Just across the NSW border is a tiny town with a lot to offer. Here’s how to spend a dreamy 24 hours in Cabarita, as tried and tested by haven writer, Anastasia…
Where you’ll stay
I’ve decided I’m no longer a camper. Pitching a tent, unrolling a sleeping bag and navigating the suspiciously sticky public showers just aren’t for me. Instead, I’m going to be a ‘glamper’ – specifically, at Hideaway at Cabarita Beach. Formerly the Cabarita Beach Caravan Park, Hideaway has retained the charm of its predecessor; vintage beach chairs and colourful umbrellas wait outside each tent, ready to host a morning cuppa, while well-equipped communal areas invite friendly conversation and wholesome family fun. But the similarities end there. Campervans have been replaced with sprawling bell tents, stretching up to six metres in diameter, and the winding walkways have been adorned with glowing string lights. There are no sticky floors to speak of – the bathrooms, housed in matte black shipping containers, are on par with your standard hotel.
Upon arrival, you’ll be seen to your dwelling by a friendly staff member. “We like to make sure everyone feels welcomed when they arrive,” says project manager Dan McCutchion. Inside your tent, you’re taken aback by the sheer size of it – this isn’t your average two-man sleeper. The bed, a full-size Koala frame and mattress, is luxurious and beautifully dressed to complement the earthy tones of the canvas tent. With both a fan and air-conditioning to keep you cool in the warmer months, you could easily spend hours lounging here reading, daydreaming or getting some shut-eye. But you won’t want to waste a moment – there is so much to see and do…
What you’ll do
The Hideaway is pitched as a ‘glamping by the sea’ experience, and it certainly is. Through the side gate by the kitchen and less than 100 metres east you’ll find Cabarita Beach, a sprawling – though relatively quiet – surf and swimming haven. Spend the morning catching rays, or head there in the afternoon for sundowners and beach games.
Do: climb the headland at the southern end of the beach – you’ll be rewarded with a panoramic view of the Tweed for your efforts.
Don’t: forget sunscreen. Just don’t.
Farm & Co.
Just an eight-minute drive from The Hideaway is Kingscliff’s answer to the popular Farm at Byron Bay. With rows of sunflowers providing the perfect background for your next Insta upload and plenty of picnic tables to enjoy, you could easily spend hours at Farm & Co. if you come prepared with food and water. If you’re short on time, just wander around to see what’s growing (remember to tread lightly, as it’s a working farm) and say hello to the pigs, cows and chickens.
Do: bring your camera – scenic shots await you at every turn.
Don’t: skip the farm store, which is jam-packed with locally-made provisions and fresh produce.
While their name may not ring a bell, Husk Distillers’ most Instagrammable product – their Ink Gin – probably does. On weekends, this gin and agricole rum production house is bustling with visitors making the most of the sprawling green lawns and rows of umbrellas. Bring your kids or gather your gang for the perfect weekend activity, or come along on a Thursday or a Friday if you’re after a little more peace and quiet.
Do: take a souvenir – the Ink Gin can be hard to get your hands on otherwise.
Don’t: forget to book, especially on the weekends.
Ride a bike
The Hideaway isn’t just equipped with luxury lodgings and prime beachfront position – they also offer guests a fun way to get around town. Hire a bike from reception to explore Cabarita and the wider Tweed Coast area, most of which is interlinked with easy-to-navigate bikeways away from cars and crowds. We rode north to Kingscliff, taking a peak at the Tweed River before heading back to Cabarita, though we could have gone as far north as Fingal Heads or as far south as Pottsville.
Do: take the road less travelled.
Don’t: miss out on the acai bowls at the Salt Mill Kingscliff.
But rolling along under sun and shade, through sand and salt air worked up quite an appetite, and the promise of poolside cocktails was calling us back…
What you’ll eat
It’s arguably Cabarita’s most Instagrammed destination, and with its towering white walls and demanding breezeblock facade, it’s not hard to see why. Halcyon House offers luxe accommodation just a block down from The Hideaway, but you can still get a taste for what’s on offer at the on-site restaurant, Paper Daisy. Like something out of a Slim Aarons coffee table book, Paper Daisy’s blue and white decor is in keeping with the rest of Halcyon House. Their menu offerings – mostly fresh pasta and seafood made with local ingredients – are perfectly complemented by the lengthy cocktail menu, which will tempt you to spend just a few more hours overlooking the aqua pool.
Do: save time looking through the cocktail and just order the Halcyon Daze. Trust me.
Don’t: forget to book an outdoor table if you’re looking to soak up the summer sun.
If you’re looking for an early-morning pick-me-up, you can’t go past Kartel. Just next to Hideaway on Cabarita’s main drag, this hole in the wall is a popular catch-up spot for locals meeting to discuss the day’s surf conditions. The rattan furniture gives off major Bali vibes, but the seating is limited – all the more reason to take your order and enjoy it beachside.
Do: order the banana choc muffin, warmed up.
Don’t: forget your reusable coffee cup (and, if you use one of their biodegradable takeaway cups, make sure you recycle it responsibly).