BYRON Bay lives up to its indigenous name "Cavanbah", meaning "meeting place". The coastal enclave's idyllic beaches and laid-back lifestyle attract nearly two million visitors each year.
If you're local, you'll know to avoid Byron's epicentre during festival periods, school holidays, maybe even weekends in general. The car queues and parking woes are indicative of its growing popularity.
Visit when the drive in is as easy as a sip of a home-grown Stone and Wood, and you'll see why the locals love it here.
From famous surf breaks to World Heritage rainforests, Byron is home to a kaleidoscope of people-types, from hippies, backpackers, dreamers, developers (to the dismay of many) and others in between. It also has one of the highest concentrations of creative professionals outside of the capital cities calling the region home.
It's been maybe a year since I visited Byron town as a neighbouring local, even though the drive is about 30 minutes.
When a group of girlfriends hail for an obligatory girls' weekend away to Byron Bay, I am quickly reminded why so many fall in love with Australia's most eastern point.
Home for the next few days is Elements of Byron. You needn't drive right into Byron to get there. Gracing the Belongil beachfront, the hotel lures families and couples alike.
While the massive lagoon pool is hard to resist, we hit up the new adults-only pool lined with cabanas, perfect if you're travelling without the kids (or even husbands). We wade away the afternoon in stillness.
Swimming, lounging and sipping cocktails on repeat. The pool features a swim-up bar on one side and swings, not stools, on the other.
A pop-up taco van serves guests Mexican street food. Our hands are full, both with tacos and margaritas, but so are our hearts with bliss.
At sunset, we stroll down to the sand of Belongil Beach to enjoy the candy-coloured skies and panoramic views of Byron Bay's famous lighthouse. Here you'll also find the Botanica Beach Bar retro caravan with spritzers on tap.
It's on dusk you can see why Mother Nature is the resort's creative director. The fairy floss skies and blonde sandy tones are reflected in the new two-bedroom villas we are staying in, positioned among the eucalypts and book-ended by a billabong.
The shibori leather bedheads are a work of art reflecting the musky pink skies at dusk. There are plush king-sized beds with adjoining bathrooms, one with a deep, free-standing stone bath complete with bath crystals and a rain shower.
The evening calls for share plates and a local Ink Gin and tonics at the Mez Club in town, before following the music to The Beach Hotel, which hosts nightly gigs. When we visit Regurgitator and The Beautiful Girls are in town.
We finish the night at LaLa Land on Lawson St, a second-level open-air balcony with daybeds and hanging plants and DJ and dancefloor till late.
Jelly-legged from overindulgence, our bodies need a good wringing out. There's complimentary yoga for she (or he) who dares from 6.30am in the "Heart of the Bay". We salute to the sun as it rises over Belongil Beach.
Or be the first in Australia to witness the sunrise from Cape Byron, the most eastern point of Australia, just a short drive down the road.
We leave the car behind and climb aboard the world's first solar train, run by The Byron Bay Railroad Company, just a short walk from our accommodation and head into town for a caffeine hit.
The 1949 two-carriage is a delightful time warp. It runs between North Beach Station at Bayshore Dr in Sunrise Beach and the Byron Bay township hourly between 10am and 5.15pm, with late night services on Fridays and Saturdays.
A hike to the lighthouse is well worth wading through the crowds. The easy 4km loop offers a reward at the top of not only spectacular views but high odds of spotting whales and dolphins.
Finish with a dip in the deep blue at Wategos Beach on your way down, perfect for a picnic, paddle and play to mark the end of a short but sweet getaway.