If you want to escape to your own little haven on top of the world, a romantic getaway to Blackbird may be just what the doctor ordered.
Our weekend to Blackbird has been a long time in the making. It was booked in 2019, but with COVID constantly creating border closures and bad timing, it wasn’t meant to be. So we were pretty excited when we finally made it over the New South Wales border to sample this little slice of heaven.
Travel not to find yourself, but to remember who you’ve been all along.
Blackbird is a unique retreat approximately 2 hours’ drive south of Brisbane. It’s located just 15 minutes’ drive from the charming town of Mullumbimby and 30 minutes from the vibrant coastal town of Byron Bay. The fabulous location, just off the beaten track, makes this hilltop oasis the perfect base for exploring the local area. From the moment we arrived, we were greeted warmly with a glass of bubbles, and our cares began to melt away.
Blackbird has rustic almost industrial architecture, which remains intimate with only six stand-alone pavilions surrounded by minimal, arid landscaping. The pavilions are simple with their concrete floors and reclaimed timber joinery, but beautifully appointed with lots of thoughtful finishing touches. It’s these little details (like a cheeseboard on arrival, reading lights and binoculars) that make Blackbird that bit more special. I can’t help but feel that a ‘roaring fire’ in each pavilion would make them complete.
The atmosphere is stylish yet relaxed, providing the perfect place to sit back and soak in the breathtaking views. The outlook sweeps through the beautiful hinterland valley right out to the Cape Byron Lighthouse and across the coast to Brunswick Heads. The perfect place to unwind and completely switch off, to stargaze or watch the world (or at least the clouds) go by.
Along with the stunning view, a highlight for us was the dining pavilion. It houses the communal kitchen and dining area, an infrared sauna and an open fire overlooking the magnesium pool with the view beyond. This beautifully appointed space hosts breakfast and cocktails around the fire in the evening. It is the perfect spot to relax by the pool and soak up some sun. The dining pavilion also incorporates a set menu crafted by visiting chefs from fresh local produce each evening. We needed some alone time to reconnect this visit, so we did not indulge at Blackbird, but our fellow guests reported that these intimate dinners are “a totally surreal experience”.
The cooked or continental breakfast using fresh produce was exceptional and added to the already unique experience. This is enjoyed at a communal table in the dining pavilion. There are also a variety of supplies available in this area including quality local produce and drinks. At around $500+ per night for accommodation and breakfast, Blackbird provides a completely unique, luxury experience.
THE LOCAL AREA
Nearby Mullumbimby has plenty of restaurants, cafes and markets and is a charming town to explore. We dined on wood fired pizza from Milk & Honey our first evening in the privacy of our pavilion. Milk & Honey Wine Bar & Pizzeria has an inviting atmosphere, if you do feel like leaving your little slice of paradise.
We also checked out Wandana Brewery nearby. It had a cool vibe with a happy hour, local DJ and a food truck for snacks with varying cuisine on different nights.
After a leisurely morning on our second day, we drove further south. We enjoyed a long lunch on the veranda of Harvest, Newrybar Restaurant, Bakery and Deli. Friends had mentioned this little treasure, but words really can’t describe the phenomenal food. The lamb shoulder with yoghurt was simply mouth-watering. Without a doubt my best lamb ever – and that is saying something! As for the brussels sprouts … I am now madly googling ‘brussels sprouts with lemon, parmesan and slow cooked egg’. All in the hope of re-creating something half as good myself.
All good things must come to an end, and it was definitely sad to leave this little escape. Blackbird draws on the quirky and colourful vibe of the local area to bring you back to earth, to escape reality and to share in a relaxed communal spirit. If you’re looking for a romantic getaway in the Byron Bay vacinity, don’t hesitate to head to Blackbird.
I received a small discount on accommodation for this article. All opinions are 100% my own.