Thursday, 15 March 2012

byron bay. fun in the sun.

A recap of my time in Byron Bay...

We spent a whole day in the sun on Wategos Beach. The waves were lush. The sun was strong. We all learnt a lesson that day. If you're going to be spending 6 straight hours basking in the sun and playing in the waves, apparently applying sunscreen twice is NOT sufficient. Even if the label does say water-resistant for up to 4 hours. So a word of advice: double up the protection, stay safe, and then... relax your hearts out. We got that one right, at least! And oh, isn't it gorgeous?

Wategos Beach.

If you're planning to spend the whole day at the beach, remember to pack drinks and food. We did a supermarket run to grab the ingredients and created sandwiches consisting of wholemeal bread, homemade avocado and lime spread, Hungarian salami, English ham, Swiss cheese, tomato slices and leafy salad mix.

My sandwich.

We dragged our sunburnt selves to the Byron Bay lighthouse later that evening.

Byron Bay lighthouse, near Wategos Beach.

The views were magnificent...

The view from the hill.

And we spied a wallaby, too.

A little wallaby. Awww.

On one of the days we drove west to Nimbin, a small town renowned for attracting hippies seeking an alternative lifestyle. They're enthusiastically pro-weed in these parts, and this is reflected in idealistic shop names such as Bring A Bong and Happy High Herbs. We agreed, however, the novelty wears off fairly quickly and Nimbin is probably not that exciting unless you accept the random offers of "mushrooms and cookies". Arriving late in the afternoon didn't help - most of the cafes start closing up at around 4pm. We did manage to quench our thirst with some refreshing organic icy poles, though!

A lime popsicle.

But what about the food, you ask? (Or maybe you don't, but I'm telling you anyway...)

Well, on our first night we went to The Balcony Bar and Restaurant, where we got a table - you guessed it - on the balcony. The food and service was hit and miss, and in summary, considering the prices, not really the sort of place that begs a return visit, but I did enjoy the Spanish seafood stew, zarzuela, which, despite a couple of shortcomings - I thought the seafood could be fresher, and the sauce a little less salty - I found to be supremely addictive and I easily cleaned up the dish with the accompanying crusty bread.

Zarzuela at The Balcony.

We had a simple, amiable lunch the next day at Treehouse at Belongil. Light salads. Crispy wood-fired pizzas with juicy toppings. We caught them at a quiet time, and savoured the cool, relaxed vibe.

Vegetarian pizza at the Treehouse.

Later, a spicy dinner at Thai Lucy. The proprietress was a gregarious Thai woman, slightly klutzy and vibrantly charming. It was one of the few places that night which were still welcoming of guests at around 9.30pm, and we were grateful. The food was actually very good too - we had a fresh and tangy papaya salad, a larb-style salad with chicken or pork - I can't remember which, hot tom yum soup, red duck curry, and a pad thai which was, happily, not too sweet for me. A very satisfying meal.

Red duck curry at Thai Lucy.

Friends had recommended Fishmongers for fish and chips prior to the trip and I made sure we fit it in our schedule. Simon and I shared half a Family Box. It was massive. The chips weren't as crisp as I would've liked, but that was the only real letdown. The assorted seafood was great - super-fresh oysters, crunchy fried fish with silky flesh, succulent prawns. We were well-stuffed by the end of it.

Half a Family Box at Fishmongers. Fish and chips, oysters, and more!

On our last day, we went for brunch at The Top Shop. I love the cute, laid-back look of the cafe hut.

Off to The Top Shop...

You can pick out pastries and cakes from the display cabinet, but there is a decent emphasis on fresh and healthy meals, too. My friends' choices ranged from muesli to burgers. I had a sweet, sticky praline scroll and a pleasantly refreshing (though nearly verging on bland) smoothie with pineapple, almonds and coconut milk. We were all quite content.

A cool, light smoothie.

Finally, it was time to say goodbye. Bye bye, Byron Bay... it's been nice knowing you.

Oh, and yeah, there's Sydney... but let's say my camera enjoyed the beach a little too much and had, er, subsequent issues - some of the images in this post were affected, too, in case you were wondering. So, unfortunately, I didn't get many good photographs on the second half of my trip. Short summary: loved having congee and Chinese doughnuts for breakfast at Superbowl in Chinatown; was wonderfully entertained at La Soiree (fans of The Bath Boy, David O'Mer, will be jealous to know that I had a glorious glimpse of his perfect physique as he swung right over me); tried to get in touch with my sensitive artistic side at the Picasso exhibition; and had a peek at the flamboyant costumes on the night of Mardi Gras.

Alright, now I'm done... be back with a recipe next week!


  1. ahhh Byron. Love. Your eats look incredible!! Jealous :)
    Heidi xo

  2. What a beautiful sunny place:) Even if I slather myself nonstop with 50 SPF sunscreen, I know that I'll still get burnt - it's like a curse!

    Last May, my camera had a bit too much fun on the beach in Florida... it hasn't been the same since:/

    Wallaby, awwwwwwwwwwwww:)

    1. I managed to salvage my camera, I think. It got a bit of sand and water in it and the retracting lens cover got stuck and couldn't open properly. I ended up removing the entire cover, so now my camera lens is naked. ;) Hopefully it'll still last me awhile from here onwards... sorry to hear about yours. :(

  3. Love love love Byron. Just booked plane tickets to go up for a week with a girlfriend, can't wait. Last time I went I basically ate the whole town out of food.....

  4. Goodness, there's so much more to Byron Bay's food scene than when I used to go there as a kid! Speaking of kids, were there goats at the lighthouse when you went?

    1. Oh yes, we saw a goat! It was munching away happily on the grassy hilly area... :D

  5. Aw, thank you for showing this! I've never been to Byron and am also in desperate need of a holiday, so everything about this post gladdens my heart. (Except the pot and bland smoothie, because seriously, how can coconut and almond and pineapple be made bland? And I'm paranoid about drugs destroying my brain.)

    Yay wallllllaaaby!!!!

    1. The smoothie was still quite nice, just not as full of flavour as I would've liked. Too much ice or water was added, I think.
      Byron makes a good holiday when you just want a relaxing one with good company. Which was what I needed. :D

  6. Oh wooow... What a great recap of the entire trip! I like that food and relaxation shared equal priorities haha... Was about to ask if you're there for a music festival. It's definitely somewhere I'd love to visit one day. And quite reassuring that there's seems to be quite a large variety of food to choose from too. And MAN OH MAN it's been ages since I got to just chill out in the sun at the beach all day. I miss Summer now lol

  7. Those are gorgeous photos. Your weekend looks absolutely fabulous and I, of course, love seeing all of the various dishes that you enjoyed!

  8. In a road trip like this, I do like to pack my own sandwiches too! Sometimes it is just too difficult to get food esp. around the beach or for example, when hiking in the woods! And your sandwiches look wholesome. Usually I just do peanut butter on bread - as they keep well.

  9. Great post, now I just want to go back and play in the sun too!

  10. This is a great recap. Byron Bay looks beautiful, and that little wallaby, so kawaii. Australia looks amazing. And it is, from what I've seen so far, a land of gastronomy. All the more awesome to read about all that food.
    (And the sandwich; kudos for wholemeal bread indeed!)

  11. Beautiful scenery... we've been wanting to get a few days up in Byron (and Nimbin). Your photos of the coast are gorgeous - look at that sky! A bite of that pizza wouldn't hurt either :)

  12. What a virtual feast...the ocean views and the wallaby - my heart... and, don't you just love when you can spot every grain in your sandwich bread?!! Great pics! :0)

  13. I am so jealous right now - wow what a beautiful place to be! And the lime Popsicle and delicious looking pizza caught my eyes. Both look yum! I miss warm and sunny weather... it's been cold and rainy where I live...

  14. I love Byron Bay. I think of my favorite places to eat, the beach and the whole "new age" feel about the place.

  15. Isn't Byron just beautiful. My twin brothers live there and the lifestyle is just so great. I wish I could jet off right now. . .

  16. Thank you everyone for your lovely comments! x


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