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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.

Golfing in Byron Bay and Surrounds

Byron Bay Golf Club

Located just 5km from the centre of town, the Byron Bay Golf Club is an 18-hole championship course. Stretching over 120 acres of lush coastal land, the course features a number of spectacular ocean views.

The difficulty of this course depends largely on wind strength and direction. It’s a par 72 course, with immaculately maintained landscaping, and holes running in all directions.

Situated opposite the Byron at Byron Resort and Spa on Broken Head Road, the Byron Bay Golf Club boasts not only a world-class golf course, but also a delightful restaurant with views of the iconic Cape Byron lighthouse.

For further information, visit www.byronbaygolfclub.com.au

Ocean Shores Country Club

The Ocean Shores golf course is located about a 20-minute drive north of Byron Bay. Designed by world-renowned golf course architects Bruce Devlin and Robert von Hagge in 1972, the championship course has 18 holes comprised of six par 3s, six par 4s, and six par 5s. This makes for a truly unique golfing experience.

The course is surrounded by a beautiful coastal environment with native bush flora and natural lakes. Rivers, rolling hills, and mountain ranges make for a picturesque hinterland backdrop. The Ocean Shores Golf Course is one of the most beautiful in the area.

For further information, visit www.oceanshorescc.com.au

Mullumbimby Golf Club

Built in 1956, the Mullumbimby Golf Club is located a short drive from the centre of Mullum, and about a 20 minute drive from Byron Bay. The Mullumbimby golf course is ideal for walking, as it is set on mostly flat land, with a few water hazards.

The course features striking panoramic view of surrounding hinterland: the Koonyum mountain range in the west, and Mt Chincogan in the north. You’ll also catch a glimpse of some of Mullumbimby’s most impressive cattle paddocks and sugar cane fields. Shrubs and trees line the course, and many native birds make themselves at home.

When you’ve finished your game, head up to the clubhouse bar and watch other games unfold.

For further information, visit www.mullumgolf.com.au

Teven Valley Golf Course

Set amidst the scenic Byron Bay/Ballina hinterland is the Tintenbar golf course, nicknamed the ‘Royal Teven’ by locals and regulars. Constructed in the 1970s, this is a serene course with valley views over a lush rainforest.

The 9-hole course is challenging, but has a par 31 layout, making it suitable for all golfers. Take in the sights and sounds of the native wildlife as you play – if you’re lucky you might spot a platypus in the trickling creeks that flow through the course.

Positioned just 10 minutes from Ballina, the Royal Teven welcomes golfers everyday of the year, from 7.30am until sunset.

For further information, visit www.tevenvalleygolfcourse.com.au

Lismore Golf Club

Don’t let the small size of the Lismore Golf Course fool you – it’s one of the best and oldest in the region (the golfing tradition in Lismore dates back to the 1800s). The Lismore Golf Course is located about 45 minutes southwest from Byron Bay.

The Lismore Golf Course is a 9 hole, par 69 course, designed by renowned course architect Eddie Hackett. Hackett embraced the natural features of the environment, creating a unique and beautiful golfing experience. From the 4th tee, the view absolutely breathtaking.

For further information, visit www.lismoregolf.org

Coolangatta & Tweed Heads Golf Club

The Tweed Heads Golf Course has it all – a challenging course and excellent, family-friendly entertaining facilities. Located a short drive south of the Gold Coast, and about an hours drive north from Byron Bay, the course and surrounding 101 hectares of land includes a devoted wildlife reserve, with an array of native plants and animals.

Enjoy the classic Australian scenery, or relax with a day or night out with friends and family and the Tweed Head Golf Course.

For further information, visit www.cooltweedgolf.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

Printed Guides to Byron

Printed, magazine style guides, are always a great source of information while on holiday - not surprising, Byron has a few great guides you can pick up around town or on your travels.

The Byron and Beyond What’s On – the Visitor Guide to Byron Bay

What’s On – the Visitor Guide is the official printed guide to activities and attractions in the Byron Shire and surrounding areas. The annual magazine includes a host of informative articles about transport, markets, food, and weddings. It also features a set of detailed maps and a fantastic yearlong calendar of events.

The magazine is distributed in over 400 outlets in the Northern Rivers, Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane, including visit information centres, airports and tourist attractions.

This is the go-to magazine for anyone wanting to experience everything the region has to offer.

Visit www.byronandbeyond.com

The Accommodation Guide

The Accommodation Guide is the sister magazine to the Byron and Beyond What’s On Visitor Guide to Byron Bay. It includes a broad overview of the must-do activities and must-see destinations in Byron, Brunswick Heads, Ocean Shores, Ballina, Lennox Head, Lismore, Nimbin and beyond.

As well as an overview of attractions, you’ll find practical information about transport, food, and an excellent accommodation directory that spans Byron, other towns in the Shire, and surrounding regions.

The Accommodation Guide is distributed to more than 800 outlets across Australia.

Visit www.byronandbeyond.com

Rusty’s Byron Guide

Rusty’s Byron Guide is the original guide to Byron loved by both locals and tourists. Rusty Miller is an iconic member of the Byron community, and a world-class surfer. He has lived and surfed in Byron Bay since the 1970s.

His vibrant guide to the region includes a collection of articles about the Byron way of life, written mostly by locals. As well as articles about the region’s food, surf culture, music and environment, you’ll find an artistic map of Byron town and the Arts and Industry Estate, and a comprehensive Byron directory.

You can’t go past Rusty’s Byron Guide for an in-depth look into Byron’s unique personality.

Visit www.byron-bay-guide.com.au

Byron Bay With Kids

Byron Bay and the surrounding region offers a range of activities and attractions for kids of all ages. Our Byron Bay with Kids guide will give you some family friendly ideas to enjoy the region.

Cape Byron Lighthouse

The lighthouse is a Byron Bay icon, and trekking up to the most easterly point in Australia is great fun for active families. The walk takes about two hours from the car park at Wategos, and there are plenty of breathtaking ocean views to enjoy on the way up. Once you reach the lighthouse, you may be able to spot a stingray, turtle or dolphin, or, during the winter months, you could catch a glimpse of a humpback whale. There is also a cafe at the lighthouse serving refreshments.

Do keep in mind that the walk is quite steep, and there are stairs. If you’re not able to walk, you can also drive.

Byron Markets

The Byron Bay Community Market is held on the first Sunday of every month at the Butler Street reserve. Take the kids and wander through several acres of market stalls. Kids can make their own candle, have their face painted, and tie-dye their own T-Shirt, and then unwind with some delicious food and live entertainment. The Byron markets are a great day out for families with kids of all ages.

Plan your visit with our Byron Regional Market Schedule

Crystal Castle

Escape the hustle and bustle of town and retreat to the tranquil grounds of Crystal Castle. The kids will love the magical atmosphere, as they wander through the rainforest and tropical gardens studded with huge crystals. The ancient labyrinth is great fun, and the ‘Fireheart’ Crystal Dragon Playground, positioned below the Lotus Café, is the perfect place for kids to play while parents relax. With free daily activities and the very special world peace stupa, the Crystal Castle has plenty to offer the young and the old.

For further information, visit www.crystalcastle.com.au

Circus Arts

A trip to Circus Arts Byron Bay is one that will not be forgotten. Suited to kids of all ages, Circus Arts is a huge, fully equipped space located just minutes from town. The space includes an indoor rock climbing wall and a 10m high indoor flying trapeze. Open rain or shine, children can learn to juggle and hula-hoop in a casual class, or have a go at the trapeze and rock-climbing wall. Parents can relax with a cup of coffee at the Big Top Cafe, while kids can enjoy the Play Space and jumping castle.

For further information, visit www.circusarts.com.au

Dolphin Kayak Tour

Kayaking with dolphins in the pristine waters of Byron Bay with your kids is an experience of a lifetime. Surf your kayak, which can hold you and a child, out from Cape Byron, Wategos or the Pass. You’ll have an unbeatable view of the lighthouse, and you may spot dolphins and sea turtles. During the winter months, you may even see a humpback up close!

Further information and online bookings, visit Dolphin Kayak Tour

Drive Around the Hinterland

Tucked among the rolling hills of the Byron Bay Hinterland are gorgeous local villages that are mostly unexplored by Byron’s visitors. Enjoy the small towns’ cafes, restaurants and pubs, which celebrate the best of the regions produce. After lunch, you can head out of town and into the rainforest for a bush walk. See a stunning waterfall up close on the 4km gentle walk to the base of Minyon Falls. Or take a trip to Rocky Creek Damn with a packed picnic (there are picnic and toilet facilities on site). The surrounding Australian flora makes for a stunning backdrop. But be careful! You may end up sharing your meal with the kookaburras.

Macadamia Castle

Macadamia Castle has been one of the most popular kids’ attractions in the area for more than 35 years. Explore the animal park, feed the ducks, dine in the café, and enjoy the huge tree house style playground. There’s also putt putt golf and a miniature train ride.

For further information, visit www.macadamiacastle.com.au

Skateboarding

Have your kids shown interest in skateboarding? Byron Bay Skateboard School has one-on-one and group classes to suit skateboarders of all levels. Creator Flavio Biehl has been skateboarding for over 30 years, and has entered hundreds of comps across around the world. From teaching beginners to balance and build confidence, to challenging more advanced riders with tricks, the Byron Bay Skateboard School provides a fun and supportive learning environment.

For further information, visit www.skateboardschool.com.au

Byron Bay Bluesfest 2015


G. Love & Special Sauce on stage with Jack Johnson, Donavon Frankenreiter & Jake Shimabukuro

Always a pleasure - 26 years experience meant a few last minute cancelations and some wet weather didn't dampen the fun of Bluesfest 2015. Plenty of great music, any food you can imagine, interesting market stalls and a couple coffee tents with seating.


British India had no trouble standing in


Melbourne Ska Orchestra enjoying themselves

But, my favourite part of Bluesfest is being blown away by an act. To this day I remember my first Bluesfest back in 1992 (their 3rd I think) and catching Dave Hole's performance - in 2015, my pick is Dave Alvin & Phil Alvin with The Guilty Ones (yes, I saw them twice).


Dave Alvin & Phil Alvin with The Guilty Ones

If you were there, I trust you had a blast, if not - there's always next year, see you at 2016 Bluesfest Byron Bay.


See you all in 2016!

Facebook February 2015

The Byron region is surrounded by natural beauty and has plenty of things going on all the time... which allows all the great local photographers to capture amazing new images daily. We post to our Facebook page about 100 times each month, often sharing the best images we can find. On our page you will notice we give the regions photographers full credit by using the ‘Share Button’ and encourage all our fans to click through and follow the photographers directly.

Here's a sample of images posted / shared to our page in February 2015. If you like these, click through and join us on Facebook : www.facebook.com/byron.bay.nsw.


Image credit Dexter Jou


Image credit Soozi Futcher


Image credit Kurt Petersen

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