Slowly this stretch of road has begun to find itself again. Some great restaurants, some reinvigoration of the old, and a rethinking of the new have made 2021’s stretch of Oxford Street a destination once more.
The overhaul is a triumphant melding of past and present. Bannisters Port Stephens joins the ranks of other coastal motels (think Cabarita’s Halcyon House) to be propelled into the 21st century; the old repurposed and cool once again.
In truth Burleigh has never been particularly brash. Follow the Gold Coast Highway as it weaves past the surf club and pines and, blinded by early glimpses of the Surfers Paradise towers glinting in the sunlight, it’s easy to overlook Burleigh’s spectacular stretch of beach bookended to the south by a headland of glorious rainforest.
The sum of the parts is a stylish step up from the regular motel stay, with whitewashed walls, a gentle Hampton-esque interiors palette and lush, newly planted gardens providing a sense of tropical serenity in the middle of busy Bondi.
Its gorgeous surf beaches and boho vibe attract more than 2 million visitors a year. Sometimes it feels like at least a million of them are all on the road to town at once. That’s why, even though I live just 15 minutes away, I often head out of town to places as beautiful as Byron but whose charms are a whole lot quieter.