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Enjoy the Byron Hinterland
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The Byron Bay Hinterland is largely an explored gem for visitors to the Northern River's Region. From the sub-tropical rainforest walks and spectacular scenic views to the numerous local villages with pubs and cafes serving up the best of the region's cuisine, the hinterland is not to be missed.
On Top of the World
A 360-degree view taking in the Byron lighthouse, Mt Chincogan, Mt Warning and green pastures can be seen at Scarabelloti's Lookout on Coolamon Scenic Drive. Dusk is a special time where subtle light changes accompanied by raucous birdcalls roll over the hills.
Frank Scarabelloti, one of the shire's oldest residents donated this land and with its commanding vista it is well loved by locals.
See a different view from the Minyon Falls lookout in the Nightcap National Park, it is easily accessible via a short walkway. The vantage point overhangs a valley bursting with palms and a 100m waterfall. It will leave you breathless. After rainfall mist rises from the valley floor giving an ethereal quality to the place.
Get up close and personal to a waterfall. The gentle 4 km (round trip) to the base of Minyon Falls in the Nightcap National Park means you won't have any trouble carrying a picnic basket with you. The eucalyptus trees flourish on the ridges and there is a dramatic change in vegetation as the path winds its way to the bottom of the valley.Here the hidden rainforest world gives you a sense of what the landscape was like for thousands of years.
The crystal waters of the rock pool at the end of the walk are the perfect spot for a picnic. In this forgotten world the only disturbance will be the shrill calls of the whip birds and lorikeets.For more intrepid walkers the path loops to Quandong Falls and to the top of the ridge. Check out the walking guides.
Rocky Creek Dam, near Dunoon provides a relaxing place to stop for lunch with picnic tables and toilet facilities. The main water catchment for the area provides a dramatic visual backdrop for a meal that you may end up sharing with large goannas and kookaburras. The new boardwalk takes you through forests and grassy banks.
The 30 km Whian Whian Forest Drive (unsealed) takes in scenic areas such as Rummery Park, a great camping spot. Along the drive you will see giant tree ferns and Blackbean trees. On the side roads there are signs indicating koalas. There are many koalas in the area and if you drive slowly you may just see one. Not easy but they are out there.
Special Things to Look Out For
You will hear the whip bird before you see it. Its distinctive woo-up can make you jump as you drive through the narrow roads of trees. It is a secretive and delicate bird with white and black markings. You will instantly recognise its call.
The Coolamon Blossom tree can be seen nestling behind the community hall in Federal Village. It has dark leaves and pink flowers appear along the branches and trunks towards the end of the year. It bears large, white fruits that attract the lorikeets in great numbers.
Blackbean seeds can be found in large brown pods on the floor of the rainforest. Have a look at these oversized seeds, much like peas in a pod, but for a giant. Please leave the seeds where you found them.
The Honey Stall on Federal Drive offers tubs of - yes, you guessed- local honey - at a bargain price. Dotted along the country roads you will see fruit stalls selling lemons, herbs, peaches and other homemade items.
Hidden swimming holes can be found by talking kindly to a local. They'll be happy to share the details with you but don't want it on every website in the country. On a hot day, put your toes into the cool water of a rock pool and truly let go.
Scattered throughout the hinterland villages there are halls and churches dating back to the last century. In the pastures many old dairy bails can still be seen from the road.
- The Rosella, a colourful parrot comes with a call that sounds like a mobile phone. Switch yours off and listen. Best heard at sunrise.
As you leave the rolling hills of the hinterland you'll hear the trees whispering to you to stay. If you're looking for accommodation in the towns and villages around Byron Bay, browse through our Byron Hinterland accommodation guide.
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