It seems every time winter comes around, the Sydney-siders head up the coast chasing the sun. Seeking warmer weather, we took the lead from our Bondi friends and hit Highway One as we took a road trip to Byron. We’ve been meaning to get to Byron Bay for a while and the ever so changing transient place that it is, has been bustling with new farm to table restaurants, yoga retreats, boutique shops and coffee roasters. Some would say this quaint town is unfortunately well gone and now is a metropolis for hipsters, not hippies. We spent the long weekend exploring the beautiful coast and it’s mountains. Here’s our tips to eat, sleep and play in Byron!
Located in a very small town called Newrybar just on the outskirts of Byron, this cafe, bakery and deli sprawls across three lovingly restored buildings in the historic town of Newrybar in the Byron Bay Hinterland. They honour the produce of the region in simple, beautiful fare that makes use of fresh, local and organic ingredients where possible. A must stop for those looking for something away from the busy and touristy spots in town.
Located on the Bangalo road as you enter Byron Bay, this restaurant and bar is an institution. The menu has an incredible selection of sharing plates, plus a handful of mains that will have your mouth watering. They have a big selection of international wines, whiskey and cocktails are top notch as well. A must visit whilst you are in town, sometimes you will even catch a band at the weekend.
If you are heading to Bay Leaf for breakfast, plan to get their early or be prepared to line up! This place has probably the best breakfast menu in town and coffee to boot. I’d recommend the breaky bowls with poached eggs, yum!
When I think fine dining and gastronomic experiences, Brunswick Heads is not the first place I would think of. In fact, you could walk by this place and have no idea how incredibly mind blowing this restaurant actually is. Astrid McCormack and Josh Lewis, formerly co-owner/manager and sous-chef respectively at Loam, the now-defunct Bellarine Peninsula eatery that was named Gourmet Traveller's Regional Restaurant of the Year in 2012, have opened a high end restaurant come wine bar, Fleet, at very affordable prices. You will need to book ahead though, there’s a 2 month waiting list, so book ahead or get lucky with a last minute reservation.
Picture a restaurant come Farm where kids are welcome to run crazy whilst mum and dad enjoy farm-to-table cuisine over a bottle of red wine. The Farm has it all. From the creators of Three Blue Ducks in Sydney, these boys have partnered up with a wealthy Sydney family who create a “destination” around the idea of gentle agriculture, good food and wine. Busy from opening til close, you can’t go wrong with the menu selection, coffee and even workshops for the kids on the weekends. It’s a must stop if you are in Byron!
If you speak to anyone in Byron who knows a bit about food, they will tell you to head out of town to a little gem called Doma. Believe it or not, a little town by the name of Federal hosts one of the best casual Japanese cuisines i’ve ever tasted. Think country house mixed with traditional Japanese fare. Weird right! I literally thought I woke up in a strange dream sipping my miso soup in a beautiful farm house whilst chickens danced around the yard in between a busy lunch rush. Say no more, this place is a stand out favorite!
If you are an animal lover, dogs in particular, Byron has some excellent facilities for your furry friend. Main Beach has a long stretch of sand which is open to dogs and it’s a lovely spot to chill out or even go for a surf.
Hiking the lighthouse is a must in Byron Bay. If you fancy getting up at 6am in the morning, the sunrise is absolutely worth it. There’s a bunch or walking tracks around the national park and even a new cafe at the top to keep you going on coffee!
Get Your Yoga On
If you are looking to hit up Yoga whilst you are in town, look no further than Creature Yoga and Byron Yoga Centre. The lovely Tal at Creature has a great selection of yoga teachers and classes from flow through to a more restorative yoga. If you are looking for something in Byron town centre, Byron Yoga Centre has a studio right in the middle of town. Jessica Humphries is a wonderful teacher who has travelled to India and Bali teaching yoga.
This place is such a beautiful space in the Hinterlands. Rose quartz everywhere you look and a spiritual calm over the place that is comforting. Check the schedule as there are some interesting experiences that you can partake in such as sound baths, learning and crystal, tour of gardens and more.
Byron is going nuts at the moment with places to stay! Everything from luxury hotels to private homes. There’s two picks we recommend, depending on your budget;
We had our house mascot Bondi with us this time, so it was important to find a dog friendly place for our little nugget. We couldn’t have been happier with this wonderful studio located just a 5 minute drive from Byron centre. Highly recommend! Check it out
Located in what they call the golden mile (think that’s due to the property prices on this block!) 28 degrees is a luxury hotel with no expense spared. Owners, Deb and Lynden spent the best part of nearly 3 years designing and building this beautiful residence. Every unit is self contained with plunge pool and designer furniture. If you want to splash out, this is certainly the place to do it.
We are heading here is September so more to come but it looks like a stunning house in the midst of the Hinterlands....stay tuned.
One of the best things about Byron is the fact you can visit all year around! Enjoy xx
Photo credit: Facebook pages for respective brands