Some move to Byron Bay for the seachange. Others come for the treechange. And from coast to hinterland, it delivers – new arrivals find a region where the pace is a little slower, the air a little saltier, where eyes meet as paths cross and a farm-to-table-food philosophy abounds. Then there are the city slickers who seek a sprinkling of Byron Bay’s magic dust, escaping here for a weekend of sunshine, surf and serenity. For them, there’s the Byron at Byron Resort & Spa, a luxe getaway that sits discreetly on an impressive 18 hectares of subtropical rainforest and lies a 10-minute walk from renowned Tallow Beach. It’s not in the heart of Byron but with its lush grounds, waves crashing in the distance, friendly staff and a restaurant dishing out locally-sourced fare, it certainly captures the spirit of a town that moves people.
From Gold Coast Airport, it takes about an hour by car to reach the resort. From the regional Ballina Byron Gateway Airport, it’s a zippier half an hour. Once you’re here, it’s just an eight-minute drive or 15-minute cycle to the heart of Byron (the intersection at Jonson and Lawson streets). The resort hires out bikes or you can take the resort shuttle into town, which departs three times daily.
There are three options here, all at just over 60 square metres. The Standard Rooms and Superior Suites, best suited to families, are a speedy walk north of the resort’s hub (where you’ll find reception, the restaurant, the pool and spa). Decorated in calming neutrals and with wooden finishes, these abodes may be in close proximity to one another but are entirely private thanks largely to the many towering trees that surround, which also give guests in the upstairs suites the feel of sleeping in a treehouse. Inside all rooms you’ll find a compact kitchen and dining table for self-catering as well as a lounge area with a generous modular sofa. Bedrooms have both a king-sized bed and a small daybed while the bathrooms feature freestanding baths deep enough to accommodate all the kids – or for you to sink luxuriously into solo. A slightly longer walk south of the hub you’ll find the Deluxe Spa Suites, similarly appointed but with one key feature – they’re for adults only.
Food and drink
The resort’s restaurant, led by chef Minh Le, does modern-Australian dishes with a local twist. The fish and chips, for example, are battered in a beer by Byron Bay brewery Stone & Wood, while the pork belly is sourced from nearby Bangalow and the eye fillet is from Rangers Valley, just a few hours inland. Make the most of aperitivo hour by setting yourself up at a sofa on the verandah (the space is heated in the cooler months) and ordering from a drinks menu that incorporates local distilleriers and organic and biodynamic wines.
For business travellers
It could be said that if you come here and don’t switch off, you’re not doing it right. But for those who can’t completely tap out of work, the resort does have a computer and printer for guest use – you’ll find it near the gymnasium.
For wellness travellers
There’s a reason the spa gets a shout-out in the name – it’s a must-do during a stay here. The products used in the wide range of treatments draw heavily on organic native ingredients and botanicals and the menu is comprehensive, with everything from body wraps to Swedish massage and a vegan facial – because you can’t go to Byron without turning a little bit hippie. There’s also a gym as well as free yoga classes held on the resort’s verandah each morning (and twice on Tuesdays and Saturdays). If tree-hugging is more your thing, join one of the guided weekly rainforest walks.
The fab factor
You can’t leave without snaring a cabana near the heated infinity pool. There are only three so you’ll need to be eagle-eyed and once you’re in, cancel any plans – you’ve got an afternoon ordering poolside service ahead of you.
Best for: Luxury travellers
Number of rooms: 92 one bedroom suites
Wi-fi: Free and reliable
Parking: Free and on-site
Address: 77-97 Broken Head Road, Byron Bay, NSW
Telephone: 02 6639 2000