ANGELA SAURINE checks out a chic, environmentally friendly resort set amidst native bushland at Byron Bay
Elements of Byron has been wowing guests ever since it opened at Byron Bay four years ago. Set on a 20ha property covered with rainforest and interconnected tea tree creeks, lakes and ponds brimming with birds and other wildlife, it’s a hit with nature lovers who also appreciate a bit of luxury. The shape of the main pavilion was inspired by a windswept sand dune – one of four ‘elements’ that have influenced the resort’s design, along with eucalyptus, wetland and rainforest. There’s an inviting fire pit beside the large lagoon-style pool, and day beds hang over the water in the adults-only section. The resort is also very environmentally friendly. Expect paper straws, room service served in recyclable composting-friendly packaging, water filter systems in kitchens and large amenity pump bottles, instead of small plastic bottles, in the bathroom. It’s also super high tech – when a villa is inactive the power automatically switches off to reduce energy consumption and there are in-room iPads to order room service.
The resort is located on Belongil Beach, a few minutes’ drive north of the town. Just down the road you can catch the solar-powered heritage train from North Beach Station into town, with the journey taking about eight minutes. The North Beach precinct is also home to a booming arts and industrial estate.
There are 193 villas dotted throughout the resort. The Standard 2-Bedroom Villa sleeps up to four people in king beds (or king singles), with ensuite bathrooms attached to each bedroom and a freestanding tub in the master bedroom. The Superior and Deluxe 2-Bedroom villas can accommodate a family of five. They have full kitchen and laundry facilities, and an enclosed deck that’s great for dinners in. The Deluxe Villa also has a private bathhouse and gas fireplace on the deck.
The resort has a Parkour-inspired, all-natural kids’ playground located among the native rainforest, where kids can test their agility across a range of obstacles, as well as an outdoor games area with giant chess or bocce, and an all-weather tennis court. During the spring, summer and autumn school holidays there’s also a Kids’ Club, giving parents a chance to enjoy a treatment at Osprey Spa, an outdoor yoga class, or lie by the adults-only pool. There’s also unlimited in-house movies in villas, including a great selection for kids, and board games for those who want to limit screen time.
FOOD AND DRINK
Order a smoothie or pizza from Breeze Poolside Bar & Eats, or dine at the stylishly decorated on-site restaurant Azure Bar & Grill, which has a kids’ menu featuring pasta bolognese, fish and chips and pizza. Younger guests receive an activity kit with their meal, including a colouring book and pencils. Sun Bistro, just down the road, has two kids’ play areas, while beer-loving dads will also want to check out the Stone & Wood Brewery a bit further along. The resort is only a few minutes’ drive from The Farm, which has a cafe, deli, bakery and restaurant set on a 32ha property that celebrates sustainable, chemical-free approaches.
Ride a horse through the rainforest and along the beach with Zephyr Horses, which is based in a restored shack built for a film set, across the road. Learn to surf with Let’s Go Surfing, go on a dolphin watching kayaking tour with Go Sea Kayak, or try stand-up paddleboarding at Brunswick Heads. Younger kids will love riding the train through the park at Macadamia Castle, around 20 minutes’ drive south, and learning about the wildlife at the daily talks given by animal keepers, before a round of putt-putt golf. Head to the hinterland and stroll around the Buddha Garden, sparkling crystals and reflexology path at Crystal Castle, and learn about marine conservation at the sea turtle hospital tour in Ballina.
The writer was a guest of Elements of Byron.