Australia: my favourite things to do in Byron Bay and Bondi Beach.
I have travelled all over this beautiful country, in the past years, but have always gravitated back to Sydney, to visit my 92 year old Auntie and Byron Bay for a real chill catching up with the many friends I’ve made there over the years. I used to spend as long as three months renting Airbnb’s and living like a local in Byron…..oh and working on my blog etc! This time I went for a month (hate leaving Jack for much longer now he’s 12) spending two weeks in Byron Bay and two weeks in Bondi to be near my Auntie and one of my closest friends who was house sitting there.
So here are just a few of my highlights from my two centre break. What I saw, what I wore (where I find the clothes I buy down under are always popular), what I ate and what I rate. It will be a useful guide if you are going to either Bondi or Byron and you’ll find more links to other blogs from my travels to this amazing country at the end of this blog).
First, Byron Bay…..
WHAT I SAW.
Byron has become The hippy chic place to visit making it now one of the most expensive little resorts ever. Surfer backpackers rub shoulders with the rich from Sydney and celebrities like Chris Hemsworth have moved in. Most of my friends, and the Airbnb owners I used to rent from, have sold up and moved out to cheaper areas so this time, for the first time, I stayed out of town in Suffolk Park. Just ten minutes from town it turned out to be just perfect: deserted beaches, where I only met locals and their dogs, a beautiful rain forest, a tea tree lake and a quiet and very peaceful vibe. It was also just as easy to get to visit other towns in the Shire……
If you get the chance to stay in Byron and have a car (parking in town is now a ‘mare) there are lots of other beautiful places to visit: Lennox Head, Bangalow, Mullumbimbi, Brunswick Heads, the list is endless: all have fabulous beaches, boutiques and eateries. There’s a pretty good bus service to all of them and Uber is alive and well in Byron, which really made my life easier than on previous visits over the last six years.
WHAT I WORE.
You know me, and you know how much I love a market, a preloved shop, or a sale! So here are a couple of my purchases from this and previous visits. I was very self-controlled on this visit!
Apart from the Saturday night market in Byron, the main markets are once or twice a month in Byron and Bangalow and some of the other towns. Check when you get there, especially if it’s out of season. Compared to a few years ago, clothes are much more expensive than they used to be but you can still find some bargains in the vintage section. And if you are there late January, the end of summer sales, are on! I bought both of the Arnhem boutique outfits in the sales.
WHAT I ATE.
Australia has fantastic eateries all over and Byron is no exception….. full of trendy, healthy, and vegan or vegetarian options. And you’ll find plenty of international restaurants there too. O Sushi deserves a special mention as it’s awesome and so cheap compared to the UK. These were my favourite haunts this time, complete with the friendliest folk you’ll ever meet!
For a special lunch or dinner, The Byron at Byron Resort Spa is hard to beat. One of my friends and I celebrated Australia Day in the fine dining restaurant complete with the rain forest in the background. Just beautiful.
WHAT I RATE.
I was lucky enough to stay at the Byron at Byron Resort & Spa. Not the cheapest but certainly the best! I couldn’t get into a suitable Airbnb for love nor money and this hotel ticks all the boxes, plus there are always deals if you shop around on-line and avoid high season (school holidays in January). Near Tallow Beach, the hotel has apartment type rooms that come with a kitchenette, washing machine, coffee machine, free yoga, a gym, a spa and a fab pool….. plus amazing staff and the quietest place ever, right in the middle of the rain forest! And there’s a free shuttle into town twice a day.
TOP TIP: Prices drop after Australia Day, towards the end of January, I booked an adult only suite which is a longer walk to reception and the pool etc. but nearer the beach and dead quiet!
So, completely relaxed after a proper two week break of fun in the sun, but no way long enough for me to catch up with everyone and visit all my favourite towns, it was time to be off to Bondi Beach and a bit of city living. I’ve never stayed in Bondi before (I used to stay in Annandale or Coogee) and although two weeks was a bit long for another beach holiday it’s easy to get around Sydney from there, by bus and Uber. So I crammed in as much as I could around Sydney when I could drag myself away from the world-famous beach!
I’ve done all the touristy things in Sydney but have some lovely moments to share with you from this visit…..one of the best just had to be going to see Bohemian Rhapsody (for the second time) at St. George Open Air Cinema at Mrs Macquaries Point. Champagne, food, a seat, great friends, a warm night and the most amazing views of Sydney Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge. What’s not to love! Plus, we got fireworks that night as it was Chinese New Year! This is a must do, but book early to avoid disappointment. My best friend in Sydney, Jude, bought them as Christmas presents for us and had to book way ahead. There are open air cinemas all over Sydney, but this one is special and the experience was one of my main highlights from the whole holiday.
WHAT I WORE.
More purchases from Bondi Beach. I couldn’t resist a couple of items at the Bondi Sunday Market, which is far cheaper than the Byron Bay markets, and I found another couple of boutiques with everything on Sale!
WHAT I ATE.
There is so much on offer in Sydney it’s difficult to know where to start but here are a couple of my faves from this visit.
And of course the views are second to none! Here are a couple of suggestions that are a joy to eat at for the food and the view.
WHAT I RATE.
I booked the Adina Apartment Hotel in Bondi because it had all the essentials that I need for a two week stay: swimming pool, kitchen, washing machine, good wifi, and nice and central. The rates were really reasonable, considering it’s Sydney and in Bondi, and it didn’t disappoint at all. Views from my balcony weren’t bad either!
Finally, I go to Australia as often as I can because of my aged Aunt and my many wonderful friends in both Byron Bay and Sydney, plus the heat in the middle of a UK winter! So here’s a rogues gallery, starting with Auntie, to say a big thank you to them all for putting up with taking endless photos of me in my latest outfit, driving me around, and sharing such lovely experiences together. You are all wonderful and I can’t wait to see you again.
I hope you enjoyed the highlights of my lovely two centre holiday! Do comment and ask me anything about Australia if you are going for the first time. I love hearing from you.
Meanwhile, here are some other links to my blogs about Australia:
Melbourne, Fashion, Food and Friends.
My last long rental in Byron Bay complete with a very friendly water dragon!
And a recent blog on how I took just one pair of sandals for a month in Oz!
BTW in the Byron Bay clothes photos, you can see me wearing my Suzi Su Scarf with the pink skirt: one as a scarf and one as a top. You can buy them here, but the pink ones have gone I’m afraid. Will stock up on next visit, but there are still other colours available.