We usually check the local weather before we land somewhere. When you’re on holiday, you really want the “Weather Gods” to cooperate, so it was a bit disconcerting to see rain, especially when it’s the entire week’s forecast. Such was the case for our week in Byron Bay, and it wasn’t just a passing shower, it was looking pretty heavy the entire time.
Luckily for us, our plans included a stay at The Byron at Byron Resort and Spa, situated right in the middle of beautiful, lush Australian rainforest. If it’s going to be raining, the rainforest is the place to be. Located on the temperate NSW Mid North Coast, just five kilometres south of Byron Bay’s bustling town centre, this eco-friendly resort is a welcome escape from the summer crowds and is only 10 minutes’ stroll on the rainforest boardwalk through to Tallow Beach, itself a stunning stretch of golden sand. The beach is fabulous for long walks and people watching: the beautiful people gather here; young couples with their bare-bottomed toddlers, dogs catch frisbees while teens tackle the surf.
The winner of numerous awards, The Byron entered TripAdvisor’s Hall of Fame in 2015 after earning the site’s Certificate of Excellence for consistently high visitor reviews five years in a row. Upon arrival it becomes immediately obvious why: the award-winning design beautifully embraces the environment. The resort boasts a beautiful infinity pool and spacious tennis courts, but because of the weather, we’re probably not going to be spending much time at either. We would have to be satisfied with The Byron’s renowned spa or after finding my centre at the daily complimentary yoga classes. Maybe later we’d pop in to town on the free resort shuttle.
Suites at The Byron are embedded in clusters throughout the rainforest, connected by eco-friendly above-ground boardwalks. Our Deluxe Spa Suite is in a secluded corner and we decide to take the boardwalk through the rainforest instead of a buggy as it is just as incredible in the pouring rain. The suite is large with lots of timber and large windows looking out through the bush. There are two screened in outdoor areas with comfortable chairs and a large bathroom with a freestanding spa tub. The kitchenette has everything you need including a full sized fridge and even a dishwasher.
After talking to the girls in the spa I decide to book one of their signature treatments: the two-hour “Flannel Flower Relax”. This involves a full body exfoliation followed by a slathering of heavy body cream after which you are wrapped in a cocoon of warmth. As you float in and out of consciousness, you are given a facial with lots of massage, topped off with a divine scalp massage. My therapist’s name is Noriko and she is brilliant. I have to say it is the best spa treatment I have ever had (and I have had a fair few).
The next morning’s yoga class taught by Tara runs for about 75 minutes and is suitable for all levels. The class is held on the covered verandah, so the rain doesn’t interfere and while there are lots of participants, there is plenty of room to spread out. It’s a great way to start the morning and I feel less guilty when I indulge at breakfast shortly after. There are plenty of options for breakfast including a ginger macadamia sourdough bread that becomes an instant favourite. Along with hot choices like eggs, bacon and sausage, there are several gluten-free options and healthy choices such as chia seed pudding, fresh fruit, dried nuts and seeds and a delicious bircher muesli.
Dinner at The Restaurant under the guidance of chef Gavin Hughes is not to be missed. Gavin is a big fan of the local Byron market and he uses regional produce whenever possible. From the zucchini flowers stuffed with skordalia, chili, rocket and almonds to the Milly Hill roast lamb with quinoa, wasabi peas, radish and tamarind eggplant chutney, every bite was wonderful.
While our visit to The Byron may not have been blessed with sunshine, we were pleasantly surprised by how much we enjoyed reconnecting with nature in the rainforest. Add the yoga, being pampered in the spa, and the consumption of simply great food, maybe those weather Gods know what’s best after all.