Travel // Bask & Stow + Byron Bay NSW

February 20, 2018

This photo to me, pretty much sums up our few days in Byron Bay, it's probably the most relaxed place in Australia and it was somewhere I'd wanted to return to since I first visited ten years back. Full of surfers with a hippy alternative vibe, beautiful beaches, a hinterland to discover, creativity and beauty aplenty and home to *that* insta tribe, Byron Bay is a way of life rather than destination as such. We loved our five days there SO much getting to know the area and staying at the heavenly Bask & Stow. 

First up, our stay at Bask & Stow. A welcome luxurious retreat after all of our Airbnb accommodation that we'd been staying in so far {which were all perfectly fine but sometimes you can't beat a real boutique base}. Like a lot of our trip research, I'd found Bask & Stow via Instagram. Their breezy bright beach studios appealing to me along with the surrounding palm trees & plunge pool {a pool of any kind being somewhat of a rarity in Byron Bay}. 

There are four self-contained studios here, designed by architects who were inspired by Palm Springs. Of course, for me this couldn't have been more perfect as a lover of both Palm Springs & Byron Bay. It was like all my dreams had been answered. Located in the centre of town, with both the best cafes/shops/restaurants a less than 5 minute walk one way, and the beaches a 10 minute walk the other it was heaven to leave our car parked for a couple of days and explore on foot. 

We were in the Sun suite {others have similar beachy names, Salt, Sand etc}. I took a peek at all of the studios and frankly loved them all. Each has a private little terrace. Ours with the famed Byron Bay company hanging chairs where we hung out for a couple of blissful hours reading in the heat of the afternoon sun, me forgetting just how good it feels to be gently swung by the breeze in a rocking chair. It is SO relaxing and we kept pushing off each other to swing a bit more.

Despite the suites all being fully booked during our stay, and the pool fairly small, we had it all to ourselves the whole time! We saw one other couple, but I guess everybody loves the beaches so much to worry about the pool which was perfect for us bagsing a couple of the loungers and one of those beautiful Sunday Supply beach umbrellas I'm always lusting after on Instagram.

Our suite offered so much more than a hotel room, with the outdoor area and kitchenette. 

The fiddle leaf fig in a basket a nod to being in Byron Bay, and the cactus above our bed making us feel like we were in Cali. 

I came away wanting to redecorate and live this minimal, Bask & Stow inspired tropical life.

Australian's aren't big on baths but it was a treat to find a big tub in our bathroom, especially with the marble floor tiles and thick towels {you definitely don't find those in your average airbnb}.

We were so grateful for the helpful suggestions we received from Maria on booking our stay, she sent through so many recommendations and a local Byron guide to the best spots. 

There would have been nowhere else more suited to our stay in Byron. We loved our stay in Bask & Stow so much and only wished that it could have been longer! You can find more on them here, and their dreamy instagram here {but be warned, it will definitely make you want to book a holiday}.

Byron Bay // in short don't miss;
  • Byron is surrounded by beaches but The Pass and Wategos Beach were our favourites {and the best beaches for surfing} and sunbathing . From the town there's a lovely walk/cycle along the raised boardwalk with breathtaking views along the way. We saw dolphins in the surf here and enjoyed the sunsets & bbqs. 
  • The lighthouse walk, go early in the morning or in the evening, it’s a steep trek but has to be done. Amazing views from the top and the furthest easterly point on mainland Australia. 
  • Further afield, Torakina Beach in Brunswick Heads {along with Brunswick Heads town} 
  • Drive up to Bangalow, Byron's quieter little sister. We loved breakfast at Woods cafe & a look around the shops. 
  • Likewise, Newrybar in the hinterland with it's interiors emporium and Harvest deli/restaurant. 
  • Or go further out the other way to Mullumbimby. We ate at the insta famed Milk & Honey Pizza here. 
  • A secret local's favourite beach is White's Beach at Broken Head {down a dirt track but so worth it}.
  • Back in Byron, the Top shop cafe. Spot Jetsetmama and Courtney Adamo here at weekends. Açai bowls and burgers. 
  • Combi. Pink insta friendly cafe with beautiful vegan breakfast bowls and smoothies 
  • Leaf & grain/Bayleaf cafe for breakfast, brunch & lunch.
  • Roadhouse 
  • The Farm at Byron bay. 3 blue ducks restaurant here but an experience to visit in itself for the fields and flower barn. 
  • The farmers market on Thursday mornings 
{also, a few people had messaged me to ask if this Byron mecca was real like you see on Instagram and it is 100% true. Organic health food shops galore, children free-ranging, surfers, sunsets and this spirit that you can't quite put your finger on. It's unlike anywhere else}

Arriving into the Gold Coast airport we were amazed at just how green and lush this area was from both the air and on the ground. On the 45 minute drive along the coast to Byron we drove through the green hills, Western Australia had been so dry & anything but green, then Sydney was a city, so it felt like we were in England or somewhere again!

The sun had just set when we arrived in Byron on a Sunday night so we stopped off at the main beach to stretch our legs & look at the beach. Immediately we knew we were in Byron with live music and people gathered in front of the beach. As we drove through town, again live music filled the air with street performers on every corner. Oh Byron, 10 years later I was SO excited to be back.

Blurry photo but I just wanted to remember that vibe.

On the Monday morning, it was Superbowl day. My husband is obsessed with NFL so with the time difference it was so much better to watch it in Australia than as he normally does at home. I was more than happy for a day to explore myself by bike. First stop was Bende Byron, a pilates studio that I bought a weeks pass to. I always miss my regular pilates studio when away {for my back as much as anything} so finding a like minded, albeit very Byron, studio was heaven for me. I took a reformer class and a barre class during our stay and loved the atmosphere & the sense of community. At the end of the class we were told to inhale this relaxing spritz sprayed around the room and to be thankful for both our bodies and Byron as a community. Plus there were crystals, hanging plants and beautiful baskets in each studio. That was probably the first time I really thought 'I want to live here' that then reoccured many times during that trip!

Of course, there is SO much more to Byron than pilates. I took a stroll on Tallow's Beach first of all, then spent half a day exploring all of the insta famous cafes & boutiques that had been taunting me ever since we booked our trip. I've now had to unfollow some of them, not being able to bear not being there anymore! 

As we found with Western Australia, lots of the coffee & breakfast spots open up early & then shut by around 2pm. 

I fell in love with all of the beautiful shops. 

Bikes, surfboards & beachwear aplenty.

I rembered this corner store so well from 10 years back, it's had a refit but still has the same feel.

Byron really is surf city. And most people in the supermarkets/street will be walking around barefoot. It's probably the most relaxed Western place we've ever visited.

Once the Superbowl was finished, Ben came to meet me and we took a drive up to Bangalow as the weather clouded over.

I actually ended up loving Bangalow more than Byron in some respects. Up in the hinterland, it's a good 20 minutes from the nearest beach but it's so much quieter than Byron and has lesser touristy shops/cafes? 

Newrybar was one of our favourite discoveries though and we spent a long while browsing the emporium, coming home with some treasures for our house.

I mean... talk about goals.

We also bought a hammock to try and create a little alfresco Byron in our garden this summer.

The drive up into the hills & through the Hinterland around Possum Creek/Bangalow is stunning and at times you do wonder if you're in Australia.

Until you see a koala sign to remind you!

We couldn't resist another trip up there, this time in the morning when Woods cafe would be open for breakfast.

Which definitely didn't disappoint. Especially when I saw the gorgeous Little Winnie there too.

Next we were back to Byron for our next stop - The Farm {similar to Daylesford in the Cotswolds} with an award winning restaurant by Three Blue Ducks, a florist, walks around the fields etc.

I could have stayed here all morning, it was all so beautiful and so us.

Ben had to listen to my sighs again of how everything is just so perfect in Byron and even just the interiors for sale at the farm were just up our street {although there were lots of beware of snakes signs around!}

After lunch we decided to try and find White's Beach, a hidden local's favourite, so drove out towards Broken Head.

A couple of miles down a bumpy track later & a hike down the cliff path, we made it!

With an umbrella we'd borrowed from the airbnb, we stayed here for most of the afternoon. 

Sitting here & writing this on a grey drizzly February day back at home, I'd do almost anything to beam ourselves back there!

Most mornings & evenings we'd find ourselves at Watego's beach. Having either walked there from Byron along the jungly boardwalk, or driving there to then walk up to the lighthouse.

It was such a beautiful, peaceful spot and even though we don't surf, we loved watching the what seemed like hundreds of surfers out catching waves. As well as the dolphins swimming in with them!

It was a steep old walk up to the lighthouse but the rewards {the views} were worth it.

The BBQ's down by the beach were perfect for cooking and then watching the sunset.

I think this is one of my favourite photos from the trip.

And the walk there always had lots going on with music or surfers.

We even spotted a koala in the trees above the boardwalk!

We found that the lookout from the Pass was the best sundowner spot.

Naming the surfers, including a legend we called Capman who wore a cap for surfing, and seemed to know everybody.

There's no doubt that it was an incredibly special spot to visit, let alone live! It's no wonder that so many people make the move to Byron & the surrounding areas. 

On Thursday morning's, locals gather at the farmers market. Again with 2 live buskers there to add to the atmosphere.

They're huge on veganism & the environment, you'd be shamed upon if you didn't bring a reusable bag or basket to the market & you'll find lots of women in linen.

We took one last walk around the town & along the beach before we left to drive up to Noosa.

Originally we were going to have a week in Byron but then decided fairly last minute to split it so we could include 3 nights in Noosa at the end of the trip. 4 nights in Byron was definitely enough to see everything, but we could have had a couple of weeks soaking up that special Byron vibe. I know for sure that we'll be back sometime though, this time hopefully it won't be another 10 years. 

On our way up to Noosa we stopped at Brunswick Heads for lunch and discovered the most beautiful beaches and water there. The river meets the sea {you know the river that the famous Byron set always hang out at on Insta?} and the town, despite having such a tiny population, had so much going for it.

At this point, our three week trip was down to the last 3 nights! Time was flying faster than ever. But we were excited for our last few days exploring somewhere completely new, Noosa.

R <3 xx

{You can find the rest of this Australian series here}

a huge thank-you to Bask & Stow for hosting our stay but as always I would never recommend anywhere that I didn't truly love or wouldn't pay for myself.

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  1. Your photos are always stunning and Bask & Stow looks like a dream stay to me haha


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