As a town long known for its laid back lifestyle, hippies, herbal tea drinkers and magical beaches, it’s no surprise that Byron Bay is hot on the heels of Australia’s organic and farm-to-table food movement. With health and wellness now one of the world’s largest and fastest growing industries, a string of Byron cafes and restaurants have swung open their doors and are serving up some pretty impressive organic plates and detox blends.
This little town and its surrounding hinterland, including Bangalow and Newrybar, is overflowing with creative types who – from what I could tell – are giving the work/life dream a red hot go. They are running viable businesses sans the big city rat-race and it definitely feels like a community of likeminded people who have made the area their home. The bohemian ‘Byron Bay’ brand seems to filter its way through most of these businesses, from food, to clothes, to homewares and hotels.
If you can handle the LA-style summer traffic and (like me) hold a penchant for eating and interiors, then here are a few of the Byron spots I’d recommend…
When an awesome chef and friend of mine (who has built a thriving catering business in New York – check out M&G Foodstuff), recommended this place because it “feels like you are eating Australia”, I was intrigued to understand why. Their seasonal food sourced from artisan producers and their own edible gardens sit alongside foraged native and wild Australian ingredients (sourced by their on-staff horticulturalist), so you’re literally eating nature’s treasures you might find by the sea.
Restaurant, bakery, deli, gardens and off-the-charts interiors – I was in my element at Harvest. Order a bottle of the Rob Hall Yarra Valley chardonnay and surrender yourself to an afternoon of eating, drinking and wandering around their gardens.
It’s a great feeling when you walk into a really good eatery just as the best seat in the house becomes available – in this case it was a wooden benchtop and a vintage rug to sit on, with a milk crate for a table and an iron roof awning.
Our afternoon here was fantastic. Think local, plant-based, earnest food served with your grandma’s enamel kitchenware and old ceramics. Dotted with herb planter-boxes and leafy spots to cosy into, it has a laid back bohemian vibe with really cool rustic interiors– oh, and an EPIC 70s playlist!
Expect: A charming 1890s homestead with a collection of products from local creatives and artisans, including books, antique tiles, prints, rugs, homewares, plants and flowers.
/ Island Luxe
Expect: A high-quality (and pricey) homeware/fashion/accessory store and an outdoor patio filled with rustic wooden and cane furniture. You’ll find leather goods handmade in Greece, beautiful silk tops and shorts, hand towels and kitchenware, candles and fragrances.
Expect: A South African-inspired aesthetic. Interiors sourced from all over the world, including old doors and shutters, trolleys and tray tables, bed heads and bed ends, outdoor furniture, kitchenware and accessories. Also has a range of lovely fashion labels.
This place was next-level. We stayed at The Barn which is perfect for a couple – it’s a little private oasis with a small kitchenette, wooden beams and restored cottage windows. My favourite thing was the bathroom which has a full glass ceiling so you can take a bath and look above to the sky and the beautiful green trees.