Crystal Castle Byron Bay

In the picturesque hinterland of the Byron Bay region, you’ll find ‘The Crystal Castle Byron Bay’. A private botanical ‘Shambhala Garden’ and rainforest filled with extraordinary giant crystals & fossils, sculptures, deities, contemplation spaces, a sacred labyrinth, and the largest stone Blessing Buddha in Australia as well as a Buddhist Stupa blessed by the Dalai Lama.

I’ll be honest, we had avoided visiting The Crystal Castle because I had assumed it would be something best done as a kid-free date. I was wrong, this place is perfect for kids, particulalry the knowledge-hungry seven year old in our midst. He devoured all of the information on crystals, and was fascinated in everything he saw. Even the toddler loved this place.

Within the grounds of The Crystal Castle Byron Bay you’ll find the ‘Lotus Cafe’ – with probably the prettiest outlook of a cafe you are likely to find with breathtaking views of the Byron hinterland and the Shambhala Gardens and right by the children’s playground – which was great for us. As soon as they had had enough of sitting at the table they were free to play while we enjoyed the rest of our lunch.

The food on offer is all organic and vegetarian, and if you had any preconceived ideas about vegetarian fare you can throw them to wind … the food here is exciting, colourful, tasty and caters to kids perfectly with fun smoothies and a variety of items on the kids menu as well as scrumptious cakes *drools at recollection of the brownie*. Lots of space, not crowded and plenty of room for prams and highchairs.

The grounds of The Crystal Castle Byron Bay are pram friendly and family friendly – there is TONNES of room to roam, explore and run, as well as a playground which has free face-painting for kids on weekends and school holidays.

There is a fee to get in to the gardens (see HERE for all current entry fees).

The Food

Value for money 5
Variety of kids menu 5
Portion sizes 5
Food quality 5
Special dietary options 5
How likely are you to recommend venue? 5

On a scale of 5-Excellent to 1-Poor

These pictures speak for themselves. We sampled the share dip plate as an entree – WOW! Yum, so much flavour and colour jam-packed on that plate.

Remember, this is all vegetarian.

The kids had a hot dog – didn’t even realise it wasn’t meat ;), a vegemite roll, and a criossant, while we adults tried the mushroom risotto and a delicious curry. Hearty and filling meals, all washed down with delicious smoothies.

A cool and notable thing to mention is that nothing goes to waste. Plates, cups (even the clear plastic looking smoothie ones), cutlery, napkins and leftovers all went back into the compost to replenish the gardens. It was a really great conversation to have with the kids who wondered why everywhere didn’t do that. Good question, kids. Good question.

Not pictured is the takeaway tea and coffee we got (organic and local) that we took away with us as we continued to amble through the grounds.

Service

Staff Friendliness 5
Willingness to accommodate kids 5
Prompt delivery of meals 5
Additional services like child care N/A

On a scale of 5-Excellent to 1-Poor

A+++. I mean who could be harassed and stressed out working in a place like this? From the entry point on everyone was helpful and pleasant.

Facilities

High chairs and change tables 5
Room for prams and strollers 5
Dedicated play area 5
Can parents see into play space 5
Caters to all age groups 5
Is safely fenced and away from bar 5
Is there adequate parking? 5

On a scale of 5-Excellent to 1-Poor

The Lotus Cafe itself has plenty of room. I love that – when dining out with four kids it can fell quite intimidating to be sitting right next to other diners. This place seems built to ensure that everyone is relaxed.

The playground was great, with slides, climbing, a huge dragon to play on … and of course GIANT GEODES! the free face-painting was a bonus too. The kids really loved that.

As for the rest of the grounds … what can I say? Check out the pictures.

Atmosphere

Very relaxed. Would be almost impossible not to relax here. Running water, bird calls, crystals … PARADISE.

Highlights

Cafe highlights: The share plate of dips was pretty spectacular – and the cakes were amazing too.

The Crystal Castle highlights, for us, was the ‘Crystal experience’. A talk about crystals and the history of using them for healing was pretty fascinating.

Issues

The drive in through the hinterland is a bit narrow and windy – if you are not a confident driver (like me) it might be best to let someone else get behind the wheel.

• You can see the full guide from The Crystal Castle HERE.

Images in this review by Pixelgarden Design