Byron Bay is a mecca for haute wellness tourism, café culture and beach life, soon to feature in controversial Australian Netflix show ‘Byron Baes’. But what about its Indigenous history and culture? Thanh-Thy Tiffany Tran takes a road trip with Aunty Lois, a Nyangbul Bundjalung Elder, and finds a far more layered tale below Byron Bay’s trendy exterior.

“It’s not raining!” I beam, buckling my seatbelt. Google said it would.

Aunty Lois clutches the wheel and turns to look at me. She cracks a toothy smile: “I did a spell two days ago.” Aunty Lois comes from a line of rainmakers, she tells me.

On her Aboriginal Cultural Concepts experience, Aunty Lois will drive us through the Bundjalung Nation including the Byron Bay hinterland and Ballina coastline, uncovering sacred Indigenous Australian sites over stories passed down from her great uncle.

I’ve been here before. Yes, I find this ‘spiritual destination’ healing. Some say it’s the charged volcanic rock below. Or that Australia’s easternmost point leads to the spirit world. One new resident said, “It feels like Bali”. But for those who tended this area for thousands of years—what’s their relationship to the land?