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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!

Enjoy the Hinterland with Coco's Cottage

Coco's Cottage is ideally located in the Byron hinterland triangle between Bangalow, Mullumbimby and Byron Bay, Coco's is an 1890's cottage stylishly restored to its former glory. Surrounded by a lush tropical garden with a stunning vista. Surrounding decks enables guests to relax in the hammock, or lounge out on the miners couch. In the cooler months there is a cosy fire going in the cottage 24/7.

The owners, Kevin & Janice Pickles have 30 years experience in hospitality, including having owned three successful restaurants. They are able to offer guests dining in the privacy of the cottage, where the produce is sourced from local farmers, is in season, and where possible is organic.

Coco's is a place of future minded hope and vision as well as a great base to explore the Byron Hinterland region where visitors are pleasantly surprised by the amount of activities and beauty available to them just a short distance from the beaches of Byron Bay.

There are two popular Sunday markets. The Channon Markets on the second Sunday of each month are very laid back and picturesque. The Bangalow markets on the fourth Sunday of each month can be busy, so get in early to avoid the crowds.

There are also farmers markets in Mullumbimby every Friday and Bangalow every Saturday.

Another popular hinterland attraction is the Crystal Castle in Mullumbimby which has stunning gardens and the best rural views in the hinterland.

Minyon Falls and Rocky Creek Dam are great spots for guests looking to enjoy a bush walk.

The Byron Hinterland also boasts a few of the regions favourite events with the Bangalow Billy Cart Derby each May, the Bangalow Classical Music Festival in August and the Mullumbimby Music Festival in November.

Coco's Cottage aims for its guests to be rejuvenated in the beautiful environment and feel nourished by the delicious food from the region. Learn more, visit Coco's Cottage online, connect on facebook &/or follow on Instagram.

Farmers Markets in Byron Bay

Enjoy the freshest produce in the region at the incredible farmers markets in the Byron Shire.

Byron Bay Farmers Market

Since 2002, the Byron Bay Farmers Market has been a must for locals every Thursday morning. The market commences at 8am, and runs until 11am at the Butler Street Reserve.

Here, you’ll find the very best fresh produce, farmed in local areas, and transported straight to the market for you to buy. As well as organic and non-organic fruits and vegetables, you’ll find a range of Byron Shire specialties, such as freshly squeezed cane juice, macadamia nuts, honey, artisan bread, and Ballina prawns.

The Byron Bay Farmers Market is hosted by the Byron Farmers’ Market Association (they also run the Bangalow Farmers’ Market), who work with local farmers to ensure the produce is priced correctly.

The Byron Bay Farmers Market is a well-loved weekly event in Byron Bay, so come along for food, coffee, fresh produce, and a lively atmosphere. For further information visit www.byronfarmersmarket.com.au

Bangalow Farmers Market

With the success of the Byron Farmers Market, the Byron Farmers Market Association decided to host a second farmers market in the historic town of Bangalow. Located just 15 minutes southwest of Byron Bay, the Bangalow Farmers’ Market is held every Saturday between 8am and 11am in the Bangalow Hotel carpark in the centre of town.

The Bangalow Farmers Market is smaller than others in the area, but you’ll have no problem purchasing everything you’ll need for the week, from organic fruits and farm fresh veggies, to homemade preserves and rustic bread.

You can also grab a cup of coffee and a freshly baked pastry, or take a walk through town. For further information visit www.byronfarmersmarket.com.au

New Brighton Farmers Market

The New Brighton Farmers Market is held each Tuesday, whatever the weather, from 8am until 11am. Located at the New Brighton Oval, the market is a short 20-minute drive north from Byron Bay.

The New Brighton Farmers Market is organised by a team of volunteers who encourage residents to support local farmers by purchasing local produce. The produce is fresh straight from the farm, so does not travel nearly as far as conventional supermarket fruits and veggies.

As well as organic fresh produce, you can pick up locally and ethically farmed meat, fresh nuts, home baked goods, olives, free-range eggs, and dairy products. Come early for a hot breakfast, delicious coffee, and live music. Plus, on the first market of the month, a market hamper is raffled to one lucky winner – just make sure you’re there to claim your prize! For further information visit www.newbrightonfarmersmarket.org.au

Mullumbimby Farmers Market

Rain or shine, the Mullumbimby Farmers Market is held at the Mullumbimby Showgrounds on Main Arm Road every Friday between 7am and 11am. The market features an exotic range of fresh produce, and well as a tantalizing variety of breakfast options, and live music entertainment.

The Mullum Farmers Market is a vital part of the unique Mullum community. The 50 plus stalls, 13 of which are certified organic, are all owned and run by local farmers, bakers, and foodies. Don’t miss the wood fired artisan break, sweet local honey, and sustainable local meats.

The Mullumbimby Farmers Market is an excellent way to experience the spirit of Mullumbimby, and is positioned about a 20 minute drive from Byron Bay. For further information visit www.mullumfarmersmarket.org.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

Fine Dining Byron Style

Just like the beaches, fine dining in Byron Bay is world-class.

The Balcony

The Balcony Bar and Restaurant is an iconic Byron eatery, located on the corner of Lawson and Johnson Street. The balcony overlooks the bustling streets – you could sit for hours watching the colourful Byron characters walk by!

The Balcony serves breakfast, lunch and dinner. The dinner menu features a variety of tapas, oysters, mains and decadent desserts. The wild mushroom, goat’s cheese and thyme arancini balls served with truffle aioli are a must from the tapas menu, and the fillet steak never disappoints. The churros accompanied by hot chocolate sauce are the perfect dessert to share.

As well as an excellent fine dining menu, The Balcony is well known for its extensive award-winning wine list and exciting cocktail menu.

For more information and reservations call (02) 6680 9666 or visit www.balcony.com.au

Beach Byron Bay

Talk about a view! Beach Byron Bay is located right on the dunes, with panoramic views of Clarks Beach and Julian Rocks. This award-winning restaurant offers an all-day casual cafe, a park kiosk, a cocktail bar and a fine dining dinner experience.

The dinner menu showcases the finest in-season local produce, such as Byron Bay seafood and Bangalow pork. The dishes are inspired by the beachside setting – relaxed, unique, beautiful. From the humble fish of the day, to more exotic mains, such as squid ink linguini with squid, chilli, garlic, lime zest and poached egg beignet, the Byron Beach Café captures the best of the region.

Overlooking the tranquil waters of Byron Bay – there really is no better way to enjoy a meal.

For more information and reservations call (02) 6685 8400 or visit beachbyronbay.com.au

The Restaurant at The Byron at Byron

Savour your dining experience at The Restaurant at the Byron at Byron Resort and Spa. The large open plan dining area, alfresco atmosphere and rainforest backdrop make for magnificent dining.

To ensure the food is as fresh and delicious as possible, the menu changes with the season. Dishes reflect the varied produce available in the local area, and ingredients are sourced from local farms where possible by our Head Chef Gavin Hughes, who is Ambassador for the Byron Bay Farmers Market.

Soak up the subtropical surroundings on the verandah with an exquisite meal, or relax on the large lounges with tapas and cocktails.

For more information and reservations call (02) 6639 2111 or visit www.thebyronatbyron.com.au/the-byron-bay-restaurant

Italian at the Pacific

Fine dining just metres from Main Beach – the Italian at the Pacific is a contemporary Italian restaurant in the centre of town. The fresh, generous meals and modern yet cosy setting are perfect for both groups and couples.

The a la Carte menu, designed by a world-class head chef, features a range of Italian classics: antipasti, risotto, pasta, meat, seafood and vegetarian options. Traditional lasagne with a whole slow-roasted lamb shank in rich tomato sauce is a favourite. And for dessert, you can’t go past the Sardinian tiramisu. The cocktail menu is extensive and exciting, too.

Everyone adores Italian food, and the vibrant Italian at the Pacific does not disappoint.

For more information and reservations call (02) 6680 7055 or visit www.italianatthepacific.com.au

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

Sample Food Festival 2013

The 2013 Sample Food Festival is set to showcase qualities that create the mark of local distinction and excellence for Northern NSW food.

When: Saturday September 7th, 2013
Time: 8am to 4pm
Where: Bangalow Showground

200 exhibitors to browse including 25 of our regions top restaurants serving a $5 and a $10 tasting plate.

On festival day, highlights include. A Byron Farmers Market breakfast from 8am, Celebrity guests, Cooking demonstrations, Cheese making class, live music, children’s entertainment and product launches. Entry is free.

If you're looking for somewhere to stay over the Sample Food Festival weekend, checkout our Accommodation Available for Sample Food Festival guide.

For more information visit the website www.samplensw.com

Sample Food Festival 2012

6 Oct 2012, Bangalow Show Ground

Get ready for another Northern Rivers smorgasbord at the Sample Food Festival.

This one-day event will again be a unique opportunity for local growers, producers and chefs to showcase their best and make it available to the public.

For more information, visit; www.samplensw.com

And... be sure to watch our Sample Food Festival TV ad

If you're looking for somewhere to stay over the Sample Food Festival weekend, checkout our Accommodation Available for Sample Food Festival guide.

George Negus : Byron at Byron

On May 17 The Byron at Byron Resort and Spa will host legendary Australian media personality George Negus who - among other things - will share his thoughts on Australia's place in a monumentally changing world.

The first in the Byron at Byron Presents dinner series for 2012, the event follows last years' sell-out dinners with Bettina Arndt, Joanna Savill and David Clark.

George's most recent book The World From Down Under is a compilation of interviews with international "movers and shakers" for SBS Dateline that reveal George's passion to put significant world events into perspective for Australians.

"The world is in turmoil and sometimes we Australians tend to overestimate our own problems," says George. "I wouldn't go so far as to call us the lucky country, but we are definitely a fortunate country. Less than 25-million people out of 7-billion world-wide, we need to think about that and get it into a realistic perspective. We need to see Australia in relation to the world - not the world in relation to Australia.

"There are people in other parts of the world facing hardship and difficulty we can't imagine, yet our own politics has become so spiteful, small minded and uninspired. There's a leadership crisis in this country that goes right across the ideological spectrum. A lack of maturity and sophistication in our politics means we find ourselves complaining at a time when we should be thankful.

"I've seen third world countries handle the up-and-down nature of their affairs in a more dignified way. I'm disappointed that we can't get our heads out of our own sandy beaches".

Be it Syria, coal-seam gas in the Byron hinterland, caring for The Kimberleys versus the Amazon River or Byron's coast, the Greek economic collapse versus Australian real estate development and debt, George will discuss "What is our place, as Australians, in the global scheme of things? Why should we care for more than their own backyards?" 

Negus began his career as a Queensland teacher, before moving into journalism and working behind the scenes in Canberra. He burst onto our TV screens during the heady days of 60 Minutes (1979-86), then spent several years as founding presenter on ABCs Foreign Correspondent (1992-99). His many other forays into our lounge rooms include Nine's Today Show, ABC's This Day Tonight and programs tagged with his own name such as ABCs George Negus Tonight and Ten's 6:30 with George Negus.

His exceptional list of interviewees spans politics (Margaret Thatcher, Tony Blair, Al Gore, Gaddafi, Mikhail Gorbachev, an entire last generation of Australian Prime Ministers), music (Bob Marley, Annie Lennox, Bob Dylan), religion (His Holiness The Dalai Lama, Richard Dawkins), Hollywood legends (Robert Redford, Steven Spielberg) and thinkers including Richard Branson, Geoffrey Robertson QC, Dr David Suzuki, Sir Bob Geldof and Fatima Bhutto.

George's most recent book The World From Down Under follows his two earlier bestsellers The World from Islam and The World From Italy.

Byron at Byron Presents George Negus "Australia's Place in the World"
7:00pm Thursday May 17, The Byron at Byron Resort and Spa
$70 for two courses from Head Chef Gavin Hughes, a glass of wine and George. Stay the night from $285 for two people.

Bookings essential. 02 6639 2105 or reservations@thebyronatbyron.com.au

Sample Food Festival : 'The Menu'

I've just been reading the Spring issue of Sample magazine and it contains plenty of info on the 'Sample Food Festival' this weekend in Bangalow... in particular The Menu. Between 9am and 3pm the restaurant marquees will offer $5 & $10 tasting plates... I'm thinking;

  • Belgian waffle with berry compote, mascarpone & pistachio parline.
  • King prawn, pink ginger & kaffir lime won ton with wasabi mayonnaise.
  • Baby back marinated ribs.
  • And, I'm a sucker for fancy burgers; I see two on the menu Wagyu beef with tomato, mint, garlic & parsley sauce or Barcoo beef with salad & plum relish.

I'll be at the Bangalow Showgrounds on Saturday between 9am - 3pm.

For further info visit; www.samplensw.com

If you're looking for somewhere to stay over the Sample Food Festival weekend, checkout our Accommodation Available for Sample Food Festival guide.

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