahh probably! What about you?
The lighthouse it’s self was miraculous. It stood tall and strong above water. There are daily tours that run through the lighthouse; combined with its immense beauty, this beacon of light guiding ships in the night has been around since the late 1800's and should be placed on the top of your to-see list!
I went for a coffee at Beach Byron Bay after leaving the lighthouse. It’s south of the main part of town and tucked away from the road so it was quiet and relaxing; it also offered great beach views! I sat on the covered porch watching the surfers and enjoying my flat white. I had been to Byron before, but going to Beach Byron Bay was a first for me, however, it won't be my last; this hidden gem is one of my new favourite Byron spots!
In my opinion, one of the best ways to spend time in Byron is doing a little shopping. In the heart of town surrounding Lawson Street are smaller side streets filled with boutique stores. Byron is artistic and relaxed and it is reflected in everything for sale. You can find everything from soft flowy clothing, local photography, hand made jewellery, interior design stores and a whole lot more. Each store is unique, filled with goodies and visually stunning.
The beaches in Byron are fantastic as well. The most popular beach is Main Beach. It's an enchanting place. As you sit on the green overlooking the shore, you will hear a medley of accents and languages. People from all over the world come to sit and admire the beauty of Byron Bay. The waves are usually wonderful for swimming and surfing and the water is crystal clear.
Do like the locals do and grab a takeaway meal from one of the many restaurants and head down to the beach to chill.
When dinner time rolls around, my favourite place to go is Balcony Bar & Oyster Co. Perched on the second floor above the main round-about in town, it’s great for people watching. It’s also got amazing food! I’ve been here a handful of times and each time I have been blown away by how tasty everything is! They have a great happy hour menu too!
While you are there, visit The Farm. It’s literally a farm with a restaurant on it. The facilities are new, but made to feel rustic. Its laid out like a compound, so it's quite easy to spend a bit of time exploring the grounds. The restaurant Three Blue Ducks has a huge selection of beer on tap and menu items like pressed lamb with smoked zucchini that make your mouth water just reading about them.
Another cool place to check out is the town of Bangalow. Only a 15 minute drive from Bryon, this country town has its own irresistible charm. You can't blink because you’ll miss it, but the centre of town has a handful of shops and restaurants that are worth checking out.
Some additional local favourites are:
Hiking Mount Warning
Hiring a bike for the day
Heading inland to check out Minyon Falls
And if you are feeling froggy, check out one of the areas NUDE beaches ;)
By Marleigh Kelly