journalist . writer . poet
articles . books . poems
Qweekend, The Courier-Mail, August 19-20
When I close my eyes and think about our recent weekend at Byron Bay I can still see the lush rainforest just outside our room. I visualise the droplets of water on the leaves and smell again the delicious dankness. If I hadn't been engulfed by a sense of luxurious torpor, I might have written a poem about the scene that was punctuated by birdsong.
It was a wet weekend when we visited the Byron at Byron Resort and Spa, and that seemed appropriate since we were staying amid a patch of rainforest by the beach. Much as I love Byron Bay (I've been coming here since I was a teenage surf rat), the town is a bit busy nowadays so staying just outside is a good idea. This resort is a little oasis with a handy shuttle bus into town if you need it. I spent the first half-hour just gazing out at the rainforest, which spreads for 18ha and includes ponds and paths. There's a paperbark forest, a coastal cypress pine forest and a Bangalow palm rainforest, and the meandering boardwalks are known as the Meditation Walk for obvious reasons.
This all-suite resort has four tiers of rooms all set within the forest. From our suite, we ambled along the Meditation Walk, umbrellas hoisted, and along the way we spotted a swamp wallaby. The main building is the place to hang out, with a deck featuring comfy lounges overlooking the stunning pool. We lounged here enjoying a cheese platter and a cold drink before setting out on an afternoon's surfing excursion to The Pass, where metre-high waves peeled down the beach. Byron Bay is more of a surfer's paradise than Surfers' Paradise.
Refreshed after our baptismal surf session, my wife, my son and I drove back to the resort determined to soak up the ambience and to make the most of our overnight stay. The only question was - do we want to leave and have dinner elsewhere? No need to because of the excellent restaurant, one of the resort's main attractions. We called our friends who made the short trek from nearby Brunswick Heads to join us on the deck for a delicious meal. Scots-born chef Gavin Hughes is an advocate of local produce. His seasonally changing menu regularly showcases Ballina prawns, Burrawong free-range chicken, Bangalow pork and his signature dish, Rangers Valley beef from the nearby Northern Tablelands. The Byron at Byron restaurant also has craft beers and fine wines that will be of interest to some, but never to me as a teetotaller.
Breakfast is another treat. I had a bit of a lie-in on the Sunday morning, although my wife got up early for the complimentary yoga class. That was a bridge too far for me.
We were at the resort for just under 24 hours, which was just long enough to be enchanted with our surrounds but not quite long enough to really soak it up. But I can still see that gorgeous little patch of heaven in my mind's eye.
with PHIL BROWN
Arts Editor - The Courier-Mail
Copyright © Phil Brown