An Afternoon at Wategos

As the Aussie summer comes to an end and we introduce you to Part III of our Voyage Collection, what better way to get up close and personal with our latest Roundie, The Starboard, then with an afternoon at one of our favourite beaches, Wategos, with one of our favourite Beach People, Jack Wade

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It’s no lie that Australia is home to some of the most beautiful beaches in the world, with some of my personal favourites falling on the tight coastal border of New South Wales and Queensland. Blessed with pristine water, soft sand, rocky coves, secluded beach pockets and lined with native palms, out of the 10,685 beaches that hug the Australian coastline, Wategos in Byron Bay has to be my all-time favourite.

Only a short drive from home (on the Gold Coast), Byron Bay is the perfect destination for a quick weekend getaway or beach day trip. Having spent endless summer afternoons soaking up the sun and exploring the Bay’s hidden treasures, Byron has always been an extension of my home here on the Sunshine State border.

After countless trips, I think I have finally mastered the perfect Byron afternoon at Wategos (minus the occasional “did you bring the sunscreen?” checks on the car ride down). I like to keep it stress-free, at a snail's pace (because who likes rushing?) and effortlessly prepared.

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WHAT TO PACK

Okay, so the first thing to do is remember a bag… may seem silly (and a little obvious) but you wouldn’t believe how many times I have forgotten one. Also, packing the night before makes the next day a whole lot more relaxing and stress-free.

So what do you put in said bag? Well I hope you have a pen and paper…

I like to keep it simple and only pack what I need. Having already booked a pre-beach lunch, I know I won’t be needing a picnic basket. Otherwise I would definitely be loading that with some of my favourite summer fruits, raw vegetables and an assortment of delicious dips… because you can never have enough.  

My seaside essentials for this trip are my Original Jute Bag, a beach umbrella for the ultimate beach setup, a light-weight beach chair, sunscreen (preferably SPF 50+), surfboard, portable speaker and a good summer playlist, sunglasses, a steel water bottle for ice-cold water all day long, and my Starboard Round Towel.

I know what you’re thinking… it’s a lot to fit in one bag. So maybe you need at least two.

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Lunch at Rae’s on Wategos

After a slow morning with breakfast at home, we hit the road straight to Byron Bay for our lunch reservation at Raes on Wategos.

The epitome of seaside dining and my number one ‘MUST DO’ for Wategos, Raes never disappoints. With its 60’s inspired white curved walls and a feeling of old hollywood glamour, Raes is an oasis within an oasis.

Walking up the burnt clay brick path, between the towering palm trees, we quickly found ourselves a spot under an umbrella at the Cellar Bar. The perfect spot for an afternoon cocktail or lunch time aperitif, the Cellar Bar is what beachside dreams are made of.

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Browsing through the cocktail list, I was burdened with the question of whether I wanted something sweet or something sour. Now, if the most difficult thing you have had to do all day is choose your cocktail then I think it’s already a success.

Sipping on our Raes Collada and Summer Spritz, we took the time to admire the finer details of the Cellar Bar, like the creeping vines on the white rendered walls, baby blue embellishments and beautiful shadows being cast across the patio.   

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With ocean views and window seating, lunch was served in the main dining room and oh it was definitely worth the drive. Sharing is always caring in my opinion, so we decided to start with warm blue conga potatoes with macadamia and black garlic, and spicy tuna and fuji apple. Follow that with roasted cauliflower, lamb shoulder, a side of warm broccolini and a glass of white wine, I can happily admit I placed myself into a food coma and would do it again and again. A quick tip: when ordering at Raes, always get the expert opinions of the wonderful team, they are happy to help and have a world of knowledge to share.

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An Afternoon on the beach

After lunch it’s time to head down to the waterside for some afternoon rays and a dip in the water.

Now here is where your bag packing skills are put the test, to see if you can make it down to the beach in one trip. So grab the bag, board under your arm, umbrella over the shoulder and you’re ready to go.

We scour the sand for the perfect spot. Not too far up the beach, but not too close to the water, and enough privacy to enjoy a nice conversation and some soft tunes, without interruption.

Setting up the umbrella and unfolding the beach chair, the only thing left to do is lay out the towel… and trust me, there is an art to it.

The perfect combination of shake, fling and whip, taking into consideration wind velocity and direction, there is an exact science to towel laying. One that I am yet to perfect...obviously.

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My Starboard towel is my go-to for beach trips. The perfect colour and big enough to spread out on, it’s the like the cherry to my ideal beach set-up. Just see how good it looks.

All set up, now there is nothing left to do but soak up the afternoon sun and take the board for a quick ride.

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Sunset Adventures

After much sun, salt and sand, dusk falls and it’s time to pack up and farewell Wategos for another day. Before we head home, we do one last drive of the coastline and catch the sun setting over the mountains and the surf roll in.

But it doesn’t always have to end there, the Byron Bay Lighthouse always serves up some great views at nightfall or you can venture into town and discover the restaurant-lined streets for something light to eat.

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