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A long weekend in Byron Bay, NSW

I get really excited when travelling to a destination I haven’t visited in a while, I love rediscovering favourite places and learning what has changed since my last visit. One such place is just an hour south of the Gold Coast, Byron Bay, is the perfect place for a long weekend getaway. We decided to head down on Friday to take full advantage of the relaxing atmosphere, glorious weather and secret destinations Byron Bay has to offer.

Our first stop is at The Farm, just off the highway on the turn off to Byron Bay. A working farm, café, restaurant, and shop – where they bake their own pastries and bread, deliver delicious meals, host functions, weddings and farm tours. You are able to wander around the farm and check out the produce being grown for the restaurant, check out the pigs, cattle, chickens and wander through the macadamia and pecan orchard. A must for some great pastries!

Our accommodation, the Cape Byron Beach House, located at the southern end of Lawson St, is in a great location, just a short walk into town. A gorgeous B&B with 5 bedrooms, pool and delicious breakfast every morning – including freshly baked muffins. We had the front room, which I believe is the best, doors/plantation shutters which could be opened out on to the balcony, with access to the pool area. Although there were other guests staying in the house we hardly saw them, only occasionally seeing someone at breakfast time.

If the afternoon sun is beating down, an Uber ride for a couple of dollars will get you into town, cool and fresh, ready to shop, eat and drink to your heart’s content. The walk home is along a well maintained and lit pathway or you can kick off your shoes and walk back along the beach.

When first arriving at a destination, I find a walk is great to get your bearings, so we headed off for a walk, south along the beach and up the steps on the rocks to a small “lookout” where you can watch the surfers and enjoy the magnificent view before a cool, refreshing swim.

The most famous pub in Byron Bay is The Beach Hotel, with a large beer garden and facilities to host bands and DJ’s, it’s a great meeting place for locals and visitors alike. The view over the beach helps makes the beer taste colder and sweeter, and the people watching is fantastic.

Dinner tonight was at an amazing Spanish restaurant called St Elmo where we enjoyed a variety of tapas dishes including white anchovies and delicious Sangria. Highly recommend a night here.

The best way to end the night is with a cocktail at The Balcony Bar & Oyster Co. We sat on the balcony with a view of the main street and watched the world go by, whilst sipping wonderful margaritas. The added bonus, complimentary popcorn topped off a great night. We’ll be back here on Sunday for fresh oysters!

Enjoying a sleep in is always an integral part of a long weekend, however the smell of freshly cooked muffins pried us out of bed and into the kitchen for breakfast. Of course, we then had to head to the beach for a walk and swim to burn off brekky. We walked north this time, toward town and had a lovely swim and relaxed in the sun. A visit to Byron Bay is all about checking out the quirky shops and looking for secret local haunts in the back streets and laneways. A coffee and smoothie made for a relaxing walk back to the Cape Byron Beach House to prepare for a lazy afternoon at the Services Club. We arrived at the club just before 2 pm, just in time to order a late lunch which we were very impressed with. I had a beef and bacon burger (yes, a small indulgence) and hubby had the battered fish and chips. The tartare sauce with the fish was creamy and delicious, definitely homemade.

Dinner tonight was at The Italian B.B, located on the beach next to The Beach Hotel. The Lamb Lasagne caught my eye and did not disappoint. Great pasta and sides, a bottle of red wine and a great place to relax and chat. Highly recommend.

One of the joys that come from staying in smaller and more personal accommodation are the recommendations for local activities and food offerings. So, on Sunday morning we head to The Top Shop, a café just up the hill from the Cape Byron Beach House, which has been recommended by Rosie for great Acai bowls. Great call Rosie!!

One thing you will notice is the imposing presence of the lighthouse that looks over Byron Bay, it’s amazing how you can see it from nearly everywhere in Byron. Sunday morning was clear and warm, great weather to follow the path along the shore and cliffs to the lighthouse. There are lovely, shady sections that wind through the national park and also quite a few steps leading up the hill. It was great to see people of all ages and fitness levels, some with kids, making their way up to the lighthouse to enjoy the sweeping views and the most eastern point of mainland Australia.

After a cool and refreshing swim, the afternoon culinary adventure started with oysters and cocktails on the balcony, back again at The Balcony Bar & Oyster Co. The oysters were the best we have had in a long time, cold and fresh, a mixture of Sydney Rock and Pacific – we ordered another dozen!! A highlight of our feast was a delicious paella, cooked on the balcony, crammed with prawns and mussels, we could smell it as we made our way up the stairs.

A great way to find a town’s secret gems is to do a walking tour, stopping and having a drink or something to eat wherever you find somewhere that beckons you in. We headed to The Rails Hotel, a few minutes’ walk out of town, home to the Byron Anglers Club and located in the old railway station.

Next, we had a cooling ale at a favourite hotel, The Great Northern. With windows opening up to the street, to watch the passing parade of locals and tourists, and the footy on the TV, it’s an easy choice.

Heading back towards the beach and The Beach Hotel, we needed a small snack to sustain us so stopped at Chihuahua, a small, hole in the wall, serving tacos and other Mexican delights. One taco each – one pork, one beef – was enough and the flavour exploded in our mouths, we left licking our fingers in delight.

The Beach Hotel was pumping, the band “Late for Woodstock” was sending the older locals and visitors into a dancing frenzy!! Great music and dancing whilst watching the light fade over the sea and the twinkling lights signal time for dinner.

We have had some delicious, amazing food whilst here in Byron Bay and decided that we needed to finish with pizza. We headed to the always popular Earth and Sea for an extra-large pizza – ½ and ½ - and a couple of cold beers. Great way to end our culinary trip!

Our long weekend in Byron Bay is just a small representation of the huge range of activities, cafes and restaurants that you can explore in Byron Bay. Whether you want to spend an active weekend surfing, trekking and riding, or, you just want to read a book on the beach and sleep in – Byron Bay is a great destination to visit.

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