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The Byron Writers Festival 2017 Re-Cap

This year, the Byron Writers Festival enjoyed perfect weather, an inspiring line-up, and a chilled-out atmosphere. With a myriad of thought-provoking talks and panels, festival goers were treated to 3 days of world-class political, historical, and artistic insight.

Unlike last year’s festival, the 2017 Byron Writers Festival was dry and sunny. In fact, through Friday and Saturday there was not a cloud in the sky.

Festival goers took full advantage of the warm weather, with many choosing to enjoy a picnic style lunch, a snooze in the sunshine, a quick cup of coffee, or a few minutes of quiet time with their brand new book.

Each day from 9am until 5pm, the tents came alive with discussions on all things writing. Pictured below is Tony Jones in conversation with Sarah Kanowski.

From journalism to poetry (including performance poetry by Arielle Cottingham, pictured below), historical fiction to memoir, there was something for every reader and writer.

Although much of the subject-matter discussed was quite serious, the tents and venues often erupted in laughter and applause.

Sunday – the last day of the Byron Writers Festival – was the Kids Big Day Out.

Kids met their favourite authors (include the very funny Peter Helliar), competed for book prizes, and watched hilarious performances by this year’s Sunday line-up. Even the adults were cracking up.  

Overall, the 2017 Byron Writers Festival was a unique and memorable experience. The lessons learnt, ideas debated, and viewpoints bought to light will play on our minds for weeks to come.

See you next year, Byron Writers Festival.

Markets in the Byron region this August

The Byron region is known for its community markets, and although it’s winter in Byron Bay, the sunny weather has been perfect for a stroll through the colourful stalls. Take a day trip this August to check out one of the many markets. Or, make a weekend of it and take advantage of Byron Bay’s Winter Specials.

Here’s an overview of the markets on this August.

August 5 – Brunswick Heads Markets PLUS New North Coast Village Market

Brunswick Heads is a small, picturesque town situated on the Brunswick River a short 17 minute drive from Byron Bay.

The Brunswick Heads Markets take place on the first Saturday of each month in Memorial Park. With the beautiful river as a backdrop, the many stalls offer clothing, homewares, beauty, jewellery, and more, plus delicious food and excellent coffee.

Learn more at www.byron-bay.com/markets/brunswick-heads-markets

August 5 marks the very first North Coast Village Market, which will also be held on the first Saturday of each month. Taking place in the art deco Memorial Hall (a short walk from Memorial Park), market-goers can expect a range of designer homewares, artisan jewellery, quality vintage, and a kids’ hang out.

Learn more at www.facebook.com/ncvmarket

August 6 – Byron Bay Markets

On the first Sunday of each month from 8am to 3pm, the Butler Street Reserve is transformed into a colourful display of Byron’s community spirit, with rainbows and glitter galore. With a uniquely Byron vibe, the Byron Markets offer a diverse range of handmade wares, artworks, local and imported clothing, jewellery, souvenirs, fresh produce, baked goods, and more.

Come early and stay for lunch – there’s plenty of delicious food and drink options available. Take a seat in the shade, enjoy the live entertainment, and watch the world go by.

Learn more at www.byron-bay.com/markets/byron-community-markets/

August 12 – The BYRON FLEA Market

Held on the second Saturday of the month at the Youth Activity Centre (also known as the YAC) in Byron Bay, the BYRON FLEA is unlike any market in the region. Market stalls are free for people under the age of 25, allowing young creatives to showcase their work to the public. You’ll find a variety of arts, crafts, and second-hand goods.

What’s more, all live music is performed by music students from Byron Bay High.

Learn more at www.byron-bay.com/blog/byron-flea-market/

August 13 – The New Mullum Twilight Market

Check out the Byron Shire’s newest afternoon market this August – the Mullum Twilight Market. Held at Poinciana cafe and bar in scenic Mullumbimby from 2pm to 8pm, this exciting new Eco Market will take place once every 2 weeks after August 13.

With a whole host of tasty food, boutique stalls, live entertainment (including DJs), and more, the Mullum Twilight Market is set to become a local favourite.

Join the Facebook Event at www.facebook.com/events/1398583826886273

August 13 – The Channon Market

 “Make it. Bake it. Grow it.” That’s the Channon Market’s motto. And it’s diverse collection of stalls deliver stunning handmade arts and crafts, delicious treats, fresh produce and more.

The markets take place in Coronation Park in The Channon, a hinterland village about a 45-minute drive from Byron Bay.

Learn more at thechannonmarket.org.au

August 19 – Mullumbimby Markets

On the third Saturday of the month, the Mullumbimby Markets take place in Summers Park, located on the corner of Stuart and Myocum Streets. A short 25-minute drive from Byron Bay, the Mullum Markets showcase some of the best artists, food vendors, and musicians from the Northern Rivers region.

The Mullumbimby Markets run from 9am until 2pm.

Learn more at www.mullummarkets.com.au

August 19 – Murwillumbah Makers & Finders Market

Taking place at Knox Park on Brisbane Street in lush Murwillumbah (approx. 50-minute drive from Byron Bay), this new makers and finders market showcases the very best art, craft, music, and vintage wares in the region. Discover beauty, jewellery, home wares, pottery, top quality second hand, exciting food stalls and local entertainment.

The Murwillumbah Makers & Finders Market runs from 10am to 3pm.

Learn more at www.facebook.com/makersandfindersmarkets

August 26 – Bangalow Markets

Set below the camphor laurel and fig trees, the beloved Bangalow markets are some of the best on the North Coast. On the fourth Sunday of the month, the Bangalow Showgrounds fill with over 300 stalls selling ceramics, clothing, jewellery, beauty products, fresh produce, baked goods, hot food, and great coffee.

Open from 9am until after lunch, the Bangalow Markets are a quick 20-minute drive from Byron By.

Learn more at www.byron-bay.com/markets/bangalow

Weekly Farmers Markets in the Byron Bay Region

In addition to the monthly community markets, many of the towns and villages in the region play host to their very own weekly farmers market. These provide the perfect opportunity to sample the Byron Shire’s outstanding fresh produce.

  • New Brighton Farmers Market at the New Brighton Oval, River St, New Brighton (25-minute drive from Byron Bay). Tuesdays from 8am – 11am.
  • Byron Farmers Market at Butler Street Reserve, Byron Bay. Thursdays from 8am –  11am.
  • Mullumbimby Farmers Market at the Mullumbimby Showground, 51 Main Arm Road, Mullumbimby (25-minute drive from Byron Bay). Fridays from 7am – 11am.
  • Bangalow Farmers Market at the Bangalow Hotel Carpark, 1 Byron St, Bangalow (20-minute drive from Byron Bay). Saturdays from 8am – 11am.

 

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

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  

Go Plastic Free this July

Join over one million people from 130 countries world-wide this July, and choose to refuse single-use plastic. Plastic Free July is a global initiative that raises awareness about the environmental impact of disposable plastics, and encourages people to start making a difference.

In 2016, the Plastic Free July project inspired a group of committed locals to begin their own Plastic Free Byron campaign. Collaborating with individuals and organisations in the Byron Shire, Plastic Free Byron continues to work to reduce plastic waste, and keep our oceans and landfill clean.

To do this, Plastic Free Byron releases actionable tips and information that helps Byron Shire residents minimise the amount of single-use plastic they use on a day-to-day basis.

The Problem with Plastics

So what’s the problem with plastics? What is Plastic Free July and Plastic Free Byron against?

  • Plastic breaks up, not down. This means that plastic pollution is permanent.
  • Even when recycled, disposable plastic is usually down-cycled. This means it’s made into a low-grade product also designed for single use, or it’s sent straight to landfill.
  • Lightweight plastics tend to escape from bins and trucks, turning into accidental litter.
  • Importantly, disposable plastics end up in our waterways. It’s vital to keep Byron’s beautiful beaches clean, and marine life healthy and happy.
  • Plastic manufacturing makes up a huge 6% of the world’s fossil fuel footprint.

The Solution to Disposable Plastic

Initiatives like Plastic Free July and Plastic Free Byron show that refusing one-time-use plastics is fairly simple. Here are some tips:

  • Avoid buying products with plastic packaging. Instead, opt for alternatives – for example, buy loose rather than wrapped fruit and veg.
  • Say no to plastic that tends to become litter, such as straws, balloons, and takeaway cups.
  • Reduce waste where possible. Get refills, and don’t forget your reusable shopping bags!
  • Always recycle when refusal is not possible.
  • Sign up to Plastic Free July and join the #choosetorefuse challenge. Share with your friends and family, and encourage them to get involved, too.

For more Plastic Free July tips, download the Plastic Free July Guidebook.

Get Involved with Plastic Free July and Plastic Free Byron

Sign up for the Plastic Free July challenge right now at www.plasticfreejuly.org

Learn more about Plastic Free Byron and their campaigns at plasticfreebyron.com

7 Free Things to Do in Byron Bay

Visiting Byron on a budget? There are plenty of free things to do in Byron Bay. Check out 7 of our favourites below.

1. Watch the sunrise from Cape Byron Lighthouse

Be one of the first in Australia to watch the sunrise – there really is no better way to start the day in Byron Bay. Walk from the Wategos car park up to the iconic Cape Byron Lighthouse for breathtaking panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean and Byron Bay. As the sun rises over the water, you might be lucky enough to spot dolphins playing in the day’s first light.

2. Wander through the Byron Bay Markets

On the first Sunday of each month, the Butler Street Reserve plays host to the popular Byron Bay Markets. With a range of local and imported arts and crafts, fashion, beauty, kids’ stuff and food, the unique Byron Markets are must for any visitor to the region. Entry is free, but you’ll probably be tempted to pick up a souvenir or two (or at least a Byron Bay Organic Doughnut)!

If you're not in Byron for the first Sunday of the month, chances are there are other markets on in the Byron region. Check out our upcoming markets calendar.

3. Check out the Lone Goat Gallery

Byron Bay and surrounding regions are home to some of Australia’s most talented visual artists, so check out what’s on at the Lone Goat Gallery next time you’re in town. Located on the corner of Lawson and Middleton Street, this vibrant exhibition space is within walking distance from the centre of town.

4. Explore waterfalls near Byron Bay

Just a short drive from Byron Bay you’ll find two stunning waterfalls: Minyon Falls (about 45-minute drive) and Killen Falls (about 30-minute drive). Take the whole day to visit both. Stop for lunch at a hinterland eatery, or pack a picnic to enjoy in the scenic surrounds.

5. Sit on the beach

Byron has a lot to offer, but one of the very best ways to soak up the sights, sounds, and smells of Byron Bay is to sit on the beach and do nothing. With white sand, picturesque headlands, and crystal clear water, Byron is home to some of the world’s most stunning beaches. Swim, surf, read, sleep, or people-watch, a visit to Byron Bay is not complete without a trip to at least one of the area’s beautiful beaches.

6. Catch some live music

Byron Bay has a thriving nightlife, including venues that offer free live music everyday of the year. The Railway Friendly Bar (known as The Rails) is one such place. Located on Johnson Street, The Rails is the perfect place to meet with friends and check out the local talent.

7. Watch a free movie

Once a month, the Beach Hotel puts on a free movie night. With outdoor seating, blankets to keep you warm, and a range of movie snacks on offer, it’s the ultimate movie experience in Byron Bay. Check their Facebook Page to keep up-to-date with the next monthly movie night.

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

Awaken Meditation Retreats in Byron Bay

With breathtaking beaches, lush tropical rainforest, and idyllic hinterland scenery, Byron Bay is the perfect place to escape, unwind, and relax. Experience Byron’s natural beauty with a five-day yoga and meditation retreat, hosted by Awaken Meditation Retreats.

Run by life coach and author Karen Wilson, the retreats focus on self-development, with an emphasis on the practice of meditation and mindfulness. Learning to quiet the mind and bring your focus into the present moment can be life changing, and there’s no better place to start this journey than the beautiful Byron Shire.

Awaken yoga and meditation retreats include daily yoga, daily meditation and mindfulness practice, all meals (delicious vegetarian food), excursions and explorations of Byron Bay and surrounds, and twin share or private room accommodation.

Each retreat is held in a different location. Usually, they take place in a private holiday house in the Byron Shire situated either within walking distance to the beach or among the rolling hills and luscious greenery of the hinterland. Connecting to the natural environment is an important part of Awaken yoga and meditation retreats.

Group sizes are kept small to ensure each and every individual is given care and attention within a peaceful, personal, non-judgmental environment.

Byron Bay’s Awaken yoga and meditation retreats teach guests tools and techniques they can use to soften the mind, minimise stress, and experience greater peace in their day-to-day lives.

Secure your place in an upcoming retreat here.

To learn more, visit www.awakenmeditationretreats.com

Winter Moments at The Byron at Byron

There are so many reasons to visit Byron this winter, and the Byron at Byron has a package sure to entice. Immerse yourself in the various complimentary experiences on offer here at The Byron at Byron Resort and Spa. The iconic and much loved Byron at Byron is a haven of indulgence and relaxation, check in and check out today.

Winter Warmer Package From $399 per room per night 

  • Overnight accommodation for two
  • Upgrade to a Superior Suite
  • Full buffet breakfast for two
  • Hot chocolate to enjoy by the fire bar 
  • One box of Duck Creek chocolate macadamia nuts  
  • Cheese plate matched with a bottle of Australian wine
  • 10% discount on spa treatments 
  • Complimentary WiFi access
  • Complimentary Daily Yoga

Conditions Apply
Valid for travel from 1 May 2017 - 31 August 2017, subject to availability, minimum 2 night stay on weekends, offer not valid for existing bookings, upgrade subject to availability. 

Visit the Byron at Byron website for further information and bookings.

2017 Bluesfest Re-Cap

After five days of incredible live music, the Byron Bay Blues Festival 2017 has come to an end. This year we enjoyed perfect weather, and a line-up packed with both music legends and up-and-coming talents.

The headliners this year included some huge names: Patti Smith, Santana, the Zac Brown Band, Madness, Buddy Guy (full of energy at 81!), and Neil Finn. Each put on a memorable show or two.


 
St. Paul and the Broken Bones and Vintage Trouble were two standout acts. Both front men treated their audiences to exciting and dynamic performances.


 
Up-and-coming artists brought down the smaller Delta and Juke Joint tents each night. Melody Angel, Nikki Hill, Eric Gales (mind-blowing up-side-down guitar playing), and the Record Company were some of our favourites.


 
The absolute best act, however, was Patti Smith and her band performing Horses on Thursday night. At 70 years old, her performance was alive with vigour and attitude, and nothing short of inspiring. In her Friday afternoon acoustic set, she read a few passages from her memoir Just Kids, showing another facet to her artistic genius.


 
The Boomerang Festival at Bluesfest added a cultural dimension, with the many workshops and performances that took place onsite.


 
Despite the rain leading up to the festival, there was nothing but sunshine over the Easter long weekend. And as always, there was plenty of delicious food to be enjoyed. See you again next year, Bluesfest!

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