A bit over a year ago, mid-winter 1996, I was badly in need of a break. Work had been getting extremely stressful. Big political changes had meant the place where I worked was going through a major reorganisation. I needed to get away somewhere peaceful and let my brain go into neutral. I was lucky. I found just the place, in Byron Bay, the easterly most point on the Australian continent, far away from the cold and frosts of Canberra, and light years away from the worries of work. I wrote this about the place we stayed, Cory's on Cooper, run by Alison Cory. If this reads a bit like PR, so be it. But it's deserved. I wrote this as a little thank you to Alison.
If you're looking for somewhere really special to stay in or near Byron, please read this...
Cory's on Cooper is not your average bed-and- breakfast. It's not just excellent. It's unique. A home away from home and unquestionably the nicest place to stay in Byron Bay, if you value gracious living, delightful hosts, and superb breakfasts and afternoon teas.
Trish and I arrived at about 5 pm on a grey July afternoon, after a slow 400 km drive down from the high tablelands in the winter rain and mists, following a stressful 800 km drive from Canberra the day before. Our first feeling was one of immense relief. We hadn't known quite what to expect. The place was beautiful. The host, Alison Cory, put us at ease at once. There was a roaring log fire in the hearth and Alison served us with a pot of Ceylon leaf tea and some of the finest cake I've ever tasted. Bliss.
We were intending to stay a week and look at possible other accommodation for the second week, as much for variety as anything. In no time at all we decided to stay exactly where we were. A beautifully restored weatherboard mansion from the gracious past of Byron Bay. Breakfast in the sunshine every morning, time to laze by the pool during the day, and the magnificent Tallows Beach only five minutes walk away through the sand dunes. We have never enjoyed a more pleasant or relaxing two weeks anywhere.
One of the things we enjoyed the most was how welcome we were made to feel. You immediately feel part of the household. You get to meet many of the locals who pop in to visit Alison for a cup of tea or a bite to eat. We learnt so much more about the Byron area and life in the district that we would ever have managed in a motel. Everyone is friendly. You feel like a local straight away!
Byron sports many excellent eateries, from cordon bleu to a marvellous semi-open-air pub called "the Rails" where the food is excellent and cheap, the live music is great and the atmosphere unique. You'll find Alison can recommend all sorts of places to eat, to suit many tastes.
Also, keep your eyes open for Heathcliffe the Water Dragon. He's about three feet long, spends a lot of time basking next to the pool -- or swimming in it -- and likes grapes and apples. Quite a character.
If you're looking for peace and quiet, beautiful surroundings and genuinely friendly hosts, you need look no further. If you decide to stay at Cory's on Cooper, well done. You're bound to enjoy it.
PS: If you don't believe this, ask Robert Plant of Led Zeppelin fame. He stayed in the same room we did, some months earlier. He liked it too.
PPS: Almost forgot: