Beach­side re­lax­ation at Cabarita

If you’re look­ing for a week­end es­cape, stay in re­laxed style in the vil­lage of Cabarita

Northern Rivers Style - - CONTENTS - HE­LEN HAWKES

Iam mak­ing short work of a dry mar­tini – gin, a slither of ver­mouth and three black olives. It is per­fectly chilled, won­der­fully po­tent and se­duc­tively fra­grant and just the thing to start a short break away, as well as to ac­com­pany a sub­lime meal.

I’m at Pa­per Daisy in Cabarita, where, for three days, I am en­sconced in a house lit­er­ally a stone’s throw from the beach. At night we are soothed to sleep by the surf; at dawn we see whales play­ing in the ocean.

Some­times a hol­i­day is about a change of scenery rather than a long trek by plane, train or au­to­mo­bile. Liv­ing on the North­ern Rivers we are lucky enough to be sur­rounded by des­ti­na­tions that peo­ple travel from all over the coun­try, and the world, to visit.

First-class restau­rants, beach­side ac­com­mo­da­tion, de­signer shop­ping, lux­u­ri­ous spas, yep, it’s all here, even a ma­jor su­per­mar­ket, two bot­tle shops, clothes stores and a newsagent.

Bounded by na­ture re­serve to the north and west and the Pa­cific Ocean to the east, this small coastal vil­lage boasts 3000 res­i­dents and many seem to spend most of the morn­ings and af­ter­noons in the fa­mous surf break.

In the evening, many of them seem to have come to sam­ple the set menu – $110 for three cour­ses – at Pa­per Daisy, an oa­sis of Euro­pean style housed in the spec­tac­u­larly re­vamped Ha­ly­con House.

Chef Ben Devlin, who re­cently gar­nered two hats for the eatery, serves the kind of clever food – clean, pro­duce-driven, sea­sonal – you’d ex­pect to find in a chic met­ro­pol­i­tan eatery.

And the decor is com­fort­ably lux­u­ri­ous, yet whim­si­cal rather than for­mal – rich fab­ric-up­hol­stered walls, hand-picked an­tique trea­sures and orig­i­nal art from around the world, with a theme of deep blue and white set off by touches of gold.

We dine on fresh ri­cotta with radish, wa­ter­melon and olive; red claw yabby with horse­rad­ish, yuzu and sea let­tuce; coal-roasted fish with fin­ger lime and curry leaf; glazed car­rot with roasted kelp, jack­fruit and macadamia miso and more…. and, of course,

an­other mar­tini. My friend has a house caprioska – vodka, pome­gran­ate and rhubarb bit­ters.

It’s not the only night of de­li­cious food we sam­ple, hav­ing sworn off hol­i­day cook­ing. There’s salty and squeaky fresh fish and chips at The Stunned Mul­let, rated the best fish and chips in the Tweed by Trip Ad­vi­sor; chicken and ginger and a Pad Thai at one of the two Thai restau­rants; and a long glance at the tapas bar and sev­eral other cafes and eater­ies.

Our days are spent re­lax­ing on the sand, en­ter­tained by swoop­ing seag­ulls and dar­ing surfers, a block­buster pre­car­i­ously bal­anced be­tween towel, sand and sun­screen, or laz­ing on the sofa in our hol­i­day rental Cabarita Dream­ing. It’s a large fam­ily home spread over two lev­els with enough beds to sleep at least eight, a li­brary of books con­tain­ing one of the most eclec­tic col­lec­tions I have seen, a pile of DVDS to keep you en­ter­tained, and a fully-equipped kitchen. The main be­d­room, up­stairs, has a spa bath that gets plenty of use – bub­bles with bub­bles.

If you feel so in­clined, you can al­ways take a short trip to Kingscliff, maybe to eat at Steve Snow’s fa­mous Salt restau­rant or do a bit of boutique shop­ping; kayak­ing at nearby Hast­ings Point; a for­est walk that leads to a des­ig­nated walkway with a whale watch­ing deck at the top of Nor­ries Head­land with views from the Gold Coast to By­ron Bay; and a visit to Tweed River Art Gallery at Mur­wul­lim­bah where you will see the late Mar­garet Ol­ley’s Syd­ney stu­dio “in situ”.

We, how­ever, choose to loll around like beached whales, con­tent to let stress melt away from our bod­ies while nes­tled in the com­fort of a small sea­side re­sort.

We, how­ever, choose to loll around like beached whales, con­tent to let stress melt away...

PHOTO: CON­TRIB­UTED

PHOTO: CON­TRIB­UTED

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