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Falls Festival Byron Re-Cap

The third Falls Music and Arts Festival Byron (Dec 31- Jan 2) at North Byron Parklands was a great success with organisers declaring it one of the best they’ve had at the venue.

With perfect weather, a festival site that is easy to get around and a couple new features including the Palm Springs water park and the air-conditioned Foxtel movie venue - it was no surprise everyone was having fun.

My favourite act was Courtney Barnett and my pick of the food was the Cuban Street Food (near the main entrance). Enjoy a selection of images captured walking around and watching the bands at Falls Festival Byron.









































































5 Things to do in Byron over Summer

Byron Bay is known for its gorgeous beaches, lush hinterland and relaxed culture. Whenever people travel to Byron they make the most of the gorgeous beaches that line the North Coast of NSW, however, there are many other activities which should not be missed when staying in Byron Bay in order to make the most of this beautiful part of the world.

Gyrocopter Tours

To start, take a gyrocopter flight tour to explore Byron by the sky and get a bird's-eye view of the NSW coastal region. Byron Bay Gyrocopters is a flight training facility offering passenger flights 7 days a week. These flight tours leave from Tyagarah Airstrop just 5 km north of Byron Bay. The flight path takes you over waterfalls, national parks, Mount Warning and the Byron Bay hinterland, not to mention the famous Byron Bay lighthouse. From the sky, you will be able to take in a different perspective of the area’s native marine life like whales, dolphins and sharks.

Byron Bay Ballooning

Byron Bay Ballooning offers daily dawn flights for an hour over the Byron Bay region. During these flights you can enjoy the spectacular unobstructed view of the sunrise over the ocean from the skies. The balloon ride is a unique guided tour around the Byron Bay area showing off the green cauldron and boasting views of the Mount Warning Volcanic Caldera in the north. It also displays views of Byron Bay's gorgeous beaches in the east. To cap it all off, when you come into land, there is a champagne breakfast waiting for you to enjoy.

Night Vision Eco Tours

What better use for military technology than exploring the rainforests of Byron Bay by night to discover an abundance of native wildlife without disturbing them from their nightly routines? Eco Tours offers a 4 hour night vision tour of the Byron Bay rainforests with only 1.25 hours of walking. These night tours offer the opportunity to see many native species such as possums, pademelons, bandicoots, tawny frogmouths, leaf tailed geckos, fusipes, crayfish, melony’s, micro bats, frogs, koalas and owls. Guests are picked up from their accommodation in Byron Bay in time to commence the walk by 8 pm.

Snorkel and Dive Tours

Jump on the ‘Bay Warrior,’ a very spacious 8 and a half meter long cougar cat dive & snorkel boat. The professional charter service is based in Brunswick Heads harbour and offers tours to the frequented Julian Rocks, and not so frequented Windarra banks to see the cod gardens, and Cape Pinnacle. Julia Rocks is a small Volcanic island less than 5km offshore from Byron Bay. With over 800 species of fish, 3 types of resident turtles and a gorgeous coral reef; the northern side of the island is known as the ‘nursery’. This area is a shallow diving area which is sheltered from the ocean swell, currents and winds. All equipment for diving and snorkelling is provided by Blue Bay Diving Tours including snorkels, fins, goggles and wetsuits in the colder weather.

Sky Diving

Jump out of a plane at 14,000 feet high and freefall for up to 60 seconds on your own or with the assistance of a tandem diver to get the most exciting and adrenaline rush inducing experience of viewing the spectacular region.

Byron Bay New Years Eve 2015

With family-friendly events, a music festival, and great parties at local pubs and bars, there’s no better place to celebrate New Year’s Eve than Byron Bay.

Soul Street

Every year, the Byron Bay Community Centre hosts Soul Street, a New Year’s Eve event suitable for the whole family. Jonson Street will be transformed into a celebratory market, with tons of stalls, food options, and amusement rides. There will also be a range of circus performers, including fire twirlers and drummers. The event runs from 4pm to 10pm on December 31, and is alcohol free.

Note that Jonson Street will be closed as of 12 noon on the day, and will reopen at 7am on January 1. There will also be no parking available at the Lawson Street South car park or on Bay Street from 6am on December 31 until 7am January 1.

First Sun New Year’s Day 2016

New Year’s celebrations don’t end on the 31st in Byron Bay. Catch the first sun of the New Year at beautiful Main Beach with the silent sunrise meditation beginning at 5.30am. The meditation will conclude with the sounding of gongs as the sun breaks over the ocean. There will also be free yoga and Qi gong classes on the grass, and intricate sculptures and mandalas in the sand.

Falls Festival

Bring in the New Year with your favourite musicians at the Falls Music and Arts Festival in Byron Bay, held at North Byron Parklands. Running from December 31 to January 3, Falls Festival will see some incredible music acts from around Australia and across the globe. Tickets are still available, and all festival goers can camp onsite for free.

The Byron at Byron

Ring in 2016 with the roaring 20’s. Join the Byron at Byron family for a welcome drink and canapés on arrival followed by a decadent dégustation dinner. The Well Swung Daddies will be kicking off the party from 8pm with their ‘Big Band’ swing tunes. Prizes for best dressed! Call or email to make your reservation reservations@thebyronatbyron.com.au or 02 6639 2105.

The Beach Hotel

The Beach Hotel in Byron Bay has yet another NYE party planned. This year’s Paradise Found party will see food stalls, DJs, break-dancers, cocktail bars, and more. Tickets are available now at Oxtix. The Beach Hotel is also offering a locals discount when tickets are purchased at the Beach Hotel’s bottle shop.

The Byron Bay Brewery

The Byron Bay Brewery is joining forces with the Sunday Safari promoters to bring you a New Year’s Eve party to be remembered. The full program has yet to be announced, but a limited number of early bird tickets are available now at the Brewery’s bar.

Woody’s Surf Shack

Supaaafresh SolMix Byron Bay cocktails // live DJs // good vibes // and best of all... FREE ENTRY before 10pm.

Treehouse on Belongil

Backup to the Future NYE. We will all be dressed in our interpretation of R’n’B vs time travel. The drinks will be cold and the complimentary margarita pizzas fresh outta the woodfired oven. Live music from Bobby Alu, and Vinnie LaDuce and a carefully curated DJ set selected by Chris Bradley.

St Elmo

New Years Eve Fiesta Cocktail Party. Live music till 1am. There will be three separate food stations serving Oysters & Champagne, Cheese, Cured Meats & Paella; as well as tapas & pintxos being served from the kitchen.

New Years Eve Accommodation

New Years is a popular time durring peak season in Byron, most visitors secure their accommodation months in advance. Browse our New Years Eve Accommodation Guide if you haven't secured a booking yet.

Byron's Agricultural Shows

Each year in November, there are two shows in the Byron Shire: the Bangalow Show, and the Mullumbimby Show. Each offers traditional agricultural events, as well as competitions, rides, and family entertainment.

The Bangalow Show

The Bangalow Show has been a community tradition in the historic town since 1897. More than a century on, the two-day show held annually in November attracts families from the local region and beyond.

Set in the scenic Bangalow Showground, about a 15 minute drive from Byron Bay, the Bangalow Show plays host to a variety of agricultural activities. These include the buying and selling of cattle, the showing of animals, and the showcasing of local produce fresh from the farm.

Alongside the traditional agricultural displays, you’ll find plenty of arts, crafts, and homemade wares that show off the talent of the region.

There’s no shortage of kids entertainment at the Bangalow Show. Each year there’s a charming children’s pet parade, which includes a range of amusing categories: pet with the biggest smile, and pet who looks most like its owner, to name a few.

Plus, there are plenty of rides, games, and competitions. Try out for ‘Bangalow Idol,’ or have a go at the ‘Camel Cup.’ And don’t forget to stick around for the grand finale – a spectacular firework display.

The Bangalow Show is an endearing event that celebrates community spirit. And, with plenty of activities for the whole family, it’s worth the trip. Visit www.bangalowshow.com.au for more information.

The Mullumbimby Show

The Mullumbimby Show, a two-day annual event held in mid-November, takes place at the lush Mullumbimby Showground, located a short 25 minute drive from Byron Bay.

As well as traditional farm animal showcases, the Mullum Show is home to an exciting array of entertainment – from show jumping competitions, cooking competitions, pet parades, and talent shows, to a demolition derby!

Between the events, competitions, and shows, there are tons of market stalls to get lost in. Browse fresh produce, local and imported clothing, jewelry, crafts, linens, toys, soaps, and more. The markets provide an opportunity to chat to stall-owners, and learn more about the local agriculture industry.

After all that shopping, you’re bound to be hungry. At the Mullumbimby Show, there’s no shortage of traditional show food: churros, pizza, waffles, and Byron Bay gelato. There’s also coffee, a fully licensed bar, and a BBQ.

The Mullum Show is a great chance to have some good old-fashioned family fun. Visit www.mullumbimbyshow.org.au for more information.

Byron Open Mic Nights

Check out some local talent or show off your skills at one of the many open mic nights Tuesdays, Wednesdays & Thursdays around Byron. Be sure to check full details with the venue.

Beach Hotel – Tuesdays at 7.30pm

With stunning views over Main Beach, the Beach Hotel is an iconic pub, restaurant, and music venue in Byron Bay. The Beach Hotel is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, which can be enjoyed in the sunlit beer garden or cosy interior.

The pub plays host to live entertainment every night of the week, with Tuesday dedicated to showcasing up-and-coming talent at the open mic night. The Beach Hotel’s open mic night starts every Tuesday at 7.30pm, and goes until late. Visit www.beachhotel.com.au.

Byron Bay Brewery – Wednesdays at 7.30pm

Since opening in the 1980’s as the Piggery, the Byron Bay Brewery has remained one of the most unique venues in Byron Bay. The recently refurbished bar and restaurant is a fantastic place for no-frills pub food and boutique beers.

Every Wednesday night at 7.30pm, the Byron Bay Brewery hosts an open mic night offering free entry, cash prizes, and future gig opportunities. Visit www.byronbaybrewery.com.au.

The Ginger Pig – Wednesdays at 8.00pm

Opened by two childhood friends from the UK, the Ginger Pig restaurant and bar offers quality tapas, delicious cakes, and an excellent wine and cocktail menu. Located on the corner of Marvell St and Jonson St, the Ginger Pig is a great place to sample the best locally grown produce.

The Ginger Pigs hosts live entertainment almost every night of the week. Open mic nights are held every Wednesday beginning at 8.00pm. The mic is open to all creatives – from musicians to poets! Visit www.gingerpig.com.au.

The Middle Pub – 1st and 3rd Thursdays at 7.30pm

The Middle Pub is located in Mullumbimby, which is about a 15 minute drive from Byron Bay. Full of character, Mullum’s Middle Pub offers a relaxing atmosphere, friendly staff, and quality entertainment.

Jam nights are held on the first and third Thursday of the month at 7.30pm, and are known to be some of the best in the Shire. Visit www.themiddlepub.com.au.

The Bangalow Hotel – Tuesdays at 7.30pm

The historic Bangalow Hotel (about a 15 minute drive from Byron Bay) is home to an impressive a la carte restaurant, a great drink selection, and top-quality entertainment. With an intimate indoor dining area and a large outdoor deck, this pub is the perfect place to experience Bangalow’s hospitality.

The Bangalow Hotel’s well-established open mic night is frequented by many talented local singer/songwriters, and is held every Tuesday night at 7.30pm. Visit www.bangalowhotel.com.au.

Splendour in the Grass 2015

15th annual Splendour was the biggest yet with 30,000 in attendance... the music was great and diverse, the food choice was fantastic, the markets, bars and art rounded out the total festival experience.

The super headliners always put on a show worth watching, but I tend to have the most fun towards the front with a late afternoon act. My STIG 2015 festival favourite was The Districts.

The food and people watching round out my time at Splendour. My pick for best festival food is a toss-up between Mary's Burgers (only available in the Gold Bar) and the calamari at Tanker (and the pizza in the truck stop, and the organic doughnuts, etc.).

And, it was a little muddy all weekend! See you next year Splendour!

7 Things to do in Winter in Byron Bay

The beachside paradise of Byron Bay has plenty on offer to keep you entertained throughout the cooler months. Whether you’re keen to check out local markets, enjoy the region’s festivals, get closer to nature, or experience the local arts and music scene, there’s something for everyone year-round.

Explore the Cape Byron Walking Track (Year Round)

Follow the 3.7km loop as it winds through lush rainforest and across the dramatic clifftops of Cape Byron. You’ll need about 2 hours to complete the walk, but the scenery is so stunning, before you know it you’ll have arrived at Cape Byron Lighthouse, a striking feature of this coastal reserve.

Visit the Cape Byron Lighthouse (Year Round)

Perched on the edge of the Cape Byron Headland is the idyllic Cape Byron Lighthouse. Both the lighthouse and surrounding cottages were built in 1901, and you can take a short guided tour (around 20 minutes) between 10am and 3pm. Once you reach the top of the lighthouse you’ll be rewarded with 360 degree views of the Pacific Ocean; you may even spot a whale during whale migration season between May and November.

Attend the epic Splendour in the Grass Festival (July)

With music acts and performances ranging from the contemporary to the cutting-edge, the laid-back environs of nearby Billinudgel is the ideal setting for this iconic Aussie 3-day festival. Day passes are available, or you can purchase a camping ticket and immerse yourself in the festival vibe.

Go whale watching (May - November)

Humpback whales migrate north from May to November, and since Byron Bay is mainland Australia’s most easterly point, it’s prime whale watching territory. See if you can spot them from the Cape Byron Headland or Lighthouse, or sign up for one of the many whale watching tours in the area. Cruises are a popular option, and there are also kayak tours.

Check out the local markets

The Byron Bay area is blessed with a string of bustling local markets. The Byron Bay Community Market, held on the first Sunday of the month, boasts over 300 stalls including local arts and crafts and food stalls. The nearby Bangalow Market is held on the fourth Sunday of the month under the laurel trees of the Bangalow Showgrounds. The markets have a strong arts focus and have been running since 1982. For fresh local produce, head to the bi-weekly Ballina Missingham Farmers Market held in Missingham Park, Ballina. And don’t forget to check out the Channon Craft Market in Channon, just 20 minutes from Lismore, held on the second Sunday of the month.

Experience the Byron Bay Writers Festival (August)

This annual 3 day festival brings together writers and booklovers in one of Australia’s largest regional literary events, with a strong focus on Australian writing and writers. The festival program is both relaxed and rigorous, with over 100 Australian writers in attendance each year.

Eat and drink at regional food and Wine Festivals

Held in July, the Ballina Fine Wine and Food Festival showcases local restaurants, producers, wineries and breweries. Here you can taste fabulous food by talented chefs, sample local produce, taste local wines, and join in the activities and see cooking demonstrations. Bangalow’s Sample Food Festival is held in September and attracts over 15,000 visitor annually. There are over 200 stallholders at this annual event, including local restaurant owners and farmers.

Day Trip to the Worlds

Located just over an hours drive north from Byron Bay, the Gold Coast 'Worlds' are some of the biggest and best theme parks in Australia. Whether you’re after heart-stopping thrill rides, or entertainment suited to the whole family, a trip to one of the 'Worlds' is an easy day trip from Byron.

Wet'n'Wild

Escape the heat at the Wet'n'Wild water park, positioned just off the Pacific Motorway. Wet'n'Wild is home to some of the most exciting waterslides in the country in the Extreme H2O Zone. From the terrifying AquaLoop, to the iconic Tornado, you won’t find a better a range of adrenaline-pumping waterslides anywhere.

Not after a thrill? There are plenty of waterslides that aren’t scary at all, including the Wet’n’Wild Junior Park. Relax at Calypso Beach and watch the world float by, or take the whole family up Mammoth Falls.

For further information visit www.wetnwild.com.au.

Dreamworld

Dreamworld is Australia's BIGGEST theme park, and is home to the Big9 Thrill Rides, Tiger Island and water park WhiteWater World.

Ride some of the most iconic thrill rides in Australia, such as the Giant Drop, Tower of Terror and Claw, or enjoy some family fun on the River Rapids and Log Ride. For the little ones, Dreamworld has two special areas – Wiggles World and DreamWorks Experience. Don’t miss the beautiful tigers at Tiger Island.

Make a weekend of it and head to WhiteWater World too. With some of the most technologically advanced water rides in the country, you’re sure to find a water slide unlike any other you’ve been on before.

For further information visit www.dreamworld.com.au.

Movie World

Ever dreamed of going to Hollywood? It’s closer than you may think! Movie World on the Gold Coast is home is a range of rides, shows, and family entertainment.

If you’re looking for a thrill, try out the Green Lantern or Batman ride. The younger ones will love the Kids’ Warner Brothers Fun Zone, where movies come to life. Plus, the whole family will enjoy the world-class shows and entertainment on offer, including the stunt show and 4D movie.

For further information visit www.movieworld.com.au.

Sea World

Get up close and personal with some of the most fascinating marine life on the planet at Sea World on the Gold Coast. Spot sharks, dolphins, penguins, seals and even polar bears. Plus, see the incredible sea life in action at the renowned dolphin show and seal show.

There are rides for the thrill-seekers and the younger kids alike. Get your adrenaline pumping on the Cork Screw, or head to Nickelodeon Land for kids’ rides and Nick characters' meet and greets.

For further information visit www.seaworld.com.au.

A Weekend in Mullumbimby

Located just 20 minutes north of Byron Bay, Mullumbimby is scenic town with a personality of its own. With plenty to do and eat, spending a weekend in Mullum is a must.

Markets

Experience the community spirit of Mullumbimby at the Mullumbimby Farmers’ market. The market is held every Friday from 7 am until 11am at the Showgrounds on Main Arm Road between Chinbible Street and Coral Avenue.

The market features over 50 stalls, including 13 that are certified organic, which showcase the very best seasonal produce of the region: local nuts and honey, Bangalow pork, seafood farmed in Ballina and more!

Along with fresh fruit and veggies, artisan bread, and local, sustainable meat, there is coffee, music and plenty of space for the kids to run around. The Mullumbimby Farmers’ Market is a fantastic way to begin your weekend. For more information visit www.mullumfarmersmarket.org.au

Now that you’ve got your local groceries, it’s time to check out the local arts and crafts at the Mullumbimby Museum Market, held on the third Saturday of each month.

Set among the huge trees in Summers Park, the Mullum Markets are one of the best in the region. With an exciting range of hot food and coffee, come early in the morning and stay for lunch. The markets are open at 9am, and wrap up around 2pm. For more information visit www.mullummarkets.com.au

Activities

There’s plenty to do in Mullum for both kids and adults.

On a hot summer’s day, head to the Mullumbimby Petria Thomas Swimming Pool. The pool is Olympic size, and there are two smaller pools for little kids. The pool is surrounded by luscious trees, and has a great kiosk selling ice creams, coffee, hot chips and more.

The pool is open between September 1 and April 30.

Alternatively, check out the fantastic Mullum skate park, which is one of the largest in the area. The skate park is located at the sports fields beside the cricket field and netball courts. It features a series of interconnecting bowls, a half pipe and a small box grind block.

Just want to relax? No worries. Stroll through town, browse the shops, and then head over to the incredible Kiva Spa.

Located in the centre of town, but hidden among a bamboo grove, this secluded tropical spa is world-class. The spa uses ancient healing and bathing techniques to give you a relaxing yet effective treatment.

Go for a massage or skin treatment, or treat yourself to a truly unique bathhouse experience. For more information visit www.thekivaspa.com

Food and Coffee

No weekend out is complete without delicious food and coffee.

Enjoy the small-town atmosphere at the historic Middle Pub. With a large range of beers and classic menu, this country pub exceeds expectations. Sit on the large dining veranda and look over the main square of Mullumbimby. Visit www.themiddlepub.com.au

Hungry for pizza? Head to Milk and Honey restaurant, located on Station St in town. The menu changes frequently in order to make the most of local, seasonal produce, and their artisan wood-fired cooking technique creates pizzas that are rumoured to be the best in the region. Visit www.milkandhoneymullumbimby.com.au

If you’re looking for a great breakfast, head to the funky Poinciana cafe. With a gorgeous garden courtyard and eclectic decor, this cafe is truly one-of-a-kind. You can even enjoy a cocktail or two in the afternoon, sit back, and enjoy some live music!

For excellent coffee, try out the Rock & Roll Coffee Company. Located on Burringbar St, the cafe serves up some of the best coffee around, along side fresh Asian breakfasts and lunches. The Rock & Roll cafe has an authentically urban atmosphere, great music and super friendly staff. Visit www.rockandrollcoffee.com.au

Byron Regional Art Galleries

Byron Bay and surrounding regional areas are home to a host of fantastic art galleries and exhibition spaces.

Lone Goat Gallery

The Lone Goat Gallery, located at the Byron Bay Library, is an innovative exhibition space that showcases contemporary artists from the Byron region and beyond.

Since opening in 2013, the independent art gallery has hosted a diverse range of programs for locals, artists and visitors of Byron. With new exhibitions from local and international artists every few months, the gallery has become and integral part of the region’s visual arts scene.

The Lone Goat Gallery was aptly names after a well-known female goat. After escaping the rangers, the clever goat lived alone on the Byron Headland for over 10 years. The Byron Shire is renowned for its free spirit, and the story of the lone goat mirrors this perfectly.

For further information visit: www.lonegoatgallery.com

Lismore Regional Gallery

The Lismore Regional Gallery, which opened in 1953, is the fifth oldest regional art gallery in New South Wales. The gallery aims to encourage a dialogue with locals and visitors through a diverse series of events and exhibitions.

The gallery works closely with exhibited artists to ensure the accurate representation of the artist’s intentions. Acclaimed artists such as Margaret Olley, Patricia Piccinini and Sam Jinks have been featured in exhibitions curated especially for the gallery.

The Lismore Regional Gallery plays an active role in the Northern Rivers community, by providing opportunities for local artists to tell stories with great significance to the region.

For further information visit: www.lismoregallery.org

The Channon Gallery

Tucked away in the stunning Northern Rivers hinterland is the village of The Channon. The Channon Gallery is a thought-provoking contemporary gallery that specialises in works created by local artists, and national artists in their mid to late careers.

The Channon Gallery celebrates the spectrum of feelings embodied in exhibited artworks, whether that is joy, rage, delight, or sadness. The gallery seeks to encourage self-reflection, and to evoke an emotional response from the viewer.

The ever-evolving Channon Gallery changes exhibition every four to six weeks, which include solo, duo, trio and group shows.

For further information visit: www.thechannongallery.com

The Margaret Olley Art Centre

Located at the Tweed Regional Gallery, the Margaret Olley Art Centre (MOAC) is a unique expose of the distinguished artist’s life and work.

The MOAC includes a delightful collection of Olley’s still-life artworks, along with an interactive multi-media activity, a research library, an educational workshop, and a moving recreation of Olley’s Sydney residence.

The recreation of Olley’s home and studio is breath taking, and includes a clutter of over 20,000 objects: bric-a-brac, furniture, rugs, art, and flowers. The famous Yellow Room and Hat Factory are remade with astonishing accuracy. The partial building also includes original architectural features from her home in Paddington, Sydney, including the windows and doors.

This unusual, dynamic exhibition gives an intimate insight into the inspiration behind Olley’s internationally recognised artworks. It’s not to be missed.

For further information visit: www.artgallery.tweed.nsw.gov.au

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