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Halcyon House, Cabarita Beach

Australia's newest beachside retreat comes complete with a restaurant from a Noma alumnus

A 15-minute drive south of Coolangatta Airport, Cabarita Beach is known as a sleepy town with a great surf break, swimming beaches and likeable locals. It’s on the way down to Byron Bay and for years Cabarita Beach was just another town you’d pass on the drive down.

That all changed in May when luxury beachside retreat Halcyon House swung open its doors. All of a sudden Cabarita Beach has become the town to stay in and Byron the place to visit.

This 21-room boutique has been born from a complete overhaul of the former Hideaway motel that commands an ultimate beachside position. Architect Virginia Kerridge retained many features of the 1960s property, while interior designer Anna Spiro added beach chic.

In the bespoke designed rooms, find large tubs, antique pendants and vintage artworks alongside mod-cons like flatscreen TVs with Foxtel and free Wi-Fi as well as a free stocked mini bar that’s replenished (except the $70 bottle of Champagne).

Things only get better downstairs in Paper Daisy, a bar and eatery helmed by Noma alumnus Ben Devlin, who was named Young Chef of the Year in 2014 for his craft at Brisbane’s Esquire. Devlin’s menu highlights the region’s best fare, including locally farmed crayfish and pippies, as well as oysters, whiting, grass-fed beef and lamb.

For breakfast, expect to see Devlin back in the kitchen cooking up hot smoked fish with scrambled eggs, toad in the hole and kefir pancakes alongside blending a banana, macadamia and honey smoothie that’s the best on the North Coast.

With Halcyon House set back a few metres from the sand behind bushland, Cabarita Beach is waiting to be surfed and explored. If you haven’t surfed before or want to brush up on your technique, have the team arrange a surfing lesson with Halcyon’s ambassador, Joel Parkinson. Yes, that’s the same Parko who’s won 11 ASP titles. Then take a walk up to Norries Headland for views up and down the coast or strap on a helmet and ride (the hotel has some retro road bicycles you can borrow) up to Kingscliff or down to Hastings Point.

Getting there

Jetstar, Qantas, Tigerair and Virgin Australia fly to Coolangatta. For the full-service experience, hop on Qantas, while the bang-for-buck option is Tigerair.

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By: James Wilkinson