✨ Two Months, A Van, & East Coast Australia. First stop - BYRON BAY ✨

Posted by Elise Cook on

The dream… buy a van, travel the country, live freely, live slowly, and live simply.
Over the years I must have recited this to Domenic countless times, but it really did feel like a pipe dream. With lives so busy, so full and fast paced, it was a one day dream. Maybe with the kids when we’re older?
When we met our career aspirations couldn’t have been further apart. While Dom was determined to start his own business, or own a wine bar, or one day his own hotel, I dreamt of writing, travelling and taking photos. I studied journalism and always thought something like working on Getaway would do just fine! Haha. :)
Fast track eight years and Dom has his own business, making and sharing one of his greatest joys in life - wine. He grew up making wine with his grandparents, and every venture before now has been centred around wine. To see his dream come to fruition has been such a joy. Meanwhile, in a very unexpected way, my creativity, my love of writing, taking photos, throwing parties and events has become so much a part of Down The Rabbit Hole, that what we have created together is a representation of both of us, of the balance we bring into each others lives,  our love of adventure, and our love of wine.
That we have been able to bring our different aspirations, skills, and passions together to form one venture has been incredible. I feel very blessed and even more blessed to be doing it with my favourite person.
We consider ourselves very lucky to own our beautiful Kombi, Scout, (if you haven’t you can read about how she became ours on this blog post). She has definitely opened our lives up to so much adventure. So much so, that we decided to spend a few months travelling the Australian coast, introducing our wines to select venues along they way. Dom’s goals - tick. My goals - tick. Life’s good - tick! Now I’m thinking, who needs Getaway? Life is our adventure.
I truly believe you can manifest anything you want in life. It may not always be exactly how you imagined, but it may turn out even better than you could have imagined.

Elise Cook Down The Rabbit Hole Wines
So, we’ve hit the road - first stop - Byron Bay!
Now, driving directly from Adelaide to Byron, in a tight time frame, in torrential rain, may not have been the smartest option. We spent one night driving through a never ending, pitch black forest on a winding road, going about a quarter of the speed limit. At around 2am we pulled into a town to rest, but we were both getting weird vibes. All the houses were for sale (all the seven of them), we thought the bridge was about to give way (it probably wasn’t), and there was an alarming number of letter boxes all in a row with no houses around (in daylight and sanity this probably would have been cute, heck - we probably would have thought the whole town and the creaky wooden bridge was cute), but we were getting the heeby jeebies. We pulled over anyway, whipped out the bed, and were about to tuck in when I looked out and realised something was amiss. “Dom! You’ve parked in a cemetery!”
“Oh, stuff that, we are getting out of this town!” he shouted, “I don’t like this place. I don’t like the houses. I don’t like the bridge. I don’t like the owls. And I am definitely not sleeping in a cemetery.” (If you know Dom, you can probably imagine how worked up he was! Haha.) So we ended up driving all night long.
But, we arrived safely and we were welcomed with sunshine! After wrapping up our last event, deliriously packing the van, and driving for two days non stop, we spent the first two days horizontal, lazing around the beautiful Sundays Beach House. It was a pretty special place to conk out and recharge our energy levels. We were treated to an enormous cheese platter and a bottle of wine on arrival - the way to our hearts! The styling is on-point (Julie, the lovely lady who owns it also has a homeware business - Shimha Lifestyle).


Sundays Beach House

We both agreed, it’s pretty much our dream home. If you’re ever in Byron and you need beautiful abode, in a perfect location, with a little luxury, do check it out!
The rest of our time in Byron was magic, and we found it a very hard place to leave. We also stayed at Flamingo Cottage. This place is so big, and so spacey. Each room and bathroom is decorated differently and the outdoor entertaining area is enclosed by your own private jungle. It would be wonderful for a big group, we definitely enjoyed the space.

As beautiful as the houses were, nothing beats our comfy van bed, being parked so close to the ocean you can hear the waves crashing on the sand all night, and waking up to incredible sunrises every morning.
Elise Cook Down The Rabbit Hole Wines
Byron is very strict on free camping, so we did our research and picked the nicest caravan park in town - Clarkes Beach which is run by North Coast Holiday Parks. I can honestly say, it was the best caravan park I have ever been to. Super lush, so friendly, amazing facilities, and secluded campsites with water views. If you’re planning a road trip - and camping along the way - this is your best bet (ask them for our ocean view spot and definitely book in advance). We also loved the fact that it was right along the lighthouse walking trail, so we started every morning with a run as the sun came up.


Sunset beers with new and old friends
You can’t help but eat well in Byron. The options are endless, incredible, wholesome and delicious. Our standouts were:
Breakfast: Bayleaf, Folk, Woods, Doma (Japanese - so good!)
Lunch: Three Blue Ducks at The Farm, Paper Daisy at Halcyon House, The Roadhouse (dinner too), Top Shop, and Harvest (or pack a picnic at their deli which we also did).
Dinner: The Italian (still the best Italian, ever), St Elmo, Fleet.Domenic Palumbo
Lunch at Bayleaf, burgers at the Top Shop, breakfast at Woods.
Elise Cook Folk Byron Bay
We met so many amazing people in Byron, had conversations that have expanded my mind and ways of thinking. We shared food and wine with strangers who became instant friends, and we also met up with old friends, and new friends, and had some particularly magical nights ‘Down The Rabbit Hole’, drinking wine under the stars, in back gardens, or on the beach watching the sun go down.

Elise Cook & Lisa Danielle
My beautiful friend @lisadanielle_ and her adorable cat, Luna, in her backyard. This glorious night was spent with our men and another couple who lived across the lane. We drank, we danced, we talked and we laughed. We ended up all falling asleep outside by the fire.   
Elise Cook Down The Rabbit Hole WinesElise Cook & Lisa Danielle Down The Rabbit Hole Wines
Down The Rabbit Hole Wines
Elise Cook Down The Rabbit Hole Wines

Finally - we are beyond excited to announce that our wine is now stocked in Byron! You can find it at The Northern, Clunes Cellars (well worth a visit - run by the local winemaker - yep there’s only one, and his wines, Jilly Wines, are well worth a try - very interesting blends and downright delicious). Plus a couple of restaurants too (we’ll update you as soon as their wine lists are updated). Cheers to that! :)
Now we’re back on the road, life’s in the slow lane, and we’re heading North...
Elise Cook Down The Rabbit Hole Wines
 

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  • Beautiful beautiful post.

    Amber on

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