We’ve all visited the intersection of Overwhelmed Avenue and Stressed-Out Boulevard, and when I recently found myself at this hazardous crossing I began to plot my escape.
But with scores of resort options available to one seeking refuge from the pressures of Real Life, where to turn?
A friend suggested I spend a few hours at a blissful haven called The Farm, in Byron Bay in far northern NSW.
Upon my arrival at The Farm – 5km out of the centre of Byron – I was greeted by owners Tom and Emma Lane, who were as welcoming as the gorgeous property itself.
These refugees from the worlds of advertising and high fashion have created an astonishing, wondrous getaway spread out over 32 pristine hectares.
Their vision was for visitors – who call in from around Australia – to have the chance to experience a working farm and see first-hand how food is grown and produced.
The Farm, which opened in March, houses a collection of micro-businesses on a 32ha working farm which uses sustainable practices. It also features a produce store, restaurant and yoga centre.
Being a yoga enthusiast, naturally I couldn’t wait to indulge in a Farm Yoga session.
Nothing beats doing the Downward Dog in a beautiful old farmhouse, with cattle lowing in the background!
The instructor was top-notch and the session really got my flow going. Then I rewarded myself with an almond milk latte and a freshly baked croissant courtesy of The Bread Social, the in-house bakery of your dreams.
Armed with my pastry and delicious drink, I rested in front of an open fire, already feeling transported from the fast and furious world outside The Farm’s borders.
Afterwards I took the most relaxing stroll around the grounds. My path took me by pastures where cows, large black pigs and flocks of chickens roam freely.
I continued past fragrant pecan and macadamia orchards taking in magnificent views stretching from Mt. Warning to the Cape Byron lighthouse. Step by step, I could feel myself decompressing as a sense of calm and well-being took hold.
All of that exercise made me ravenous, and thankfully Tom and Emma have the nourishment part of things all figured out as well. Their Three Blue Ducks restaurant prepares food derived from a 100 per cent chemical free environment, sourced by local growers.
I tucked into Aleppo Pepper slow roasted pork shoulder with shallot vinaigrette accompanied by a melange of sautéed seasonal
vegetables grown there on the property. My server helped me choose an excellent local organic craft beer (one of 56 on offer!) to wash it all down. Delicious.
My belly was full and I felt happy as the pigs I’d spotted mudding about that afternoon .
Alas, it was time to leave. On my way out, I stopped to pick up some fresh baked artisanal bread and organic fruit and veggies to replenish the larder. Then I visited the resident florist, Flowers at The Farm, and picking out a colorful bunch of wildflowers that would provide me with a living, visual reminder of my stay for days to come.
Mine was truly a blissful, stimulating, sense-saturating experience. My immersion in The Farm Byron Bay could not have had a more successful result – a wholly fulfilling and unforgettable visit to a lovely, peaceful, nurturing setting that made me ready to face the real world once again.
The Farm’s motto of “Grow, Feed, Educate” might sound a bit serious for a retreat. But the real bumper crops on this farm are a healthy body, mind and spirit. If that sounds like something you could use, well… I guess I’ll be seeing you there!