A trip to the By­ron Bay hin­ter­land re­veals some hid­den gems

Nour­ish your body and your soul with a get­away to the lush North­ern Rivers

Life & Style Weekend - - WELCOME // INSIDE TODAY - BY Jas­mine Burke The writer was a guest of Desti­na­tion NSW. Share your own favourite mem­o­ries of a New South Wales hol­i­day by up­load­ing your photos and videos to so­cial me­dia with the #ILoveNSW hash­tag.

LOOK­ING up at wa­ter fall­ing from 100m, with dap­pled sun­light through a thick sub­trop­i­cal rain­for­est canopy, was a serene part of my week­end in the By­ron hin­ter­land. Minyon Falls, about a 30-minute drive from north­ern New South Wales town Ban­ga­low, was a mag­i­cal place and the drive to get there was a treat in it­self. The rolling green hills of the hin­ter­land gave way to an­cient, World Her­itage-listed Night­cap Na­tional Park. A cou­ple of walk­ing paths of dif­fer­ent dif­fi­cul­ties lead to the water­fall.

The falls are fed by Re­pen­tance Creek, and were made full by the re­cent rain and flood­ing, which cre­ated a mist shower in the rock pool be­low the wa­ter drop.

If you pre­fer not to walk to the falls alone, By­ron Bay Ad­ven­ture Tours has a num­ber of ad­ven­tures to choose from and all in­clude wilder­ness ex­pe­ri­ences and sweep­ing views.

Do your­self a favour and go a lit­tle fur­ther than By­ron Bay and its beau­ti­ful beaches. Just a few kilo­me­tres on is a whole other world where ex­pe­ri­ences await.

Highly sea­soned trav­eller, Tom Ihle, of Ger­many, de­cided to set­tle in the North­ern Rivers after stop­ping in for a visit when trav­el­ling around the coun­try.

“There is no other place like it in Aus­tralia,” he said.

And where bet­ter to stay than the re­gion’s first set­tle­ment town, Ban­ga­low. Ac­com­mo­da­tion at Ban­ga­low Guest­house of­fers a home away from home in nat­u­ral-light-filled rooms with cloud-like beds, cable TV and an up­scale shared liv­ing and in­door-out­door din­ing area for self-ca­ter­ing.

I quickly found the best way to take ad­van­tage of the com­mu­nal kitchen space is to head to Ban­ga­low mar­kets (held monthly) and buy sea­sonal pro­duce. Hun­dreds of stalls trans­form the usu­ally sleepy town into a vi­brant gath­er­ing of food, arts, crafts and mu­sic. Good­ies from the stalls make per­fect culi­nary sou­venirs of the hin­ter­land.

And ac­tiv­i­ties are at an arm’s length from quaint Ban­ga­low – wa­ter­falls, hik­ing trails, de­lec­ta­ble food and stylish shop­ping.

I rel­ished a day with Taste By­ron Bay founder Terase David­son, a lo­cal chef who proved pick­ing food lo­cally and sea­son­ally tastes a whole lot bet­ter.

Taste hosts and caters for the foodie tour you never knew you needed, and makes a con­scious ef­fort not to do the ob­vi­ous.

Terase takes her guests to places that are hard to stum­ble across your­self. The ex­pe­ri­ence is some­thing spe­cial, as is her must-try, heav­enly salted caramel sauce.

In a per­fect way to fin­ish my hin­ter­land ad­ven­ture I nav­i­gated more wind­ing roads un­til I reached the re­treat, Gaia, where I en­joyed the most re­lax­ing and re­ju­ve­nat­ing deep tis­sue mas­sage.

I was at one with na­ture at this lux­ury re­treat. It’s a hard place to leave.

PHOTOS: JAS­MINE BURKE

Re­lax­ation is en­cour­aged at Gaia Re­treat and Spa in the By­ron hin­ter­land and, right, Minyon Falls is a high­light dur­ing a week­end away.

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