Sunday, June 21, 2015

Better than Byron?

There is a reason why Australia is famous for her beaches. 

And there are places in Australia where I think winter is the very best time to spend time on the beach.

It's not as hot, or as crowded. Prices for accommodation are cheaper, and if you're a fan of the tropics, you're safe from stingers. 

One of my favourite spots this time of year is the northern New South Wales Tweed Coast. 

Even in the middle of winter, the sun shines and you can have the most beautiful beaches to yourself. 

I've ridden along the coastlines with the kids, and in days before kids, I've hiked from beach to beach.

Just a few years ago, I remember relaxing on a boat in the middle of the Tweed River while the kids fished and caught crabs, and thinking I was in heaven.

It was winter. The morning had been chilly, but during the day, it was hot enough to wear T-Shirts and shorts, the kids were in swimmers (and later swam at our resort), and yep, despite sunscreen, I still got some colour.

On that occasion, we stayed at the Big4 North Star Holiday Resort & Caravan Park, at Hastings Point. We were walking distance from surf and river beaches, and there was a huge water play area and swimming pool for the kids where they made instant friends.

More recently, I took some time to get away from the stresses of life with a friend. Since we were looking forward to grown-up time, we checked in to the highly recommended Peppers Salt Resort &  Spa, near Kingscliff.

It's a long drive from country Queensland, so it was lovely to walk into our apartment, where the lights were already on and the room temperature was perfect.

And this was waiting for us! 

There was a comfortable king-size bed with loads of pillows and extra blankets and pillows in the cupboard. The blind between the bathroom could be lifted or drawn for privacy - or otherwise. 

You could watch TV from the huge spa bath, built for two - but only if the blind was up. Luckily, we were friends! 

The bathroom had a roomy shower as well as a separate toilet. There were glass doors separating the ensuite from the main bedroom. It was all very trendy, but I'm glad I wasn't on a first weekend away with a lover, as it wasn't exactly soundproof! 

The apartment came with free movies and wi-fi which meant it was cosy when the night got chilly,  It also meant I had something to do when my early-to-bed friend fell asleep early each night, and then woke with the sun while the insomniac (me) slept in each morning. (Note, we could have drawn the floor-to-ceiling blinds in the apartment to keep the sun out, but we liked the view. And didn't want to sleep the weekend away). 

The only problem was a 5am alarm that had us both shooting upright out of bed each morning. Apparently the alarm had been set by the apartment's previous occupants. The issue was meant to have been fixed, but the alarm went off again the very next morning. 

Luckily, each day I was comfy enough to get back to sleep while my friend caught up on the previous night's movie.

I mentioned it on check-out because I didn't want the slumber of the next guests to be so rudely interrupted. I would have felt sorry for someone with a baby or someone on a romantic break. 

We'd been upgraded to a two-bedroom apartment, with a loft-style bedroom with king single beds, another TV, and roomy ensuite upstairs. As always, I really wish the kids could have come. They would have loved it! 

The view of the downstairs area from the loft bedroom. The lounge was so comfy you could sleep on it, so we could easily have slept another two. Seriously, I could have moved in there. (That's my junk on the right hand side. And yes we both took our laptops, although we tried very hard not to use them).

All the comforts of home... 

Salt Village has loads of restaurants to choose from, plus Peppers has some great dining options as well. I'm told it can be quiet on a weeknight off season, but on this weekend, the village was buzzing. 

 We had a really delicious Thai meal the first night, and the next evening concocted something from goodies we bought at markets that day.

A fully equipped kitchen, with a decent sized fridge. So you could easily spend a week or more there and save money by cooking. There was a washer and dryer as well. 

The roomy apartment.

The next morning, we explored the beach. Watch out for stingers and sharks! #Straya

The water was actually not too chilly - even in winter. 

We had the beach to ourselves. Paradise. 

Only in Australia

Then it was time to explore. But only after a heart-starting coffee first. 

Nearby Brunswick Heads Markets are colourful and well worth a visit. 

Some of the local scenery 

The iconic Hotel Brunswick ... a fabulous spot for a drink or a pub lunch in the sun 

And beautiful Brunswick Heads. Byron Bay is still gorgeous, but the lesser known Brunswick Heads is even better I think. Sssh! Don't tell anyone!

Another almost deserted beach ... and you can walk to Byron Bay if you are so inclined.

 Our busy day took in an overpriced lunch at busy Byron Bay that had us thinking wistfully of the relaxed Brunswick Heads hotel or the Fishermen's Co-op, where you can buy the tastiest seafood fresh from the trawler. 

Wine Time featured champagne and strawberries from Brunswick Heads Market. Dinner was thrown together from goodies purchased during the day and the previous night's leftovers, with local fudge for dessert. 

We could have gone out but the couch was so comfortable and the apartment so warm and inviting, it was relaxing just to stay in and enjoy a few movies.

Oh, and coming from the South Burnett, where we are nearly always in drought,  I enjoyed a big bubbly spa bath each night. Bliss. 

I'm sure that's why I slept in again on Sunday morning, and had to be woken in time for breakfast.

And here I know I have forgotten to upload some photos, because I always take photos of delicious food.

Peppers does a particularly nice breakfast buffet, with a selection of hot and cold dishes.

 We had to wait for a short time each morning for seating, even though they didn't seem particularly busy.

 On the second morning, I had a quick chat to the waitress and she explained the policy was so that guests still enjoyed a pleasant dining experience with plenty of fresh selections. Unlike some hotel and resort buffets, where you get what I call the 'pig-at-a-trough' experience. So I forgave them for that, because breakfast really was pleasant for a buffet, and we didn't feel any pressure to move on quickly either, as we shared the newspaper and chatted over coffee. Okay, and one more serve of fruit, just to be healthy! 

We didn't get to use the pools, spa, tennis court, gym, or bikes - although the kids and I have ridden from Kingscliff to various beaches; and kayaked and stand-up paddle boarded on our previous visit to the region.

Next time I return to the Tweed, I'd really like to take the kids to Peppers, because I think they would love the upstairs bedroom, the super big spa bath, and a bit more of a grown-up experience to the region.

I still think Byron Bay is one of the best spots in the world. It's just that I prefer to share my nature, beauty and food with a few less people.

Peppers Resort & Spa near Kingscliff really has it all. Including the gorgeous beach. 

What's your holiday style? Do you mind sharing a hot spot? Or keeping a secret to yourself? 

Brunswick Heads


Farmers Wifey said...

I've never been here though now I see the pics it looks like a place I'd love to take the family!! The accommodation looks divine!!! xo

Unknown said...

The Mantra on Salt really is one of the most comfortable and practical places I've stayed at ... and really well located too. I forgot to mention that the hinterland is really close as well (Mt Warning and national parks). It's a really beautiful part of the world.

Vanessa said...

I get twitchy when it's a long weekend/public holiday and the beaches in my area fill up haha. I like secret, quiet places :)

shannon said...

Oh this had made me want to book a weekend away up north and escape winter! We are so lucky in Oz to have so many Beautiful beaches and I agree they are just as stunning in winter!
Thanks for linking up to the ultimate rabbit hole! X

Unknown said...

Yes, I must admit we are a bit spoiled for beaches in Australia - and when you are used to having them to yourself it's a bit tough when you go to hot spots overseas and have to fight for a patch of sand!

Sammie @ The Annoyed Thyroid said...

It looks glorious - we had a wonderful week up the coast earlier this year. We rented a gorgeous little cottage in Byron and used it as a base to travel around. Brunswick Heads was one of our favourite spots. I do look a bit of luxury when I travel and Peppers looks like a total treat (shame about the 5am alarm though!)

Unknown said...

I really love Brunswick Heads. Peppers was lovely. It's not the first place where I've had a rude wake-up call set by the previous occupants though - apparently some people get their kicks out of doing that.

Karin @ Calm to Conniption said...

We have been going to Salt since it first opened which feels like a million moons ago now. Still haven't been. In Queensland we really are spoilt for choice.

Unknown said...

I meant Peppers Salt Resort And Spa of course. There's a Mantra there too. You pretty much always know you will get a good stay at one of those hotels or resorts. I must admit that I usually spend a lot of time on Queensland beaches so it's always nice to revisit an old favourite like the Tweed. The hinterland there is amazing too.

Maxabella said...

I'd LOVE a little getaway like that and Byron is one of my favourite places along the north Australian coast. I try not to be so cliched, but you really can't beat it. x

Unknown said...

This is in my neck of the woods - gorgeous isn't it. I actually honeymooned at Peppers Salt!!

Unknown said...

It would be gorgeous for a honeymoon or romantic getaway girls - but is just as fun for families or singles on a holiday together. Perfect for everyone. And no, I'm not being paid to say this ... I just love Australia and like to remind myself how lucky we are occasionally.

Laney said...

I love the sound of this, what a great idea to escape up the coast in Winter! Love it! When the kids are older we will look into going to the Big 4 place up there, I have really enjoyed my experiences of them so far.

Corinne said...

Bronnie, I'm not a big swim or hang out on the beach kind of girl, but I certainly like walking along it, people watching, etc. Love your pics. Boy, how I would love to go someday.

Thanks for linking up with #wkendtravelinspiration!

Unknown said...

Yes, I must admit to being more a fan of walking along the beach these days than swimming in the water - particularly surf. Too scared of getting dumped! Unless my kids are around, then they nearly always talk me into going in and I end up enjoying myself. Thanks for the comment about the photos. I'm only learning with photography. The better ones were taken with a Canon, but some are just from my old iPhone!