Postcards / Travel

Postcards from Splendour In The Grass: Road tripping away the winter blues

Whilst bombarding my friends with photos of sun-drenched European Renaissance architecture is on my wish list for this year, I decided to take my winter break a little closer to home. With Splendour in The Grass festival happening up in Byron Bay, and the forecast of sunshine, we decided that a trip to Byron for both work and pleasure was on the cards. We decided to drive, partially because my car is so chic (2003 Ford) and partially so we could stop at various novelty sized objects (bananas and prawns). After a fun drive listening to as many of the artists we wanted to speak to across the festival, we arrived safely at Elements of Byron, and the working holiday had truly begun.



We had the pleasure of staying at Elements of Byron, in a perfectly equipped villa which I will always choose over other accommodation for the bath that is big enough for two – and if you don’t seize this opportunity to bathe with your best friend, are you really friends?

Elements of Byron is such a verdant place to stay, with over 50 acres of rainforest which, if you take twitchers (passionate birdwatchers) on holiday with you, you will make them very happy. The private access to Belongil Beach is incredibly special, even if you are not quite ready for a winter ocean swim. However, there was swimming, after defining a new aesthetic genre, 'Monaco Mummy' (think chic divorcee making too much of an effort), we spent as long as we possibly could at the adult’s pool, drinking salted coconut margaritas and experiencing true joy.

At festivals you are at the mercy of the food onsite, which although is a lot better than it used to be, is not the same as cooking for yourself. Our kitchen at Elements of Byron was perfect and allowed us to make healthy eggs and spinach before an inevitable late-night Mary’s burger.



Byron has a wealth of eateries to choose from, so we naturally chose the only wine-focused venue in Byron Bay, Bar Heather, and admired the list of over 700 wines. The brainchild of leading natural wine importers, James Audas (Noma), Tom Sheer (LoFi Wines) and chef Ollie Wong-Hee (Sixpenny, Ester) did not disappoint. Architecturally designed, the ambiance was perfect for an intimate friend date, with live jazz in the corner and oysters with cucumber mignonette at the top of the menu.

Bar Heather focuses on local food with a strong connection to all of their suppliers, the betal leaf, pork and pickles was an unexpected highlight and the venison tartare was perfection. We somehow found space for the sorbet which concluded the evening with a gentle sugar high.



We needed to pack for all occasions as we went from fine dining to festival. We unified the whole experience with a Mulberry Bayswater bag, I wanted to feel like a supermodel at Glastonbury, and the brief was met. Byron gets a little chilly after sundown, so I took some light knits from Sener Besim to put under my layers as the nights got later – and I am a big fan of a thumbhole in a knit.

I needed to research artists and prepare my reviews, so I took the Bang and Olufsen A5 speaker. It looks like the world’s chicest picnic basket, has incredible sound, and as a friendly warning, goes very loud. We took a bottle of Glenmorangie’s A Tale of The Forest whisky for our nightcaps, the botanicals mirroring our rainforest experience, and gently winding us down after a day being stimulated by music.

There is something really refreshing about having a good perfume on hand to freshen you up through the days, so I shoved Byredo’s Bibliotheque in my bag with portable chargers and an excess of clean socks. The two things you really need for a good festival experience, in Byron or anywhere else for that matter, are clean socks and your dearest friends.


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