Half way between Sydney and the Gold Coast rests something resembling the iconic Byron Bay 50 years ago – but you won’t find crowds of tourists here.

Approximately 20 minutes after my arrival at Scotts Head I’m planning my retirement to the quaint coastal town. I mean it’s not every day that you stumble upon one of Australia’s best-kept coastal secrets. This place is the real deal. Imagine Byron Bay around 50 years ago -– sleepy streets, serene surf spots and the kind of locals that actually smile and say hi as you walk past. I’m feeling guilty about letting the cat out of the bag, but this place is worth sharing.

Hippie vibes

You know a small town is on it’s way to stardom when the vibe shifts from slightly sketchy to hipster. It’s subtle to start – the new café with the city-style lattes, and before you know it the local supermarket is selling raw vegan treats.

There’s a cute outdoor complex in the centre of town with a massage parlour and a couple of decent cafes, the local school teaches Indonesian so the groms feel at home on their future surf trips, and there’s no shortage of yoga and meditation classes in the area (check out the café windows for all the details).

Scotts Head Serenity - New South Wales Best-kept Coastal Secret - The Wise Traveller - Scotts Head from village

Where to stay

There are a handful of accommodation options to choose from, but if you’re looking for affordable luxury in Zen-style surrounds then opt for Driftwood Villa. A sixty second stroll from the beach, the Airbnb offers three self-contained spaces nestled amongst incredibly serene Japanese gardens and is truly one of the most beautifully peaceful places I’ve ever stayed.

What to do

There’s one shopping complex, a bowling club and a holiday park, so if you like stimulation you may want to head half an hour north to Nambucca Heads. If you’re into relaxation, nature adventures and whiling away the hours in the sunshine, then Scotts Head will definitely float your boat. Bird watch at Gaagal Wanggaan National Park, visit Mount Yarrahapinni Look out to take in the superb views, set up camp on the beach and devour a novel or catch a wave or two.

Jessica Humphries is a writer, yoga teacher and passionate traveller. After studying philosophy and immersing herself in the Sydney corporate world, she threw it all in to become a yoga teacher/writer, relocating to the lazy Northern Rivers to enjoy life. Jess has taken many a travel sabbatical and continues to jet around to scope out the best wellness escapes and yoga goodness, whilst working as a freelance writer, editor, copywriter and yoga teacher. See her own travel blog at www.jesshumphries.com