THE BEST PLACES TO STAY IN BYRON BAY

Today’s question – where to stay in Byron Bay?

For a relatively small town, Byron sure packs a punch. Visitors are spoilt for choice when it comes to beautiful beaches, bars and restaurants.

And there are almost as many accom options as there are cars trying to get a park at Wategos.

So where to stay when you’re lucky enough to be in this extra-gorgeous part of the world?

Here are our 2 favourite options, both set in stunning natural surrounds. One – high end, the other fantastically budget friendly.

We’ve been staying at both of these places for years now and we always have great experiences at both.

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THE BYRON BAY LIGHTHOUSE WALK

Sometimes in life you’ve got to follow the lead of the Hemsworth brothers and get yourself to Byron Bay. 

Really, for your own wellbeing you should drop what you’re doing right now and go if that’s at all possible. In fact, I hereby volunteer to drive. Archer can DJ the trip with her typical uplifting and predominately hip-hop based playlist.

Byron has all the things we love – great beaches (and plenty of them), amazing natural surrounds for hiking and exploring, great cafes and bars and some pretty incredible places to stay.

And it’s also home to one of the most beautiful walks in Australia – the Cape Byron Lighthouse Walk.

Here’s our how-to guide for one of our all-time-favourite walks.

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THE CABLE CARS OF SAN FRANCISCO

There’s something very gorgeous about a cable car ride in San Fran.

Yes it’s touristy. But it’s also super fun.  

The cars are classic and pretty. Full of historic charm. And they go surprisingly fast.

A ride on one will get you a good look at some of the beautiful, colourful San Fran architecture. And you’ll finish up right near the bay (and dangerously close, in fact, to an In-N-Out Burger).

Here’s the start of the line at the Market Street Turntable –

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If you’re in town visiting and staying near Fisherman’s Wharf, the cable cars are a great way to get back to your accommodation from a shopping trip at the Union Square, Market Street and Powell Street shops.

What’s not to love?

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PICTURES FROM ALCATRAZ

A visit to San Fran wouldn’t be complete without a day trip out to this little former prison island in the middle of the Bay.

It’s a fascinating place. Inside the prison quarters are dark and cramped. Outside the natural beauty is stunning.

It’s home to some truly great stories, including the famous escape from Alcatraz tale

It’s also a place where a lot of beauty can be found.

Let’s take a look around.

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Here’s the view as you approach the island. The prison block is on top of the hill.

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5 REASONS TO VISIT THE FERRY BUILDING MARKETPLACE – SAN FRANCISCO

When in San Fran, there are many reasons why you should get yourself down to the Ferry Marketplace. 

Here are our top 5:

1 – The building & history 

You know how we love a good building? Well, this is an excellent one. And it comes with good story.

Located on the Embarcadero at the end of Market Street, it opened in 1898 as a transport and commuter hub for those coming into the city.

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Its beautiful clock tower was modelled on the bell tower at the Seville Cathedral in Spain

At its peak, about 50,000 people a day used the building when commuting by ferry to the city.

In the 30s, the opening of the Bay Bridge and the famous Golden Gate Bridge meant ferry usage dwindled and the space was largely converted into office space.

In the 50s a freeway was built right in front of the building, sadly making it much less visible. In 1989, an earthquake damaged that freeway and it was removed in 1991.

Happily, extensive renovations completed in 2003 have seen the building’s historical details restored.  The first floor is now a beautiful marketplace, showcasing the bay area’s best produce.

Ground floor of the Marketplace, today

Ground floor of the Marketplace, today

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YES THIS PLACE IS REAL – THE MCWAY FALLS

The McWay Falls are probably the most photographed sight along Highway 1. And no wonder. They are GORGEOUS.

To get to this amazing spot, head off the highway into Julia Pfeiffer Burns State Park when you see this sign –

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Isn’t the bear a nice touch?

The Waterall Overlook Trail is an easy walk, being only about a kilometre round-trip.

It begins from the same carpark as the Ewoldsen Trail, a fantastic hike, which we LOVED and covered here.

Our tip? Do the big hike in the morning, maybe take a break and head somewhere nice for lunch with a view, and visit the waterfall in the afternoon when the sunlight hits the cove in spectacular fashion.

At the start of the trail you will walk though a tunnel under the highway. Soon you will emerge to the incredible view of McWay creek spilling onto the beach.

Behold – the McWay falls –

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OUR TOP 3 PLACES TO EAT IN BIG SUR

You’re living it up in Big Sur. All this hiking, beach-going and general exploring has made you hungry.

You want to eat somewhere funSomewhere with views. Maybe you’d also like some coffee that actually tastes good, while we’re at it?

Wow. You’re really quite demanding aren’t you?? 

Well don’t worry my friend –  we’ve got you covered.

Here are our top 3 places to eat in Big Sur.

1 – Nepenthe – best view

 

Open since 1949 this is a Big Sur institution with views to die for.

Head up to the rooftop area,  pull up a chair at the bench overlooking the ocean and order yourself The Famous Ambrosiaburger – a delicious steak sandwich, served on a french roll with their famous ambrosia sauce.

With bottles of ketchup on every table and happy staff rushing around distributing baskets of golden shoestring fries, this is a picture-perfect US road-trip pit-stop.

Miss A and I and that incredible view

You will find Nepenthes at 48510, Highway 1. This is right near the ‘Posts’ part of Big Sur.

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SAND DOLLAR BEACH

Sitting below impressive cliffs on the southern Big Sur coastline you will find a crescent shaped stretch of sand, known as Sand Dollar Beach.

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This is the longest, and perhaps easiest to access, beach on the Big Sur coast. And it’s gorgeous.

A perfect spot for a walk or a picnic.

So what is a ‘sand dollar’ anyway? 

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OUR FAVOURITE HIKE IN BIG SUR – THE EWOLDSEN TRAIL

If you’re only going to do one hike in Big Sur – make it this one!

There are so many great things about this trail.

It’s got amazing redwoods and pretty bridges crossing over picture-perfect bubbling streams.

It’s just the right distance that you can fit it in on a day trip to the area and it’s still got a nice amount of elevation gain so you will feel like you’ve completed a good substantial hike.

Your efforts in climbing uphill will be rewarded by truly incredible ocean views.

It’s also super close to other Big Sur attractions, including the famous McWay falls which you can conveniently reach from the same carpark.

And – if you need one more reason to visit this trail here it is – you may even spot a California Condor up here. Now, if you can’t get excited about possibly spotting the largest bird in North America soaring over the coastline with its glorious 3 metre wingspan, then I’m sorry but this friendship is not going to work out.

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BIG SUR – TREEBONES RESORT

Treebones Resort is a wonderful option for a stay in Big Sur.

Here, staying in furnished yurts, you can enjoy that camping feeling of being totally immersed in nature without having to actually organise the full camping logistics.

This is especially helpful if you’re visiting from overseas without camping gear. Or if, like me, you quite like having the option of using a hair-straightener for a few minutes of a morning.  I think we can agree that good hair only improves a holiday. The utility of a simple power-point cannot be underestimated.

Located at the southern end of the Big Sur coast, Treebones is a beautiful property set on the hillside above Highway One, overlooking the ocean.

There are 16 yurts in total, which have been carefully placed into the landscape. Smaller yurts accommodate couples, while there are larger yurts available for groups of up to 5 people.

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