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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.

Crystal Castle and Shambhala Gardens

Crystal Castle and Shambhala Gardens - a Faraway Magical Place in Byron’s Hinterland

Ranked Mullumbimby’s #1 tourist attraction on TripAdvisor, Crystal Castle and Shambhala Gardens offers a cornucopia of delightful, feelgood experiences. Owners and founders, Naren and Sono King are committed to providing an ethical, sustainable tourism attraction and that commitment is evident in every detail of this unique attraction including their staff.

Set 7km, out of Mullumbimby, these private botanical gardens are filled with extraordinary crystals, sub-tropical plant life and wait for it…. Australia’s first Tibetan Buddhist Kalachakra World Peace Stupa!



What’s New? – An intriguing new daily program offering

Shambhala Gardens Tour (45mins) - a fascinating guided tour of the gardens detailing the incredible journey of the owners. Like everyone who works here, our guide was passionate, informative and entertaining. She lead us on a few guided meditations at different sacred statues. Other highlights include the beautiful koi pond and the Peace Fountain.

Crystal Experience (45 mins) – a brief history of Crystal Castle and of the healing powers of crystals. We learnt how to choose crystals for ourselves and others and why and how to use them for healing.

Music of the Plants (30 mins) – another guided meditation in this beautiful setting that put us in the moment and in the perfect mind frame to enhance the experience. Referencing The Secret Life of Plants and research cnducted by the Damanhur Federation in Italy, our guide used a device that converts a plant’s individual vibration into music. The audience was captivated and the music entrancing. Just prior to this I had the privilege of listening to Squalo Canapa from Damanhur, I am curious and inspired to learn more.

Peace Experience (50 mins) – one of only seven World Peace Stupas and the only one in the Southern Hemisphere. This is a visualisation meditation and sacred walk around The Peace Stupa and another unique bliss-inducing experience.



All these experiences are free with the entry charge. There is a range of price structures for entry; family, locals, annual passes.

Plan ahead to get the most from your visit.

  • Check website for times of daily experiences as they may change depending on the season www.crystalcastle.com.au
  • Take sunscreen, hat and water
  • Allow at least three hours for your visit
  • You won’t be disappointed by this unique experience and it is obvious why it has such wonderful reviews on Trip Advisor. As my Buddhist cousin would conclude.
    Peace.

2014 Sample Food Festival

2014 Sample Food Festival will take place from 8:00am – 4:00pm Saturday 13 September 2014, at the Bangalow Showground. Featuring food from local restaurants, local produce and farmers market stalls, plus entertainment, cooking demonstrations and children’s activities. Entry is free.

The fourth annual Sample Food Festival is shaping up to be the biggest one yet. The one-day event, held at Bangalow Showground, attracts over 10,000 visitors from all over the country. It is the premier food event in Northern with are over 200 exhibitors to browse and taste as well as all day family entertainment.

More information: www.samplensw.com

Byron Bay Writers Festival launches 2014 Program

"If there’s a story to be told and if the story has some validity, some resonance, then you don’t keep it to yourself."
From Stories We Tell by Canadian Film Director Sarah Polley

The Byron Bay Writers Festival proudly opens the pages of the 18th edition of this major literary event showcasing a cavalcade of more than 130 writers, thinkers and creative spirits and a world of ideas over three action-packed days.

Festival Director Edwina Johnson says the 2014 Program is designed to challenge, provoke, connect and inspire.

'We've created a stimulating program featuring a strong core of powerful Australian writers together with acclaimed international talents. Securing celebrated UK author, Jeanette Winterson, is an enormous coup for the Festival. She’s considered one of the world’s Top 10 writers to see live and will deliver the Festival’s Keynote Address. US author Poe Ballantine will discuss his lauded memoir and will be joined by esteemed international writers including Geoff Dyer and Susie Orbach.'

'Cognisant of David Suzuki's belief that 'mounting climate evidence underscores the need to act' we have again afforded the environment a strong focus this year, Johnson says. 'We're looking forward to Bob Brown's session with Tim Flannery exploring an environmental vision for Australia.'

Johnson says the Festival team has continued with its tradition of not shying away from the complicated issues. 'Julian Burnside, Antony Loewenstein, Joanne McCarthy, and Kate McClymont are all attending. We expect robust debate about how our country treats some of the world’s most vulnerable people.'

Don't miss Pulitzer Prize winner David Finkel, author of the brilliant and harrowing Thank You for Your Service and former Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser as they explore Australia’s relationship with the US, prompted by influential commentator, David Marr.

The Festival will also probe into our past with authors of fiction and non-fiction including the 2014 Stella Prize winner, Clare Wright, M.L. Stedman, James Brown, Ashley Hay and Mike Carlton.

Of course, it wouldn’t be a festival without food events. Travel the Indian spice route with fêted chef Christine Manfield at her Literary Lunch at the Byron at Byron resort. Saturday's supper with substance will be dished up by national treasures Julian Burnside and Frank Moorhouse in conversation with Sian Prior.

See John Safran's acclaimed live show Murder in Mississippi at the Byron Bay Community Centre. Then dust off your Ziggy Stardust outfits as one of Melbourne's best-loved spoken word events Liner Notes literary cabaret comes to Byron for the first time. A literary cabaret, this year's performers include, among others, Andrew Denton, Missy Higgins and Benjamin Law.

Relish another musical treat with Richard Clapton in conversation with David Leser. And let the music keep playing with Missy Higgins at the launch of her new album.

Kids Big Day Out adds an extra Festival dimension on Sunday featuring some of Australia's favourite authors led by Andy Griffiths, with Sally Rippin, Martin Chatterton, Nick Earls and two Byron Shire locals, Jesse Blackadder and Tristan Bancks. Enjoy another Festival first as Asphyxia unfolds her magical world of marionettes, and if you're one of the millions of kids who own a copy of Possum Magic, bring it along for Mem Fox to sign.

If that’s not enough literary action, delve into memoir, screenwriting, travel, poetry, romance and more at festival panels and at hands-on skills development Workshops. Enjoy over 105 sessions commencing with a John Weiley Retrospective Film Screening and conversation with Kerry O’Brien on Wednesday night and closing with the sweet voices of the Byron Bay Public School Choir.

Festival founder Chris Hanley believes the 2014 Program offers enormous depth. 'Curating any landmark international literary festival requires knowledge, dexterity and passion. Certainly, this year’s Festival signposts Byron Bay as a destination literary event.'

The Festival runs at North Byron Beach Resort from 1- 3 August with workshops commencing on 28 July. For more Festival information or to purchase tickets visit byronbaywritersfestival.com or call 1300 368 552.

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