What was once a sleepy, beachside pocket best known for its epic surf breaks, Byron Bay is now an internationally recognised hot-spot. Paparazzi flock to this northern NSW coastal playground whenever there’s word of a Hemsworth or Mylie Cyrus sighting. But, so do families – that is the wonder of Byron Bay.
Once known as Cavanbah by the Bundjalung of Byron Bay Arakwal people, Byron and its blissful surrounds make it one of Australia’s ultimate holiday destinations.
Byron Bay is so much more than Millionaire’s Row and indulgent escapes – it is surprisingly affordable and perfect for families. TML recently looked at some of the family friendly ways to enjoy this usually upmarket retreat.
Discovery Parks Byron Bay
I’ve a confession to make. I’ve never glamped before. Glamping allows you to keep certain amenities strategically close while still enjoying the great outdoors.
Discovery Parks Byron Bay have recently spent over $3 million expanding the Park’s accommodation choices to include stylish cabins overlooking the lake for families and couples as well as Safari Tents that are set amongst towering gums.
With over 22,000 caravans manufactured in Australia last year, caravanning is on the rise and not just for Gray Nomads. Discovery Parks are nothing like caravan parks of the 70’s – usually indistinguishable with spartan caravans and rickety cabins reminiscent of those old home-movie moments.
The open plan Safari Tents are ideal for unwinding with large decks and family-sized barbecues perfect for ‘sunsets’ and snags. All mod cons are there including 40” TVs and fully equipped kitchens. You can choose to let the outside in with zippered windows and yes, the sparkling bathrooms are ensuite.
The park’s self-contained cabins, safari tents, ensuite sites and powered sites are all within the environs of the languid Belongil Creek.
More Hamptons than Byron the new cabins overlook the peaceful lake. All the comforts of home in an extremely tranquil setting, cantilevered over the lake with only the occasional jumping fish to amp up the serenity.
The Discovery Park’s people have cleverly designed countless ways to wear out the kids from the Bouncing Pillow to pedal cars and now Byron’s Barrel Water Park – one of the most fun and safest water parks in Australia. The water is cycled back to a balance tank for treatment and reused.
The 500 sqm waterpark features a 3 metre high waterslide and sits next to the new ¼ million litre free form lagoon style swimming pool. No marital squabbles over who takes the kids to the water park as this is genuine fun for all ages. https://www.discoveryholidayparks.com.au
Cape Byron Lighthouse
Since 1901 Cape Byron Lighthouse has graced Australia’s most easterly point. We tour with NSW NP&WS officer Lee who shared the history of both the local first nation’s people and the white settlers.
Learning about a whaling industry that nearly eliminated humpbacks, to the daily routine of the lighthouse keeper and his family, a tour here really makes this man-made wonder come alive. This is Australia’s most powerful lighthouse with a light intensity of 2,200,000 candles flashing every 15 seconds over a range of 27 nautical miles.
Stepping out on to the Lighthouse balcony is nothing short of magical. On a clear day, you really can see forever. This headland is Byron’s supreme vantage point to sight migrating humpbacks cruising past May through to late-October. Keep an eye out for frolicking or as in our case – snoozing pods of local dolphins. http://www.nationalparks.nsw.gov.au/things-to-do/historic-buildings-places/cape-byron-lighthouse
Just outside of town at Ewingsdale, the Farm is an 86 acre working farm and also home to a number of small businesses including an outpost of Bronte’s famous Three Blue Ducks, The Bread Social and Flowers at the Farm.
The Farm’s motto is ‘Grow, Feed, Educate’ making it tailor-made for a day when you can drag the kids away from the Water Park. There are morning and afternoon farm tours everyday of the school holidays giving families the opportunity to do a ‘behind the scenes tour’ of a working farm.
The Farm grows everything sustainably and is 100% spray and chemical free. You can start at the playground, visit the pigs and move on to the chicken caravan and check out the Scottish Highland Cattle. Here the kids can be pretty much free range; a place to run and get a little dirty. http://www.thefarmbyronbay.com.au/
Three Blue Ducks
Sourcing as much as possible from The Farm and nearby producers, the Restaurant and Produce Store are housed in a suitably rustic building. The massive 12 metre undercover patio houses a BBQ area and outdoor kitchen with a double spit, wood fire pizza oven and Argentinian grill for weekends.
Breakfast is best on the patio taking in the early morning rays. The menu features a pretty mixed grain porridge, Muesli and yummy things from The Bread Social as well as all things eggy.
Be warned the Farm pork and fennel burger is substantial and the Avocado, stracchino and poached eggs with macadamia crumb and chilli sourdough an absolute winner. Being Byron, the coffee is direct traded and forest friendly, and the chai and tea certified organic. And, for the Kids? Their special menu includes eggs three ways on toast, fruit salad and eggs with soldiers. http://www.threeblueducks.com/byron/home-byron
TML was hosted by Discovery Parks.