Retreating in style.

Monday, March 1, 2010

I know, I know! I need to post more Brisbane-related articles. But I can't help it - I am such a sucker for the hinterland (anywhere!), and ever since leaving the Lismore region a few years back (in ye olde uni days), I have missed the diverse range of scenery that surrounds the beautiful North Coast of NSW. This was Stephen's first Valentines Day (hey - don't knock him - I'm sure you remember what that's like!), and I wanted to make it special - but I was racking my brains. We both had the weekend off (which was a rare occurence in itself), so there was no question about it - we were going away. 

I had a place in mind that I've wanted to visit for years now - Casurina Lodge, about 15 minutes drive from Mullumbimby in the Byron Bay hinterland. It used to be owned by the Peppers group of resorts, but now I believe it's changed into Mantra's capable hands. 

The first thing that hits you (aside from your lack of phone reception - but don't worry - you won't need that here!), is how utterly peaceful it is. As you drive up the long driveway towards the cabins - the only thing you can hear is the call of the birds and the wind in the trees. The cabins are duplexed, but fairly well separated from each other. The interior has a cosy-cottage type feel to it with timber floors, warm lighting and throw rugs. There's a small kitchenette for tea and coffee making - and the bedrooms are small but delightful - easing out onto the rainforest-sheltered verandah.

I'd pre-arranged a massage for Stephen as a surprise - and these start from $100 an for an hour (and go upwards from there). The resort only uses two massage therapists and they both come with very high recommendations (and if you know the Byron area - you'd know that the region thrives on natural therapies - so I knew he was in good hands) ( pun intended). I left them to it, and drove down into downtown Mullumbimby in search of a dress to wear to dinner (guess who left her sexy plunge-neckline little black dress back in Brisbane?). "Mullum" as it's known to the locals is a sleepy little down that like the other north-coast areas, has a pub, a Retravision, a town hall, and not much else. I still managed to find a sweet little dress shop with an enthusiastic, if not a little eccentric, owner who pointed me in the right direction.

I arrived shortly before Stephen's massage had finished, so I sat out on the verandah and soaked in the amazing energies of the property - it's impossible to sit there and be stressed about anything. Later in the afternoon we went for a swim - the pool was deserted, and the temperature just divine. At sunset, we walked down to the creek where the Lodge has provided two deck chairs - just for sitting and being together. They will even provide you with a bottle of wine and two glasses if plan on being there awhile. Or a picnic. In fact there's nothing the staff won't try and organise for you to make your stay absolutely perfect.

Dinner was at the lodge restaurant "Wilson's On the Creek" (also included in the package deal), and we sat out on the verandah at dusk, with a gorgeous Cab-Shiraz, and some freshly made bread while they made our meal. We both ordered the beef, which it was aged, tender and simply succulent. Dessert was a decadent chocolate souffle - and the perfect end to a great meal.

Breakfast was also included - and consisted of a light continental breakfast of homemade muesli, yoghurt, fruit and croissants. Perfect for lazing around in the morning sun and preparing for the day.

When we checked out, the concierge gave us friendly local advice about what to see in the area (highly recommending the Lennox Heads markets), and invited us back to stay with them again soon. 

  • Summary: Rainforest retreat in the Byron Bay hinterland.
  • Tip:  Bring a bottle of wine (or two!). There's a fridge in the cabin - and you do NOT want to pay bar-fridge prices.
  • Transport: Car only (it's a long way out...dirt roads and all!)
  • Where: Casuarina Lodge - 138 Newes Road, Coorabell, NSW.
  • When: Every day/night.
  • Cost: Rates start from approx $150 per night - however you can be lucky to get a 2-course meal + breakfast as part of their 1 Night Escape package for $168. Yes this is for TWO! :)
  • Website: 
  • Perfect for: Romantic getaways, stress-relief, "us" time.
  • Watch out for: The bar-fridge. It gives most expensive hotels a run for their money. Bring your own food if you're planning on snacking/drinking.
The view from our verandah just before heading down to dinner, at dusk. Gorgeous.


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