Every year Byron’s stunning natural beauty draws over 2 million visitors.
We love to share our beautiful region with friends and fans from all over the world, but paradoxically, this annual influx of nature lovers has the potential to create a devastating impact on the very environment they’ve travelled so far to enjoy.
Want to get involved and do something good for Byron Shire and the planet?
Here’s how you do it, It’s seriously simple...
Just Take 3 pieces of rubbish with you when you leave a Byron beach, waterway or nature spot and you’ve done it.
Who knew making a difference was that simple!
Be sure to:
take a picture of your haul and post it to Instagram;
include the hashtag #Take3forByron
so we can all see the impact we’re having.
From time to time they’ll be prize promotions to make saving the planet even sweeter.
DK Photography is Dale Sharpe and Karlie Russell, two Gold Coast-based photographers with a passion for landscapes and astrophotography. On Wednesday, 20 February 2019, Dale captured a spectacular super moon and Cape Byron Lighthouse image. We, like many thousands of other people, shared it on social media.
Reading through some of the thousands of comments, it’s clear most people thought the image was absolutely fantastic. Others had a particularly keen sense of humour:
A few sceptics were certain the image was a fake or 'photoshopped’ – it's NOT! Here's Dale’s story behind the image:
This Supermoon image has been a bucket list shot for us for almost 6 years now & every single year the conditions haven't lined up for us, but not today!
Many years ago our Nikon Rep once asked us "What bucket list image can we help you achieve?". Without hesitation, this was it. When we woke up feeling a lot better this morning after a nasty virus had us both sick in bed all week & we saw the clouds were clear & the moon rose right on blue hour, we gave them a call & we were given a 600mm (a $10k lens), the perfect focal range to capture this shot with our D850.
But when we arrived in Byron we realised we had very few places to shoot from. We used PhotoPills (an app) to calculate the correct alignment & elevation & realised there was only one place & it was on a farm approximately 5km from the lighthouse. What we weren't expecting is the property owner to be a famous Australian musician.
Much to our surprise we were given permission to shoot from their property (thank you again) & after some hairy moments at sunset when the moon didn't align centre with the lighthouse & we had to run 50-100m to quickly capture the frame, we finally got it! The moment lasted seconds & while it's not perfect, we were so happy to finally capture it.
We might be biased, but Byron Bay is without a doubt one of the most beautiful places in the world. We love seeing how different artists capture the region. Thanks again to DK Photography for sharing this spectacular photo – it’s one we won’t forget in a hurry.
Save the date. The 2019 Byron Bay Surf Festival is back. Kicking off Wednesday 20th February 2019 in Australia’s much-loved beach town, it’s time for some super surfing fun, chock full of sustainability, music, art, surf and culture. Wow. Say hello to annual favourites including the Surf Art Markets – now at twilight, Surf Legends Lounge, live music at the Beach Hotel and Freestyle & Stoke Surf Sessions at Wategos Beach. Meet this year’s epic line up of special guests including surfing World Champions, female leaders, inspiring musicians, photographers and artists. Get ready. It’s going to be fun.
We were stoked with last year’s turnout, and this year we have planned for something even better! Kicking off this year, McTavish presents a short film and photo exhibition by surfing World Champion and special guest Tom Carroll. Thursday the creative vibes continue with a National Photography Competition at McTavish Outpost. Grab a bevvy and enjoy live beats, with entrant work showcased and winners selected by Byron Bay photographers Craig Parry and Ming Nomchong.
Thursday’s line up continues with Surf Legends Lounge at Byron Bay Community Centre, hosted by Vaughan Blakey, former Editor of Surfing World Magazine. Special guests include Rasta and Mark Occhilupo, sharing their views on hot surf topics including sustainability, boards, fins, surf culture and the future of our industry.
Friday injects a little bit of female power into this year’s line up with The Women’s Panel at the Beach Hotel. Special guests include 7 x World Champion Steph Gilmore, 2 x World Champion Lisa Anderson and 2 x Longboard World Champion Kelia Moniz. Saturday, we welcome back the morning Beach Clean-Up hosted by Clean Coast Collective, Surf Art Markets and live music at the Beach Hotel. Sunday, we sign off another year with Freestyle & Stoke Surf Sessions at Wategos beach including the inaugural festival party wave, and a big Festival Wrap Up Party at the Beachy.
BBSF presents four days of the latest in alternative and creative surf culture, with a clear path towards reducing environmental impact and connecting our community through fun, educational and allinclusive surf events. The festival continues to work towards becoming a zero-waste event, with the exclusion of single-use plastics and every event monitored by Waste Free Byron.
Founded in 2010, the annual Byron Bay Surf Festival is a non-competitive event with a focus on surf culture, highlighting creativity, innovation, environment and sustainability.
The 4-day event is a fusion of 'Surf Culture Now'. With over 8 free and ticketed events, become immersed in surf sessions, surf shaping, design, art, music, film, fashion and yoga, while having fun and caring for the environment.
The Byron Bay Surf Festival is proudly an “Ocean Friendly” event aiming to set a clear path towards reducing environmental and community impacts of surfing contests. Sustainability is at the heart of everything we do. For more information please visit www.byronbaysurffestival.com.au, Follow Byron Bay Surf Festival on socials or sign up to the newsletter for all updates and info.
There’s no shortage of beautiful places to see around Byron Bay. I mean, we all know that. But did you know that exploring on foot gives you access some of the best places available?
The greater Byron area has a wealth of natural treasures that are just waiting to be explored, from dramatic sun-drenched coastlines to subtropical remnant rainforests.
Not sure where to start?
Here are 5 of the best walks to tick off your list.
1. Cape Byron Lighthouse Walk
When considering the best walks around Byron Bay it's impossible not to include the Cape Byron Lighthouse Walk. It's a classic. Not only do you get stunning panoramic vistas from the lighthouse itself, you also get the cool shade of coastal rainforest, beautiful beaches to have a quick dip and lots of cafes to stop and treat yourself.
It's the kind of walk you could take a half a day over and experience some of the best of what Byron has to offer in one impressive loop.
The walk has lots of steps and some steep sections so while it's ideal for taking young kids on your back it's not a good walk for a stroller
2. Big Scrub Loop
The Big Scrub rainforest once covered northeastern NSW and was the largest area of subtropical rainforest in Australia, covering a whopping 900 square kilometres. Less than 1% of the Big Scrub remains today. However significant remnants of lowland subtropical and littoral rainforest (one of the rarest types in Australia) still exist.
One such rare remnant sits in the Rocky Creek Dam area of Nightcap National Park and has a beautiful walking trail that loops its way through it.
The old-growth forest is stunningly beautiful and rich with life so if you want to hear and see the forest wildlife it's not a bad idea to do the walk slowly and quietly.
3. Shaws Bay in Ballina
Shaws Bay is at the mouth of the Richmond River in Ballina. The North Wall of the river creates the bay and offers a fabulous vantage point up the Richmond River. It's an expansive walk with lots of variety. Perfect for a family walk, the beautiful river beaches offer gentle resting spots and a nice place for a dip on a hot day.
4. Brummies Lookout
The majestic Wollumbin or Mt Warning is the most outstanding feature in the area. Wollumbin is the remnant core of the Tweed volcano, which formed around 23 million years ago when the whole area was a volcanic hotbed. It's visible from several places in the Byron and Tweed areas, including Cape Byron.
One of the more unique views of Wollumbin is from Brummies Lookout in Wollumbin National Park which offers vast and rare views of the sheer western cliff face of Wollumbin.
5. Norries Head Loop
Cabarita Beach is a coastal gem. The quaint little town has beautiful beaches and one of the best restaurants in the area - Paper Daisy. It's an easy place to explore on foot and the locals have put great effort into creating beautiful walking areas. The Norries Head Loop takes you out to Norries Headland, a perfect place to do some whale spotting during whale season.
Want to explore further? Check out the Byron Trails guidebook for a complete guide to the best of the natural gems in the area.
A PIVOTAL conversation began last week, on the topic of Ecological Healing and what the term means both locally and globally.
The conversation was sparked ahead of next month’s inaugural Fields of Healing event and was facilitated by the event’s Community Director, Adam Collett who has been working closely with the team at Unity Earth - the organisation responsible for co-ordinating the gathering.
The event which will attract indigenous leaders from across the globe will be held at the North Byron Parklands over the weekend of November 24 and 25 and aims to highlight three key pillars, explained Mr Collett; the concepts of intercultural, ecological and personal healing.
Last week’s conversation invited a diverse group of innovative leaders with varying backgrounds from across the region to share their wisdom, experience and unique skillsets. The group collectively explored moving forward with a number of creative real-world solutions that can serve to heal our relationship with the planet.
The Northern Rivers is home to an incredible amount of innovation in the field of regenerative agriculture and building a circular economy. Fields of Healing is an opportunity to showcase the solutions emerging within our community to a global audience; while also creating a space for us to learn from each other and the incredible wisdom held by this collective of Indigenous Elders from around the world.
"We have a chance to leave a legacy within this, a collective vision with tangible outcomes that help us build new pathways towards ecological healing on the earth," Mr Collett said.
If you're interested in being a part of the solution and evolving the concept of ecological healing, you can contribute by sharing your knowledge and learning about ways in which we can reduce our impact on the earth by attending Fields Of Healing 2018.
Two day convergence of global Indigenous leaders, live music, workshops, panels, art, healing, ecology & more! Visit the website for more information, or to book your tickets fieldsofhealing.com.au.
UNITY EARTH presents “Fields of Healing: A Journey of Awakening”
BYRON BAY, NOVEMBER 24-25, 2018:
An historic convergence of local and global Indigenous leaders joining artists, activists, musicians and healers for the inaugural “Fields of Healing” event at North Byron Parklands.
Legendary Eskimo Shaman from Greenland, Uncle Angaangaq to visit Australia for the first time
Grammy Nominated Reggae Star Rocky Dawuni and other acclaimed international Artists coming to support the event
Hereditary Dakota Chief and Global Unity Activist Chief Phil Lane Junior’s first visit to Australia
Dr. Mindahi Bastida, Director for the Original Caretakers Program at the Center for Earth Ethics, returns to Australia for Fields of Healing
Commemorating the one-year anniversary of the momentous occasion of the Return to Country of Mungo Man. Indigenous people from the Lake Mungo descendants coming to Byron offering ceremony and songs for healing
UNITY EARTH is partnering with local indigenous community and other grassroots community organisations
Sam Cook, an indigenous Australian woman with a global profile and track record of event management is Event Director for Fields of Healing
A truly historic gathering, Fields of Healing, is to be held at North Byron Parklands, on the 24th and 25th November 2018. The event will bring together line-up of renowned healers, musicians, artists and thought-leaders for a historic “Convergence of Healing”. The event is co-hosted with local Minyungbal Song Man Uncle Magpie, traditional custodian of the land where this unique global-gathering is taking place. UNITY EARTH is also working closely with neighbouring custodian Auntie Delta Kay of the Arakwal people and working in collaboration with the excellent Culture Aware initiative. The inaugural event Fields of Healing is delighted to also feature outstanding international acts Kristin Hoffman, Premik Russel Tubbs and GRAMMY® nominated Rocky Dawuni. Rocky was recently appointed a UN Goodwill Ambassador for the Environment. Local artists including Áine Tyrrell and Dane Kennedy are also performing.
Uncle Angaangaq from Greenland has been travelling the world since 1975 raising the alarm to the global community about climate change and the melting of the Big Ice in this homeland.
He says “my father told me to never go anywhere without being invited and I am so happy to be invited and accept that invitation, I’ve never been to Australia, I’ve never had a chance to visit you, you are my family, I will come with an open heart. Most importantly I will come with peace in my heart.”
Chief Phil Lane Jr, founder of Four Worlds International Institute has been a global activist working on peace, human unity and reconciliation for decades but like Uncle Angaangaq has never before been to Australia. Uncle Phil who believes that “Fields of Healing, is part of the fulfilment of Indigenous Prophecies everywhere on Mother Earth” is being accompanied by his Dakoda “Koda” (spiritual brother) Darcy Demas. Chief Phil says “both myself and my Koda Darcy Demas are so looking forward to visiting our relatives in Australia for Fields of Healing in November. We are fulfilling a journey my beloved father always talked about. He said they have very good horses in Australia”.
Of further historic importance, the event will also mark the one-year anniversary of the deeply historic Return to Country of Mungo Man in November 2017. This profound healing moment when the ancient remains of Mungo Man, a 42 000 years old human ancestor, were returned to his country in the Willandra Lakes Region of New South Wales, marks an important moment for Australia’s waking up and growing up. Representatives of the Indigenous group associated with Lake Mungo will attend Fields of Healing, continuing the important healing journey of this Ancestral Spirit.
Dr Mindahi C. Bastida Munoz is a caretaker of the philosophy and traditions of the Otomi Peoples of Mexico and Director for the Original Caretakers Program at the Center for Earth Ethics, Union Theological Seminary in the City of New York. Dr Bastida was one of the international dignitaries at the Mungo Man Return to County commemorations in 2017 and is delighted to be returning To Australia for Fields of Healing, saying:
“After attending the historic ceremonies of Return to Country of Mungo Man last November in Mildura, I am excited to be returning to Australia for Fields of Healing in Byron Bay. This is a great opportunity to strengthen our connections with aboriginal peoples and our aboriginal brothers and sisters from ancestral Australia. Also for the healing and balancing Mother Earth through ritual ceremonies in Australia’s Sacred Sites”.
North Byron Parklands is a stunningly beautiful 660-acre cultural arts and music events venue. It is country which has deep significance for the local Aboriginal groups the Minyungbal and Arakwal people.
The two-day gathering is designed as both a “gathering” and a “retreat” offering an intimate experience capped at just 1500 people to ensure intimacy of attendees and delegates. Sam Cook is the Creative Director, herself an indigenous Australian and highly credentialed Festival director with decades of experience utilising the Arts as a force for healing and cultural expression. These two life-affirming days on the beautiful North Byron Parklands will be a deep shared experience of healing, intercultural community and personal transformation with powerful music, soulful food, healing ceremonies and healing circles. The event is alcohol and drug free and is designed to be family friendly with special activities for children who come along. It is a not for profit event. Unity Earth invite all who feel called, to come and gather for this powerful and historic event. Early bird tickets are available until September 30th. Go to www.fieldsofhealing.com.au for more info and to book.
Unity Earth Background
Unity Earth is a worldwide collective dedicated to promoting intercultural harmony, healing, and transformation through music, events and by weaving stories together into larger inclusive narratives. Unity Earth was a convenor and sponsor of the Return to Country Festival commemorating Mungo Man’s homecoming in 2017 as well as U Day Festival in Ethiopia in 2018. U Day Festival is planned for India in 2019 and Jerusalem in 2020.
Cape Byron Lighthouse Sunday, 24th June, 7am to 4pm
The census is organised by ORRCA and relies on volunteers to get outdoors and record how many whales are spotted. This data is used to help understand more about whale populations and their migration along the NSW coast.
There will be ORRCA and National Parks volunteers at the Cape Byron State Conservation Area, the perfect spot to join in the annual Whale Census. Spot whales from the iconic Cape Byron Lighthouse or take in the sights along the Cape Byron walking track.
New Age Lager reminds us to preserve the beauty of our backyard...
Set to quench thirsts as the weather heats up, Big Scrub - Stone & Wood's refreshing new age lager is back. Only brewed from time to time, Big Scrub will be going on tap and hitting shelves across the country mid October.
Protect your local rainforest! With only 1% left of the largest sub-tropical rainforest on the East coast, the remnants of Big Scrub serve as a reminder to preserve the natural beauty of our backyard, and are the inspiration for our Beers from our Backyard limited release.
Our Big Scrub is a new age lager. It’s different to traditional lagers by being dry hopped, using new world hops and it’s left unfiltered. It pours golden with a slight haze from extended cold maturation (5 weeks), with a luscious, creamy head. Big Scrub balances ﬂoral aromatics, spicy herbal notes and hints of citrus from the dry hopping. It has a dry, firm bitterness that makes for a moreish finish.
We are lucky to live in one of the greatest places on Earth, with an incredible hinterland that needs to be protected and appreciated. Big Scrub is our local rainforest, that once covered 75,000ha prior to European settlement. It was the largest area of subtropical rainforest on the East Coast of Australia, and is an important part of Australia’s rich biodiversity heritage.
For us, we are conscious of treading lightly on earth and are inspired by the incredible regeneration and restoration work of our local community, work that has helped save our local rainforest. Leading the charge is Big Scrub Landcare, a not-for-profit we continue to support, working together to raise awareness and actively preserve our hinterland.
Footprints Gear opened in early 2017 by Greg and Brigid Kramer who wanted to combine their passion for outdoor adventure with a lifelong dedication to philanthropy and social change. Now, Footprint Gear sells the top outdoor adventure gear with 100% of proceeds going to charity.
Available brands include Deuter packs, Marmot, Rab, Black Diamond, Camelbak, Petzl, Keen, Teva, MSR and Smart Wool amongst many others. If it's not on their website, let Greg and Brigid know, and they can get it for you.
Here's how Footprints Gear works.
Footprints Gear is a registered charity. To start, several people donated to leave the store debt free and liquid. They do pay one wage (the majority of people involved with the charity are volunteers), rent, and electricity. After that, ALL profits go to charity.
Footprints Gear currently supports three charities, and customers are able to choose which charity the profits from their purchase goes to. The charities currently supported are Bowel Cancer Australia (research), World Youth International (overseas education) and Project Didi (supporting girls who have been rescued after being sex trafficked from Nepal). In the future, Footprints Gear hopes to suport 10, 20, even 30 different charities.
Bishal, photographed below, is currently being sponsored by Footprints Gear at World Youth International School in Nepal. He lost all of his family in the 2015 earthquake.
Footprints Gear supporters are well-versed in adventure, and include Geoff Bartram, who has an OAM for mountaineering having established a new route up Mt Everest. Other supporters have paddled a dugout canoe 500km down the Congo River, tracked wild gorillas, and led numerous trips to Nepal, West Papua, Tasmania, New Zealand and the Ruwenzories in Uganda, as well as trips to Europe such as the Camino.
Footprint Gear's outdoor expertise is unrivaled, so you can rest assured knowing that their advice and gear is of the highest quality, and that all profits go directly to charity!
You can find Footprints Gear at www.footprintsgear.org, or on Facebook. Or drop into the store at 71 Main Street, Alstonville, NSW, 2477 - just a short drive from Byron Bay!
For your personal travel or for organising group travel of business travel ventures get in touch.