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Christmas 2018 in Byron Bay

Celebrate Christmas 2018 Byron style: warm weather, a day at the beach, and excellent food. A few of the restaurants and eateries in town are hosting special Christmas eve and day dinners and lunches.

The Balcony Bar & Oyster Co

The iconic Balcony Bar & Oyster Co serves up some of the best food and drinks in the region. This Christmas celebrate with an all-inclusive, four-course family feast with all the trimmings. Seatings are available for 12pm, 12.30pm, or 1pm for a delicious menu, a glass of Piper Heidsieck on arrival, and an optional beverage package.

Keep in mind the Balcony is not open on the evening of Christmas and will close at 4pm.

Adults $225, kids under 18 $95, kids under 5 free.

The Italian Byron Bay

Is there ever a bad time to indulge in Italian food? Get your nearest and dearest together this Christmas at the incredible Italian Byron Bay restaurant for a four-course meal with a few festive touches. Limited seats are available, so secure your table for the 12pm to 2.30pm or 3pm to 5.30pm seating now.

$165 per person.

Barrio Eatery & Bar

Join the local community and friends and family at Barrio for the first ever Christmas Eve Fiesta. Sample the ultimate Spanish festive feast of picadas featuring Argentine favourites prepared on a traditional Parilla (barbecue) and Asado (fire-pit) plus a welcome cocktail by Brookie’s Gin.

$65 per person, kid’s plate available for over 3s $20.

No Bones

Celebrate Christmas Day the vegan way with a huge vegan BBQ feast hosted by No Bones. The plant-based menu includes appetisers and tapas to share, vegan prawns, No Bones’s famous calamari, char-grilled corn with spicy garlic butter, summer salads, and a selection of desserts.

$90 per person.

3 best ice cream shops in Byron

We’re back with another instalment of the Best of Byron series. With the weather heating up, we thought it was the perfect time to find out where in Byron and surrounds serves up the best ice cream.

We asked our Facebook fans to vote for their favourite ice cream shop in the region, and the results are in. Cool down with a delicious ice cream from one of the most popular gelaterias in Byron, listed below in alphabetical order.

Bella Rosa Gelateria and Espresso Bar

Bella Rosa is a Byron staple and offers up some of the tastiest gelato and sorbets – all made fresh on the premises. Alongside their ice creams, they serve excellent coffee, tea, milkshakes, smoothies, and sundaes.

Located a very short 2-minute walk from Main Beach, Bella Rosa is a great place to cool down after a few hours on the beach.

Bernardi's Gelato and Espresso Bar

Image via www.brunswickheads.org.au

Bernardi’s Gelato and Espresso Bar is a Brunswick Heads favourite, situated about 20 minutes from Byron Bay. Bernardi’s produces all of their traditional ice cream and gelato, as well as dairy and fat-free sorbets, on-site. They also serve up Italian coffee, quiches, frittatas, salads, and cakes

Brunswick Heads is a quaint holiday town with spectacular beaches and idyllic waterways that’s well worth a visit this summer. And if you do make the trip, don’t leave without sampling some of Bernardi’s famous ice cream.

In the Pink

Byron Bay’s In the Pink was a clear winner – our Facebook fans picked the traditional artisan gelati served here as the best ice cream in the region. With 25 years of ice cream experience, research, and development, In the Pink uses a mix of local and Italian imported ingredients with no pre-made powder mixes.

In the Pink is located just 3-minutes from Main Beach, so is another fantastic place to get your ice cream fix after a day at the beach.

Best of Byron

Discover our Best of Byron series. Find out where to grab the best coffee, burgers, breakfasts, and pizza in Byron Bay and surrounds – according to you.

A holiday in North Byron

Tucked away in the northern end of the Byron Shire are stunning waterfront holiday rentals that offer a more affordable alternative to accommodation in the heart of Byron. From there, you can escape the hustle and bustle while remaining a short drive from Brunswick Heads’s thriving cafe scene, Byron Bay’s lively atmosphere, and more.

Here are just some of the drawcards that attract travellers to North Byron’s hidden gems.

Spectacular beaches and waterways

South Golden and New Brighton are two quiet, open beaches situated in the north of the Byron Shire. These beaches rarely attract as many visitors as Byron’s beaches and both have dog-friendly areas.

After a short 10-minute drive, you’ll find yourself in Brunswick Heads, a quaint holiday village. The idyllic Brunswick River runs through the town and can be explored by kayak, canoe, stand-up paddleboard, or by swimming.

Cross the Brunswick River via the bridge and discover one of the region’s most picturesque beaches: Torakina (pictured above). Perfect for kids, this sheltered beach offers crystal-clear water and little to no swell.

Cafes and restaurants

Just 8.5km away from the tranquility of North Byron Shire are the many gourmet cafes, restaurants, and eateries of Brunswick Heads.

Bruns – as the locals call it – serves up some of the best coffee and breakfasts in the region. For dinner, enjoy fresh fish and chips (best eaten picnic-style by the river), indulge in an award-winning fine-dining meal, or check out some local musical talent and relax in the beer garden at the iconic Hotel Brunswick. 

Markets and other activities

Although Byron is a short 20-minute drive away, there is plenty to do closer to home.

The Brunswick Heads Markets are held on the first Saturday of each month. And, the New Brighton Farmers Market, held Tuesdays from 8am – 11am, is a great place to sample some of the region's best fresh produce.

If you’re visiting with kids, explore the many playgrounds dotted throughout the North Byron region: in South Golden, New Brighton, and two along the riverfront in Brunswick Heads.

This end of the Shire is also home to a magnificent championship golf course. The Ocean Shores Country Club’s course was designed by world-renowned golf architects in 1972 and remains one of the most highly regarded courses in the country.

Close to two major festival sites

The northern end of the Byron Shire is home to two of the major festival sites in the region: North Byron Parklands (Splendour in the Grass and Falls Festival), and the Blues Festival site at Tyagarah.

If you’re attending a festival, staying a stone’s throw from the site can be a quick, inexpensive, and convenient option.

 

South Golden Beach, New Brighton and Brunswick Heads accommodation inspo 

Stingray South Golden Beach, is beautifully designed 4 bedroom home, situated on the Capricornia Canal, featuring a large deck with views of the canal.

Twin Waters New Brighton, is a unique 3  bedroom beach house with views and access to the pristine Beach and River of New Brighton.

Norfolk On Fawcett Brunswick Heads is a three bedroom rental just a short walk to river, beach and centre of Brunswick Heads.

Summer market schedule: Byron, Bangalow, Bruns & more

Summer’s here, school’s nearly out, the weather is hot, and the water is warm. The festive season in the Byron Shire brings with it a whole host of specialty markets and events.

Here’s an overview of the region’s summer market schedule.

Byron Bay

The Byron Bay Markets are held on both the first and third Sunday of the month in December and January at the Butler Street reserve. So, this summer, the markets will be held on:

  • 2 December 2018
  • 16 December 2018
  • 6 January 2019
  • 20 January 2019

The Byron Twilight Markets

The weekly Byron Twilight Market is held in the centre of town and showcases local artisans and musical talent.

When: Saturdays, 4pm – 9pm (until April 2019)

Where: Railway Park, Byron Bay

The Byron Beachside Markets

Held annually in January, Easter, July, and the September/October long weekend, the Byron Beachside Markets stretch along the picturesque Main Beach Foreshore.

When: Wednesday, 2 January 2019, 8am – 4pm

Where: Main Beach Foreshore, Byron Bay

The Byron Flea Market

The Byron Flea Market is Australia’s only youth-focused market and takes place year-round.

When: Every second Saturday of the month, 8am - 2pm

Where: The Youth Activity Centre, Gilmore Crescent, Byron Bay

A Day in the Bay

A Day in the Bay is Byron’s newest market. The event represents a collaboration between local brands to bring a family-friendly, Byron-focused market to the region.

The market will feature a collective of food trucks, beverage stalls, boutique clothing pop-ups, children’s entertainment, live music, and more.

Entry is $5 with all proceeds to be donated to a local not-for-profit and charity.

When: Saturday, 8 December 2018, 12pm – 10pm

Where: Red Devils Park

Bangalow

The Bangalow Markets are held on the fourth Sunday of the month at the Bangalow Showgrounds. This summer, the markets will take place on:

  • 23 December 2018
  • 27 January 2019

The Bangalow Designers' Market

The Bangalow Designers’ Market is committed to promoting design in the Byron Shire and showcases local fashion labels, artisans, arts and crafts, food, and music.

When: Saturday, 8 December 2018, 8am – 3pm

Where: Bangalow Public School, Bangalow

Brunswick Heads

The Brunswick Heads Markets are held on the first Saturday of the month. This summer, the Bruns Markets will take place on:

  • 1 December 2018
  • 5 January 2019

The Brunswick Christmas Twilight Markets

The annual Brunswick Twilight Markets bring together local creators to showcase their very best during the Christmas season.

When: Wednesday, 19 December 2018, 3pm – 9pm

Where: Banner Park, Brunswick Heads

Mullumbimby

The Mullumbimby Markets are held on the third Saturday on the month. This summer, the Mullum Markets will take place on:

  • 15 December 2018
  • 19 January 2018

The Mullum Twilight Market

The Mullum Twilight Market is a family-friendly picnic meets market event featuring delicious food, artisan stalls, vintage wares, and live music.

When: Saturday, 1 December 2018, 3pm – 9pm

Where: The Mullum Leagues Club, Mullumbimby

Surrounding towns and villages

Outside of the Byron Shire, regional towns and villages host community markets year-round. Here’s a reminder of their schedules:

5 Best Walks Around Byron Bay

There’s no shortage of beautiful places to see around Byron Bay. I mean, we all know that. But did you know that exploring on foot gives you access some of the best places available? 

The greater Byron area has a wealth of natural treasures that are just waiting to be explored, from dramatic sun-drenched coastlines to subtropical remnant rainforests. 

Not sure where to start? 

Here are 5 of the best walks to tick off your list. 


1. Cape Byron Lighthouse Walk 

When considering the best walks around Byron Bay it's impossible not to include the Cape Byron Lighthouse Walk. It's a classic. Not only do you get stunning panoramic vistas from the lighthouse itself, you also get the cool shade of coastal rainforest, beautiful beaches to have a quick dip and lots of cafes to stop and treat yourself. 

It's the kind of walk you could take a half a day over and experience some of the best of what Byron has to offer in one impressive loop. 

The walk has lots of steps and some steep sections so while it's ideal for taking young kids on your back it's not a good walk for a stroller 


2. Big Scrub Loop 

The Big Scrub rainforest once covered northeastern NSW and was the largest area of subtropical rainforest in Australia, covering a whopping 900 square kilometres. Less than 1% of the Big Scrub remains today. However significant remnants of lowland subtropical and littoral rainforest (one of the rarest types in Australia) still exist. 

One such rare remnant sits in the Rocky Creek Dam area of Nightcap National Park and has a beautiful walking trail that loops its way through it. 

The old-growth forest is stunningly beautiful and rich with life so if you want to hear and see the forest wildlife it's not a bad idea to do the walk slowly and quietly. 


3. Shaws Bay in Ballina 

Shaws Bay is at the mouth of the Richmond River in Ballina. The North Wall of the river creates the bay and offers a fabulous vantage point up the Richmond River. It's an expansive walk with lots of variety. Perfect for a family walk, the beautiful river beaches offer gentle resting spots and a nice place for a dip on a hot day. 


4. Brummies Lookout 

The majestic Wollumbin or Mt Warning is the most outstanding feature in the area. Wollumbin is the remnant core of the Tweed volcano, which formed around 23 million years ago when the whole area was a volcanic hotbed. It's visible from several places in the Byron and Tweed areas, including Cape Byron. 

One of the more unique views of Wollumbin is from Brummies Lookout in Wollumbin National Park which offers vast and rare views of the sheer western cliff face of Wollumbin. 


5. Norries Head Loop 

Cabarita Beach is a coastal gem. The quaint little town has beautiful beaches and one of the best restaurants in the area - Paper Daisy. It's an easy place to explore on foot and the locals have put great effort into creating beautiful walking areas. The Norries Head Loop takes you out to Norries Headland, a perfect place to do some whale spotting during whale season. 

Want to explore further? Check out the Byron Trails guidebook for a complete guide to the best of the natural gems in the area.
 

Cheers for ten years of beers

Stone & Wood celebrates a milestone with a roll out of releases, events and a brewery opening!

It's been 10 years of beers since the first kegs rolled out of Byron's local brewery Stone & Wood back in 2008.

For the Northern Rivers independent brewery, they're excited but the milestone feels like a drop in the ocean.

"Compared to breweries in other parts of the world that have been around for hundreds of years, we’re 10 years young!" said co-owner Brad Rogers.

Looking back, Head Brewer Caolan Vaughn said that the brewery has released experimental brews since the early days, including Beers of the Earth, The Mash Collective series, Stone Beer, The Gatherer and Forefathers but has always been limited by capacity.

"We've released some memorable beers but until now, our focus has also been on getting enough of it to our thirsty drinkers.'

Stone & Wood is looking forward to ramping up their releases, promising some exciting changes, additions and limited brews in the coming months. But that’s not all... In the coming months, the brewery will put on their inaugural Backyard Invitational event on 24 November, at what will become their Brisbane Brewery in the new year, and the new Byron Bay Brewery will open its doors by the end of the year.

Stone & Wood Brewery Byron Bay project manager Jamie Revell has said "We are excited to be at the pointy end of our brewery build. All of the finer details such as landscaping and timber finishes are now coming to life. The bar and kitchen are both currently being fitted and the last of our brewhouse equipment will move in the coming weeks. We can’t wait to open the doors of our new spiritual home and invite locals and visitors to see how we brew and learn more about Stone & Wood. Early next year we will move our offices to the new space, so the whole Byron team can finally work under one roof."

When asked about the 10 year milestone and everything that’s coming down the line Head Brewer Caolan Vaughn said "We’re proud of the journey so far and having an incredible, passionate team that’s been along for the ride but all of us at Stone & Wood are even more excited for what’s to come!".

Espresso Martini Festival

The Espresso Martini Festival is back and bigger than ever, Balcony Bar & Oyster Co. are celebrating their love for Espresso Martinis once again however this time for the entire month October.

For years Balcony Bar & Oyster Co has been known as the best place in town to grab a drink with friends. The cocktail list is extensive, the wine list is exquisite, the beers are fresh, local and on tap but above all else, the espresso martinis are always flowing and only $12 each from 9:30pm. If you were around the bay at a similar time last year you may remember a festival dedicated to all those Espresso Martini lovers abroad. In just two weeks 2,200 Espresso Martinis were sold going through a whopping 70kg of coffee. Balcony Bar & Oyster Co. love their coffee in a martini glass so much that this year Espresso Fest will be grinding for the whole month of October.

A specialty cocktail menu has been carefully crafted by their expert cocktail masters featuring flavours like

Pop Your Cherry
Cherry Brandy, Cerene De Cacao, cold brew coffee and of course the much loved Cherry Ripe garnish

Bounty Hunter
1800 Coconut Tequila, Crème De Cacao, Espressocello & cold brew coffee.

Kentuck y Cold Brew
Woodford reserve, peach liqueur, cold brew coffee and orange bitters

The Nutty Professor
Disaronno, Frangelico, cold brew coffee & Cracked hazelnuts with a salted caramel rim.

Bam Bam Espresso
Bam Bam Spiced Rum, Licor 43, Triple Sec, cold brew coffee & cinnamon.

The Golden Slipper
Don Julio Anejo, Cafe Patron, cold brew, agave and a gold rim

Yum! Now for the purists simply looking for a classic espresso martini, they’ve got you covered at just $12 all day every day, plus if you have a local member’s card, the price of espresso martinis will be just $10 after 9.30pm.

If the excitement of specialty espresso martinis isn’t enough to get you keen, one dollar from every full price espresso martini sold will be donated to the incredible charity Save the Bees Australia. Where would we be without bees? As far as important species go, they are top of the list. Bees pollinate 70 of around 100 crop species that feed 90% of the world. A world without bees could struggle to sustain the global human population. Bee the cure and get alongside us to save these little yet important creatures. To find out about this very worthy cause, head to www.beethecure.com.au or to book yourself a table to celebrate espresso fest head to www.balcony.com.au.

5 best pizza restaurants in Byron Bay

The Best of Byron series continues – this time, it’s pizza! Pizza is one of the world’s favourite foods, and here in Byron Bay, the pizza-lover is spoilt for choice.

We asked our Facebook fans to vote for their favourite pizza restaurant in the region, and the results are in. So, next time you're craving a slice, check out one of the five best pizza restaurants in Byron Bay below (in alphabetical order).

Earth ‘n’ Sea

Earth ‘n’ Sea Pizza has been a part of Byron’s vibrant dining scene since way back in 1976. The iconic restaurant serves up a delectable selection of 22 individual pizzas – including gluten-free and vegan options – all piled high with fresh ingredients.

One of Earth ‘n’ Sea’s signature concoctions is the Beethoven: prawns, fresh banana slices, and pineapple.

Il Buco Cafe & Pizzeria

Simple, honest, and authentic. That’s what you can expect from Il Buco Cafe & Pizzeria’s Italian artisan pizza.

Committed to using local, seasonal ingredients, the incredible pizzas feature fresh produce picked, grown, and raised in the region: ham from Bangalow Sweet Pork, salumi from the boys at Salumi, tomatoes from Coopers Shoot Tomatoes, and more.

Legend Pizza

Pizza doesn’t get much better than the classics served up at Legend Pizza. Open from 8 am till late for eat-in and takeaway orders, indulge in both gourmet and traditional styles pizzas (plus gluten-free and vegan options) or create your own perfect slice.

Legend has a relaxed vibe and is a firm favourite among locals and visitors alike.

Trattoria Basiloco

Trattoria Basiloco offers up delicious, authentic Italian cuisine with a Sardinian flair. Their pizzas are cooked the traditional way for maximum flavour: in a burning hot woodfire oven.

Alongside their artisan pizza, Trattoria Basiloco serves antipasti, famous fresh seafood, handmade pasta, meats, and classic Italian desserts.

Treehouse on Belongil

Open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, Treehouse on Belongil is an all-day, fully licensed restaurant, bar, and live music venue. In the evening, pick from an irresistible list of woodfired pizzas, share platters, and daily specials.

Treehouse on Belongil also serves up an exciting cocktail menu and extensive wine list – the perfect accompaniment to fresh pizza and local musical talent.

Best of Byron

Discover our Best of Byron series. Find out where to grab the best coffee, burgers, and breakfasts in Byron Bay and surrounds.

The 2018 Byron Bay Film Festival

Byron Bay Film Festival runs from October 12-21 at the Byron Community Centre and venues in Brunswick Heads and Murwillumbah. The BBFF2018 program and tickets – including 6, 10 or 20-ticket flexi-passes – can be booked online at BBFF.com.au.

The full program for the Byron Bay Film Festival is now available online, introducing a stellar showcase of over 155 films, including 21 documentaries, 15 dramatic features, 20 music videos and 68 shorts as well as an extensive selection of Virtual Reality experiences.

Chosen from nearly 1000 submitted works, the selection reflects the progressive, relaxed, yet engaged ethos of the idyllic coastal town, where surfing, the environment, music, art, health and social activism are key concerns of everyday life.
 
This year the span reaches from the surf off Sierra Leone to the limpid waters of Hawaii’s Kauai Island, from the smoggy bustle of downtown Manila to the infinitely clear and silent skies that dominate the night in Chile’s Atacama Desert.
 
Absorbing documentaries explore the hidden world of the internet’s “content moderators”, the ever expanding role of Artificial Intelligence in our lives, two very different ground-breaking Japanese artists, young Buddhist monks, and how dogs can help us to lead saner lives. The late Rob Stewart’s courageous inquiry into the horrific shark finning industry has particular relevance for the North Coast.
 
Local and talented young Australian documentary filmmakers are prominent alongside their international peers, with stimulating studies of men’s mental health, obsessive pop fandom, the importance of Aboriginal culture, and the crisis in the Kimberley – and the Latrobe Valley.
 
A standout film is Dying to Live from Frackman director Richard Todd, which looks searchingly at Australians’ seeming reluctance to donate their organs for transplant.
 
There are also Australian-made dramas showing that will launch their directors, writers and actors onto the world stage, although some, such as the creator of Jirga, Benjamin Gilmour, are there already, following the film’s sensational reception at the recent Toronto International Film Festival. The Byron screening is a sneak preview before Jirga has its theatrical release, and will be presented in person by Gilmour – now a Byron Shire resident.
 
Other dramas range from dark and almost surreal comedies from Latvia and Iran, romances blossoming within war zones (and an abattoir), and adventures from the Arctic to the south of France. A supernatural thriller, The School, is another product of a Byron Shire team. 


 
The festival also has what is perhaps Australia’s most comprehensive offering of virtual and augmented reality experiences on offer, plus workshops, panels, parties, and even a breath work meditation with visual accompaniment.
 
It’s a 10-day extravaganza of entertainment, learning and fun –Byron Bay’s most colourful and glamorous cultural event – and everyone is invited. Visit the website www.bbff.com.au and their Facebook Page for further details and tickets.

The Mullum Music Festival

From humble beginnings, the picturesque village of Mullumbimby has hosted the Mullum Music Festival (MMF) since its inception in 2008.

Nestled amongst the surrounding mountains in the Byron Bay hinterland, this diverse community of just over 3000 people has embraced this very different type of music event. The last decade has seen more than 600 world-class artists and thousands of people make their way to the festival, not bad for a little festival that started on the night of the electrical storm of the decade.

"The street parade kicks off the final day of a festival which shares a Shire with some of the country's biggest. Bluesfest, Splendour In The Grass and Falls all run around here, but it's Mullum Fest which is truly the jewel in this area's crown."- Rolling Stone

Over the past decade Mullum Music Festival has evolved into one of the most successful boutique festivals in the country, proving small isn't just beautiful, it's also economically & environmental sustainable.

No gates. No big headlines. No VIP areas. Basically a ‘No hassle’ festival. A festival where artists and performers mingle, where shows are held in halls, clubs and pubs rather than tents, and instead of driving hours to park in a field and trudge on site, patrons become enmeshed in the spirit of a vibrant village.

“It’s a great feeling returning to the usually sleepy township of Mullumbimby … It’s a beautiful, restful place any time you drop by, but you know that for one weekend a year it’s transformed into a vibrant mecca of music and community, and during that window there’s no better place to be.” - The Music

The town’s array of boutique performance spaces, cafés, parks, buses and streets are filled with some of the world’s finest international musicians alongside the regions incredibly diverse and talented artists.

"It’s not just about one act, but rather all the performers. Mullum Festival is about the experience. Everyone knows that. It’s all about the people. All of the people. Everyday People!” says Festival Director Glenn Wright

The 2018 event takes place November 15-18, for full details and tickets visit www.mullummusicfestival.com.

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