Tag Archives: lighthouse

Byron Bay Farmstay

Ask any self-respecting traveller for a list of top places to visit in Australia and the chances are that Byron Bay will be on there somewhere. The town’s popularity as a tourist destination dates back to the 1960s when it was discovered by surfers, and it hasn’t looked back since. Still renowned for its laid-back, hippy vibe, Byron attracts phenomenal numbers of visitors every year: an estimated 1.7 million of them each year, which for a little town of some 5,000 permanent residents is pretty damn impressive.P1010918P1010926

We opted to bypass the town in our accommodation search, choosing to focus on the Byron Bay Hinterland. This beautiful area of rolling hills, rainforest and scattered villages is within easy reach of the main centre, but far enough away to avoid the masses. And after some searching (and it took a while, even in the off-peak season) we had a real find: Murojum Farm. Perched in the hills with the ocean glistening in the distance, just 15 minutes’ drive from Byron and Bangalow, this family-friendly farm comprises the owners’ beautiful homestead and three self-cater cottages for rent.P1010920

James’s cottage, our home for three nights, was simply but comfortably furnished, although I wouldn’t give it top marks for cooking facilities. Two hobs, a microwave and a kettle were somewhat limiting, especially after the gourmet kitchen we enjoyed in Iluka. It did, however, more than make up for this by being within a hop, skip and jump of the most fabulous swimming pool.IMG_4972

And for Icklegen, there was also the sheer excitement of being on a working farm. Twice a day, Trevor, or his son, Murray, would ring an old-fashioned bell from their veranda – our signal to help them with the animals, if we so wished. And oh, didn’t we! Icklegen got into the swing of things very fast, and we were  pulling on our boots before the bell for the rest of our stay.IMG_4905

As an introduction to real-life farm animals, it couldn’t have been better. Murojum is not a huge operation, with just a handful of cows, goats, sheep, and hens in residence. And Trevor and Murray couldn’t have been more willing to show us around and let us assist them. Icklegen had the opportunity to milk a cow (twice), feed the goats, sheep and hens, hold a baby chick, and collect eggs. And she loved every minute of it.P1010922P1010935

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So there didn’t seem much need to venture very far. We did visit the small organic market in lovely Bangalow one morning. And one grey, rainy day Ickle and I made a whistlestop tour of Byron’s iconic lighthouse and then braved the crowds in town. And yes, it did seem a funky kinda place dotted with quirky cafés and boutiques, but 25 minutes to find a parking space with a toddler in the back is no fun. And there were no cows to milk, or hens to chase, so we hot-footed it back to the farm.IMG_4960

 

Norah Head

Norah Head – what a beautiful, beachy place at our end of the Central Coast. An historic lighthouse, tidal rockpool, nature trail, great café, playground in the shade of the trees, and heaps of golden sand…why haven’t we been for so long? I’ve no idea, but we certainly made up for it with our most recent visit.P1010591P1010579

Daddy Ickle was in sporty mode and set off from home on his bike, while Icklegen and I opted for the more leisurely car journey. The route includes some of my favourite stretches of road up here. Elizabeth Bay Drive cuts through some fabulous bushland on the way to Budgewoi, after the Lake Munmorah residential zone. Then, come the rugged sand dunes on Budgewoi Road, as you skirt parallel to the seashore, the ocean itself tantalisingly out of sight. The dedicated cycle track from Budgewoi to Toukley gets the thumbs-up from Daddy Ickle, too.P1010539

First stop on arrival at Norah Head: the rockpool. The trick here is timing, as the water level and ‘bumpiness’ varies with the tides. We didn’t get it quite right on this occasion. The tide was still in, waves were breaking over the surrounding rocks and sweeping through the pool. Hit the right moment, however, and your toddler can happily frolic around in beautifully still water up to her waist.

It’s a popular spot and there were people camped out like sardines along the narrow strip of sand, so we headed around the corner where the beach was virtually deserted. Loads of space all to ourselves, and just a quick clamber over the rocks from the pool. Don’t tell anyone we told you! We made sandcastles, buried ourselves in the sand, dipped our toes in the many little pools hidden in the rocks, and relished being outdoors on such a beautiful day.P1010572

We then had an obligatory stop at the Rockpool Retreat one of those places we’ve been to before (several times) and know we’ll go back to again and again. Great menu, good coffee and cakes, kiddies’ corner, arty feel and décor, relaxing atmosphere…need I say more? It was busy, so we went for a takeaway, which was a little on the disappointing side (chips were undercooked, plus you don’t get the benefit of their presentation when you eat out of a box). But it hit the spot all the same.P1010531

Bursting with renewed energy after his lunch, Daddy Ickle hopped back on his bike and headed for home; Icklegen and I chose to stay a little longer. We looked at the start of the wonderful little nature trail that links Bush Street Reserve with the lighthouse. At around 1 km one-way, it’s a tad far for a young toddler, but easily manageable with her in a baby-carrier, or backpack. Being short on time (i.e. it was almost nap o’clock for Ickle), we got in the car for a quick look at the lighthouse – a stunning landmark dating to the early-1900s, and a great way to end our fun-packed morning.P1010587P1010595P1010593