The following post is a guest post.
Whether you’re travelling halfway across the world to get there or driving up and spending a long weekend in Byron Bay, you’re probably looking for something to do that’s more memorable than the typical tourist stop. Both kids and adults will find something to enjoy at Byron Bay’s Crystal Castle, an artistic cultural centre less than 20 minutes away from the heart of the city, complete with a labyrinth, walking gardens and a rainforest.
The castle gets its name from the many crystals dotting the property. The colourful crystals, imported from around the world, encourage relaxation and spirituality. There are hundreds of crystals on display, including everything from amethyst to kunzite to rose quartz. You’ll find them displayed naturally, polished, in ball form and in slab form. And of course, you can purchase some to take home with you as a memento.
The crystals are just one of the meditation aids featured throughout the property. You’ll also find:
- A labyrinth for spiritual reflection
- Inscriptions from spiritual leaders throughout history on slabs to inspire and invite reflection
- Tropical flora in rainforest and garden settings to relax and remind visitors of the splendour of nature
- Buddhist statues
The Buddhist Walk
At the epicentre of the Buddhist Walk is a large blessing Buddha. Flanked by two mammoth amethyst crystals, this 14-tonne statue soars four metres high. The blessing Buddha isn’t all you’ll find should you choose to complete your spiritual contemplation along the Buddhist Walk. There are also other Buddhist statues, Hindu statues, dragon statues and a Buddhist mosaic. Coin donations you make at the statues throughout the walk are given to a Northern Indian Tibetan kindergarten.
Besides the Tibetan kindergarten, some of the proceeds of the Crystal Castle support Buddhist nuns and monks living in caves and monasteries as they train for their spiritual journey. Donations also go to ACCESS Nepal, a children’s rights organization, and orphanages.
Crystal Castle isn’t just for adults who need to unwind from the stresses of everyday living. There’s an imaginative Kids Quest to spark excitement and creativity. Near the Buddhist walk is the Fireheart Crystal Dragon playground, where you can play along with your children or relax at a nearby cafe while you keep an eye on them. In the Kids Quest area, you’ll find crystal statues of dragons and faeries. There’s also a “treasure room” nearby for the kids, complete with more dazzling crystals.
Dine and Relax
If you make the Crystal Castle an all-day affair, you won’t have to leave to refresh yourself. The Lotus Cafe is ideal if you want a light meal and some tea or coffee. There’s an ever-changing variety of baked goods, too. The best time to visit is during the lunch hours, as there’s always a daily deal.
Purchase Arts, Crafts and Spiritual Goods
There are few places as fully stocked in spiritual goods as the stores at Crystal Castle. Even if you don’t have time to take a walk on the castle grounds, you ought to make time to stop at the gift shop. Take home crystals in everything from bookmarks to windchimes to chakra wands and healing sets. Find rare spirituality books and CDs. There are organic and natural skin care and body care products, too.
When to Visit
The Crystal Castle is open year-round, seven days a week except for Christmas Day. Visit between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. Summer is the height of outdoor activities in Byron Bay, so plan your trip in advance if you decide to visit around this time. If you visit in the winter months, you’re likely to encounter a smaller crowd.
Adult admission is $17, and children are just under $15. You can save by buying a two-adult-two-children family pass for $44 or a six-month pass for one adult for $29. An annual pass is available for $44, too. Groups of 10 or more should call ahead.
Image provided by http://www.byron-bay.com/
About the Author: Manisha Aitken is a contributing writer and spiritual blogger. When not practicing meditation at home, she enjoys visiting spiritual locations around Australia.