Right now, we can’t get enough of the Byron Bay Instagrammers. You know the ones – we’ve featured many of these gorgeous mamas on The Grace Tales – clad in neutral linen and brown leather sandals, they’re living the dream. They’ve escaped the city in favour of a slower life. They remind us to slow down and enjoy the simple pleasures of life...
They’ve moved to Byron Bay, a spectacular coastal town in northern NSW, because it’s just as it looks on Instagram, as close to paradise as you’ll get (Wategos Beach is actually my heaven). The town is also bursting with creative spirits who are building amazing brands – get ready to do some serious shopping. As a child, I spent many summer holidays happily playing on the beach at Byron Bay. Later in life, I spent many summers in the bars and clubs. And now, it’s a joy to visit Byron with my own children. I’ve made memories, which will last a lifetime here and I can’t believe that these memories are just starting for my own children – I can’t wait for them to experience a part of Australia that is so special to me.
All these years later, Byron Bay is far more crowded than it was when I used to visit as a child, so you just need to work out how to avoid the crowds. We now prefer to stay in the hinterland, which is much quieter and as far away from city life as you can get. We recently spent the weekend at a beautiful property called The Coast, which is nestled in the hills of Cooper Shoot and has spectacular views of the hinterland. It’s just a short 10-minute drive from Byron Bay and was so easy to get to the beach. There was endless space for the kids to run and I’d love to say we let them go “free-range” – the concept of raising children in the spirit of encouraging them to function independently and with little parental supervision – but for the python snake that was peacefully residing in the bush at the front of the house (my husband is British and terrified of snakes, even the harmless ones – his reaction to this news was priceless).
The spacious house has been newly renovated and features a long hallway with four bedroom rooms and four bathrooms flowing off it (it sleeps eight). There’s a big marble kitchen and a gorgeous verandah, which looks out to the lagoon pool and idyllic view. It’s a little like staying in a luxury hotel – soft linen bedding, fluffy towels, big bathtubs, designer décor from MCM House… you get comfy quickly here. There’s even a media room for the kids. They also offer a concierge service with your booking. It’s the perfect house for a family getaway with friends or extended family – everyone has their own room and bathroom so it never felt crowded, even when we were all gathered in the kitchen. And really, it was just very peaceful. For me, a little break away from the daily grind makes us all feel refreshed (the plane trip home on the other hand – I needed another holiday after that). Forget housework, errands, emails. A mini-break is a chance to forget everything and just focus on family time – the most important time of all.
Now beware that when you visit Byron Bay, you will come home with a new Byron Bay uniform. It just happens without you even realising it. You can’t help but pick up the vibe of the seaside town. In my case, it was a beautiful sand coloured cotton dress from Rowie and some St. Agni rattan sandals. I got back to Sydney and noticed how different the Byron uniform is to the Sydney one. You’ll also probably be coveting a Sunday Supply Co. beach umbrella (that’s if you’re not already). If you have time to shop, my must-visit shops are Spell & The Gypsy Collective, Little Winnie, Yoli & Otis, Rowie, St. Agni, Worn and Children Of The Tribe. Try and get out to Newrybar Merchants if you can – a collective of creative local artisans and curators of fine goods. We cooked at home a lot – you’ll want to utilise the outdoor dining spaces at The Coast, but we did do a long lunch at The Farm – a fully functional working farm that nurtures a thriving community of growers, producers, eateries, educators and more. We profiled Emma Lane who owns The Farm with her husband Tom Lane a few months ago (you can see the story here). This place is incredible and the kids love it. They happily played in the wooden playground while we sipped on rosé. Bronte’s Three Blue Ducks have opened its second location at The Farm and not surprisingly, the food is phenomenal – I’d happily eat every single meal here. More than anything, there’s just a great vibe here. It makes you feel happy. We did a horse and cart tour around the property, past little piglets, chickens, cattle and veggie patches – they’re extremely passionate about their philosophy of paddock to plate. The Top Shop is also a great place to stop for lunch or breakfast (try the burgers). If you manage to get a babysitter, try and have dinner or lunch at Raes On Wategoes. Interior designer Tamsin Johnson recently redid the interiors (you can see our story on Tamsin here) and it’s utterly dreamy. The spa here is also incredible (our editor-at-large Emily Armstrong recently visited with her husband and came back raving about the spa – actually, the whole experience). Three nights later and we were back to Sydney but we could have happily stayed a couple of weeks. We’re already planning our escape to The Coast next year.