We spent the most delightful time with Natalie Chassay, London hospitality professional and home chef, who composed this short travel guide about her favourite holiday destination.
HINTERLANDS in Byron Bay, Australia.
Despite growing up in Australia, it’s still one of my favourite places to escape. There is simply so much to see and the hinterlands near Byron Bay honestly provide the most humble but dramatic landscape to really get lost. The geography literally spans bush, rainforest, cool towns and the most incredible beaches you’ve ever seen.
Located at the most easterly point of Australia, you’ll find the hippy beach town of Byron Bay. A remarkably special place with incredible food, beaches, shops and energy. But as charming as Byron Bay is, it's by no means off the beaten track. People from all over Australia flock to Byron Bay, all year round! But what remains a little more untouched is the hinterland which is very much worth exploring.
It is incredibly beautiful: green rolling hills, fertile farmlands, historic towns, waterfalls and untouched rainforest. A super scenic and cultural contrast to Byron's beach lifestyle. There are loads of eco-friendly, alternative lifestyle communities and tiny, picturesque villages.
My husband and I decided to skip Byron Bay one year and go for the hinterlands instead and it totally blew our minds. The small towns are so quaint, there are the most unassuming but incredible restaurants and roasteries and waterfalls and beaches; it's totally marvellous.
The waterfalls - so many incredible waterfalls!! And the walks to get to them are so beautiful!
I’m also completely enamoured by all the little towns. Take Federal for example. The most unassuming “Aussie outback” kinda town but then smack bam in the middle you find yourself standing in line at a restaurant called Doma ready to eat some of the most incredible Japanese inspired food.
Federal General Store
Dish at DOMA, Federal
Next door you’ll find a roastery in a converted shed that makes the best coffee you’ve ever had. Then saunter down the street to the sweetest local homewares shops and general stores that make are so cute you can't help but smile ear to ear.
WHO DO YOU ESCAPE WITH:
My husband. He’s so good at exploring new places and often draws me out of my comfort zone. I can often get quite lazy on holiday, not a bad thing, but I’d probably see a lot less if it wasn’t for him. For me, holidays equal food and restaurants and so I’d happily explore the food front for days on end without even going to a beach or getting in the water. That is my idea of escaping. Escaping into menus and food and new places and new people to talk to at all these wonderful little spots that you can find: coffee shops, cafes, high end restaurants.
The Hills Emporium, Federal
However, when I do find myself on a beach like White’s, which you have to scale down to get to, or underneath the waterfall at Killen Falls after a rainforest hike, I’m pretty chuffed!
Comfort is important to me as I struggle with the heat. So I love to go for easy to wear pieces that still feel chic but require minimal effort to get there. I love linen for that reason! And I love matching sets - they’re always super cool and effortless!
FAVOURITE Casa Raki PIECE:
The cayetana blouse - I adore it!! It’s so feminine as it nips in at the waist but is also so comfortable and easy to wear. I feel really good in my skin when I wear this top.
Natalie is wearing our Cayetana Blouse in Flax