I’m not sure how, but I have lived in Sydney for several years without ever visiting Byron Bay (pause for gasp). So, when the opportunity to review Reflections Holiday Parks’ Premium Ocean View Villa came a-knocking, I just couldn’t refuse. I quickly grabbed two friends who share my work-from-anywhere lifestyle and off we went.
Off-peak and mid-week, our last-minute flights were cheap and cheerful. At around $130 return, it was worth the potential delays one has come to expect with domestic flights by airlines that shall remain nameless (but rhyme with shmetstar). To be fair – we had no issues and everything ran smoothly, down to the prompt and super-friendly Uber driver who gave us all sorts of handy local recommendations en route.
I was already pretty darn relaxed, to be honest, but as we stepped out of the car and onto the Reflections site, my brain was quickly flooded with warm memories of childhood camping. The laid-back vibe is palpable and infectious (a bit like Byron itself). The staff at reception are friendly and helpful – there if you need anything, but also happy to let you get on with things at your own pace. The relaxed ‘here’s your key and off you pop’ attitude made me feel instantly at ease.
From BYO tents and camper-van sites to fully-furnished cabins and tiny homes, Reflections has options to suit groups and budgets of all sizes. Our villa could accommodate five people – one queen room and one with twin beds and an adult-friendly bunk. I’ll admit that sharing one bathroom might have been challenging if we’d travelled with a full group, but it was just enough for three people. Plus, there are shared on-site facilities if you need them.
Rustic on the outside and modern on the inside, our villa was warm and welcoming from the word go. I’m not sure if this was intentional or if someone forgot to switch off the TV, but as we walked in, we were greeted by soothing spa music which was a lovely touch. The Nespresso machine, coffee pods, and a small carton of milk were also thoughtful details which spared us a trip to the grocery store.
As we explored our new digs we quickly realised that, although there are no five-star bells and whistles, everything you need is there – including WiFi and an outdoor shower for post-beach sand-cleansing. From sturdy wooden hooks to convenient benches for unpacking luggage, the design is well thought-out and everything is made from high-quality material. There’s plenty of storage space for lengthier visits as well as a dishwasher and washing machine. It feels like you’re in an actual apartment so you get the flexibility, relaxation, and novelty of a holiday park, but without compromising on all the comforts and conveniences of home.
If you’re travelling on a tight budget, the villa has everything you need to cook for yourself. If we had our time again, we would make use of the in-built BBQ and enjoy an evening on the deck overlooking the ocean. But, unfortunately, the plethora of amazing eateries in town proved too hard to resist.
Some highlights for me were Mexican food and cocktails at Miss Margarita (the passionfruit mojito alone is worth the visit) and vegan delights at No Bones. We also spent almost an entire day at the Stone & Wood brewery which was both wonderful and unwise in equal measure.
Waking up to the sound of waves was pure relaxation, and catching up with work at 7 am on the deck with a coffee and a view of surfers in the distance made me feel extremely smug about my life choices! If you’re travelling with other campers, the deck is also large enough to host a group for dinner. We didn’t host – or even cook – dinner, but we did manage to bring home a bottle or two of wine and stare at the stars until the wee hours (which, again, was wonderful and unwise in equal measure).
Only a 1km stroll away from Byron’s hub of bars, shops, and restaurants, Reflections puts you close to the action while also allowing you to retreat into your own little camping bubble. Bikes are available to rent if you want to explore the wider area and The Kiosk at Beach Byron Bay is just outside the entrance to the park if you crave takeaway coffees and delicious breakfast bites. This is particularly useful if you’re feeling a bit dusty after the night before (which I was – repeatedly).
A villa at Reflections Holiday Parks Byron Bay is a great way of enjoying all the trappings of Byron without splashing out on an overpriced hotel or AirBnB. Prices vary depending on the type of accommodation, number of guests, day of the week, and length of stay. Standard, unpowered tent sites can be as little as $60 per night whereas a weekly rate for the Premium Ocean View Villa based on a 7-night stay is $415 per night ($83 per person).
If you’re expecting five-star luxury, Reflections (and holiday parks in general) is probably not for you. But if you’re looking for a comfortable, clean, cosy, and convenient place to call home for a few days while also enjoying the laid-back camping atmosphere, it’s definitely worth exploring.
Reflections Holiday Parks Byron Bay
1 Lighthouse Rd, Byron Bay NSW 2481