Weekend Away: Byron Bay, Imeson Cottage review.

Read our writer's views on this property below

Rachel Oakes-Ash finds classic Aussie beach shack comfort at Imeson Cottage, BYRON BAY.

THE SETTING

There's no better location for beach lovers at Byron Bay than Imeson Cottage, with views across Cape Byron to Julian Rocks and Mount Warning. Set in the Cape Byron State Conservation Area and tucked into a bushland nook at The Pass between Byron Bay and Wategos, it is a mere five steps from the front verandah to the beach. Town is a 10-minute beach or road walk away.

THE SPACE

The original cottage was built in the early 1900s by George Imeson for family holidays; framed family photos still line the walls. Rumour has it the cottage started life as part of the butter factory in Johnson Street and was relocated. Today's Imeson Cottage is a renovated and rebuilt version alongside Mildenhall, Partridge and Thomson cottages, which hide in nearby bushland. The cottage is small, ideal for a loved-up couple or a family of four with small children, as there's a master bedroom with queen bed and glorious sunrise views and a twin-single bedroom off the beachfront kitchen. The twin beds can combine to create a king for a second couple, if needed. Floor to ceiling glass bifold wooden doors concertina back to allow the ocean breeze in from the front deck, where kookaburras come to play at dusk. The kitchen features all the amenities you need to self-serve and there's an electric barbecue and teak dining table on the deck. Should you tear yourself away from the view, there is a small lounge with television and DVD. The shower is brightly tiled with beach motif mosaics and louvred windows with views.

THE KIT

Expect wooden floorboards, timber shutters and glass doors. The cottage comes with a car spot at the end of a short drive, with a grass pathway to the front door. The washer, dryer, dishwasher and oven are all modern and easy to use. The overall feel is contemporary beach chic.

COMFORT FACTOR

Imeson Cottage epitomises barefoot Aussie beach shack comfort. Spend hours watching kite surfers, stand-up paddle boarders and local surfers play in the waves alongside pods of dolphins.

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FOOD

Bring your own food or wander the local markets for organic goodness and stock up the kitchen for beachside barbecues under the stars. The Pass Cafe and Beach Cafe are equidistant, so just choose left or right for a short beach walk for a latte when caffeine need strikes. Bring your own bikes or hire from local providers and ride five minutes into town for the best breakfast (and coffee beans) in Byron at the Bay Leaf Cafe. We recommend the ricotta nut crumble with fresh morning mint. Harvest in Newrybar is worth the 15-minute drive for dinner in a 100- year-old bakery.

WORTH STEPPING OUT FOR

It really would be a waste to spend too much time away from the cottage. If you must step out, the Bangalow Markets are worth a couple of hours of fun with the locals, organic food, vintage fashion and live music. You could climb Mount Warning for the first rays of sunrise on east coast Australia but then you'd have to wake early - very early.

THE VERDICT

Book ahead - a long way ahead (the cottage books out up to a year in advance). Take books, swimmers, an iPod and someone you love, then leave your shoes and stress at the door.

HOW TO GET THERE

Byron Bay is a nine-hour drive north from Sydney. Virgin Australia and Jetstar both fly to Ballina Airport, which is a half-hour rental car or shuttle bus ride to Byron Bay.

ESSENTIALS

Imeson Cottage costs $630 a night for a three-night stay during peak season, $485 during shoulder season and $355 during off-peak season. Book online, see nationalparks.nsw.gov.au/Cape-Byron-StateConservation-Area/Imeson-Cottage/Accommodation.

The writer was a guest of NSW National Parks.