Words: Carly Stephan
There’s something about the Byron Shire region. Ask anyone who’s been, and they’ll describe some kind of delightful experience or absolute favourite place that you have to go to when you’re there. And that list seems to be growing by the day. The indigenous Arakwal Bumberlin people know the region to be a healing place. They say you visit the region for healing - and once you’re healed, you need to move on, or, you must heal others.
Both Em and I had just had a whirlwind few months, and a bit of healing and relaxing time was calling for both of us. She: launching several collections, a runaway success Kickstarter campaign, a new collection, trade-shows, and an ever-expanding business – me; concluding eight months of travel and adventure with my partner throughout India and Nepal, while running a burgeoning spiritual coaching business online, imminently launching an online program, and trying to ground myself back into Australia.
The healing we were craving: quiet time, rest, soulful chats, heart-bursting vistas and delicious food.
We found all of these and more, at the iconic Halcyon House, in Northern NSW. It’s very name (Halcyon) means idyllic and peaceful - and this hotel delivered both in spades.
Luscious pandanus fringed gardens make way to the sunny dunes of gorgeous surf beach, Cabarita, with Norries headland standing sentinel to the south. Waves crashing on the shore is the perfect soundtrack for a stay dedicated to relaxing and unwinding.
Welcome lemonade mocktails were mixed and there to greet us in a cosy and epically chic lounge and reading area - and we felt immediately like we’d landed smack bang in an edition of Vogue Living. Because seriously the interior design at Halcyon House is to-die-for. Anna Spiro, if you’re reading, can you pretty-please come and decorate our houses? Each room is deliciously designed with individually unique fit-outs, so no two rooms are the same. And the FOOD. Fully deserving of its hatted status, Paper Daisy’s reputation preceded itself – and it truly proved itself a gastronome’s delight. We were both giggling with glee, with eyes the size of saucers every time the next dinner course was laid in front of us. (Pssst - have the fish wrapped in paperbark – you won’t regret it.)
We practically had to be rolled back to our rooms (I’m quite sure Halcyon’s concierge would oblige, their service went above and beyond), so full from the delights of Paper Daisy’s kitchen, only to be met with even more culinary delights: pillowy fluffy chocolate cookies, anyone? Room slippers and turned down bed covers were another lovely touch.
Waking up to waves lapping and the pastel-coloured sunrise the Byron region is so famous for, the beach seductively lures the early birds out to marvel at its healing beauty.
Breakfast is a sun-soaked affair on the terrace, with divine flat whites expertly brewed accompanying another splendid meal from Paper Daisy. And for the rest of the day you can pick from the following delights: bike riding on the resident cute-as-pie bicycles, surfing, swimming, lounging by the pool, and snoozing to your heart’s content.
Our stay at Halcyon was exactly what we needed; we left feeling refreshed, rejuvenated and totally re-juiced. I’m not sure whether they consider themselves in the healing arts, but Halcyon House definitely does just that – and judging by the construction of a massive residential spa house just next door, my guess is they’re definitely here to stay.
We can’t wait for our next visit.