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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

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

Music Festivals: Bluesfest, Splendour, Falls Festival

Soak up all the music goodness Byron Bay has to offer and take advantage of the great local and international acts performing in Byron Bay during 2015. Home to some of the country’s best campgrounds and most celebrated coastal backdrops, Byron Bay is home to a handful of the nation’s most iconic music festivals, encompassing a range of different genres.

The 26th Byron Bay Bluesfest Festival runs from April 2 until April 6 at Tyagarah Tea Tree Farm, 9 kilometres north of Byron Bay. At the long weekend celebration of Australia’s premier blues and roots festival you’ll find six stages with more than 200 performances of the best blues, roots, folk and soul artists from around the globe. The 11 hectare Tyagarah Tea Tree Farm houses an on-site camping ground where you’ll be able to set up your own tent or tepee for a weekend of musical adventure.

One of Australia’s most loved music festivals, Splendour in the Grass hits the beautiful shores of the North Byron Parklands on July 24 until July 26. The weekend celebrates a lineup of mixed contemporary and indie rock as well as a number of other performing arts and workshops. Stay for the duration of the festival and camp on site with a tent or book early and stay in local accommodation. Watch the sunset from one of the nation’s most beautiful coastal towns while listening to the sounds of some of the best local and international live musicians.

The Falls Music & Arts Festival, held on the grounds of North Byron Parklands since 2013, is the latest incarnation of one of the longest running boutique music events in Australia. Held at the same time as sister events in Tasmania and Victoria, the festival hosts a stellar lineup of local and international acts. Spanning from the last days of December and into the New Year, the festival offers a musical New Years experience complete with onsite camping, live comedy and a number of community run events such puppetry and burlesque. Make the most of your time at the festival and get involved in eclectic outdoor activities ranging from morning yoga to samba classes and circus workshops.

Byron Bay Ballooning

Pre-flight

Ballooning requires cool stable winds an early morning pickup is arranged for 5:25am sharp. The bonus of this early hour is we will see the sunrise. Our driver lets us know that it is going to be a 10 minute drive to Tyagarah air field where we will meet the rest of our group, receive our instructions and then drive to the morning's takeoff location. Takeoff can be from a number of locations dependent on the day’s winds.

Thomas, our pilot, welcomes the group and gives us a full safety brief including our landing instructions. It seems everyone is marking a celebration with a ballooning experience; a married couple’s wedding anniversary present, a 60th birthday and son, another couple celebrating a birthday, twins who were gifted the flight for a 'significant' birthday, a solo Japanese female traveller and myself. We drive to a field close to Billinudgel, a small town around 20 minutes north of Byron, and the twins enthusiastically offer to help with inflating the balloon. The mild morning with clear blue skies has everyone talking excitedly.

In flight

An older man required help into the basket and the professional crew assisted graciously and with a minimum of fuss. All aboard and with a signal from Thomas and a blast from the burner, we are gently climbing up and over the tree tops. I can hear gasps of delight from other passengers as we continue drifting and surveying the picturesque landscape. At times we climbed up to 2000 feet giving a vast panoramic view of the ancient volcanic Caldera Range and Mt Warning (Wollumbin) in the distance passing high above the rolling hills, cane fields, rivers and waterways.

Drifting along in a balloon is an incredibly serene experience with an occasional blast from the burners to maintain height. The ride is much smoother than I'd imagined and it is quite surreal floating high in the open air looking down. Sailing through different scenery, we are all constantly in awe as everything has such a different perspective, and moving at approximately 30 km per hour the vista is constantly changing. Another surprise is we don’t feel any wind because we are moving with the wind! Time seems to literally fly and after almost an hour, we are heading for our landing.

Post-flight

Dutifully following our safety instructions, we land seamlessly in a paddock near Tyagarah airfield. I ask Thomas if he has an arrangement with local landowners and his response is 'this is a bottle of French champagne in the letterbox landing'. We help to deflate the balloon and pack it up. As we drive away, one of the twins points out that Thomas wasn’t joking about leaving champagne in the letterbox.

Back at the airfield, over a sumptuous champagne breakfast, it’s a collective warm and glowing debrief. The twins agree that they need to thank their friend who bought their flight, 'an experience is such a great gift' she adds. I can only agree. The finale is the presentation of our certificates. We all go home with a spring in our step feeling pleased with our day’s experience and I am wondering to whom I might gift a balloon flight.

For more information or to book an experience of a life time call 1300 889 660, email info@byronbayballooning.com.au or go to www.byronbayballooning.com.au

Byron Bay Film Festival

The 2015 Byron Bay International Film Festival 6-15 March

The largest film festival in Australia, is a 10-day festival held annually in March. With over 220 cutting-edge films from over 35 countries, the festival celebrates and supports independent film talent from the local community and abroad.



Festival Director, J’aimee Skippon-Volke said, “Today, we’re living in a download culture. This year we're asking film lovers to 'ditch the downloads' and celebrate the unique experience a collective, shared viewing experience creates. 'Magic Happens in the Dark' is a call to leave the comfort of the couch and dive deep into all that the festival has to offer.

Located in the stunning beachside town of Byron Bay and surrounding centres of Ballina, Lismore, and Muwillumbah, the festival showcases innovative and thought-provoking films.

Screened in five venues, the selected documentaries, short films, feature films, and animations aim to entertain, educate and encourage social dialogue. International filmmakers, local up-and-comers and film lovers leave the festival with an enriched worldview and a raised cultural and environmental awareness.

As well as the 50+ sessions, the Byron Bay International Film Festival hosts events, parties, panels, workshops master classes, and school screenings. Tickets and program available on the Byron Bay Filmfest website.

In recent years, musicians Jack Johnson and Kirk Pengilly, comedian Akmal Saleh, actors Jack Thompson and Vince Colossimo and surfer Laybe Beachley have attended.

The sell-out gala opening and closing events are some of Byron’s most glamorous nights of the year. Hundreds of industry legends, locals and film lovers strut down the red carpet.



The iconic Full Moon Beachside Screening, set on the grass above Byron’s stunning Main Beach, that in previous year’s has attracted thousands of picnickers for a night of free live music and cinema under the stars has been rescheduled for later in 2015 due to weather concerns.

Byron Bay Film Festival is AACTA Awards accredited. Each year, the festival awards standout films in categories such as feature, documentary, music video, and animation. The festival also celebrates up-and-coming local talent with the Young Australian Filmmaker of the Year Award, judged by film critic Peter Thompson.

2015 Byron Bay Film Festival program and tickets available from 23rd February at www.bbff.com.au.

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