Look to the northenest reaches of New South Wales and you will find Byron Bay, (otherwise known as “Walgun” by Australian Indigenous peoples) a sleepy beachside town that has roots in both sides of the Australian story. First used by the Gunjgalung people, Byron Bay was a home for these nomadic tribes to share Dreamtime stories, and was then centuries later named after circumnavigator John Byron by the famous Captain Cook.
Today, Byron Bay is a meeting place for the wayward vagabond, or the weary traveller from local or abroad… a place for those who are in desperate need of some R&R and an authentic dose of one aspect of the Australian way of life. However, this town is not to be mistaken for a mere backpacker’s hang out.
Here is the chunk of luxury and wonder that we bit out of Byron Bay over our two week stay over the passing holiday season.
From camping sites to hotels, accommodation in Byron Bay is plentiful and varied. In terms of resorts however, Peppers Coorabell Retreat is the cream of the crop. With resorts in Australia, New Zealand and Fiji, Peppers has established a reputation to provide luxury at its finest. The Peppers in Byron Bay is located amongst the rainforest hinterland of the area, but is still within easy reach of Byron Bay’s other attractions, including pristine beaches and The Macadamia Castle. Each suite is modern yet infused with nature in such a way as to create the atmosphere of a serene yoga retreat. Although, be prepared to well and truly leave your city life behind as telecommunications reception is limited. Without such restrictions however, we would never have experienced the rare magic of wandering down to the creek that runs through Peppers, and coming into intimate contact with a family of platypuses in the wild. http://www.peppers.com.au/coorabell
The best way to see Byron Bay is with the freedom and mobility of your own car. Courtesy of Mercedes-Benz, we roamed through the hinterland and beach side roads of Byron Bay in the Mercedes-Benz GL 450. The GL 450 is one in the Mercedes-Benz GL-Class line of ultimate Sports Utility Vehicles. The GL-Class is all about superlative comfort, whatever the conditions. The vehicle is spacious with ample space to accommodate it’s seven seats and generous headroom and legroom. Each GL-Class is also fitted with the THERMATIC automatic climate control system that maintains a consistent temperature inside the vehicle.
Over the varied terrain of Byron Bay, the GL 450 was a majestic ride through all environments. It is 4MATIC, meaning it uses a permanent four-wheel drive to give superior handling, and holds a fistful of speciality features such as Downhill Speed Regulation (DSR), hill-start assist and off-load ABS. The GL 450 also has a a V8 engine that provided compelling performance and a superior fuel consumption. One full tank of petrol was more enough to last us the whole two weeks! http://www.mercedes-benz.com.au.
Read more about the Mercedes-Benz GL Series here.
MEET THE LOCALS
The locals of Byron Bay are a friendly, welcoming and lively bunch who have created a unique variety of local produce. Zest Byron Bay is but one of the highlights that we encountered.
Created by Byron Bay citizens Shelley and Pob Sellors, Zest Byron Bay offers a range of Nepalese marinades and spice blends to inspire culinary creations in an easy, convenient and flavoursome way. All mixtures are gluten, sugar and diary free and are lovingly handmade right in Byron Bay using a Nepalese mother’s traditional secret recipe. Roasts, pastas and dips are a few examples of meals that are perfect for a Zesty invigoration, with each blend having its own personality. Visit http://www.zestbyronbay.com.au to see the full vibrant range, and get ready to share enticing flavours across the table with your family and friends.
Food and atmosphere are in a long term relationship in Byron Bay. One cannot be without the other, and Fishheads is an exquisite example of this. Fishheads sits on Main Beach with views of Byron Bay that are breathtaking to say the least. Meals are served in the restaurant, out on the balcony in the breeze, or packed away to be eaten on the beach. As the name suggests, Fisheads specialises in the freshest seafood with reasonable prices. With the sea at your fingertips, why not indulge in a platter of fruits de mer? http://www.restaurantbyronbay.com.au
Overall, Byron Bay has 9 beaches and surfing spots in it’s area. All beaches are almost perfect all year round, with mild water temperatures averaging around 18 degrees in the winter, and 26 degrees in the summer. Here, the under-developed nature of Byron Bay means that sunbathing and leisurely swims are undisturbed by noise, pollution, and an overcrowding of people. Trek down to the end of Cape Byron to the hidden Little Watego’s beach (pictured above), for fishing and maximum seclusion.
For the ultimate pampering experience, the Byron at Byron Spa and Wellness Centre is sure to rejuvenate the body and soul. Byron at Byron is also nestled amongst the subtropical rainforest of Byron Bay, with the Spa offering a range of treatments using Pevonia Botanical and iKOU eco spa products. Both Pevonia Botanical and iKOU are leading innovators in body care, and the wide variety of products allows for treatments to be carefully tailored to suit each individual’s needs. http://www.thebyronatbyron.com.au/byron-bay/spa
With so much to experience so close at hand, Sydney-siders would be crazy to miss out on a visit to Byron Bay this holiday season. Our two weeks in Byron have left us each with a wealth of fond memories and a rejuvenated mind, body and soul.