Anyone who has attended a Splendour in the Grass knows the physical and emotional sacrifice the party gods require. It can be a tough transition to go back to your life B.S. (Before Splendour). To ease your return to normality post-festival, you’ve got to reinvigorate your very being in body, soul and sustenance. Swap the muddy plains of Splendour for mud baths at a day spa, the beers for some green tea, and the sweaty dancing for some sweaty exercise. A Byron Bay chill out session will have you well on the road to #wellness.
#1 Hair of the Dog
You’ve got to ease back into living a normal life. Rather than going cold turkey on the party lifestyle you’ve cultivated down at North Byron Parklands, treat yourself to a hair of the dog treatment by sipping some carefully curated alcoholic brews. The Beach Hotel aka Top Pub has the best Bloody Mary you’ll find in Byron Bay (The Balcony Bar & Restaurant’s take on the drink is a close contender), with staff making yours as spicy as you dare. All of that tomato juice could be mistaken for a juice cleanse. Being the hometown of Stone & Wood Pacifica Ale, we’re sure you could substitute a cocktail for a pint. Open from 8am, Top Pub has a sprawling lawn and beach garden for weary bodies and is the only bar with a main beach view.
#2 Desperate for a detox?
You can tell your proximity to Byron Bay by the number of people who casually mention ‘energy’ and ‘healing’ in their small talk. It makes sense then that Byron is home to innumerable day spas and detox centres nestled among rainforests and natural rock settings. Three days of non-stop Splendour in the Grass is a marathon in festival hours, and it takes a toll on the human form. Before you cram back into the car or get back on a plane, cool down with a hot stone massage, heated plunge pools, body wraps, pedicures and manicures and more. At Gaia Retreat & Spa you can take in incredible hinterland views and Suli’s House Of Lush you can go for hair, face or body treatments.
#3 Get back to nature
If trekking from the bus stop to the Splendour festival site hasn’t ruined walking for you, get among the lush natural surroundings of Byron Bay. The town backs on to subtropical rainforests and marine parks and there are plenty of ways to enjoy them. Nearby is the Arakwal National Park lined by the secluded Tallow Beach. Take the Cape Byron walking track through a rainforest, beach, grassland and cliff tops up to the lighthouse. It sits on the most easterly point of Australia which makes it the perfect spot to witness the sunrise.
Or go for a drive and visit the volcanic neck that is Mount Warning (one hour’s drive), sacred to the Bundjalung Nation. The Bundjalung ask that you don’t climb the mountain but you can walk the Lyrebird Track at the base. Alternatively, the Nightcap National Park (about one-and-a-half hours’ drive) is part of the Gondwana Rainforests of Australia. It is the most extensive stretch of subtropical rainforests in the world and home to ancient plant species, volcanic craters, and the cascades of Minyon Falls (the natural pool at its base is ideal for swimming) making it the perfect locale for a chilled out picnic or BBQ.
Channel your Ocean Girl fantasy and go scuba diving or snorkelling around Julian Rocks in the Marine Park. Businesses like Sundive offer highly supervised but relaxed dives for every skill level whether you have zero or a 100 dives under your wetsuit. If you’re lucky, you’ll witness turtles, leopard sharks and various carpet sharks, as well as plenty of tropical and non-tropical fish and marine life. Byron is also surrounded by lots of shipwrecks too for more experienced divers to explore.
#4 TrEAT yo’ self
Food trucks and themed bars do not a healthy diet make, so it’s time to up your nutrient intake. Being the hippie-ish region it is, Byron Bay is flush with delicious produce and restaurants. Nourish Food Safaris will give you a sampling of the region in their tours of the best food, drink and produce of the area. From the gourmet, to raw and organic cuisine, to dishes fresh from the farm. Your plum-bob will be emerald green by the end of one of these expeditions.
#5 Reconnect to your zen
If you’ve done Splendour right, your soul could probably do with some resurfacing. Head out to the Zen-Buddhist garden, The Crystal Castle (a 20-minte drive) and realign those chakras. Walk down Bamboo Avenue, a path lined with bamboo reeds that sound like a natural wind chime when a breeze comes through. Try meditating or doing a bit of yoga among the statues of the Buddhist-influenced gardens, or have a sit in the rose quartz circle for some self-healing, contemplation, or just a bit of quiet time.
#6 Sweat it out
If you’re capable of moving, sweating out a hangover can be one of the best party cures. Head out into the bay on a sea kayak, hire a surfboard, or simply go for a swim and cleanse your body with the sweet salty sea. The annual migration of whales takes place from June ’til October, so you might catch a tail fin slapping the water up close in your kayak. Even if you don’t, there’s a good chance you’ll be joined by dolphins or catch a glimpse of some turtles.
(Lead image: Gaia Retreat & Spa)
Anna is the former editor-in-chief of TheVine. She currently writes for Spook, Broadsheet and The Big Issue. Once she made her friend drive her from Manchester to Wales to visit the '60s film set of The Prisoner because most of her life revolves around TV. You can follow her on Twitter @annahoran.