I am a freelance writer, fortunate enough to live near Byron Bay, one of Australia's most beautiful regions. My writing - for newspapers, magazines, online and for business - lives at vivienne pearson.com
Published January 28th 2018
In need of calm? Rush to Crystal Castle
First things first - Crystal Castle isn't a castle. It does, however, have a vast and wondrous collection of crystals.
The crystals range from tiny rock-quartz pebbles to a three metre long amethyst-filled cave. Many are available for sale but most are simply there to be gazed at and enjoyed; scattered around the extensive gardens.
I come to Crystal Castle for the gardens. Also known as the Shambhala Gardens, Crystal Castle has a shady bamboo walk, a stroll down to the giant buddha, a kilometre long rainforest walk and a gentle walk down to the stupa and reflexology area.
I come to Crystal Castle for the calm. The entire place is infused with contemplative calmness, from the crystal bowls that 'sing' to the meditative labyrinth walks.
I come to Crystal Castle for the beauty. The view from the cafe, over the standing crystals to the hinterland hills is one of the best in the Byron Shire. The gardens hide little secrets - rare crystals, statues, flowering ginger plants and water lilies.
The cafe, which is just as calm and beautiful as the rest, has healthy yet delicious food, good coffee, juices and smoothies. In keeping with their overall philosophies, some ingredients are sourced from the on-site garden. Linger over your food or snack as the cafe is shaded, breezy and offers beautiful views.
Ideal For All Ages
Crystal Castle is one of those rare places that appeal equally to adults and children. Many children will love walking the labyrinths, turning the prayer wheels on the stupa and walking barefoot on the reflexology walk, just as adults will. Some kids might need encouragement to get into the calm vibe that is expected in these areas, but others will imbue this sense just by being there.
A small but satisfying playground - with monkey bars, a slide, small flying fox and spider web climbing frame - is located just below the cafe.
Facepainting is available for no cost on some weekends and public holidays.
Small but satisfying playground, including a crystal dragon
If you are fortunate to live locally, you can buy a year's pass to Crystal Castle for a mere $29. Local kids enter for free. This generous price is reflective of Crystal Castle's connection with their local communities, and allows locals to visit often and stay for only as long as they need.
If you are not local but visit regularly, you can buy a similar pass for $60. Daily prices are $28 adult, $25 concession, $22 child. I'd recommend you allow at least three hours for your visit to make the most of this amount and everything that is on offer.
Added & Hidden Extras
There are workshops (called 'Daily Guided Experiences') available that are included in the entry fee and extra options like aura readings. For sale inside the 'castle' are crystals, books, music, essential oils but a visit is complete without even entering these areas.
My three, slightly more hidden, highlights are:
* Massage chairs - for a gold coin cost, you can enjoy a back massage that always helps me get into the relaxed mode that best suits a visit to Crystal Castle
* Singing crystal bowls - these are on display in the shop area that opens onto the cafe but you have to be in the know to ask a staff member (affectionately called 'angels') during a quiet time to play them.
* Rainbow umbrellas - provided for free, these are perfect for shading yourself from the sun, protecting yourself from the rain, or just to add an extra splash of colour to your visit!
Singing crystal bowls played by a Crystal Castle 'angel'