Name: Amri Kibbler
Destination: Byron Bay, Australia
Trip Duration: 3 weeks
Travel Companions: Jason, Mari (5) and River (1)
My husband, Jason is from Australia so we make the pilgrimage every year to see his family. It’s become our special place for our family to connect, since we both work long hours. It’s not a bad part of the deal to escape New York winter for the warm Australian summer! We always rent a house and pretty well try to live like locals, hanging at the beach and BBQ as much as we can.
I was lucky enough to share some special moments with my kids as well as with the husband this trip. He and I actually managed to get in a lot of alone time towards the end of this trip and had some pretty epic dates, thanks to an incredible baby sitter we found that my kids fell in love with.
We went to Newrybar, a tiny town which has about 20 houses and a world class restaurant that forages it’s local fare, plus one shop that could rival any cool New York home store, Newrybar Merchants. Once we’ve had our fill of food and shopping, we like to stop at Killen Falls to hike down a very steep path into a “secret swimming hole” with the sun streaming through a waterfall. It’s pretty heavenly.
My older daughter Mari, and I spent a day fairy hunting in Brunswick Heads. We visited the Brunswick Picture House, an adorable restored cinema with a side garden that feels like the perfect place for fairies to hide, in fact, we actually found a ceramic fairy hiding in the landscaping. The cinema was recently restored and hosts great kids events like magic shows and live bubble shows. The Brunswick river is crystal clear and only about a foot deep on one side, so it the perfect swimming spot with small kids. You can rent little boats and paddle around after having a picnic. There are playgrounds dotted along the shore so this makes for a super easy entertaining destination with kids.
Style is all “beach to dinner” wear and has a very relaxed surf chic feel. People have authentically tousled beach hair (courtesy of the ocean!) and no one is trying too hard. Shoes are pretty well optional and people buy local since things can be very expensive to import. The focus is on comfort and ease and staying cool in the heat. The locals are so gorgeous and they just naturally look like sunkissed models in easy flowy pieces.
A highlight for me was a restaurant called, Harvest in Newrybar. They had a special menu testing night where all ingredients were “foraged” from the surrounding rainforest, and they were testing out new dishes like wild spinach picked from the beach and yes, kangaroo. Everything was amazing!
Australia knows how to do super cute, healthy spots to grab a bite, but I also ate my weight in fish and chips during the trip.
For me: LoveShackFancy dresses , a gorgeous scarf for me to double as a blanket for the kids, and a hat.
For the kids: Sunblock! Crayons, coloring books and rashguards.
I’m a go with the flow traveler in my romantic head, but then I end up frustrated that we didn’t “do everything” so now I make a calendar and plan out the things we don’t want to miss.
My husband was a photo assistant and traveled the world in charge of 100’s of heavy cases, so we kind of have it made when we’re with him. His ability to maneuver 5 giant suitcases with ease is no joke! We rent car seats with our cars and baby gear in the houses we rent.
Shopping: Byron and the surrounding towns each have their own personality and great shopping spots. My favorites in each are…
Newrybar: Newrybar Merchants has an incredible array of home, beauty and kids items.
Bangalow: There is one alley full of incredible cute shops centered around Woods Cafe (sister to Folk, see below).
Brunswick Heads: Clem’s Cargo vintage home is a must.
Sights: Beach, beach, beach. The beaches are breathtaking with crystal clear water and killer surf. Some faves are Watagos and The Pass (check out the surf cam!). The lighthouse has sweeping views that are not to miss.
Kid-approved must-do: Farm camp at The Farm where kids grow herbs and try out simple recipes and commune with the animals. Three Blue Ducks restaurant there is a must for breakfast and some nights they have live music at the farm and the kids can run around and play. They also have an incredible farm store and floral shop on site.
The local markets have incredible shopping for natural beauty, dresses, dream catchers, finds from Bali and tarot card readers. Look for signs around town to find out when they are on.
I’d love to head to Morocco and source some gorgeous rugs.
Don’t forget to bring lots of sunblock. The rays in Australia are no joke and I recommend a hat plus sunblock at all times! Setting up a sitter before hand can make things easier and be sure to set aside half days to sneak off with your honey.
My favorite evening dinner is a bbq on Wategos beach. The view is better than any restaurant, and you’ll see a sunset you’ll remember forever. The kids can run free on the beach while you hang out under a tree and enjoy a cold beer. We pick up some local veggies and sausages from the butcher, which makes for a really perfect evening. The public beaches, facilities and bbqs in Australia are pristine. The country takes a lot of pride in keeping things clean so bring your kids shower things and get them all soaped up in the outdoor shower, before slipping them in clean pjs. They will fall asleep on the way home and you’ll have an easy night on your hands!
Do you have any must-have places to visit in Byron Bay? Let us know! Up next? Portugal.