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2017 Destination Byron Tourism Symposium Re-Cap

The theme Beyond The Byron Boom, How to Ensure Our Visitor Economy is Sustainable, allowed the local industry to come together for a one day conference at the Elements of Byron Resort and share some detail on how different sectors are working sustainably.

The event began with an introduction by Cr. Simon Richardson, who did an excellent job as MC with insight and humour, followed by Delta Kay's engaging Welcome to Country.

The program started with Stephen Mahoney and Anthony Laver of Destination NSW, presented Projections and Updates, providing visitor statistics and outlining many of the services they provide to the region's industry and businesses. 

Vanessa van Uden, a past Mayor of Queenstown New Zealand, presented a real-life experience of Queenstown Avoiding Death By Popularity. She highlighted the importance of industries working together to come up with innovative solutions, such as using sewerage charges as a bed tax alternative by charging $612 per year for the first toilet, then $306 for each additional toilet. The larger hotels end up contributing over $100,000 per year.

Liz Price discussed the Strategic Master Plan for the Great Ocean Road, which until recently went without any central management. Liz highlighted the issues they face with a fragmented industry servicing 5 million (mostly day trippers) each year. 

The 140 or so attendees then enjoyed a Local Producers Morning Tea supplied by Nimbin Valley Dairy, Salum Australia, Brookfarm and Byron Bay Cacao.

The first panel discussion was Sustainability of the Events Visitor Economy, facilitated by Cr. Simon Richardson with Jane Magnus, Jen Murphy, Mat Morris and Chris Hanley. A mature industry pointed out that better regulation and better infrastructure would help the events industry. And, the importance of event managers sharing best practice improvements amongst themselves.

Before lunch, Anthony Laver, David Jones and Brenda Miley, facilitated by Cameron Arnold, discussed Defining Brand Byron. The consensus was it's the feeling of Byron that best defined the brand, as there are beautiful beaches, great restaurants, exciting festivals, etc. all over the world - but only one Byron Bay.

A quick lunch with time to stretch before Pam Brook facilitated the Heroes of Regional Tourism discussion with Tom Lane, Brooke Hudson, Sue Walker and Jasmin Daly. They each talked about change, collaboration and the importance of allowing staff to work to their own passion.

The program ended with Delta Kay, Vanessa van Uden, Liz Price and Carly Weiland discussing How Will Byron Tackle Quality vs Quantity facilitated by Jane Laverty. The lively discussion ended up with the idea that a quality service or experience will encourage the desired quality of visitor behaviour.

The attendees finished the day with a drink supplied by Brookie's Gin and Stone & Wood, and some networking.

Overall, the theme of people and collaboration ran through every discussion, with the best, simple idea coming from Delta Kay who suggested we all greet Byron's visitors with 'Jingi Walla' (Welcome).

Splendour in the Grass 2017

Warm blue sky days and cool clear nights made for an easy and enjoyable Festival. 

Splendour in the Grass 2017’s line-up of over 100 acts played to a capacity 32,500 audience across four main stages - The Amphitheatre, Mix Up Stage, GW McLennan Tent and Tiny Dancer - while the festival’s campground became a home away from home to 19,500 music fans.

The music, artwork, light installations, sunny days and excess glitter helped provide colour and movement across the whole festival.

Appreciative audiences for all performances added to the energy.

Fun bars and interesting food all around - my favourite were the Mary's Burgers. All up, another excellent Splendour - I can't wait for next year!

6 Places to Stay in Byron Bay with Fire Places

Byron Bay is a winter wonderland: clear water, bright blue skies, and mild temperatures. If you’re planning to visit during the colder months, get cosy Byron style at one of these 6 places to stay with fire places.  

1. Coco’s Cottage

Escape to your private home in the lush Byron Hinterland at Coco’s Cottage. The restored 1890’s self-contained holiday house feels a world away from the hustle and bustle of town, but is only a short drive from Byron’s world-class beaches, restaurants, and night life, and Bangalow’s unique collection of shops and eateries. At the end of the day, relax, unwind, and keep warm in front of the stunning fire place.

Learn more at www.byron-bay.com/cocos

2. Toolond Plantation

Take in the panoramic ocean and mountain views at the unique Toolond Plantation guesthouse. Situated on 100 acres of private bushland 20 minutes west of Mullumbimby, the self-contained holiday home accommodates up to 8 people and welcomes pets. Escape the chilly temperatures, and cosy up in front of the log fire.

Learn more at www.byron-bay.com/toolond

3. Elements of Byron Resort & Spa

Take you winter getaway in style at Byron’s newest luxury resort, Elements of Byron. Nestled on 50 acres of absolute beachfront, enjoy all the creature comforts in the privacy of your own villa. Some rooms come with an outdoor gas fireplace, otherwise head to the main pavilion for Fire Pit Fridays.

Learn more at www.byron-bay.com/elements-byron

4. Planula Retreat

Planula Retreat is a tranquil oasis located just over 3km from the centre of Byron Bay. This bed and breakfast style retreat offers a fully equipped kitchen, spacious living area, private rooms, and access to stunning tropical gardens. In winter, guests warm up by the fire.

Learn more at www.byron-bay.com/planula

5. Azabu Nature Guesthouse

With a gourmet breakfast served fire-side, a heated spa pool, and spa treatments available, Azabu Nature Guesthouse is one of the best places to rest and relax this winter. This luxurious guesthouse is located a short 5-minute drive from Byron’s beautiful Main Beach.

Learn more at www.byron-bay.com/azabu-nature-guesthouse

6. Victoria's at Ewingsdale

Victoria’s is a multi-award-winning guesthouse set among incredible landscaped gardens just a few minutes’ drive from the centre of Byron Bay. With ocean, mountain and rural views, and a log fire to keep you warm, this elegant getaway is ideal for the colder months.

Learn more at www.byron-bay.com/ewingsdale  

Sean O’Shea’s Byron Bay: A book of extraordinary photos

Sean O’Shea takes photographs and videos every day on the beaches and in the hinterland of Byron Bay. And in just the few years Sean has been posting them, these images have inspired literally millions of people around the world.

Sean is an artist not a businessman, so his friends have come together to help him curate a book featuring top quality prints of his iconic photos, along with personal and compelling stories about how he took them, written by Byron Shire author Kate Veitch.

People message Sean from Tokyo, Timbuktu, Rio, Rome, and hundreds more cities and towns just to say how watching his live streams from the Bay, and his incredible still shots, help them get through the business of their daily lives.

This book is for people anywhere and everywhere who want to see nature at its most beautiful, up close, in the company of the kookaburras, dolphins, palms and casuarinas of the Shire. It will be made to last, to keep telling its stories and passing on its messages well into the future -- and maybe it will even make our collective future just a bit less perilous.

As of the 21st of May 2017 our CROWDFUNDING website — www.pozible.com/project/sean-osheas-byron-bay —  will be ready to take people’s pledges. When we reach our target of $25,000 ($AU) we will print Sean's book — and everyone who has pledged will get the books, calendars and greeting cards they requested as rewards. We know it’s a big goal but it’s a bold book, and if we don’t reach our goal, no one will have to pay a cent.

We chose to finance Sean O’Shea’s Byron Bay online so we could stay free of the demands and high prices of mainstream publishers, and so we can discover just how many people here and abroad want a top-quality full-colour hard copy of Sean’s best work. We think there will be tens of thousands of them, judging by the extraordinary popularity of his social media posts.

Any of Sean’s fans who are able to pledge higher amounts can get extra rewards, even an outing in the Bay area with Sean and his camera!

If the crowdfunding hits our goal, the books, cards and calendars should hit the shops and be in the mail before Christmas.

There’s a great team giving their time and talent now to help Sean and me, his partner, create a truly exceptional book that celebrates our amazing northern rivers environment, and our equally extraordinary community.

To see Sean’s work online check out  www.seanoshea.com.au  www.facebook.com/SeanOSheaArt  www.instagram.com/seanosheaart

Mothers Day in Byron Bay 2017

Celebrate Mothers Day 2017 in Byron Bay. There are a number of special events happening on Sunday, May 14 at venues across the region. Check them out below.

Three Blue Ducks

Spend Mothers Day at Three Blue Ducks at The Farm in Byron Bay. Come for breakfast or lunch, and your mum will be treated to a special gift. If you can’t make it on Sunday, the Produce Store has put together some stunning present ideas. 

Book now and learn more at www.threeblueducks.com/byron/home-byron

The Byron at Byron

Celebrate Mothers Day in Style at the annual Mothers Day lunch at the Byron at Byron. With two delicious courses of your choice, a glass of Prosecco on arrival, and live entertainment by Sali Bracewell, Mothers Day at the Byron at Byron will be one to remember.

Book now and check out the menu at www.thebyronatbyron.com.au/whats_on/mothers-day-byron-at-byron

The Balcony Bar & Oyster Co.

Come with mum to the iconic Balcony Bar & Oyster Co. in the centre of town this Mothers Day. Open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, all mothers receive a complimentary glass of Piper-Heidsieck and an exclusive take-home gift. 

Book now and learn more at www.balcony.com.au

Francisco's Table

Do something a little different this Mothers Day and head out to scenic Federal Hall for a lunch unlike any other. Hosted by roaming pop-up restaurant Francisco’s Table, guests will enjoy a variety of delightful shared dishes placed among your family, friends, and fellow foodies. 

Book now and learn more at www.facebook.com/events/1879880902257937

Fatbelly Kaf

Take a trip to beautiful Brunswick Heads with mum for a casual brunch or Banquet Lunch this Mothers Day. Held at Fatbelly Kaf, the banquet includes five light courses, with optional matching wine tastings. 

Book now and learn more at www.fatbellykaf.com

2017 Nimbin Roots Festival

From September 15 – 17, over 50 talented artists will perform in Australia’s counter-culture capital for the annual Nimbin Roots Festival. After selling out in 2016, this year’s festival is set to be bigger and better than ever with two new stages and one extra day.

The Nimbin Roots Festival offers authentic, original, and raw roots art and music in various venues throughout the town. The venues – including the outdoor Rainbow Power Stage and the historic Nimbin Bush Theatre – are located short distances from each other, creating a community of walking festivalgoers.

This year’s lineup will see a diverse mix of local, national, and international musicians and artists perform Americana, Bluegrass, Folk, Australiana, Old Blues, and world music. American group The War and Treaty will share their Gospel style tunes, while the brand new Aquarius Stage will showcase Nimbin’s finest.

The festival will kick off on Friday afternoon, with a special opening concert on Friday night featuring performances from local Bunjalung dancers. The festival will close on Sunday evening with the Australian Roots Music Awards.

As well as the musicians, the Nimbin Roots Festival has invited a number of visual artists to display their unique work in the festival gallery. Art installations, interactive artworks, and themed camping also feature throughout the festival venues and campsite.

The Abundance Village will host a number of exciting workshops, including yoga, philosophy, permaculture, live art, weaving, poetry, belly dancing, body art, and kids’ activities. And, a community market area will host up to 30 colourful market stalls where festivalgoers can pick up a piece of Nimbin to take home with them.

The Nimbin Roots Festival is proudly moving toward sustainable forms of energy to power the live performances and art spaces, with a number of venues using solar power.

Festival tickets include opening and closing performances, as well as entrance into all venues and participation in all workshops.

Buy tickets and learn more at www.nrfest.com.

Byron Bay Naked Bike Ride 2017

Join thousands of ‘biketivists’ around the world on a clothing-optional bike ride around Byron Bay on 12 March for the World Naked Bike Ride 2017.

The World Naked Bike Ride is the largest naked protest in the world, with events held in over 74 cities in 17 countries around the globe. The event supports a number of different causes, from environmental issues to body positivity.

Firstly, the protest aims to spread awareness of cyclists and pedestrians on the road. Participating biketivists advocate for bike-friendly roads and footpaths in our towns and cities to ensure the safety riders and walkers.

Secondly, the World Naked Bike Ride protests against the use of unsustainable fossil fuels, citing the damaging effects they have on our environment and the health of our planet’s population.

Finally, not only does the clothing-optional dress code garner attention, it calls for body acceptance, confidence and positivity from both riders and onlookers.

Join the protest this year in Byron Bay on Sunday, March 12. Meet fellow riders at 1.30pm at Railway Station, Byron Bay, before embarking on a liberating cycle around town. The protest will last around 30 minutes.

The bike ride will be short and easy. Riders of any fitness level are welcome to join. Finally, nakedness is not compulsory – go as bare as you dare!

Keep up to date with the event by joining the Facebook Group here: www.facebook.com/groups/8999913451/

Stone & Wood Brewery Open Day Supporting the Wedgetail Retreat Community Hospice

Stone & Wood opens its Murwillumbah brewery gates for community fundraiser.

Local brewer, Stone & Wood will host an Open Day at their brewery on Saturday 4 March to raise funds for the Wedgetail Retreat Community Hospice and Tweed Palliative Support.

Welcoming the community to their Murwillumbah brewery at 35 Kite Crescent, they have organised a family friendly event from 11-5, that includes:

  • Live music by Dos Loona, Holly Tap and Tim Shou
  • Local food stores by JR Smokehouse, The Backyard Chef and Keith Coffee Shop and Barber
  • Tours of the brewery every half hour to show the brewing process, their sustainability initiatives and tell their story
  • Kids area and jumping castle

All profits from the $5 beers will be donated to the local community hospice so that they can continue helping the community.

Stone & Wood have brewed a 'Murbah Swap Beer' to pay tribute to the legendary local story of a semi trailer, carrying pallets of beer, running off the Pacific Highway in 2001. The locals wasted no time in diving in to salvage what they could so that the beer wouldn’t go to waste! This beer will be released at the Open Day.

The Brewery's Managing Director Ben Summons said the reason for this day is to bring the Northern Rivers community together to support a charity which is integral to this area and to give locals the opportunity to see what Stone & Wood does in 'their backyard'.

"We're stoked to partner with Wedgetail Retreat and Tweed Palliative Support, as they share our values and the work they do touches so many families in this community during tough times," said Ben.

"We have two breweries, one in Byron and this one up the road but a lot of locals wouldn’t know we are here in the Murwillumbah industrial estate. As the local brewer, we want to deepen our connection with our community and give them a chance to get to know us and how we do business."

Meredith Dennis, President of Tweed Palliative Support and Wedgetail Retreat community hospice commented that the retreat is the only one of its kind in the State and is not government funded at all by NSW Health.

"We rely on the support from businesses and the community to continue caring for people with cancer or a life-limiting illness and their families in our region. The profits from the day are going to a worthy cause – our busy community hospice, Wedgetail Retreat, based just outside of Murwillumbah," Meredith said.

"I’d encourage everyone to come along and enjoy the entertainment, take a tour of the brewery and try the delicious food and beers. There will be a gold coin donation at the gate and we will also have a stand selling Stone & Wood Pacific Ale Fruit Chutney, beer bread and cheese."

Join Wedgetail Retreat and Tweed Palliative Support at local brewery Stone & Wood’s Open Day on 4 March, to come together to connect with your community, learn more about a local business and to raise money for a charity.

Byron Bay’s Newest Festival “Star Stuff 2017” with Dr Karl Kruszelnicki

Celestron, Bintel & DNA Digital are bringing a “supergroup” of Australia’s leading scientists and experts in science, space, astrophysics and astrophotography to Byron Bay in June 2017 for the Star Stuff Festival.

Speakers include well known TV and Radio personalities Dr Karl Kruszelnicki and Dr Alan Duffy (Swinburne) who will be hosting a VIP dinner and keynote presentation at the Elements of Byron Resort.

Other speakers include astrophysicist Dr Katie Mack, a highly regarded scientist and presenter known for her work on dark matter and global science outreach from her adopted city of Melbourne.

Mark Gee (NZ), 2013 astrophotographer of the year, will also be taking the stage to share his aspirational story of success travelling the world and sharing his remarkable photos of the Sun, Moon and Milky Way.

Dr Duane Hamacher (Monash) is also on the bill to present an overview of his work decoding the ancient secrets of Australian aboriginal astronomy including such work with local indigenous groups.

Dr David Malin, whose name is literally synonymous with the highest echelon of scientific and photographic excellence (The Malin Awards) will bring his perspective on advancements in digital photography since he pioneered colour space photography in his early career.

Also on the line up is Dr Fred Watson, also known for his work at the Australian Astronomical Observatory (AAO), engaging presentation style and continuous work as a dark sky advocate. Watson was instrumental in the recent declaration of Australia’s first Dark Sky Park in Warrumbungle National Park – the first in the Southern Hemisphere.

Byron Bay astronomer Dylan O’Donnell joins the group to share his work as is Gilmour Space Technology’s Jamie Anderson whose work in rocket propulsion on the Gold Coast hopes to kickstart Australia’s private space travel industry.

Australia’s largest telescope and astronomer vendor Bintel will also be on site demonstrating consumer astronomy equipment, and the Southern Astronomical Society will facilitate day and night telescope viewings, photography workshops and sky tours if weather permits.

Claire Fell, event liason officer for Byron shire council noted “This is the perfect event for our shire.” While other enthusiastic space fans were less restrained. “Just take my f—king money” said one ticketholder when the speaker list was announced. "Now that got my attention! Beam me across from Canberra. Tix booked!" said another.

Ticket sales and event information can be found at : starstuff.com.au

For media enquiries, sponsorship, school science outreach or volunteer information contact [email protected] or [email protected]

Byron Markets over the New Year period

The New Year period is a busy time for markets in Byron Bay, with the Artisan Markets on Saturday, the Community Market on MONDAY (usually on a Sunday) and the special Beachside Markets on Wednesday.

Byron Artisan Market

When: Saturday, December 31, 2016, 4pm – 9pm

Where: Railway Park, Jonson Street, Byron Bay

Held every Saturday evening October through to Easter, the popular Byron Artisan Market provides local creatives with the opportunity to showcase their talent. This year, the evening market falls on New Years Eve.

The stalls feature a range of artisan goods, including clothing, jewellery, and leather accessories. Plus, food and beverage stalls offer market-goers an afternoon snack or exotic dinner to be enjoyed alongside entertainment from local musicians. It’s the perfect way to kick off your NYE celebrations.

Byron Bay Markets

When: Monday, January 2, 2017, 8am – 3pm

Where: Butler St Reserve, Byron Bay

The beloved Byron Bay Markets, usually held on the first Sunday of each month, will instead take place on Monday, January 2, 2017.

You could spend hours exploring the many stalls at the renowned Byron Bay Markets. With everything ranging from handmade jewellery and kids toys, to antiques, fashion, fresh produce, and more, there’s something for absolutely everyone.

Come early, stay for lunch, relax in the shade, and soak up the laid-back Byron atmosphere.

Byron Beachside Markets

When: Wednesday, January 4, 2017, 8am – 4pm

Where: Main Beach Foreshore (east of the Surf Club), Byron Bay

The Byron Beachside Markets are held four times each year, and the next market is just around the corner.

This market is a diverse showcase of some of the best quality handmade arts, sculptures, and home goods, as well as unique fashion, crafts, toys and more. Taking a stroll along the foreshore of stunning Main Beach, while exploring one-of-a-kind market stalls makes for the perfect morning in Byron Bay.

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