I promised you the glossy version of my holiday. Here goes …
A year ago, I decided to book a family holiday to Byron Bay for Bluesfest. I figured it had a little something for everyone: good food, great beaches, nice shopping, a music festival …
Then I researched the prices for accommodation in Byron and blanched at how astronomical they were, even at the caravan park. So I looked a little further afield and happened upon Lennox Head, which is about 25 minutes south of Byron.
I decided the distance was a plus because Byron is insanely busy at Easter. The traffic jams are ridiculous, whereas Lennox offers quick access to the highway, with Bluesfest an easy drive down the road.
It was an awesome decision – this is the view that greeted us when we arrived …
I also managed to get a beachfront, three-bedroom townhouse for a fraction of the price of a Byron pad.
Take a look at this view from the balcony:
The townhouse (click here to read more about it) was across the road from a sheltered part of Seven Mile Beach that turns into a lagoon at low tide. When the youngest and I went for a dip, we swore it looked like we were holidaying on a tropical island.
This is just one of the zillion photos I took of my lovely beach bunny …
Renting a townhouse also meant we could stock up on groceries at the Woolies in Ballina – just 15 minutes away – and save ourselves a bomb on food bills.
Bluesfest itself was brilliant for my music-loving 15 year old. I let them loose on two separate days to explore the six circus-style tents full of acts from around the world. That gave them around six or seven hours to do their own thing, with instructions to meet me back at the entrance at a certain time.
If you buy your tickets to Bluesfest far enough in advance you can get “open” ones that allow you to pick and choose the days you’ll attend after the artist timetable is announced. We went for Friday because Iggy Pop (below) was headlining; and Sunday to see Tex Perkins (above) and Jack Johnson.
The youngest loves to shop, so we braved Byron one morning to browse the boutiques, where she found a cute crocheted top and an orange hoodie.
We returned on Sunday to explore the weekly markets that line the beachfront. They’re filled with fashion, homewares, food, jewellery and other wonderful things. I bought DD’s mum a birthday gift from a candle stall that repurposes antique crystal ware and crockery – she loved her matching cake plate and saucer with a candle in the teacup.
The youngest was also very excited to get a henna tattoo.
One morning we hired a paddleboard for a few hours at Shaw’s Beach in Ballina. The youngest’s balance was perfect, mum’s … not so much.
One of my favourite parts of the holiday was going to sleep at night with the curtains to my bedroom open and waking up to watch the sun rise from bed. It was glorious.
Some mornings I’d wander along the sand to a local coffee shop, get a strong flat white, wander back sipping it, then run into the surf for the most divine high-tide swims.
It was a fabulous way to start the day.
Another morning we ducked up to the hinterland town of Bangalow for a wander around, where we picked up a few jewellery gifts while DD sipped a coffee.
I also took the youngest on an op shop crawl one afternoon in Ballina – hitting around six stores within an hour. Ballina is regarded as something of an op shop hot spot … but it didn’t ring our bells because there were no “finds” to be had, just lots of Millers and Kmart style nothing specialness.
But maybe we copped a bad week.
If your kids love the beach, I’d give our Lennox Head getaway two thumbs up – it was a winner on that front. If your kids prefer to dress in head to toe black and mooch in their rooms, maybe not so much.
While I won’t be returning to Lennox with my kids in tow, I’d definitely think about it for a grown-up Bluesfest escape in the future.
On my list for the adult escape would be a visit to Shelter restaurant, which my hairdresser tells me is awesome for brekkie, lunch and dinner. The chef is Grant La Brooy, the brother of Three Blue Ducks co-founder Mark La Brooy.
As I was hanging with teens, I only sampled the local sushi bar and pizza place, which were both great, and the Indian restaurant, which did a tasty rogan josh with naan.
And now you’ve heard both sides of the holiday story …
Song of the day: Coldplay “Paradise”