I travelled to Byron Bay with some friends on a road trip when I was in my early 20s. We stayed at a youth hostel somewhere, hit up Cheeky Monkeys for some shots, and drove around taking photos with every large object we could find (the big prawn in Ballina, for example).
Cut to over a decade later, and a trip to Byron Bay and the Northern Rivers region is a little different. While the landmarks and big Australian icons are still there, there has been an influx of amazing creatives and foodies that have set up shop in the area, as well as social media stars sharing every corner of town. But don’t be put off by its ‘sceney’ status, there are a still lots of places to escape to if you want to unwind.
One of my favourite things about the area is that it’s somewhere you can visit any time of the year. Whether it’s peak summer season or the middle of winter, there is plenty to do and see. The aforementioned creative scene is experiencing huge growth, with new design stores, fashion, accommodation and restaurants opening with every visit. In a year when travel was scarce, Byron has offered a plethora of new experiences and a change of pace to the usual working from home grind.
While the sleepier, more casual Byron Bay of the past has evolved, the town and surrounding area still holds many secrets. You can still explore some of the most incredible nature walks, find small cafes hidden away in country towns and take time out on spectacular drives to see where the rainforest meets the sea.
I go to Byron to get inspired, to take pause and connect with other designers. By no means am I a local, but one of the best things about Byron Bay, is that when you get there, you’re on holiday… but you still feel at home. And on the way out of town, as the sun rises and we brace for an 8 hour drive back to Sydney, I still go past the big prawn at Ballina every time, because it makes me smile and reminds me that I’ve been doing this trip for a while, and it gets better with every visit.
Here are a few of my favourite spots!