For someone who claims to love traveling as much as I do, it is strange that I don’t travel a lot. A demanding job ensures that I am tied to my desk and then there a million other chores that need my time and attention. And because something has to suffer in this madness, traveling takes a backseat as, always.
Luckily living in Sydney ensures that we have a lot of options around us to take short breaks to rejuvenate our souls and my hyperactive mind. So, for the husbands 40th birthday I decided a quick trip was due, and I booked us for a holiday to “Byron Bay” a beautiful tropical paradise a short flight away from Sydney. Having never been there we were not sure what to really expect of this place. There is not much to see in Byron Bay itself but beautiful sunny beaches and lots of art. For a few minutes, it felt like we were in Goa, back home in India. Beautiful young people, surf n sand, lots to shop both offering the exotic and the weird, and plenty to eat.
After landing at the Ballina Airport on our way to Byron, we stopped at “Lennox Head” and saw majestic Humpback whales lazily swimming around in the water. Unfortunately, I did not have a lens good enough to capture a decent picture of the whales but let me tell you it was a sight to behold. We stayed at a small spa hotel called “Azabu,” nestled in between 200-year-old pine trees this resort was one of the quietest places that you could ever be in if you could ignore the noisy Peacocks that roamed around so freely. Besides indulging yourself in a gentle, relaxing massage and lazing in bed all day, there was nothing else that you had to do.
We were advised to keep our doors closed as it was Snake season and there were many Snakes around. It as a bit scary to see large snakes crossing the road as we were driving but thankfully no one was hurt.
In the evening, we visited the “Cape Byron Bay Lighthouse” an imposing sight Built in 1901, the Cape Byron Lighthouse stands on the most easterly point of the Australian mainland and is Australia’s most easterly lighthouse. It is built in the James Barnet style, by his successor, Charles Harding and is an imposing structure to behold.
The evening that we visited was cold and windy, but that didn’t stop us from getting out there to explore. You can drive right up to the lighthouse and park your car, so it is very convenient We stood awestruck watching the sea lash out at everything in its path feeling tiny and incredibly lucky to just be there at that moment. Coincidentally we saw some Whales and Dolphins moving around in the Bay much to our delight. You could see the entire bay and everything that made it from this vantage point, and it was incredible.
For dinner, we went to the “Balcony Bar & Co” another trendy restaurant in the middle of the city center. Built like an old tropical hotel with wooden staircase and floors, this place was packed with a beautiful vibe that was almost contagious. The menu had a lot to choose from, but we started with Cocktails and appetizers.
In Cocktails we ordered “Chili Coconut,” “Balcony Bull Fighter” and “Benno Whisky Blast.” In appetizers, we ordered the very addictive Cauliflower Popcorn and School Prawns. The deep fried Popcorn and the Moorish Prawns were so good that we went back the next day despite booking a table somewhere else to eat here again. We also ordered the fresh “Ocean Trout Ceviche” and “ Roast Eggplant,” the Eggplant served in a Miso based sauce with Mung beans sprout was to die for.
For dinner, we had “Chilli Crab Linguine” which was snow crab cooked with Pasta in parsley, mint, chili, lemon & butter sauce & Chicken Saltimbocca free-range chicken breast wrapped in prosciutto, sage & herb green sauce. Dinner was definitely a very satisfying one. Funnily we saw a really large snack crossing the road in the middle of the night on our way back which was a little creepy. But nonetheless, we fell into a restful sleep.
We woke up to a lazy, rainy morning listening to a boisterous Peacock a few meters away from our balcony. Since there were Tea & Coffee making facilities in the room, we had the luxury of lying in bed in peace till our stomachs started to growl in hunger.
The hotel had breakfast on offer, but we decided to skip it and eat at the many fabulous eateries in Byron Bay which came highly recommended.
The first place that we visited was “Bay Leaf Café,” and we were so glad we visited. The menu was all organic with Gluten free, dairy free and vegan options to choose from and they did all day breakfast and lunch. While the coffee smelled good, we decided to skip it go for a Coconut & Berry smoothie & a Kombucha.
For breakfast, the husband a Tomato Burrito with Chicken and Scrambled Eggs and I ordered Mushrooms on Rye bread with Smashed Peas, Poached Eggs and a lot of Kale. As I have an intolerance to Eggs, we asked the café to remove it which they happily did. It almost felt strange eating healthy food on holiday, but it was so delicious that we did not mind.
We even ordered a House made Pear cake which came on a bed of Cashew Cream and Berries. The warm cake was perfect for the cream that was not overly sweet and just melted in our mouth. We were so impressed with the meal that we licked our plates clean and felt satisfied. After that, we decided to stroll around the city center and bought some books from a quaint little bookshop. We then decided to just have a lazy day and drove down to the charming town of “Bangalow” and did some window shopping before going back to the hotel for a lazy, sleepy siesta.
For dinner, we went back to a lovely Mexican place called Miss Margharita and indulged in Cocktails and Tacos, which were really delicious. The restaurant was packed but still had a fun vibe with everyone enjoying themselves. We went back with our bellies full of food and drink.
So for Breakfast, we visited “The Farm.” A working farm just minutes away from Byron Bay city Centre their motto is ‘Grow, Feed, Educate’ and they work towards educating the community and producing fresh organic food.
They house small micro Businesses including the café and produce store called “Three Blue Ducks.” The restaurant sources most of their produce locally and from the farm itself and ensure that whatever they grow is spray free and organic. The space in which the restaurant is housed in an impressive but comforting structure offering views of the Mount Warning and Cape Byron Lighthouse. Despite the fact that it was raining, space was utterly packed with early morning breakfast seekers including toddlers who were having a field day running behind the chooks.
We started with Organic kombucha with hibiscus, elderflower, ginger & turmeric, and a Berry, banana, maple, coconut milk smoothie. For breakfast, we ordered Pear & almond fruit toast, house-made citrus curd & Cultured handmade butter. The delicious Butter and Curd just melted on the warm toast and was delicious.
Then we had a Field mushrooms with mozzarella, poached eggs, confit onion, salsa verde, pangritata, on a Quinoa & millet loaf and Spanner crab scramble with chili, coriander, lime, bean sprouts, Farm beans, cashews, shallots, sriracha on a sourdough. Large portions that were still light and everything so fresh made for a delightful treat that did not make us feel guilty for overindulgence at all.
After the breakfast, we decided to drive down to Krishna Farm a 1000 acres Krishna community nestled in the foothills of Mount Warning with fantastic views. The drive to the farm had such a beautiful view that we had to continually stop on our way to just look at the surroundings.
The serene property had orchards, vegetable gardens animals, and streams in its fold. The drive up to the farm was incredibly beautiful, and we had to stop several times just to immerse ourselves in the stunning, serene environment that we were in. The ashram is a community of yogis who have taken their vows as per Bhakti Yoga. We reached by midday and heard the most beautiful bhajan sung in the temple complex in the presence of a serene portrait of Radhe Krishna. For a minute it felt like we were in a small village in India somewhere far away from the civilization.
Since it was time for lunch, we were invited to partake in the Satvik Prasad cooked for the lord, which we shared by a few of the Yogis who were present in the complex at the same time. After the lunch, we just spent time in the ashram soaking in the sunshine and the sights. Coincidentally there was a majestic Peacock here too who was lazily roaming around unfazed by human presence.
On our way back we stopped at the “Byron Bay Cookie factory” and brought some of their famous cookies and poked around the many art shops there.
In the evening, we went to the beach and watched the sunset before rewinding to the confines of our room after having a lazy but fabulous dinner at Taste of Melaka. Unfortunately, it was too dark for us to take any pictures, but the food was to die for.
This was the last day we were spending in Byron Bay. Since we had a late afternoon flight to catch we slept in and went for a late breakfast to the beautiful café “Byron Fresh.” Aesthetically done the restaurant was really cozy and comfortable.
To start our day we ordered the “Ancient Golden Milk” which was a chilled Turmeric based drink with Almond Milk and honey and a chilled organic “Orange and Carrot juice.” For breakfast, we ordered the “Big B” which was an American breakfast and the “Chickpea & Portobello Mushrooms fritters” which were served with a beetroot hummus & Salsa verde. The breakfast was really filling and kept us going till we reached home later in the evening.
I would definitely recommend Byron Bay for its vibe and peaceful atmosphere and of course good organic food.