Neighbouring our most eastern town, Lennox Head in New South Wales is the locals’ haunt when choosing to escape the annual Byron Bay crowds.
Drive into town and for most of the year you can expect its world-class point break to be crashing a dramatic welcome around the headland, leaving local surfers with jelly legs and giant smiles, and visitors with sunburnt elbows as they hang out car windows to watch.
A tick over 7000 people dwell in this part of the world, and we’d guess 99.9 per cent of them surf, fish or swim in these waters each day, with endless stretches of white sand, cafés, caravan parks and bakeries plucked right from the ’70s.
It’s Byron on a smaller scale (but with less piercings). An extended lunch at Foam will transport you straight to the lifestyle, as you sip on a crisp ale or buttery chardonnay while the sun lights the beach-house-styled restaurant and its sweeping views out to Seven Mile Beach.
Owner and local lad Marcus Corcoran will fill you in on the hot spots as you devour a bowl of mussels with ginger, chilli, lime and coconut or a tempura prawn, crispy pork and paw paw salad. (Like we said, extended lunch.)
But don’t stay too long; you’ll want to stay focused for the scenery out the window as you drive to your last port of call, the Eltham Hotel, hiding about 30 minutes behind Lennox in the hills of the Northern Rivers Hinterland. Grab your camera: a few minutes into the trek, classic coastal scenery merges into quaint English countryside, with meadows of undulating emerald filled with pecan and macadamia trees.
The hotel is as Aussie as Vegemite with old beer cans and pub paraphernalia decorating the walls of the main bar, wood-fired pizzas drawing in locals like the Pied Piper, and the sweetest pint of Guinness we’ve sampled outside our ancestors’ isle. After a few of those, there are also some comfy beds upstairs to drift into dreamland, starting from $95 per room. Not bad at all.
What was the name of that place you were driving to?