My heart sank as I heard the words: “I’d strongly recommend you don’t fly anymore during this pregnancy”.
They came from my obstetrician. I was 20 weeks pregnant and we had spent weeks brainstorming babymoon ideas for the start of my third trimester.
An extra passport stamp was going to have to wait, but we weren’t going to forego one last holiday as a couple. It was time to change tack and plan a babymoon trip within driving distance of our home in Sydney.
When my husband, Adam, suggested Byron Bay – one of my favourite places in the world – it was almost as if our earlier plans overseas had never existed.
Over the years, I’ve spent a lot of time in and around Byron Bay – days spent bodysurfing long, rolling waves at The Pass, enjoying lunch at Beach at Clarkes Beach, weekend trips to the farmers’ market in Bangalow, breakfast at Top Shop…
Adam, on the other hand, prefers not to return to the same places, as he’d rather try somewhere new.
So, to ensure there was something for both of us, we decided to stay at a few different places on one trip. Here’s the rundown on where we stayed on our Byron Bay babymoon and what we loved about each of the different accommodations.
MISTERE AT URLIUP
Mistere at Urliup is a three-cabin luxury property in the hills behind Murwillumbah, about a 30-minute drive from Gold Coast Airport.
While Halcyon House at Cabarita Beach put boutique accommodation in the Tweed on the map, Mistere offers a secluded rainforest getaway for those who prefer the serenity of the hills and rainforest to a beachy vibe.
We made the most of our two nights in the Mountain View Villa. With uninterrupted views to Mt Warning from our king-size bed, private hot tub and sauna as well as from the deck and alfresco dining area, we were grateful for the well-appointed kitchen and BBQ, eating in for breakfast both mornings and dinner one night.
Self-catering was made simple thanks to the fresh produce basket thoughtfully provided on arrival. It was full of local organic produce and more than enough for the two of us for breakfast for two mornings and the majority of a dinner (although we did pick up some local steaks to add into the mix).
What we loved
Zenning out in simple luxury among the rainforest.
The easy graded walks through the rainforest scattered with sculptures.
The in-villa massages (including the best pregnancy massage I’d had all pregnancy!).
ELEMENTS OF BYRON
Elements of Byron has direct beach access at Belongil, and its location has become even more convenient since the opening of the Byron Solar Train, which connects North Beach with the town centre in a 10-minute journey.
Our one-night stay was not long enough to make the most of all the resort facilities, largely because I spent a couple of hours soaking in our private bath house and finishing my novel.
While I relaxed in our private natural-light-filled and stylishly appointed two-bedroom villa.
Adam was more active, taking the opportunity to explore the bushwalking trails that run through the resort, then hitting the gym to ensure he’d earned a couple of beers from the swim-up bar at the adults-only pool.
What we loved
The buffet breakfast of fresh juices, pastries, granola and yoghurt, and being able to select from an interesting a la carte menu that included a palm-sugar cured prawn omelette or chipotle cornbread with chorizo, charred sweet corn and avocado.
Sunrise yoga by the beach near mainland Australia’s most easterly point.
The king-size bed with lots of extra pillows, which provided plenty of space for my pregnant belly.
High in the hills of the Byron hinterland, with sweeping views from Brunswick Heads to the Cape Byron Lighthouse, the three-room Blackbird is a boutique hotel gem.
Both Adam and I were keen for a couple of days of disconnecting from social media and our phones, and Blackbird was the perfect place to do this.
The property is run by husband-and-wife team James and Stella. It champions the great outdoors. The highlight for us was the alfresco area and magnesium mineral pool.
Our room – the shape of a shipping container – was constructed largely of upcycled glass, timber and steel to create a minimalist yet cosy sanctuary.
And the view over the valley from the bed was as spectacular at night as during the day.
What I loved about Blackbird was the low-key luxury, and that while we weren’t the only guests, we didn’t see any of the others during our entire stay – even at mealtimes when we ate in the communal dining area adjacent to the pool.
One night we enjoyed gourmet pizza whipped up by James, and the second night we used the restaurant-standard kitchen to make our own dinner with ingredients purchased from the organic supermarket in Mullumbimby.
What we loved
The spectacular views over the hills to the coast, and catching sight of black cockatoos circling above.
Sitting on our private patio and trying to identify constellations using the binoculars and star charts from the room.
How smooth our skin felt after swimming in the magnesium mineral pool.
TOP SHOP STUDIO
Byron Bay has so many holiday rentals that it can be tough to know which one to pick. Top Shop Studio has become my new favourite.
This small, light-filled, rear studio apartment is next door to Byron Bay’s famous Top Shop cafe. It was the smallest place we stayed – but it was the most convenient. I could ask Adam to grab me a fresh juice, iced decaf coffee or fresh croissant, and he could conjure it up within minutes from the cafe next door.
It’s just a 700m walk down a single street on a gentle slope to the beach and the beachfront Beach restaurant. To get into the centre of Byron Bay, it’s a flat 1km walk or a three-minute drive, where there are restaurants, cafes, gelato bars and shopping aplenty.
Top Shop Studio is compact, private and comfortable. It doesn’t have a full kitchen, but it does have a fridge, toaster and kettle. The Airbnb studio has fans and an outdoor shower.
What we loved
Cooling off in the outdoor shower
Breakfast at Top Shop.
Location, location, location.
Need more babymoon destinations? Try these
The Pearle, Broome, WA
The Insta-worthy sunsets over the ocean of Cable Beach are a short stroll from The Pearle.
The Pearle villas are spacious, air-conditioned and come with a full kitchen, alfresco dining, king-size beds and a private pool. The Pearle doesn’t have a cafe or restaurant on site, but it’s a just short walk or drive to The Zookeepers Store for a morning coffee or to the beachfront restaurants for mocktails at the end of the day.
Qualia, Hamilton Island, Qld
This ultra-lux option on family-friendly Hamilton Island doesn’t accept children under the age of 16, including infants.
Take the opportunity before baby arrives to wake up in your private pavilion to postcard-perfect views of the Whitsundays or spectacular tropical bushland. Qualia has accommodation packages with breakfast only or breakfast and dinner.
Janeece Keller is the founder and editor of Family Travel. She mostly travels with her husband and two young kids. She has a large blended family that lives in Australia and Europe. She has visited 52 countries and lived on 3 continents. From camping to luxury resorts Janeece tries to make sure her family has diverse holiday experiences each year. She is an avid hiker and ocean swimmer who loves good food, margaritas and heading off the beaten path.