Officially the most Easterly point of Australia, Byron Bay on the NSW north coast is a master of reinvention. Evolving from a sleepy fishing hamlet to ‘hippy’ hub in the 70’s before exploding into a backpacker mecca in the 90’s and beyond, the town draws visitors from around the world thanks to its stunning natural beauty, laid back surf vibe and mix of upscale and alternate culture shopping and entertainment options ( think everything from farmer’s markets to hipster homeware stores; Byron also plays host to three of Australia’s largest music and culture festivals – Splendour In The Grass, Byron Bay Bluesfest and The Falls Festival).
Eco-minded visual artist and one time publisher of women’s online surf magazine SurfSister, Narani Hensen, has laid down roots in Byron Bay with her husband and two children. The beauty of the Bay and their surrounds, a shared love of the ocean and the beach lifestyle, and a knack for creating handmade items all combined to inspire Narani to create Here Come The Sun, a swimwear label for children. When she’s not making or creating she’s cruising Byron’s beautiful beaches with her two kids, so who better to point out top picks for family fun, Byron style.
Name: Narani Henson
Where’s home right now: Byron Bay
Kids ages: 2 and 7 years
Q: Best thing about where you live:
A: I am truly grateful to live in Byron Bay! It has changed a lot over the years but the fundamentals of endless beaches, good food, and special people in the community make it home.
Q: If you had overseas visitors with kids staying with you, where’s the first place you’d take them?
A: The Byron Bay lighthouse is a great activity and gives visitors an amazing view as well as a different perspective. Everyone gets some exercise walking up the hill from the car park with the promise of ice cream from the kiosk to motivate the kids (coffee for the adults). It’s a stunning view with marine life such as dolphins and whales swimming in the clear water. It’s a great introduction to the bay.
Q: Best local coffee joint (and is it kid friendly?):
A: OK I have to be honest; I’m a tea girl and haven’t drunk coffee in years! But one of our family cafes is Espresso Heads. It is out of the way on a back street of Byron with a relaxed atmosphere and great pancakes.
Q: Family friendly places to eat out:
A: If you have been at the beach all day and want to get yummy fast Japanese take away, Japanese Kitchen is our go to. Hand rolls start at $3.50, ramen noodle soups $15.00. If we are having a nice dinner as a family we go to a place called Orient Express, they open from 5:30 and the food is fresh with generous portion sizes, which my husband likes. From memory the sate chicken sticks my girls love are about $9.00 and mains are about $30.00, which can easily be shared.
Q: List the best local places to keep the kids entertained for free or under $20:
A: THE BEACH, there is so many to chose from and they are all equally as beautiful! Or the Byron Bay Public Pool is a lovely place to hang with the family.
Q: Local park with the best kid facilities:
A: Suffolk Park Skatepark is were we go to ride bikes, scoot, skate, big open space.
Q: Tell us a bit about your biz – and how much of what you do is inspired by being a parent and/or where you live?
A: My whole business has come from our lifestyle, who I am as a person and where we live. With our long Byron Bay summer I have had to come up with a way to play on the beach for longer and protecting my children from being sunburnt. Here Comes The Sun Swimwear is Australian handmade designer swimwear for children that protects our precious little’s young skin form the harmful effects of the sun. Meaning we can have more fun on the beach!
Q: Beaches with gentle kid-friendly surf spots:
A: Clarks Beach is a good option for kids that want to have a go at surfing, it’s a bit out of the way as the water can get quiet congested at other spots. Or the surf schools operate down by The Wreck in the rolling white water.
Q: Byron’s best hidden gem:
A: We like driving up to the Crystal Castle in the hills behind Byron, The gardens are beautiful rain or shine! You can adventure around the grounds looking for crystals, and there is a cafe, play ground, and gift shop.
Q: Best family orientated shops and outdoor markets :
A: We have a great toy shop in town called the Toy Kingdom and kid’s clothing store Paper Aeroplane. There is also a good selection of markets in the area which make a great day out; Byron Bay, Bangalow, Lennox, and Channon.
Q: How do you juggle the whole work productivity/parent thing?
A: Badly, I just try to fit work into the gaps around my children!
Q: And finally, best piece of parenting advice you’ve ever been given:
Where to find Here Come The Sun:
Here Comes The Sun Swimwear is Australian handmade designer swimwear line for children with age appropriate designs. Here Come The Sun suits are SPF 50+, chlorine and salt resistant and made from high quality materials that allows children to do what children do best –safely play hard and run free.
Find HCTS Online: herecomesthesunswimwear.com