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Shoes off and relax in this glam corner of Oz


Doubles at The Sunseeker from £145 (

SUNRISE in Byron Bay and I’m sitting in the lotus yoga position next to a lighthouse on the edge of Australia’s most easterly point.

A small crowd – all barefoot – forms around me as the sun peeks above the horizon, scorching the sky a tangerine orange. Some sit to meditate, others snap away on their phones, ready to post photos to Instagram.

Sunrise yoga sessions here are as normal as a morning commute – but I wasn’t expecting an audience.

Byron Bay, on the New South Wales coast, has long drawn hippies, beach bums and those in search of the meaning of life. They’re still here, but so too are tech billionaires, supermodels and Hollywood actors (Chris Hemsworth and Zac Efron now call Byron home).

In fact, so potent are the town’s charms that 2.2 million tourists visit each year (the population is just 9,000) . I’m here for a long weekend with my husband, Dan, after several days in Sydney – a 1hr 20min flight away. We were expecting a revved up version of Newquay, but Byron is a delight. Our base is The Sunseeker, an affordable motel just outside the town.

The barefoot thing seems to be a theme. At a farmers’ market the next morning we’re about the only people in shoes as we browse the stalls until we collapse on to beanbags to drink green juices (when in Byron). Vegetable stalls don’t seem to exist here. Instead, each one is dedicated to a fruit or veg – there’s the cucumber stall, the mushroom stall, the apricot stall. There’s even a shack dedicated to white onions.

The good vibes continue as we drive through the compact town centre past hand-painted signs saying ‘Slow down, cheer up, chill out’. We rent a surfboard and head to Wategos Beach. A grass bank leads down to the golden sand and waves. Some claim it’s Australia’s prettiest beach, and it’s easy to see why.

We spend the afternoon sunbathing and surfing before heading to Raes, just a few steps from the sand, for dinner. Towers of iced oysters and lobster are delivered to customers who sit at wicker tables overlooking the sparkling sand and sea. ‘How are you going?’ a waiter asks as we sip our local white wine. ‘Never better,’ Dan says.

It’s true. The positive energy flows in Byron and I can’t help but leave feeling as though we have slowed down, cheered up and chilled out, just as the town’s sign suggested we do. Now, where are my shoes?





dmg media (UK)