Why Byron Bay has become an Aussie favourite
As one of Australia’s most popular destinations, there are many reasons to fall in love with Byron Bay. Adored for its laidback lifestyle and idyllic beaches, it’s the place to visit if you want to kick back and chill out.
It has become the home of cashed up creatives and professionals looking for a sea change. What’s more, Australia’s most easterly point has also captured the attention of celebrities who now call it home including singer Pete Murray, actor Chris Hemsworth and his wife Elsa Pataky – with occasional visits by Liam Hemsworth and his fiancé Miley Cyrus. Even Margot Robbie tied the knot there.
While hippies and backpackers continue to tune in and drop out in Byron, it is also an ideal choice for families who don’t want the glitz of the Gold Coast but are keen to access it on day trips.
A 45-minute drive from Gold Coast airport or 30 minutes from Ballina, its subtropical climate makes it a perfect getaway where temperatures are always a tad warmer than southern states.
From Belongil Beach to Wategos and the 8 km stretch of ocean at Tallows Beach that runs uninterrupted to Broken Head, there’s sandy beaches to walk along and oceans suitable for surfing and swimming.
The award-winning five star Elements of Byron resort recently underwent an expansion to include more self-contained villas and an adult only pool to its list of luxury services. It’s a great place to stay for a fuss free and totally indulgent holiday that’s got private beach access, rainforest walks plus tennis courts and a giant outdoor chess game for interactive play.
Kids certainly love the infinity pool [and adults too] as well as the poolside menu of salads, burgers, milkshakes or an Aperol Spritz if you must. There’s an adult pool located away from the buzzing family section that comes with a taco and tequila menu too for loved-up couples in a quieter environment.
We stayed in a deluxe two-bedroom villa with two children, each room with an ensuite plus a separate toilet, large walk-in shower and state of the art technology including an iPad tablet to help with room service ordering.
The interiors are beachside chic that embrace a modern minimalism with a nod to 20th century design. The layout of the new villas means you’re not entirely in view of your neighbours which is also a bonus. Our villa is one of over 200 at Elements.
The newer section is toward the back of the property, about a 10-minute walk to the reception area which felt even more private. You’ll enjoy a delightful stroll through eucalypt rainforest which leads to a tennis court and kid’s playground built on sand as you approach the main reception area which houses Graze restaurant for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Elements creates an oasis away from the bustle of downtown Byron – it’s a haven for those keen to relax, unwind or kick back with the kids where everything and anything is possible.
Top things you must do:
Dinner at Graze – a decent menu choice and an under 12s dinner option to keep young tastebuds impressed. Facing the infinity pool, the restaurant is a few tables away from the bar/snack dining zone, and is designed to give diners a more upmarket experience without the staple of pizza and pasta options. As the resort is about a 10-minute drive to Byron Bay’s centre, it’s easy to dine at Graze and you’ll be grateful it exists if you’re all but exhausted after hours spent in the pool or enjoying a private cabana.
Spa at Osprey – The spa at the resort is everything you wish it to be – bespoke service, great therapists who are happy to treat and a menu to tempt you for a second or third visit. woman with drive recommends a full hour body massage and Mother Earth facial using LaGaia products. The service is professional, the lighting and music is set to the right mood and the foot soak and crystal healings add a soul aligning touch. There’s no pushy sales spiel at the end either. You walk out feeling relaxed and revived.
Lunch at the Farm – A mere 10-minute drive from the resort, The Farm is somewhere to chill out. Dine for lunch by way of their picnic hampers or in the evening at Three Blue Ducks. Set on 80 acres, it houses a community of growers and producers who share a passion for 100% sustainable methods. We sampled a hamper – a delicious selection of meats, cheese and dips and local bread with cutlery to help us on our way.
Walk to the Lighthouse – Walking to Australia’s most easterly point is a must when visiting Byron Bay. Built at the turn of the 19th century to protect ships along the coast, you can also take a tour to find out about those shipwrecks and old tales that now make up the storytelling at its Maritime Museum. Be sure to pack runners, sun hats and water as you walk along a steep but well-marked track to enjoy the view.
The Top Shop – In need of a decent coffee that doesn’t leave you wishing you never left the city? Well, The Top Shop hits the right coffee notes and it’s on the way to the Pass and Wategos high on a hill in Byron Bay. It’s where you’ll find burgers and a laidback atmosphere that’s popular with locals and visitors.
Upcoming events at Byron Bay:
Splendour In the Grass – Friday 20 July to Sunday 22 July.
Byron Writers Festival – Friday 3 August to Sunday 5 August
Byron Bay International Film Festival Friday 12 October to Sunday 21 October
For more information on Byron Bay, click here.
Images: Elements of Byron, Lauren Bamford, Madeline Johnson
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