New digs, seasoned favourites and same ol' languid vibe; Byron Bay continues to evolve and delight locals and visitors alike. Here, the lowdown on what to do, see, eat and visit in Byron in 24 hours.
WHERE TO STAY
Book a suite at Bangalow Road's newest boutique offering,The Bower. With a minimalist design aesthetic, the New York-inspired hotel brings together Byron's leafy, laid-back lifestyle with Manhattan's cool culture. Nestled in an acre of bushland only moments from the beach and shops, The Bower is the ultimate chic and tranquil getaway.
And, of course, it's hard to go past The Atlantic Byron Bay. The Caribbean plantation-inspired property is all bright colours and beautiful photos waiting to happen. It's hard to believe the (dream) home-away-from-home haven is just a short stroll from Main Beach.
The Byron brunch scene is alive and well. Start your morning with a trip to crowd-pleaser, Top Shop. Open from 6.30am, getting a table can be tricky; but as the locals will tell you, it's the best coffee in town and well worth the wait. Order a breakfast burger and house-made macadamia milk iced latte, and enjoy your breakfast fare picnic-style on the patch of lawn outside.
Spend the morning seaside at one of Byron's famed beaches. Soak up the sun and surf at Wategos Beach for an hour or two before grabbing a chilled coconut from the stall at Main Beach. It doesn't get much fresher.
If you're after something more secluded, away from the crowds, head to Cosy Corner or White's Beach. Both are beautiful and off-the-grid enough to give you a total sense of calm. At the opposite end of the spectrum, adventure junkies will love the snorkelling and diving at Julian Rocks.
Reach your full zen potential with a 60-minute restorative body treatment at Byron's latest luxury spa space, Comma. The pared-back interiors, designed by Eloise Fotheringham of Hare & Klein, are a testament to the quality craftsmanship of the local community. Not sure what to book? We can vouch for the Sticks and Stones massage - it gets rid of every ounce of urban-dwelling muscle tension.
Sip on a Spritz and kick off a long lunch with fresh oysters and Granny Smith apple dressing while sitting beachfront at The Italian Byron Bay. For show-stopping views and incredible fare, this one is hard to beat. Order the 12 hours braised beef rib and settle in for the afternoon.
Byron's art and design offering has received an innovative update thanks to the launch of its new shopping precinct, Habitat. A 'hub' designed for creatives to develop and showcase their works, the site is intrinsically Byron: marketplace shopping meets boutique, old meets new, local meets international.
A trip to Byron isn't complete without taking the Cape Byron Walking Track and experiencing sunset from the most easterly point of mainland Australia. Sure, it attracts the tourists, but there's nothing quite like that view. The three-kilometre loop takes roughly 45 minutes (photo stops excluded) and will work up your appetite nicely for dinner.
An oldie, but a goodie; drop by Beach Hotel for pre-dinner drinks, beach-front views and people watching. The region's most famous pub is also a Byron classic that's well worth a visit.
If you want a taste of the New Byron Bay, book a table at Duk. Opened late 2017 by Sarah Swan and Jeremy Burn of Byron's 100 Mile Table café, the Chinese barbecue restaurant does its concise and traditional menu well. With share plates, locally sourced organic produce and a line-up of homemade condiments - its plum sauce is based on a recipe by Amy Chanta of Sydney's celebrated Chat Thai restaurants - each plate is full-flavoured and unique. Slightly less 'green juice' than the other gastronomic experiences Byron has on offer, Duk will be a sure hit this summer.
No trip to Byron Bay is complete without a smoothie bowl. Order yours at the locals' newest haunt, The Byron Bay General Store, where fruit-loaded pitaya bowls come with a side of Byron mentality; walk, ride or skate in and you'll receive a 10 per cent discount. Headed by Parkway Drive's Ben Gordon and business partner Phil Taylor, the sustainable café is set at the old Macs Milk Bar. Get in early and pull up a seat along the sun-soaked verandah, or underneath a beach umbrella out front.
Before heading home, make a pit-stop by the Bangalow Markets. A 20-minute drive from Byron's town centre, the markets are held on the fourth Sunday of every month. With an impressive history dating back to 1982, the markets now feature more than 300 stalls, showing off local produce, art, fashion and food. The Byron sugar cane juice is a must.
Be inspired by Byron Bay and other beautiful locations around Australia in The Great Australian Cookbook, Tuesdays at 8.45pm on Lifestyle Food.