Byron Bay’s backyard: the perfect weekend getaway for your January post-holiday blues


Film photography + words by: Nicole Wong

It’s mid-January, my friends. We are well and truly underway in the new year, and our luxurious summer break holidaying seems like a hazy, distant pseudo-reality. Returning to the concrete jungle of your nine to five can be rough. ‘The Great Outdoors’ being reprised with the roar of bus engines, unforgiving honks from disgruntled motorists, and the flocks of chattering humans seeking caffeination from the nearest flat white dispensary. 

Living in a city can often feel like receiving one incessant monologue from the metropolis’ inky, complicated heart, and we can’t be blamed for anxiously awaiting the intermission. Not too long ago I had the pleasure of a greatly refreshing intermission in what my dear friend coined Byron Bay’s Backyard. Northern NSW has more to offer than the infamous Byron Bay. 

While it is advisable that you find the goodness in your daily grind, there is nothing quite like planning your next trip to allay the January post-holiday blues. And to help you do just that, below are some highlights and recommendations of places in Northern NSW for you to eat, sleep, and play — in no particular order. 



FLOCK ESPRESSO & EATS — 49 Woodlark St, Lismore NSW 2480

A luxury that non-Sydney cafes seem to revel in is space. Recommended to us by a friend, Flock is a gloriously spacious and contemporary yet comfortable fit-out full of good coffee, great brekkie options, and colourful sweets and treats galore. Perfect for an easy morning coffee, or a well-deserved indulgent brunching feast.


As you exit the town centre and make your way over to this effortlessly eclectic ensemble of a cafe, selfie sticks and tie-dye-everything give way to lush suburbia with sun-soaked front decks and thriving flora . Not only is this spot home to Nimbin’s art and culture events, it also offers an outdoor cafe space for you to enjoy a cuppa whilst watching the bush turkeys roam. 

While you’re here, you might as well make the most of this hemp-happy town by treating yourself to some hemp-oil infused Kombucha and a Hemp Seed Falafel burger (both vegan and gluten free, hooray!) 

WOODS — 10 Station Street, Bangalow NSW 2479

A rainy afternoon led to us stumbling across the absolutely lovely Woods cafe. Situated in a boutique precinct in Bangalow, Woods is perfect if you are looking for a beautiful space with high quality, thoughtfully curated food and drink menu. Everything from the honey gold wooden countertops to the owner-curated folksy Spotify playlist suggests a great sense of love and care poured into a space that only wants to give goodness. 

Deeply. Sleep so deeply in the absolutely sublime silence that a non-city grants your ears that when you wake you feel as if you are emerging from under water. Enjoy! 

But really, I had the pleasure of house sitting at my friend’s aunt’s house in Lismore on their farm property, equipped with a delightful pup and slinky cat. Airbnb is always a great option for staycation type trips, but keeping your eyes and ears open for house sitting opportunities could reward your wallet and your need to vicariously own pets. 



LISMORE REGIONAL GALLERY — 11 Rural St, Lismore NSW 2480

Good for my eyes and my soul, spending a lazy afternoon browsing art is a renewing and very enjoyable experience both in my home city, and whilst away. Intimate, uncomplicated, and greatly rich in its local artistry, Lismore Regional Gallery offers just what you want and need from a local art hub. 

MINYON FALLS WALK — Minyon Platform Track, Whian Whian NSW 2480

A short, easy trail leading to a gold-streaked rock face with cascading water? Sign me up.

PROTESTERS FALLS — Nightcap National Park, Terania Creek Rd, The Channon NSW 2480

For when you want to commit a slow walk-filled day, or a strong few hours to a bushwalk that is different to anything Sydney has to offer. Think greens so deep they cure your blue-light strained eyes, and looming, large, wonderful trees — all the way down to where the water gathers. 


GOANNA BAKERY & CAFE — 171 Keen St, Lismore NSW 2480

Fresh salads, snacks + vegan and GF treats galore!

$5 YOGA @ BYRON BAY YOGA CENTRE — 6 Byron St, Byron Bay NSW 2480

Mon-Sat 4pm $5 yoga classes. The perfect wind-down or rainy day activity.

LISMORE OP SHOPS — Keen St / Magellan St / Carrington St

A delightful mosey between op shops in Lismore; Vinnies, Salvos, and Lifeline all within blocks of one another! Happy shopping.

SUNSET ROSÉ — Wherever you so please

About half an hour before the sun set, hop in the car and drive out to somewhere grassy and green and good, bring your beverage and snacks of choice and a picnic rug and enjoy!

About half an hour before the sun set, hop in the car and drive out to somewhere grassy and green and good, bring your beverage and snacks of choice and a picnic rug and enjoy! 

Film Photography by: Nicole Wong