Townsville Bulletin - Townsville Eye - - EYE | ESCAPE - WORDS: CHAN TAY LO­GAN

By­ron Bay is set­ting the scene for a new kind of B&B. A loft-style love nest cu­rated by hair­dress­ing wun­derkind Jaye Ed­wards is se­duc­ing the style set with chic bed and beauty get­aways.

That the con­verted ware­house hap­pens to be one of the most In­sta­grammable back­drops imag­in­able hasn’t hurt in spread­ing its rep­u­ta­tion.

While colour-splashed wall mu­rals from artist Brian Con­nolly clam­our for at­ten­tion with the cac­tus gar­den, it’s the de­tail that sets Cacti Mi Casa apart from your av­er­age Airbnb. Sleep-in on a soft cloud of dove grey and blush linen in the lust-wor­thy bed­room and bor­row The Beach Peo­ple tow­els when it’s time to hit the sand.

A roomy rain­shower dom­i­nates the sleek bath­room, where the Ed­wards eye is ev­i­dent in lit­tle lux­u­ries like a GHD straight­ener and Kevin Mur­phy’s An­gel Wash re­plac­ing the stan­dard is­sue.

Of course, pro­fes­sional help never goes astray when it comes to stag­ing spon­ta­neous shoots for so­cial and that’s where Cacti Mi Casa’s con­nec­tions come in handy.

With my part­ner sent to scope out the surf, it’s just a few steps through slid­ing doors to my ap­point­ment at the ad­join­ing Ed­wards and Co sa­lon.

An ocean dip at Tal­lows may be a short­cut to sea-salt waves, but their stylists are mas­ters of the mer­maid mane. You can even have a wine while the magic hap­pens.

After one heav­enly head mas­sage and a few twists of the tongs, I’m ready to ex­plore.

Cacti Mi Casa is in By­ron’s in­dus­trial estate — a few min­utes’ drive to the town’s tra­di­tional tourist heart, but if you know where to look you’ll find ev­ery­thing you need within its bound­aries.

The peace­ful pocket off Ewings­dale Road is home to an eclec­tic as­sort­ment of de­sign­ers and din­ers, cir­cus schools and stu­dios, brew­ers and board shapers, each es­pous­ing By­ron’s cre­ative soul in their own unique way.

Ce­ment­ing the precinct’s emerg­ing rep­u­ta­tion are restau­rants the cal­i­bre of Bar­rio, which means “neigh­bour­hood” in Span­ish.

Sup­ply­ing a smartly styled set­ting for lin­ger­ing rosé-fu­elled lunches, it builds on the culi­nary tra­di­tion of wood-fire and char­coal.

That smoky flavour el­e­vates the ev­ery­day — in these hands, black­ened eg­g­plant be­comes un­for­get­table, the broth spooned over grilled fish a talk­ing point.

Even the cock­tails are in on the in­trigue — smoked car­rot mar­garita, per­haps?

Eat­ing in the Span­ish style is as good an ex­cuse as any for a siesta back at Cacti Mi Casa.

We re­vive in time to soak in the sun­set from the bal­cony, where a swing seat an­gled at the hin­ter­land hori­zon is bathed in golden light. The views ex­tend over rolling farm­land to Mount Warn­ing.

If you can’t bear to budge, the thought­fully equipped kitchen (no cob­bled-to­gether cut­lery here) has ev­ery­thing you need to make eat­ing in feel spe­cial.

If you do, the short trip into town re­wards

with cool cock­tails at Light Year and dessert at The Restau­rant at By­ron at By­ron (roasted new-sea­son black figs with cin­na­mon dough­nuts and mas­car­pone sor­bet).

After a si­lent night in this much qui­eter quar­ter of By­ron, we wake to sunshine slant­ing through open win­dows.

With the cute pep­per­mint-painted bikes propped in the door­way for guest use, it’s just a lazy pedal down paper­bark-lined paths to one of my favourite breakfast spots.

Folk is the place I pic­ture when I think of by­gone By­ron vibes.

While the sus­tain­able phi­los­o­phy be­hind its pretty plant-pow­ered plates is for­ward think­ing, the cruisy cafe seems to ex­ist in a bliss­ful bub­ble of nos­tal­gia.

Ste­vie Nicks croons the soft sound­track, Fleet­wood Mac’s classic Dreams, fo­liage spills from hang­ing macramé bas­kets and I swear their brown ce­ramic jugs are the same as the ones I sculled Milo milk­shakes from when I was a kid.

After a quick stop at the loft to snatch some tow­els, we swap two wheels for four.

A short and sweet Sun­day drive, win­dows rolled down to warm, wat­tle-scented breeze, takes us to Killen Falls.

An easy 10-minute wan­der from the carpark through the rare rem­nants of big scrub rain­for­est, it’s one of the re­gion’s most ac­ces­si­ble wa­ter­falls. Drip­ping in nat­u­ral beauty, Killen has no need to play hard to get.

You can swim be­hind the cur­tain of crash­ing water into the cool, misty cav­ern … and if that mer­maid mane starts look­ing a lit­tle too au­then­tic, you know where to go.

The writer was a guest of Cacti Mi Casa

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