In reality, I think what most of us really want is to escape for that longed for overseas vacation to dreamed of locations, to eat local culinary delights and experience new and exciting cultures and place. But alas, we are still bound by our shores and left lusting after beautiful images on Instagram and Pinterest and scrolling our photo libraries of places once visited.
All is not lost however, as we are lucky in Australia to have our own little slices of heaven to holiday to (once these lock downs have lifted of course). So, we thought we'd let you know about our fave spots around the country and hopefully inspire you to get away for a while and experience some of the joys Australia has to offer.
Number 1 on our best luxury destinations in Australia has to be beautiful Byron Bay. With its stunning natural attractions and eclectic community, Byron Bay on the North Coast of NSW is one of the world’s most famous coastal towns. You’ll be captivated by gorgeous beaches, breathtaking hinterland rainforest, spectacular coastal trails, amazing marine life and a mouth watering food scene.
Many designers, artists and creatives call Byron home, making it a great place to shop. You can explore an array of beautiful boutiques such as Spell for high-end boho fashion, Hope & May for beachy homewares and the Habitat complex for lots of independent boutiques and a concept store.
With a large variety of accomodation, there's something to suit every budget. If you're looking for something a little bit special however, you can't go wrong with one of our all time top pics...
Take one faded surf motel and in it muddle one part Mediterranean pool chic, one part breezy Californian cool and one part Long Island nauticalia. Shake well and serve over a laid-back Cabarita beachfront. Garnish with a crowd-pulling restaurant and lashings of sunshine. Sit back and drink it in. Halcyon House is just north of Byron, but definitely worth the distance if you're looking for a slightly less busy vibe in stunning Cabarita Beach.
With the quiet beach, free bikes to borrow, two Audis for hire, gardens, outdoor pool and free WiFi you'll have plenty to keep you occupied. Or, you can spend your Halcyon day’s poolside sipping cocktails, dining in hatted restaurant Paper Daisy and relaxing at Halcyon Spa.
Each guest room and suite at Halcyon House has been individually designed by interior designer Anna Spiro in her signature eclectic style. Halcyon House rooms feature antique furniture, fabric upholstered walls, luxurious king size beds and a private balcony or terrace.
The Halcyon House Bar is home to the largest selection of Australian made Gins in the country. Featuring over 120 gins from 40 distilleries, a visit to the Halcyon House Gin bar is a world-class experience right here in northern New South Wales. What more could you want?
Disconnect from Social Media and reconnect with Mother Nature at Blackbird Byron, a three-room retreat that champions the great outdoors, from its alfresco magnesium mineral pool to its view-toting pavilions. Sleeping quarters are a modernist vision of glass, wood and steel, without sacrificing on cosiness. The hands-on husband-and-wife team are your hosts, rustling up breakfasts and pizza on demand, offering local recommendations and sorting in-room massages or on-site yoga. And half an hour away, buzzing Byron Bay beckons.
Blackbird Byron is the vision of founder, James Hudson. After living a busy Sydney hospitality life for many years, a desire to slow down and reconnect led him to this piece of land on an old banana plantation. Reusing many of the original materials found on site, and inspired by the rejuvenating properties of the fertile soil, their team created an intimate, eco-luxe oasis that nourishes the mind, body and soul. Blackbird Byron opened in 2018, receiving a prestigious Master Builder’s Award and in 2020 was a finalist in the Hotels By Design series on Network 10, catching the judges’ eyes for its ‘simple, honest, unique’ aesthetic that was both ‘humbling and in touch with Mother Nature’.
There’s something very special about this location, tucked up in the hills of the Nightcap National Park, one of Australia’s largest subtropical rainforests. Whether it’s the acres of lush greenery, spectacular views eastwards to Cape Byron and the Pacific Ocean, or Mount Chincogan in the distance—believed to be an Indigenous fertility totem. Blackbird invites you to get up and close with the landscape and the wildlife, including the local population of rare and indigenous yellow-tailed black cockatoos. This really is the place to get away from it all, soak up the beautiful surroundings and re-connect with nature.
28 Degrees Byron Bay
Prepare to fall hook, line and sinker for 28 Degrees Byron Bay, a family-run guesthouse with Australian beach charm in (buckets and) spades. This eco-conscious charmer counts a prime location, impeccable styling, pot plants galore and romantic rooms – some surveying the local lighthouse – among its charms. (There’s even a small plunge pool in the main house, fit for pre-and post-beach bathing sessions.)
Begin the day with one of 28 Degrees’ DIY breakfasts, starring local granola, compote and yoghurt; end them in one of Byron’s ravishing restaurants, or back at boutique basecamp, starfished on your blissfully comfortable bed.
With a variety of beautifully designed and excellently presented rooms, you can choose between a room with your very own plunge pool providing complete privacy and luxury, a room with a view of the famous Byron lighthouse and an antique 4-clawed bath to relax into, a large luxury master with a private deck and antique bath, or a (way above) standard guesthouse room.
Every detail has been considered – so kick off your shoes and enjoy the barefoot luxury.
The Bower Byron Bay reimagines the beach hotel concept by combining the laidback barefoot ambiance of Byron Bay with the discreet and effortless elegance of New York’s luxury, boutique accommodation - think New York sophistication blended seamlessly with Byron Bay’s casual coastal lifestyle.
Right in the thick of it, on Bangalow Road, sits this stylish modern residence which provides the perfect retreat for group stays. This little slice of luxury has been designed for couples and smaller groups, making it perfect for a girls weekend away! It offers an oasis of serenity and calm amid the bustle of townspeople and tourists.
Positioned on one of Byron Bay’s original properties, The Bower is a destination in itself. The relaxed, palm-filled estate features accommodation offerings for all experiences, with a range of room sizes to larger studios and whole-house offerings for groups and families. The award-winning circular mineral pool is perfect for relieving stress, soothing sore muscles and good old fashioned fun in the sun. And you can't go past The Garden Bar for a sneaky pool side cocktail or two, or three...
The team behind The Bower are absolutely committed to doing their bit to protect the magnificent environment its located in for generations to come. The property has been designed to create best natural airflow and maximum insulation for better, natural temperature control and less need for aircon. They use solar power, LED lighting, reuse and recycle wherever possible.
The hotel offers a number of cool add-ons to make your stay awesome including complimentary Lekker bikes to explore Byron and the surrounds on, gourmet hampers and platters to take on adventures and luxury airport transfer.
SOMA Meditation Retreat
Modern life comes at you fast, and we don’t always get the chance to slow down. So, SOMA created a series of wellness retreats that provides a unique space and expert resources to rest, recharge, and renew yourself from the inside out—mind, body, soul.
If you're looking for a total relaxation experience, their choice of four wonderful retreat packages are a synthesis of ancient practices and modern science, which have been curated to accommodate a diverse range of needs and desires, in a design-forward and supportive environment.
Just 10 minutes from the heart of Byron Bay, 22 acres of lush rainforest await you for an immersive holistic experience. The unique property has plenty of secret spots to explore and offers beautifully spacious rooms, organic Ayurvedic meals, original artwork by Australian photographer, 22 acres of bamboo forest to explore, geodesic yoga dome, treatment rooms, an outdoor cinema, a freshwater pool, a communal fire pit and a majestic 200 year-old fig tree. If this is not enough to get you relaxed, we don't know what is!
Apartmento Byron Bay
Tranquil, light and a welcome source of reconnection is the hero of this luxury Airbnb property created by cult footwear (and now ready-to-wear) label St. Agni. An extension of founders Lara and Matt Fells ethos for St Agni, the bespoke boutique Airbnb offers a raw minimalist and peaceful interior aesthetic – a perfect escape for the ultimate relaxing stay.
A look inside Apartamento shows a grounding presence. Natural materials carry you through the serene space with shades of sand in the softly tiled bathroom, to hand-crafted timber features, raw textiles, a naked concrete staircase and black framed, uncovered windows that flood immense natural light and lush greenery.
Subtle contrasting details show purpose with luxury gold hardware and Aesop lined countertops for extra self-care. A soft embrace awaits from the customised boucle lounge, an opportune moment to curl yourself up in comfort with a good book in hand. Harmonious found objects such as ceramics, candles and flowers adorn corners and delight surfaces. An almost gallery-like space rich in quality essentials and room to breathe.
Apartamento is a unique balance of light and shade, a purposeful design curated to promote connection, calm and an easy way of living. We are but an extension of the spaces we inhabit and in times such as now, it’s more important than ever to feel safe in our own worlds.