We are so blessed in Australia to be surrounded by some of the world’s most beautiful beaches, but more often than not we only consider them as holiday destinations in the warmer months. These coastal towns have so much to offer all year round though and Byron Bay is the perfect example of how much you can experience in winter.
1. Sea Kayaking is a must if you’re in Byron Bay in winter. Between June and October is the ultimate time for whale watching as the gorgeous humpbacks head up the East coast of Australia. The whales enjoy the warmer ocean temperatures for breeding and rest before starting their long migration back to the Antarctic in November. Go Sea Kayaking Byron Bay runs two fantastic tours per day over winter at 9:30am and again at 2pm. The ocean surrounding Byron is actually a marine park which makes it a safe haven for so many different species including dolphins and turtles. If you’re lucky you’ll see both on your way out to the East Australian Current, which is about a half an hour paddle out to sea, where you’ll sit and wait for the majestic whales to cruise by.
2. Lunch at Rae’s on Wategos is still the best spot to enjoy a long lunch by the ocean in Byron Bay. Constantly appearing on ‘Best Hotel’ lists around the world, Rae’s is an absolute institution. If you are looking for somewhere to stay make sure you book well in advance as there are only seven rooms, but you don’t need to be a guest to experience the amazing Rae’s Fish Café. It is coastal chic, gourmet dining of the highest standard. The food is first class with freshly caught seafood and fabulous service. You’ll dine at a leisurely pace as you watch the waves roll in at Wategos beach. Vegetarians are very well catered for and you should definitely try a few Chilli Espresso Martinis with the Chocolate desert to finish.
3. Take a private yoga class on the beach. The beaches around Byron Bay are absolutely gorgeous and they are at their best early in the morning. You may find it a bit harder to get out of bed during the colder months, especially when you’re on holidays, but once you’re up taking in the raw beauty of a secluded beach you’ll be so glad you did. Emily Oldillo Maher from Travel Light Yoga is one on Byron’s best yoga instructors. She takes private lessons for an hour at a cost of $100 for up to two people. She’s happy to do the class wherever you want too, so if you find a spot that you absolutely love she’ll meet you there and take you through the lesson.
4. Dinner at The Byron at Byron is a fabulous experience. The retreat is set in a rainforest and the restaurant takes full advantage of its stunning surroundings with the terrace nestled right on the forest edge. You’ll dine out under the stars gazing at the rainforest for a truly unique experience. On Thursday nights the chefs put on a Farmers Market Dinner where everything served in the two course meal is made from local produce brought fresh at the Byron Bay markets that morning. If you’re after something a little more up market they have also just added a Penfold’s Wine tasting to their menu where you can try everything from the Bin 28 to the amazing 2009 Grange.
5. Get a facial from Marionne De Candia. Based at Rae’s on Wategos Marionne is internationally renowned for her facials and you shouldn’t leave Byron without seeing her for at least one treatment. She has spent her life learning about facial rejuvenation and specialises in anti-aging with over thirty years practical experience. Marionne uses all of her own beautiful products with a mix of massage and Reiki to calm and centre. She will literally knock the city out of you in a minute and you’ll leave not only with gorgeous skin, but also a clear mind and relaxed body.