As summer approaches here in Australia, our thoughts naturally turn to the beach, and specifically, to just how many coastal holidays and mini-breaks we can conceivably cram in between now and March. One destination that’s top of our list is Cabarita Beach, a tiny town in northern NSW, a stone’s throw from the Queensland border and an easy 45-minute drive from that other coastal mainstay: Byron Bay. Cabarita was put firmly on the map a couple of years ago with the opening of Halcyon House, one of Australia’s most heavenly beachside stays. Here’s how we recommend filling the days in this enticing locale...
Halcyon House is the obvious home-away-from-home in Cabarita Beach. A gem-sized hotel with just 21 suites and rooms, it also houses a hatted restaurant (Paper Daisy), pool, spa and boutique, meaning that once you check in, you never really need to leave. Brisbane-based interior designer Anna Spiro masterminded the hotel’s critically acclaimed and highly imitated aesthetic, which marries a nautical colour palette with antique and one-of-a-kind pieces. You may come for a taste of glamorous seaside rejuvenation, but you’ll definitely stay for the unrivalled Instagram opportunities.
The great pleasure of a coastal holiday is, of course, the opportunity to spend long, glorious days by the water. We recommend taking advantage of this with the full gamut of aquatic activities, from surfing lessons to snorkelling sessions (if you’re lucky, you might even spot some swimming turtles). Bookend each day with time spent on the sand: yoga in the mornings and a leisurely walk in the evenings.
If you can drag yourself away from the Halcyon House compound, it’s well worth taking the 15-minute drive south to Brunswick Heads, which has become something of a culinary mecca on the far north coast. The jewel in the crown is Fleet, a tiny two-hatted restaurant serving inspired dishes for late lunches and dinners. The emphasis is on tiny (it seats a mere 14), so booking well ahead is always recommended. As of late 2018, the team behind Fleet will also be running the town’s as-yet-unnamed Mexican restaurant, and a reservation there is sure to be one of the hottest tickets of the summer.
When you’re craving more sensory stimulation, pay a visit to the always eclectic scene in Byron Bay. Browse local boutiques such as Enzo & Toto, then walk up to Cape Byron Lighthouse, Australia’s easternmost tip. Between May and November, it’s an ideal vantage point to see whales frolicking as they go about their annual migration. Reward yourself with a heavenly massage at Comma, and finish the day with a Spritz at The Italian, as you watch the sun go down.
Written by Michelle Bateman