Over the years travellers have gradually become deterred from visiting Byron Bay, one of Australia's best known holiday destinations.
The beachside town has become inundated with drunks and hippy try-hards and is constantly perfumed with a lingering stench of vomit.
But while many are quick to say 'NO!' to the once peaceful holiday spot, Byron's outskirts hide some of the state's most precious and undiscovered gems.
There are dozens of beautiful nooks and crannies on the north coast of New South Wales that aren't tainted with the dramas of Byron Bay.
Thinking of avoided the area? Think again...
Only a 20-minute drive from the core of Byron (the street of cliche hippy-wear), Killen Falls is flooded with tranquillity. The rhythm of the waterfall can be heard from the top of the short path down to the lake, entangled in bushland and hardened layers of mud. Before long, the tip of the toes are splashed with icy-fresh water in a pool shaped like a family dinner bowl. It's quiet and there are only a handful of people, the real locals, who have packed a picnic basket full of goodies to lounge about at the falls for the day.
One of the main attractions of Byron is its renowned beaches. But it is difficult to sit back and relax on overcrowded sands with the constant fear of being hit by a beach volleyball. I arrived at Ballina's Lighthouse Beach in peak-hour sun bathing time to find the beachside merely speckled with visitors. With a modern kiosk on the border of the beach and freshly cleaned toilets, the beach was the perfect alternative to Byron's tainted waters.
With a new cafe opening every five minutes in Byron, it is difficult to discover new and exotic flavours. But a slight turn off the main highway will land you in a blissful kitchen that tickles even the most experienced of tastebuds. With a small yet perfect menu mixing breakfast classics with exotic flavours, Folk had me drooling from the get-go. While a banana, turmeric and tahini smoothie may not be the typical mix, the blend of spices paired with a surprising bundle of cocoa nibs at the base of the jar has certainly become a keep-safe recipe.
Amid the trees of Byron's east, this groovy restaurant was a treat for all five senses. Filled with leather lounges and the lingering smell of woodfire pizza, I was gifted with the subtle beat and effortlessly cool voice of musician Christian Patey. The one-man band infused electric guitar, synths and drums together to illuminate the venue with feel-good vibes. What's more I am certain Patey is set to be Australia's next Chet Faker.
A childhood favourite, the southern headland lookout is the perfect seat to spot dolphins weaving through the waves. While it is commonly unusual to see dolphins dancing in autumn, the headland is the perfect spot for a picnic or to simply break for a breath of fresh air.
The Treasure Trade:
In the often faulted town of Lismore lies this hidden gem, home to some of the most nostalgic clothing, homeware and interesting oddities of the '60s and '70s. Roaming around the vintage store for only 15 minutes, I had already gathered a dainty burnt orange clutch, couch pillows perfectly reflective of the 70s, an original akubra hat and sunflower teacups with the words Dumb and Ass written across the pair. From recycled Tommy Hilfiger to a bright orange and daisy covered lasagne tray, this store has you covered.