Courtney Adamo, mother-of-five and Instagram star, moved her family to Australia's Byron Bay after an around the world adventure. Here, she tells Maggie Davis why it's the perfect spot for her family and reveals her top five things to do with the kids. Don't go down under without it.
I first met Courtney Adamo eight years ago when Babyccino Kids, the kids' style blog she set up in London with friends Emile Walmsley and Esther van de Paal, was in its infancy. It was also before her youngest children, Marlow and Wilkie had arrived on the scene. Beautiful, super-friendly and genuinely kind, Courtney radiated a rare energy that was completely infectious. No wonder her dreamy Instagram feed has since garnered over 235,000 followers.
Like thousands of others, in 2015, when Courtney set off on a family gap year around the world in search of the perfect place to settle, I followed her online journal Somewhere Slower in wonderment. Without knowing it, she single-handedly inspired a thousand more Instagram mums to take some time off, travel and connect with their families.
Having lived in London for over a decade with a perfect home in London's leafy Highgate, what was it about Byron, that so appealed? 'During our travels, we spent five weeks in Bangalow. It was meant to be three weeks, but we loved it so much, we extended our stay. During that time, we made so many new friends and discovered the wonderful lifestyle here,' explains Courtney. 'Within one month of exploring beautiful Byron Bay and the towns dotted throughout its hinterlands, we all agreed that this could be our spot.'
'We felt an undeniable connection to the natural beauty of the area and were drawn to its infectiously happy residents. Of course there was also the surfing, the sunshine, the good food, the creative community and the bohemian lifestyle that’s always appealed to me. We had fallen in love and could not deny our deep attraction to this place. We quizzed the kids – could you live here? Their answers were always, and unambiguously, ‘yes!’ At the end of our month-long stay, we couldn’t wait to return.
This breathtakingly beautiful corner of Australia is now home to a community of creatives including some of our favourite Instagramers including Jetsetmama, Olli Ella and Little Winnie, all friends and part of the incredible Byron mum-clan. 'The community here in Byron is so collaborative. There are so many wonderful brands and businesses that are doing such cool things, and everyone is really supportive of each other,' says Courtney. 'On a personal level, it’s also a place where there is always a friend happy to help if I need it, and I really feel I’ve found a tribe of women I can rely on for support and friendship. When Wilkie was born, we had food dropped off to our doorstep for weeks.'
But surely there's something about the buzz of London that Courtney and family miss? Anything? 'We can’t even begin to make comparisons to our former life in London, that’s how different it was. It almost feels like two different worlds! I’m so thankful for our 12 years in London - for all the travel we did around Europe, for the friends we made there, for the cultural diversity and exposure we gave our children, and for all the incredible things we got to do and see in that city. But as incredible as it was, it was also busy, and fast-paced and expensive… and I wouldn’t go back to that life again.'
'In contrast, I feel so at home here in Byron. I honestly have to pinch myself daily that we get to live here in this beautiful part of the world. It’s the first place I have ever lived where I can envision growing old, which is such a grounding feeling. It’s also a place that makes my entire family happy. The weather, the ocean, the surfing, the connection to nature - it allows for a lifestyle that just works for my family.'
So, if like me you are planning a trip to this surfers paradise one day, be sure to make a note of Courtney's top five places revealed below. Your most important accessory? Bare feet. Surf board optional.
For more tips on what to do in Byron Bay, take a look at Courtney's guide on Babyccino Kids here.
Courtney's book, co-written with Esther van de Paarl, '9 Months: A month by month guide to pregnancy for the family to share', published: Frances Lincoln Children's Books is available at Amazon.
Babyccino's shopping event ShopUp takes place in London this weekend, 9-10 June The Yard, 891/2 Worship Street, Shoreditch, London EC2A 2BF.
1. Byron Bay Lighthouse
2. The Pass
Because of the point break and protected bay, there are almost always good waves to surf at this family-friendly beach. A perfect spot to learn if you’re a beginner, but you can also paddle out to the point for the bigger waves if you’re really ‘frothing’ to surf.
The Pass, Byron Bay NSW 2481, Australia
3. TopShop Byron Bay
After the beach, head to this iconic Byron cafe for a burger (the Haloumi burger is my favourite!) and a cold kombucha. No shoes required — this is Byron after all!
TopShop, 65 Carlyle St, Byron Bay NSW 2481, Australia
4. The Farm
Located just outside of Byron Bay, this working farm/restaurant/café/shop/play-space is a wonderful, family friendly spot to hang out, meet friends, and enjoy a delicious meal. We love their donuts, breads and sandwiches from their take-away counter, and the food from the Three Blue Ducks restaurant is outstanding.
The Farm Byron Bay, 11 Ewingsdale Rd, Ewingsdale NSW 2481, Australia
5. Federal Doma Cafe
Make the pretty 20-minute drive inland to this wonderful Japanese-Australian restaurant in the tiny town of Doma. It is one of our favourites for their delicious food and relaxed outside dining area. Arguably one of the best breakfasts you’ll find in the Byron Shire.
Federal Doma Byron Bay, 3-6 Albert Street, Federal NSW 2480, Australia
Getting there: Qantas fly from London Heathrow to Brisbane from £725.
Staying at: Temple Farmhouse, Byron Bay via AirBnB
When to go: Byron Bay has pretty good weather all year around, although September to November has comfortable temperatures with the lowest average rainfall.
For more information: Visitbyronbay.com