Meet Taliah, the renovation and design expert behind Byron Beach Abodes, a collection of luxury accommodation in Byron Bay inspired by her travels.
Her most recent project 'The Cabin' is a design lovers dream of sophisticated modern noir, set perfectly within the minimalist Byron aesthetic. Drawing on a life of travel, living in India, Seattle and Maui, Taliah works with local designers to find beautiful one-off handmade pieces to adorn each space — creating something truly special. Having just returned from a year long sabbatical in New Zealand with her husband Sein and their three children, Taliah shares with us her ultimate guide to NZ, from where to eat & drink, hike, swim and watch the sunset.
The lastest addition to the Byron Beach Abodes portfolio - 'The Cabin'
You spent a year in NZ. What was your favourite part of the country?
New Zealand is overwhelmingly beautiful so it’s hard to choose a favourite. Queenstown is high on the list, it’s where we based ourselves and where our three boys went to school so we were fortunate enough to have the time to immerse ourselves in the town. It’s full of hidden gems – walks, hikes, architecture, shops, wineries, restaurants, pretty natural vistas wherever you look. And don’t even get me started on the colour of the water… It’s a gold mine of majestic beauty and adventure.
Travelling is always incredible, but so is the feeling of coming home — what’s your favourite part of both travel and home?
Home for me is people, not a place. My friends and family are my everything and now we feel blessed to feel we have two homes — Byron Bay and Queenstown. Travelling is the thing that inspires me the most in terms of wellness, design inspiration and forming new business ideas. It was only a few weeks ago on a hike that I took photos of driftwood on sand and moss growing on what seemed like ancient tree trunks and that has inspired my colour palette for the newest addition to our Byron Beach Abodes property portfolio, which was completed in December. I love meeting new people, being exposed to different cultures, different traditions, different aesthetics often developed over centuries. And I love the storytelling and listening to the life experience of others and having my family exposed to that too. That and exploring new places and creating new memories with my husband and boys. Nothing beats the sense of community and familiarity of home, and for us that can now be about home in Australia or home in New Zealand.
Aro Ha is the ultimate wellness retreat
What are your top 5 favourite places to…
- Lake Hayes Barn - for a romantic lake side retreat away from the hustle and bustle of town. It’s a quaint historic stone cabin perched right on the lake with the most incredible views and walks nearby.
- Eichardts Hotel - for a luxurious five star bespoke experience in the heart of town. The views are to die for.
- Aro Ha Retreat – for the ultimate wellness retreat and transformative experience.
- Sherwood’s – for relaxed family accommodation overlooking Lake Wakatipu
- Matakauri lodge– for a luxury accommodation experience overlooking the mountains and lake. My choices are really all about the views, aren’t they!
Aro Ha Retreat & Lake Hayes Barn offer incredible views of the picturesque NZ landscape.
Jacks Point Club House is the perfect place for lunch.
In Lake Hayes:
- Bespoke kitchen - breakfast and lunch and for the best tumeric latte ever!
- Botswana butchery - dinner
- Sherwood’s - dinner
- Jacks Point Club House - lunch
In the Gibbston Valley:
- Wild Earth - amazing local cuisine, all smoked in wine barrels on the Shotover River.
Sherwood's has it all - stay, eat and drink!
- The Blue Door in Arrowtown
- Eichardts Hotel - Bar and Restaurant in Queenstown
- Book a private tasting at Perigrine wines with the cheese platter by the fire.
Hike or walk
So many to choose from, it’s was my favourite thing to do in New Zealand with walks/hikes anywhere from an hour to six days.
- 3-day hike - The Hump Ridge Track
- 4-day hike - Milford Sound
- 6-day hike - The Grand Traverse (the Routburn / Greenstone combined)
- 1-hour - Lake Alta - located at Remarkables
- 2-hour hike - Moke Lake
- 1-hour hike - Bobs Cove
- 1-hour hike - Blue Pools
And about another 50 that have no specific names, just walk and explore…
In summer it’s all about finding places to swim, Lake Wakatipu, the Shotover River and glacier lakes. We swam in so many different gorgeous water holes, waterfalls, rivers and lakes all through Summer - many of them with no names and off the beaten track. If I have to pick a favourite spot to swim it would Bobs Cove.
And your top things to do?
- Hike, ski and swim (and wine tasting, of course!)
- Horse riding in Paradise. Yep, Paradise — that’s the name of the small historic town
- Helicopter Tours/Adventures. It’s incredible to see New Zealand from above – so many different types of landscapes and beauty everywhere you look. The Heli Tours crew are amazing and offer all kinds of experiences. Our favourite was a heli fishing adventure with our three boys in remote lakes and rivers.
What about the most breathtaking views you’ve seen far?
The view from my bed out to the Coronet Peak. Or from a remote walk up a forest trail that we just discovered last week by chance near Arrowtown. We soon discovered that simply stepping outside and exploring can take you to the most amazing places.
Favourite sunset spots?
The top of Queenstown hill or a sunset picnic at Moke Lake.
One NZ object to take home with you?
A Wilson & Dorset sheepskin. I love their story as much as their products - third generation sheep farmers keeping the dream alive!