Watching the sun rise over the ocean at Australia’s most easterly point – Cape Byron – will never get old. As we stood together leaning over the fence, coffees in hand, a light and nature show played out before us.
A rock wallaby stopped for a look-see and whales played about 200 metres off shore as the sun forced its way through the last of a storm clouds that had passed the coast hours before.
It was a cool morning but we were warmed by blankets and heat packs supplied by Katie from Toast the Sun, a unique Byron experience that made this particular Byron Bay sunrise all the more memorable.
I’d come across Toast the Sun via our chosen accommodation for the weekend, The Bower and I’d kept the experience a surprise from the husband to celebrate our 15th wedding anniversary.
(More on the accommodation later but I loved that The Bower emailed lots of ideas for things to do in an around Byron BEFORE we arrived. I’m a planner and I don’t trust winging it when I get to a destination, particularly if it’s only for a weekend.)
Apart from the warm coffee and our prime position sunrise-watching spot, we were able to access car parking inside the lighthouse grounds but the big, big drawcard of this experience was the spectacular private breakfast served up to us while perched high above Wategos Beach.
Katie only ever books a maximum of four people for this experience, so you might be with another couple, but on our day we had it all to ourselves. The Byron local kept in contact with me throughout the week about the weather but the heavy rain of the night before gave way to a beautiful morning.
The food was nothing short of incredible, all made from scratch by Katie using locally sourced products. Let’s let the photos do the talking, shall we …
Greek yoghurt, poached stone fruits + house-made nut granola drizzled with local bush honey
Breakfast burritos on house-made tortillas
House-made buttermilk waffles served with caramel sauce + seasonal fruits
By the time we got to the waffles, I was thinking we needed to cancel that night’s dinner reservation because we wouldn’t have any room.
Spoiler alert: we didn’t cancel dinner because when in Byron … you take full advantage of the dining out options on offer.
For us, the taking advantage of the Bryon foodie scene started the day before, arriving for a lunchtime reservation at The Loft (up above Miss Margarita). It was a chilled way to start the weekend above the crowds looking out over the ocean. And the food was just as delicious as the cocktail menu.
… I mean … look at those scallops!
Lunch rolled into dinner (with a little shopping and a nap in between) at Bryon Bay fave and stalwart St Elmo’s. I love the tapas style of eating and St Elmo’s delivers a menu of treats to share and great wine by the glass options.
… I’m still dreaming about St Elmo’s signature pork belly offering
… and the condensed milk panacotta
Back to our post-Toast The Sun food coma … while trying to emerge from said coma on Saturday afternoon (a little shopping, a beach walk and bike ride did help!), my friend Sally Scott sent me this link to an article she wrote: The 7 Best Bars in Bryon Bay.
We didn’t have the time or the capacity to do all seven but we did make a pre-dinner beeline for Supernatural Cellars in Bay Lane. Bay Lane, just behind the pub, now has a bit of a Melbourne-laneway-by-the-beach vibe to it.
And oh my goodness, Supernatural was worth it for the ceviche alone but the fun messages written on the wall and the intimate wine bar vibe was a real winner.
The Bower Byron Bay
So, we have a new fave place to stay in Byron Bay – The Bower. I stumbled across the renovated motel complex via Instagram earlier this year and immediately fell in love … and not just with its statement-making round pool. The Bower epitomises understated, relaxed chic, with decor I immediately wanted to teleport home.
There are a number of different accommodation options, ranging from queen rooms through to king rooms, a cottage, home, newly opened studios and the barn, which we booked. The barn is a separate building with its own private courtyard and glass-ceilinged bathroom. I mean, look at it …
Apart from its good looks, The Bower, goes next level with its service and attention to detail. The mini bar is thoughtfully curated. So thoughtful, we availed ourselves immediately.
Bikes are free to borrow to ride during the day. (Trust me, I did get further than down the street at Spell)
And they even had giant hats poolside to keep a girl protected!
We also loved the location. It’s close enough to the action to walk (about 15 minutes to the beach) but far enough away to be an oasis away from the busy part of town. And we walked to Wategos and back on Sunday morning, which was an easy 7.5km round trip … enough to earn breakfast next door to The Bower at the Byron General Store.
Suffice to say, Byron … and The Bower, we’ll be back.
So tell me, have you been to Bryon Bay lately? Recommendations to share?
PS. Wanting different options for Byron, here’s what I wrote about a girls’ weekend last year.
Why I think travel insurance is as important as your passport
For me, I don’t book a holiday without first taking out travel insurance. Often the time of booking accommodation can be long before the time of travel and you can never be certain of what might happen between then and the start of your holiday.
I want to go on holiday knowing that if someone in my family needs it, I’m backed up with help from my travel insurance company. For my last three international trips – to Europe, Hawaii and to Bali – I’ve chosen and paid for Allianz travel insurance. I also take out Allianz travel insurance for any domestic travel like this girls’ weekend or road trips we do.
Obtaining Allianz travel insurance is a simple and easy process. I select and purchase my cover online. I’ve found that the insurance cover is competitive in price for the inclusions I select.
For me, it’s about having peace of mind when we travel. I want to know that if anything goes wrong that my family is backed up through medical help or simply help with extra accommodation or replacement belongings should something be stolen.
When our son was sick six years ago while in New York, we weren’t concerned by the potential expense should we have needed hospital treatment. And when I book holidays in advance, I do so with the knowledge that if unexpected cancellations occur, I have travel insurance.^
In short, I don’t leave home – or book a holiday – without it.
Book with Allianz Travel Insurance online HERE. Enter STYLINGYOU to receive up to 10% off Allianz Comprehensive Travel Insurance*
My 10-step packing guide for any destination
For me, the holiday planning is all part of the excitement and anticipation of being on that escape. I love nothing more than going down the rabbit hole that is the internet looking for inspiration and ideas for what to do at the chosen destination but also for the types of clothes and accessories that will best suit that destination at the time that I’m travelling.
The formula I use for packing is one that can be adapted and applied to every destination and type of holiday. It’s not complicated. If you follow all the steps it’s quite liberating. I can’t ever imagine returning to my bad old days of throwing everything into a suitcase, sitting on said suitcase to get it closed, and hoping that I’d packed what I needed.
Want to get that formula? It’s all in my e-book.