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