The secret is out! The best time to visit Byron Bay is right NOW!
Why? Simple really; it’s the locals favourite time of the year! With less crowds, the ocean is still beautiful and warm, the whales are migrating past our doorstep, no humidity …… AND there are some great deals on luxury accommodation that you really must take advantage of! Like 28 Degrees Byron Bay, which is right in town and ticks all the luxe guesthouse boxes in all the right ways.
People often talk luxury and barefoot accommodation, but what does it really mean? Well at 28 Degrees Byron Bay it is at the core of absolutely everything they do! The whole experience at 28 Degrees is wholistic in its truest form. From the custom built Grander water treatment system (more about this later), to the low toxic paint used on all the floors and walls, the selection of ceiling fans (chosen for their beauty and low noise emission) the ‘please please please can I take you home with me’ pieces of Maker & Son furniture featured in all the bedrooms and the Main House shared living spaces, free push bikes for you to use during your stay (we took full advantage of the bikes and took ourselves on a cheeky pub crawl one afternoon and a self guided food tour eating adventure the next!). To the, captivating works of art that complete each room (each have their own story to tell, as to why they were chosen for that particular wall or space).
From the moment you arrive you can feel your body and soul lovingly embraced by the tranquil charm at 28 Degrees, as owner Deb Garske takes you on a tour of your new favourite home away from home.
Deb has built and curated 28 Degrees to soothe the soul and replenish the mind and body. There is a boundless abundance of care and consideration for the whole experience that it is kind of hard to know where to start really! I feel like a kid in my favourite lolly shop and I don’t know how to explain or contain my excitment, as everywhere I look I’m drawn to more beauty and pretty things that I want! Like the swoon worthy oven and bench tops in kitchen!
So I’m thinking we should probably start with the water, as I feel like this underpins much of the ethos and fundamental core beliefs for creating a luxury experience with an uncompromising attention to detail that is the essence of 28 Degrees. So, what is so magical and mystical about the water at 28 Degrees? Well …….. for starters all the water on the property first gets filtered, then super importantly it is run through the Grander water treatment system, which in short, softens and oxygenates the water. This process helps to hydrate and detox your cells, but how does this actually feel? And can you really taste the difference? The answer is; it feels soooo super soft and nourishing on your skin, and it tastes amazzzzzzing, and yes you really do notice a huge difference. Yep for real …. I can honestly say, that within just a couple of days at 28 Degrees drinking the water, showering in the water and swimming in the water (Yes ALL the water at 28 Degrees is run through the Grander even the pool water AND you’ll also find a tap out the front to fill your own bottles of water), my skin was noticeably softer and more hydrated, my hair felt softer and I no longer had that bloated tummy YAY! I know what you’re thinking………“yeah right Terase!” I wouldn’t have believed it either unless I’d experienced it for myself.
We stayed in the Main House, which also meant we had access to the gourmet kitchen (side note: when I grow-up I want a kitchen just like this!), a deep lap pool with a lush courtyard garden, and two cosy comfy lounge areas. All the walls, floors and doors throughout the whole property have been built with noise reduction in mind, so you never hear another sound from the other rooms or people coming and going, all you hear are the birds singing and your mind slowing down to a dreamy barefoot holiday state of mind, yup pure bliss!
There are lots and lots of complimentary treats for you to savour during your stay at 28 Degrees, our favs would have to be the carefully curated breakfast offering of unhomogenised full cream milk from Big River Milk in the Clarence Valley, locally made gluten free and dairy free granola, Barambah Organics yoghurt and Deb’s famous home-made compote for breaky.
My partner Dave is renowned for his breakfast in bed cook-ups, but here, all he had to do was take the premium local ingredients from the fridge and combine……so simple!! Now, granola, milk and compote wouldn’t normally get a loud OMgggggggg and far-out response from me! But then this is no regular granola combo ……… for starters the granola mix is generous and full of flavour ….. like it has been made with flavour in mind and not constrained by cost or time restraints, the milk tasted like milk actually should! AND the Barambah yoghurt teamed with Deb’s famous seasonal compote was no accident either! Actually the famous food and travel writter Pat Nourse recently said in the Gourmet Traveller “The only thing better than owner Deb Garske’s eye for detail is her rhubarb compote”. But the breakfast flavour party doesn’t stop there! Moonshine Coffee Roasters (locally roasted coffee by some of my favourite locals), is also on the breakfast tray as is a wonderfully colourful and soothing selection of tea from the Tea Shop!
OK ……. so now let’s talk 28 Degrees bedrooms and bathrooms! We were lucky enough to score the Master Bedroom in the Main House on our recent stay. Now, I’m going to tell ya that I’ve stayed at some pretty epic places around the world, so my eye for flaws in detail is …… very highly tuned! But it need not have been, because Debs expertly and beautifully executed ‘minimalist with intent’ style has been turned up yet another notch in the boudoir! With the understated luxe of the Hale Mercantile Co. king size linen bed head and inviting cosy charm of the matching bed linen with a pretty packet of Coco Chocolate winking at you rather cheekily from the end of the bed. (Dave’s top tip: turn the chocolate upside down so the fruit hits your tongue first …. Dave says, you can thank him later!). You really can be completely forgiven for not ever wanting to leave your room during your stay! For a little bit of added I’m never leaving …… our room also came with our own private terrace, which we found perfectly suited for retiring to to cuddle up on the outdoor sofa one night to drink wine, eat cheese (PS. Debs compote also works beautifully with goats cheese and brie too …. so add it to your cheeky late night cheeseboard too!) and watch the thunderstorm and lightening show dancing through the midnight star filled sky.
I also love love love a generously sized ensuite that has a shower that is big enough to share with your lover, boyfriend or hubby (preferably not all three of them at once!), and a bath that is; wide enough, long enough and deep enough to climb into with your man, drink wine and chat about love, life and future plans together. Also, in a town that loves to take the white on white on white to dizzy heights, it is more than a little bit refreshing to see the interior designing confidence that Deb brings to all the bathrooms that are seductively dark and moody with copper pipes, Cloth & Co 100% organic black bath towels and mats and SaardeTurkish bath towels that can also double as your beach towel too!
Oh yes, and there is also three stunning rooms off the Main House that have their own private plunge pools, perfect for intimate moonlight swims with the one you love, or simply just cooling off from a busy day exploring Byron. If you are heading to Byron for your honeymoon, babymoon or just a cheeky weekend away, we reckon these rooms have loved up romance written all over them!
There is so much to love and be inspired by the unique barefoot luxury style that defines 28 Degrees Byron Bay from the pack. I highly recommend you jump online and book your barefoot luxury experience with 28 Degrees ASAP! So, you to can escape the norm and recharge your mind, body and soul in Byron Bay before the crowds come back for summer!
Here’s our insiders guide to Byron this winter!
THINGS TO DO:
Whale watching is at the top of our list of things to do in Byron during the much anticipated yearly migration of these majestic mammals. The crew at Out of the Blue Adventures are passionate experienced professionals, with a qualifed marine bioligist on board to co-host each tour, and on hand to answer all your whale and marine questions, along with owner and captain Dean Fuchs. Take your camera or iPhone and make sure it’s fully charged!
Our local gal pal Katie Elliott runs intimate Toast the Sun experiences up at the iconic Byron Bay Lighthouse. Complete with a fully styled set up and custom made breakfast for you to savour, whilst you settle in to experience the joy and beauty of seeing the sunrise over the ocean at Australia’s most easterly point.
WHERE TO EAT BREAKFAST:
Owned and operated by Caroline and Fadi two of the most generous and lovely people you’ll ever meet! The menu here is an authentic Egyptian flavour party, with original recipes past down from Fadi’s mum the food is honest to goodness good! My top tips; Shakshouka (I always add Chorizo too!), Cairo Eggs, Corn Fritters, Vegan Dukka Dukka or the Falafel plate. Safya are also opened for lunch and dinner too!
My almost daily ritual of a takeaway “Maca Cappa” or probably better known by its more formal name a Macadamia Cappuccino, yes and in my own environmentally friendly cup of course, is one of my fav daily must do’s. Top Shop is a mecca for locals and visitors year round, and for good reason! My top menu tips; Smashed Avo on Sourdough, classic American Beef Burger, Quinoa Fetta and Almond Salad, Fish Burger oh yeah and ……. absoultely all the pastries and muffins!
For all things organic, gluten free, dairy free and flavour packed head to Combi Cafe! Owners Penny & Anthony are seriously committed to supporting local producers, reducing their carbon footprint in everything they do and bringing the flavour party to the plate always!
WHERE WE LIKE TO GRAB OUR LUNCH and DINNER:
Oh now …… there are so many many reasons why we love everything about the iconic Balcony Bar & Oyster Co! This place is fun fun fun fun! And the food and service is always bang on AND they also do the most fun events like the recently released “Drag me to Dinner” series and the epic “Pork-a-Palooza” seasonal menu, ah yes and their cocktails are also reason enough to head to the balcony pronto! My top menu tips: Mussels and Fries, BBQ Pork Ribs, Crispy Pigs Ear Tacos, Orgy of Mushroom Gnocchi, Salt Cod Croquettes and Southern Fried Fish Tacos.
Full disclosure, the iconic Fig Tree Restaurant was started by my aunty and uncle in 1981 and is now owned by my cousin Che. I might be slightly biased BUT this is hands down the best dining experience in the region! With views across the valley and the bay from the Lighthouse and right up the coast, the Fig Tree Restauant not only has cracking views but it also does the most stunning of seasonal produce driven menus going, with much of the produce coming from their award winning garden. It’s hard to get a table, so we highly recommend you book in advance.
This is hands down my favourite place to eat Asian food, drink fabulous cocktails and beers and soak up the Byron meets Melbourne vibes. Light Years is tucked down the back of an arcade (soooo Melbourne!) and only seats about 30 people and is mostly packed by in the know locals. Get there early if you can, so you can grab one of the tables outside and do a bit of people watch’n whilst you pat yourself on the back for eating at a joint loved by locals. My top menu tips: THE Pork Belly (I’ve been know to eat this dish all to myself more than once!), Kingfish Ceviche, Pork Bao Buns, Fish Curry, Hanger Steak and Pork Dumplings.
My go to Spanish Tapas fix! I’ve spent many a holiday eating and drinking my way around Spain, so it’s actually no surprise I’m drawn to St Elmos. Their authentic flavours and warm friendly hospitality reminds me of every single thing that I love about Spain. Top menu tips: Jamon Serrano, calamari, slow cooked lamb, local cuttlefish and the pork belly.
Once a well kept local secret, these guys now have loyal customers from both near and far. We were there recently and sat arcoss the table from a couple from the Sunshine Coast, who were on a road trip and made a detour especially for lunch at Doma. Everything here is sourced locally and made with such care and attention to detail it blows my mind everytime I visit. Top Menu Tips: Eggplant Deganku, Prawn Tempura, Temaki Style Sushi Rolls, Inari and the Yuzu Peppered Seared Beef.
Whilst you are at Doma be sure to swing by the Moonshine Coffee Roasted (yep the guys who’s coffee is at 28 Degrees) and grab a coffee straight from the source. You can also find the crew from Doma at the Mullumbimby Farms Market each Friday making sushi cones to order and other goodies.
Now unless you’ve been living under a rock for the last couple for weeks, you will have no doubt heard that the doors at Pipit are now open in Pottsville! Pipit is the inspired love child of my cousin Ben Devlin and his wife and business partner Yen Trinh. Ben’s menu is driven by the unique flavours and local produce of the Northern Rivers and his love and commitment to sustainably sourced local fish and poultry. It’s been such a joy to see Ben and Yen’s journey from dream to opening the doors come true, the food and entire dining experience here is everything you’d expect from a talented chef and perfectionist. Top tip: book a kitchen bar top table so you can see the master and work.
There are plenty more places in Byron to eat, drink and play, these are just a view of our favourites!
Until next time.
Eat Local. Eat Well.