We are finally on our way! Off to see the world… And what better place to start our trip than Byron Bay, Australia? Even before the invention of Instagram this place has been on my wishlist, but after seeing the most incredible pictures and events over the last year via social media, I was hooked. So, Byron Bay it was!
Since our trip will take over 5 months and -believe it or not- my time is verrrry limited, I will leave out the usual blabla and just get to the tips and tricks immediately… Enjoy!
ps. Sorry, no pictures yet because of slow internet…but please follow me here for daily footage and updates!
After our short stay in Singapore we continued our travels and took a night flight to Brisbane. Another eight long hours, but thankfully George and Alba slept quite well…
After arriving at the airport, George managed to throw up for what turned out to be the last time and we were on our way to our cottage in Byron Bay! (Or actually: Coorabell)
Well, that totally depends on what you are looking for. So this can either be a resort, a proper home or villa, a hotel, a B&B or an apartment. We have tried staying at hotels quite a few times but we always (always!) come to the conclusion that, at this stage in our lives, we prefer renting a house, as the kids can have their own room(s), we can put them down for naps and still be able to sit outside for a while (thanks to our baby monitor) and we really love cooking at home, trying all the local food and ingredients. But again, choosing where to stay is very personal, as you might like the extra service and options that come with a hotel stay.
We decided on staying in a cute little cottage in Coorabell, just out of Byron Bay, in the so-called hinterland. While C missed staying near the beach, I really enjoyed it. Byron was quite busy during the days (tourists, backpackers, locals) so it was really nice to spend long days at the beach and then return to the serenity of our place up the hill, where we enjoyed splendid sunsets, amazing foggy mornings and had the BEST view over Byron Bay and beyond. I would stay there again in a heartbeat!
You will find many rental homes, hotels, villas and hostels all over Byron Bay- try to decide what you are looking for first. As I said, Byron Bay tends to get quite busy (especially during the holidays) so make sure to decide on a good location. Either right at the beach, or in town, or in one of the many surrounding towns and villages. Every place has its own charm!
We booked via www.stayz.com.au and stayed here (Bluewater View, Byron Bay). Websites like Stayz, Airbnb and Homeaway are great for city trips etc, but I would recommend checking the local agencies as well- they tend to have a bigger range ánd service.
Agencies to check in this area:
Hotels and resorts to explore:
Most of them are quite expensive- as is almost everything in Australia… But the views, service and interiors are amazing.
As Byron is a very popular destination for almost all types of travelers, there are many different options. You could, of course, opt for camping too, and there are many places to park a campervan. There are public showers and toilets everywhere, and Byron is actually so clean that you can walk around without shoes or flipflops. How’s that for a true holiday vibe?
As for your toddler(s): read more here under ‘Getting there’ and ‘What to Pack’.
Even though the band Crowded House wrote their world famous song ‘Four seasons in one day’ about their native New Zealand, we found it could very well have been written in and about Australia… Chilly mornings, hot afternoons and cool evenings; cold, hot, wet, dry… So be prepared to either let go of the term ‘travel light‘ or not to worry about wearing the same jumper over and over again.
We packed rain coats and our Bergstein rain boots and these prove to be really handy! We use them quite often, actually, and they are lightweight but still warm enough.
Even though it is on the packing list: take enough caps and hats, and UV shirts (‘rashies’ as they are called here in Australia). As soon as the sun is out it gets blazing hot and the risk of burning is real. Sun hats, sunblock (we buy a new one every other week, I swear) are of imminent importance in this part of the world!
Our most used items at the moment:
-aforementioned sun blockers (hats, sunglasses, sunblock, UV clothing)
-ipads (I know…)
-music (our very favorite songs being Delicious and Pyramid Bricks by Regal Degal, and Lana Del Rey‘s Summertime Sadness)
Honestly, I don’t even know where to start…. So I will just try to categorize all the amazing things you can do. Bear in mind that the Australians LOVE their coffee and food, so as strange as it may sound, going out for either one of those is actually an event. As there are SO MANY options I tried to narrow it down- which is hard so bear with me!
Places to visit:
Byron Bay- wonderful beach town with endless restaurants and shops and beaches and, well, everything…
Bangalow- cute little town just 20 mins out of Byron. Boutiques, lovely farmers market and chique vibe
Mullumbimby- quirky little hippie town with surprisingly cool shops
Cabarita- the most beautiful beaches and so many nice restaurants and bars
Lennox Head- endless beach(es) and a wonderful restaurant to have lunch
Brunswick Heads- funny tiny place with lots of nice shops, eateries and little beaches
Wategos-our absolute favorite. Cute little bay with stunning views and vibe. Family friendly
Tallow beach- wind swept endless beach (no restaurants or shade!). Brilliant for walks and jogging and quietness
Clarkes Beach- perfect for your family. So wide that you are almost not aware of the tide. Very friendly. Go grab a sandwich, drink or ice cream at The Pass café
Belongil- Opposite Belongil restaurant. Lovely beach with great views
Tea Tree Lake – must visit. Sacred place and take note of the incredible softness of your skin after a swim…
Lennox Head- wonderful endless beach, sea is quite rough so no baby swimming!
Brunswick Heads- Cute little bay; not that suitable if it is very windy but very child friendly when it’s hot
Cabarita Beach- romantic little beach once you come down the wooden stairs. The beach at Halcyon House is great too and much wider
Farm walk at The Farm
Beer tasting at Stone&Wood Brewery
ALL the farmers markets (there is one every single day, be it in Byron, Bangalow, Mullum…)
Lighthouse walk in Byron Bay (the view…the ice cream and cakes at the top…)
Minyon Falls (nature in its best form- and so many waterfalls and viewpoints and birds and…)
Circus Arts at the Industrial Estate in Byron Bay. 12oom2 of indoor fun for kids; excellent for rainy days! Circus classes and a fun playground
Little Winnie/Taninaka San-Cutest shop in Bangalow, mostly kids (sleep wear, lovely clothing, bedding and swaddles)
Olliella- Look for this brand in the region! The cutest items for your kids (and yourself too!)
Yoli and Otis– Beautiful clothing for kids and grownups, including their world famous baby slings
Ha’veli of Byron Bay– Interior goals…
Pampa– Imagine a piece of Argentina in Byron Bay. Wonderful interior store
Bisque Traders– Interior and fashion, beautifully curated under one big roof
The Farm Byron Bay– Cook books, pottery, the most beautiful dinnerware for your kids by Love Mae, food…
Newrybar Merchants– extremely cool shop with so many different spaces, full of fashion, books, toys, interior items…
Hendrix & Harlow– cute shop in Bangalow with beautiful jewelry, bedding, straw hats and bags
Rowie the Label– Beautiful clothing (think linen, wide dresses, earthy colors)
Ahoy Trader– cozy little interior and fashion shop with quirky stylish items
Pop & Scott– Homewares, pots, fashion, furniture, lighting. All displayed in a huge white industrial space
Cactus Hill Project– One of the coolest interior (and fashion!) stores I have ever visited. Everything is equally beautiful
Spell & the Gypsy Collective – Beautiful fashion in an inspiring store, sold by somewhat indifferent girls, but still a must go
The Farm at Byron Bay– imagine a huge farm with wonderful food, a bbq area, wide grassy lawns, two beautiful shops (food, books, tableware, flowers and plants), a restaurant ánd a perfect playground. It does exist…at the Farm. We did not want to leave. Neither did the kids.
Folk – cute little place with excellent coffee and friendly vibe
The Belongil – one of the last places we visited; right opposite a nice beach. Great coffee and pastries, very friendly!
Moonshine Coffee – looks like an ordinary garage from the outside, but amazingly cool coffee bar once inside
Doma Cafe – right next to Moonshine Coffee. Perfect coffee and even better Japanese food and specialties. Go!
Coffee Stand at Mullum Farmers market– Best coffee ever. Ever.
Sparrow – There are so many coffee places and brands here, but this one has proved to be a regular while in Byron
Homegrown Brunswick Heads – Beautiful place in Brunswick, great coffee and chia seed pudding
Milk Bar Brunswick Heads – This is where I first tasted the famous kombucha and loved it! Great ice cream as well…
Woods – must go when in Bungalow. Right next to cute shops, very friendly staff and cozy little tables
Rae’s on Wategos (the coffee cart)- This place, people. The beauty…Go check it out!
Lunch/Drinks/Dinner (Aussies dine EARLY! So we chose often chose lunch):
Harvest – Both deli and restaurant. Excellent food, amazingly beautiful place, surrounded by, again, wonderful shops
Shelter – Perfect place in Lennox Head. Think mussles with coconut and red chili, great wines, just off the beach
The Beach – Bit French like place, right on the beach, excellent spot for sunsets too…
Treehouse on Belongil– quirky place with cozy corners, all under the stars and trees. Such friendly and spiritual vibe
O Sushi – We had the best take away sushi experience ever here. Fresh, delicious, surprising, beautiful food…
Balcony Bar & Oyster Co Must go! Beautiful view and interior, great drinks and delicious oysters (and piña colada!)
The Farm at Byron Bay – Need I tell you again? Greatest coffee, lunch, bbq, drinks, playground, lawn…
Fig Tree Retaurant – Even the drive up to the restaurant is amazing; a winding road through beautiful rainforest…the smell of blooming jasmine completed the dream
Milk and Honey – Right next to the most beautiful interior shop, this cool place offers brilliant pizzas. Do call in advance!
Cavanbah Centre– You need to know about this one. Pizza night every Tuesday- think actual wood oven pizzas, loads of locals, plaids all over the grass and running children until the sun goes down. Bring your own!
The Mez Club – Sassy, beautiful place right in the heart of Byron. Always crowded, nice food and well dressed guests
Top Shop – Alba and George’s favorite place… Cute tiny place on top of a ‘hill’ with excellent burgers and fries and, as a HUGE bonus, has a basket full of sidewalk chalk ready for the kids, to draw on the driveway…
Rae’s on Wategos – This. place. All white, tropical shutters, swooshing fans in the air, grassy lawn all the way to the beach
Halcyon House– One of the most beautiful interiors I have éver seen…And the food is excellent. Not the friendliest types but al the prettiness makes up for that. Must go!
Note: We are quite fond of cooking at home. So we went to all the markets and (organic) stores in the area and bought the most amazing products. The Aussies do appreciate healthy and delicious food so basically everything you get or eat is wonderful! The Woolworths and IGA are perfect for your shopping, as is Santos (organic store). Be prepared to spend quite some money though…
Well, not much time for that with two kids and no babysitter at hand… But should you have some spare time, there are so many things you could do!
-All kinds of sports (running, yoga, tennis, cycling, swimming)
-watersports (SURFING!, sailing, stand up paddling, diving, snorkling)
-eat (see all my tips)
-all the beautiful walks (so many beautiful parks)
-shopping (the Industrial Estate in Byron is THE BEST SHOPPING AREA EVER… Eye candy everywhere!)
-pampering (Sulis Spa at Aveda, Byron Beauty Bar, Edwards and Co)
Byron on a whole:
I am a fan!
Everyone we met is so so friendly, kids are very welcome, the vibe is amazingly relaxed and fun and there is so much to see and do. I think the place might be a bit different during the (school) holidays as it was quite calm when we were there, but still, Byron is a cute town right at sea, with all the benefits that come with that. Cute shops, nice restaurants, excellent coffee, the most beautiful beaches and views and surrounded by nature, parks, waterfalls, green hills and lovely villages such as Bangalow, Mullumbimby and Cabarita.
Our rental cottage:
We would rent this house again in a heartbeat. It was comfortable, breezy and had the greatest view ever. Ever! It could use some minor touch ups but again, the view makes up for everything that was not 100%. It is a bit residential, so if you are looking for more action, you should check out other venues! We loved staying in the hinterland but might combine it with a beach stay next time. The owner, Laura, lives on the property as well but we did not find that annoying in any way. She is very quiet and charming and gave us so many wonderful tips.
Just like in Southern Europe, this part of Australia embraces little children and babies. All shops, restaurants, museums and other places are totally equipped for children and the staff is mostly very helpful when it comes to small children. Be sure to rent and use a decent car seat for you little one(s) as you will drive a lot and roads are quite windy and steep. Most beaches are child friendly as well (just be careful while swimming because the current is really strong and waves are big), as is the food, the many activities and, well, about everything else….Australia, we are loving you so far!