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Your weekend eatinerary: Byron Bay
Say a short farewell to the Queensland scene for the weekend, and drive two hours south to the laid back costal community of Byron Bay. Located in the top end of New South Wales, this region is full of natural wonders from lush unspoiled hinterland to sparkling beaches. Byron Bay is loved by locals and visitors alike for its radical surfing culture, fine arts and casual eats. So what are you waiting for? It’s time you chilled out, dude…
Your first port of call should be coffee with a thick slice of yoghurt cake from local favourite hangout, Bayleaf Cafe. These speedy baristas use freshly ground beans from the roasters down the road, Marvell Street Coffee Roasters, which you can also purchase by the bag. This chilled cafe is renowned for its healthy, organic and ever-changing menu. So sit outside by a street art backdrop as you snack on homemade bircher and oats soaked in apple juice and yoghurt, loaded with fresh seasonal fruit, seeds and toasted nuts.
Our pick: Toasted sourdough topped with smoked salmon and herb and caper scrambled eggs, drizzled with freshly squeezed lemon juice.
Keep an eye out for brush turkeys, echidnas and wallabies as you leisurely stroll to iconic landmark, Cape Byron Lighthouse, which stands on a bald rocky headland with a sheer drop of 100 metres. Built in 1901, Australia’s most easterly point makes for an excellent vantage point of panoramic ocean views. If you’re lucky (and visiting from May to November), you may even spot majestic humpback whales pass by during their annual migration.
You’ll be puffed from the trek, so it’s time to cool off by hitting the beach! Byron Bay offers great surf breaks, with surfers’ beach picks including The Wreck, The Pass, Watego’s Beach and Cosy Corner. Cowabunga, dude! But if you’re a little shaky on the surfboard, you can simply soak up the sun, go snorkelling or paddle boarding, kayak with dolphins or practice yoga on the sandy shores. Hello, vitamin D!
Stop by Fishheads for lunch, located on Byron Bay’s main beach, and pick up some takeaway fish and chips. Sit on the beachfront deck with views of Julian Rocks, Mount Warning and Cape Byron Lighthouse, and enjoy the seasonal produce sourced from local farmers markets.
Our pick: Mixed grill of Moreton Bay bug, Australian prawns, marinated calamari, seared salmon, and the fish of the day with salsa verde.
Immerse yourself in surf culture, art, swimwear and accessories at the vibrant Byron Bay Artisan Market. Talented local artists showcase their original arts and crafts every Saturday between 12 October to 12 April, from noon to 9pm. Japanese and Balinese street eats are on offer at this family friendly market, too. And don’t forget to check in at Atlantic for the night.
Take camping to a whole new level by staying in a quirky, polished aluminium American Airstream trailer, which houses a double bed, private bathroom, kitchenette and dinette. Tucked in the palms of a rainforest reserve, you’ll feel like you’re on a road trip along the Californian coast!
It’s time for dinner at St. Elmo Dining Room and Bar, with modern Spanish tapas and share plates inspired by fresh and flavoursome ingredients on the menu. You’ll be spoiled for choice with over 100 bottles of carefully handpicked wines to compliment the flavours served.
Our pick: Empanadilla de calabaza, pastries filled with butternut pumpkin, manchego, goats curd and almonds, served with smoked chilli chumi churri.
If you’re recently out of high school (or secretly want a dirty night out), Cheeky Monkey’s is your go-to club. Or alternatively watch a gig at live music venue and bar, The Rails. Lauren Maynard