The Ultimate Laid-Back Luxury Guide To Byron Bay
Beachside bliss for the ultimate low-key holiday.
Byron Bay isn’t called a playground for the rich and famous for nothing. From indulgent boutique hotels and day spas to award-winning restaurants booked out up to two months in advance, this one-time hippie haven now boasts serious luxe credentials. If you’re in need of a lavish escape, this is where to eat, stay and play in the Bay – in style.
Where to eat in Byron Bay
At the entrance to Byron Bay is The Farm, a working property which has captivated public attention thanks to its resident florist, bakery, restaurant, yoga studio, and boot camp. Three Blue Ducks, a licensed restaurant and produce store at The Farm, is one of the shire’s most interesting dining venues. Like its sister café of the same name in Sydney’s eastern beaches, Three Blue Ducks is about having good fun with honest food that is sourced sustainably. Swing by for breakfast, lunch or dinner.
Rather than drive straight into town, be sure to make a pit stop into the Byron Arts & Industry Estate and visit the fabulous 100 Mile Table. Tucked away with a furniture outlet and a mechanic among its immediate neighbours, the café has a cult-like following in the area. Owners Sarah Swan and Jeremy Burn have created an intimate café experience with communal tables, complemented by an ever-changing menu of mouth-watering dishes for breakfast and lunch. If they’re on the menu when you visit, the fish curry, bang bang chicken salad, and slow-cooked pork roll are to die for.
Don’t be fooled by its location in the sleepy fishing village of Brunswick Heads; Fleet is one of the finest restaurants in the country – with accolades to prove it. Awarded the Best Regional Restaurant 2017 in the Gourmet Traveller Awards, this two-hatted restaurant accepts just 14 diners at a time with a communal table setting and is booked out up to two months in advance. Don’t let the potential wait time deter you though; there are occasional cancellations. Fleet’s degustation menu is $85 per head and consists of eight mouth-watering dishes. It’s a true fine dining experience.
Where to play in Byron Bay
Byron Bay and its surrounding areas have been a centre of spirituality and alternative healing since the 1970s, when the Aquarius movement brought hippies to the region in droves. While the true “hippies” aren’t as prevalent as they used to be, their legacy of mysticism and healing live on. There are some great day spas in the area where you can have your chakra realigned, and indulge in a little pampering too. The Kiva Spa in Mullumbimby, Buddha Gardens adjacent to the Byron Bay Brewery, and The Haven in the town centre are three of the local favourites. If you want to take things up a notch, there are also great day spas at the Byron at Byron Resort, and Elements of Byron.
It’s important to remain hydrated in the sub-tropics, so do as the locals do by drinking a refreshing gin and tonic made using Brookie’s Gin. If you want to know more about this mouth-watering tipple, visit Cape Byron Distillery – distillers of this fine gin made using rainforest botanicals. For just $35, you can enjoy a tour which includes a tasting of Brookie’s Byron Dry Gin and Brookie’s Byron Slow Gin, a refreshing gin and tonic, and a guided tour through the property’s rainforest, which has been lovingly regenerated by the Brook family over the last 30 years. Cape Byron Distillery is open for tours every Friday and Saturday, bookings are essential via the distillery website.
Blessed with a glorious sub-tropical climate, the Tweed and Byron Shires are renowned for their boutique and artisanal food production. Yet though the areas themselves are well known, tracking down worthwhile places to visit within them can be a bit of a challenge – for every decent farm gate or cellar door is another overpriced gift shop. Enter Tasting Plate Tours, which takes visitors on a carefully curated journey to some of the best producers in the hinterland. Themed around different produce, the small group tours depart from Mantra on Salt, located just to the north, at 9am and return at 4:30pm. Free pick-ups and drop-offs are available at selected hotels in Byron Bay.
Where to stay in Byron Bay
A relative newcomer to the local hotel scene, The Bower Byron Bay has fast made a name for its relaxed ‘New York meets barefoot Byron’ décor and ambiance. A collaborative project involving eight different creatives, it’s a surprisingly cohesive property with a total of 14 suites – as well as a barn, cottage and family house – each minimally furnished to maximum effect.
Situated directly across from Main Beach, you’d be hard pressed to find a better location than Beach Suites. Perfect for those who like their independence, each of the stylish studios and airy apartments feature modern kitchens, spacious living areas, and luxury fittings. Select studios also have their very own plunge pool, where you can relax over a few drinks and enjoy the sound of the ocean.
As the entrance sign to the town says: ‘Cheer up, slow down, chill out’.
(Lead image: Elements of Byron)
Published 17 October, 2017