One of the great things about living in South East Queensland is the option to go any which way for a day drive and the guarantee of a spectacular reward at the end.
The drive from Brisbane to Byron Bay is no exception, but the beauty of this one is there are plenty of equally rewarding treasures to discover along the way.
The small town of Billinudgel is about an hour south of the Gold Coast, and the amazing pies at Humble Pie are enough of a drawcard on their own! But, there is the additional lure of handmade soaps, sauces and other goodies from Church Farm, a quaint little stall at the end of the main strip in town (Wilfred Street). A visit to the Billinudgel Hotel, a classic Australia country spot, is also a must.
Billinudgel used to be a railway town, with remnants of its history still present.
Another 15 minutes driving south and you reach Mullumbimby, a town steeped in history with several heritage-listed sites.
And if you follow your nose, you might just end up at Scratch, the town’s French-inspired patisserie run by husband and wife duo, Greg and Angie.
Greg is the Head Baker and you can watch him work his magic via a viewing window into the bakery. Just adjacent, Angie heads up the café side of the business.
They established the patisserie in 2010 from Parisian inspiration, wanting to make quality pastries like those they sampled in Paris available in Mullumbimby.
Onto the Byron Bay hinterland next, and Crystal Castle… a bit of a local icon. It houses a collection of rare giant crystals and fossils, including some of the biggest crystals in the world, which they call The Guardians.
These geodes stand at five-and-a-half metres tall, and being made of Smoky Quartz, are a protective stone that give off a grounding energy.
From crystals that tower high above, to those that literally immerse you, the Dragon’s Egg and Enchanted Cave allow you to actually get inside and marvel at the internal complexity of these truly unique crystals.
It’s not all about the crystals, though, as the Buddha Walk takes you on a peaceful journey throughout the grounds, where you can take in various religious figures along the way.
Bamboo Avenue will literally take your breath away with the calming creaks of the towering trees. They say that bamboo gives off 20 per cent more oxygen than other trees, so this feature within the gardens is really designed to be a conscious connection with breath.
There are many other things to discover throughout Crystal Castle, and its location makes it an easy day-drive destination. But remember, allow plenty of time for those hidden treasures along the way.