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Sample Food Festival 2017 Recap

It was a perfect spring day for the annual Sample Food Festival. Flocks of hungry foodies headed to the scenic Bangalow Showground between 8am and 4pm on Saturday, September 2nd to sample the very best dishes from the Byron region.

Attendees were spoilt for choice, with top restaurants offering $5 and $10 tasting plates, plus over 150 producers and lifestyle exhibitors.

Among the celebrity chefs was Matt Golinski, pictured here adding crunch to his dish with roughly chopped macadamina nuts on stage with Samantha Gowing.

The Sample Food Festival handed out their Golden Fork Awards to the best small and large tasting plate at the festival. The $5 plate winner was Katrina Kanetani of TOWN Restaurant and Cafe with her Pina Colada Pannacotta. And, the $10 plat winner was Sarah Swann of DUK by 100 Mile Table for Char Siu with her Steam Asian Greens & Rice. Delicious!

Instagrammer Lauran Bath lead the Australian Macadamina Instameet. Donzens of photographers creatively captured (…and ate) macadamia nuts and a range of macadamia nut products.

2017 was another successful year for the always popular Sample Food Festival. See you next year.

11th Annual Byron Bay Film Festival October 6-15

#CINEMAFORTHESENSES

It’s time to answer the siren call of Byron Bay – to its beautiful beaches and bush, and to the rich cultural feast that is the Byron Bay Film Festival (BBFF).
 
Now in its 11th year, BBFF spans across ten days in six venues, featuring over 175 independent films, and attracting filmmakers and film-lovers from all over the world; it is the Australia’s most loved regional film festival.
 
Last year the festival celebrated its milestone 10th birthday, with celebrity endorsements from some of the film world’s top names – including A-listers Idris Elba, Chris Hemsworth, and Tom Hiddleston, who said it was “certainly the best film festival in Australia”. The festival had its stamp on the international calendar, and as it has done every year, increased its international reach.
 
This year the festival launched with a stirring video made by acclaimed Storm Surfers director and now local resident, Justin McMillan, with Director of Water Photography Stefan José joining other Byron locals to help out.
 
The video captures not just the glory of surfing on this part of the coast, but the freedom to be found in the Byron landscape, and embodies the high-quality aesthetic of the festival, and lights up the sensory experience of both the unique Byron Bay experience, as well as the immersive wonder of film. It captivates and offers the viewer ‘Cinema for the Senses’ – the perfect taster of what festival goers might experience in 2017. View the trailer now, via www.bit.ly/2iA5jJ5
 
Once again there is a unique and diverse line-up from around the world. This is truly an international event, with documentaries, drama and comedy from some of the most remote corners of the earth, as well as the best from young Australian filmmakers and their contemporaries overseas. Find out more about the Young Filmmaker Award via www.bbff.com.au
 
Virtual Reality (VR) and other high tech of the moving image will be explored and shared. The Byron Bay Film Festival has been a pioneer and leader in the burgeoning Byron Bay innovation movement, which has created countless entrepreneurial and industrial opportunities for the creative industries and beyond. The Ncubat8 Program offers the opportunity for a young filmmaker to work on VR with a local industry professional. More information on this can be found on the festival website.
 
Move seamlessly from one world into another: dry off, brush the sand from your feet, and step into the infinite universe of the cinema, to be transported to another place and time.
 
Then there’s the parties, the meet-the-stars and film-makers events, the workshops, live music and action!
 
The Byron Bay Film Festival is illuminated with two dazzling red carpet gala events in the heart of town. Opening Night offers a chance for industry networking and a taste of the flavour of the festival to come, and features a highlight film screening. The culminating celebration event is an exciting night of recognition for filmmakers, the festival, Byron Bay, and the international film industry, and not to be missed. Early ticket purchases are recommended to avoid disappointment to these two popular events.
 
The 11th Annual Byron Bay Film Festival is held on Friday 6 – Sunday 15 October 2017 in multiple venues throughout Byron Bay and surrounding suburbs.
 
Program will be released over the coming weeks.

Tickets are on sale now via www.bbff.com.au
 

Nudge Nudge Wink Wink

Cunning Stunts presents the monthly Nudge Nudge Wink Wink sundown event. Family friendly with activities for kids, it's held on the first Sunday of the month at The Billinudgel Hotel. 

The party with a conscience is now a TICKETED monthly event running from September - June that brings the community together in an all inclusive way, whilst raising much needed funding for beloved and deserving local charities that help improve the lives of Northern NSW residents.

Food trucks, an outside bar and amazing raffle prizes all contribute to this special family friendly event the first Sunday of the month has become.

Bringing their together collective artistic skills, knowledge and community spirit to create awareness and generate funds for incredible local charities that tirelessly devote themselves to supporting and helping Northern NSW residents achieve a better quality of life.

The core team - Darren & Sarah Sutton, Laura Peck & Dale Stephen tirelessly devote themselves to putting our fundraising events on every month as a charitable endeavor, assisted by our sponsors, supporting businesses and the nudgers - our amazing event patrons.

The season features an assortment of highly experienced, diverse and amazing local DJ’s playing deep and blissed-out Balearic beats, delicious dubs, left field excursions, oddball disco and killer obscurities are world class.

Raising over $54,000 thus far for local charities across 17 events, Cunning Stunts Nudge Nudge Wink Wink eclectic events continue to set the bar.

Fundraising at their events is raised through ticket sales, vendor and attendees’ donations, merchandise sales and the selling of raffle tickets. 100% of profits donated to local well deserving charities.

For further information on Cunning Stunts:
Website: www.cunningstunts.com.au
Facebook: www.facebook.com/cunningstuntevents

2017 Destination Byron Tourism Symposium Re-Cap

The theme Beyond The Byron Boom, How to Ensure Our Visitor Economy is Sustainable, allowed the local industry to come together for a one day conference at the Elements of Byron Resort and share some detail on how different sectors are working sustainably.

The event began with an introduction by Cr. Simon Richardson, who did an excellent job as MC with insight and humour, followed by Delta Kay's engaging Welcome to Country.

The program started with Stephen Mahoney and Anthony Laver of Destination NSW, presented Projections and Updates, providing visitor statistics and outlining many of the services they provide to the region's industry and businesses. 

Vanessa van Uden, a past Mayor of Queenstown New Zealand, presented a real-life experience of Queenstown Avoiding Death By Popularity. She highlighted the importance of industries working together to come up with innovative solutions, such as using sewerage charges as a bed tax alternative by charging $612 per year for the first toilet, then $306 for each additional toilet. The larger hotels end up contributing over $100,000 per year.

Liz Price discussed the Strategic Master Plan for the Great Ocean Road, which until recently went without any central management. Liz highlighted the issues they face with a fragmented industry servicing 5 million (mostly day trippers) each year. 

The 140 or so attendees then enjoyed a Local Producers Morning Tea supplied by Nimbin Valley Dairy, Salum Australia, Brookfarm and Byron Bay Cacao.

The first panel discussion was Sustainability of the Events Visitor Economy, facilitated by Cr. Simon Richardson with Jane Magnus, Jen Murphy, Mat Morris and Chris Hanley. A mature industry pointed out that better regulation and better infrastructure would help the events industry. And, the importance of event managers sharing best practice improvements amongst themselves.

Before lunch, Anthony Laver, David Jones and Brenda Miley, facilitated by Cameron Arnold, discussed Defining Brand Byron. The consensus was it's the feeling of Byron that best defined the brand, as there are beautiful beaches, great restaurants, exciting festivals, etc. all over the world - but only one Byron Bay.

A quick lunch with time to stretch before Pam Brook facilitated the Heroes of Regional Tourism discussion with Tom Lane, Brooke Hudson, Sue Walker and Jasmin Daly. They each talked about change, collaboration and the importance of allowing staff to work to their own passion.

The program ended with Delta Kay, Vanessa van Uden, Liz Price and Carly Weiland discussing How Will Byron Tackle Quality vs Quantity facilitated by Jane Laverty. The lively discussion ended up with the idea that a quality service or experience will encourage the desired quality of visitor behaviour.

The attendees finished the day with a drink supplied by Brookie's Gin and Stone & Wood, and some networking.

Overall, the theme of people and collaboration ran through every discussion, with the best, simple idea coming from Delta Kay who suggested we all greet Byron's visitors with 'Jingi Walla' (Welcome).

The Byron Writers Festival 2017 Re-Cap

This year, the Byron Writers Festival enjoyed perfect weather, an inspiring line-up, and a chilled-out atmosphere. With a myriad of thought-provoking talks and panels, festival goers were treated to 3 days of world-class political, historical, and artistic insight.

Unlike last year’s festival, the 2017 Byron Writers Festival was dry and sunny. In fact, through Friday and Saturday there was not a cloud in the sky.

Festival goers took full advantage of the warm weather, with many choosing to enjoy a picnic style lunch, a snooze in the sunshine, a quick cup of coffee, or a few minutes of quiet time with their brand new book.

Each day from 9am until 5pm, the tents came alive with discussions on all things writing. Pictured below is Tony Jones in conversation with Sarah Kanowski.

From journalism to poetry (including performance poetry by Arielle Cottingham, pictured below), historical fiction to memoir, there was something for every reader and writer.

Although much of the subject-matter discussed was quite serious, the tents and venues often erupted in laughter and applause.

Sunday – the last day of the Byron Writers Festival – was the Kids Big Day Out.

Kids met their favourite authors (include the very funny Peter Helliar), competed for book prizes, and watched hilarious performances by this year’s Sunday line-up. Even the adults were cracking up.  

Overall, the 2017 Byron Writers Festival was a unique and memorable experience. The lessons learnt, ideas debated, and viewpoints bought to light will play on our minds for weeks to come.

See you next year, Byron Writers Festival.

Markets in the Byron region this August

The Byron region is known for its community markets, and although it’s winter in Byron Bay, the sunny weather has been perfect for a stroll through the colourful stalls. Take a day trip this August to check out one of the many markets. Or, make a weekend of it and take advantage of Byron Bay’s Winter Specials.

Here’s an overview of the markets on this August.

August 5 – Brunswick Heads Markets PLUS New North Coast Village Market

Brunswick Heads is a small, picturesque town situated on the Brunswick River a short 17 minute drive from Byron Bay.

The Brunswick Heads Markets take place on the first Saturday of each month in Memorial Park. With the beautiful river as a backdrop, the many stalls offer clothing, homewares, beauty, jewellery, and more, plus delicious food and excellent coffee.

Learn more at www.byron-bay.com/markets/brunswick-heads-markets

August 5 marks the very first North Coast Village Market, which will also be held on the first Saturday of each month. Taking place in the art deco Memorial Hall (a short walk from Memorial Park), market-goers can expect a range of designer homewares, artisan jewellery, quality vintage, and a kids’ hang out.

Learn more at www.facebook.com/ncvmarket

August 6 – Byron Bay Markets

On the first Sunday of each month from 8am to 3pm, the Butler Street Reserve is transformed into a colourful display of Byron’s community spirit, with rainbows and glitter galore. With a uniquely Byron vibe, the Byron Markets offer a diverse range of handmade wares, artworks, local and imported clothing, jewellery, souvenirs, fresh produce, baked goods, and more.

Come early and stay for lunch – there’s plenty of delicious food and drink options available. Take a seat in the shade, enjoy the live entertainment, and watch the world go by.

Learn more at www.byron-bay.com/markets/byron-community-markets/

August 12 – The BYRON FLEA Market

Held on the second Saturday of the month at the Youth Activity Centre (also known as the YAC) in Byron Bay, the BYRON FLEA is unlike any market in the region. Market stalls are free for people under the age of 25, allowing young creatives to showcase their work to the public. You’ll find a variety of arts, crafts, and second-hand goods.

What’s more, all live music is performed by music students from Byron Bay High.

Learn more at www.byron-bay.com/blog/byron-flea-market/

August 13 – The New Mullum Twilight Market

Check out the Byron Shire’s newest afternoon market this August – the Mullum Twilight Market. Held at Poinciana cafe and bar in scenic Mullumbimby from 2pm to 8pm, this exciting new Eco Market will take place once every 2 weeks after August 13.

With a whole host of tasty food, boutique stalls, live entertainment (including DJs), and more, the Mullum Twilight Market is set to become a local favourite.

Join the Facebook Event at www.facebook.com/events/1398583826886273

August 13 – The Channon Market

 “Make it. Bake it. Grow it.” That’s the Channon Market’s motto. And it’s diverse collection of stalls deliver stunning handmade arts and crafts, delicious treats, fresh produce and more.

The markets take place in Coronation Park in The Channon, a hinterland village about a 45-minute drive from Byron Bay.

Learn more at thechannonmarket.org.au

August 19 – Mullumbimby Markets

On the third Saturday of the month, the Mullumbimby Markets take place in Summers Park, located on the corner of Stuart and Myocum Streets. A short 25-minute drive from Byron Bay, the Mullum Markets showcase some of the best artists, food vendors, and musicians from the Northern Rivers region.

The Mullumbimby Markets run from 9am until 2pm.

Learn more at www.mullummarkets.com.au

August 19 – Murwillumbah Makers & Finders Market

Taking place at Knox Park on Brisbane Street in lush Murwillumbah (approx. 50-minute drive from Byron Bay), this new makers and finders market showcases the very best art, craft, music, and vintage wares in the region. Discover beauty, jewellery, home wares, pottery, top quality second hand, exciting food stalls and local entertainment.

The Murwillumbah Makers & Finders Market runs from 10am to 3pm.

Learn more at www.facebook.com/makersandfindersmarkets

August 26 – Bangalow Markets

Set below the camphor laurel and fig trees, the beloved Bangalow markets are some of the best on the North Coast. On the fourth Sunday of the month, the Bangalow Showgrounds fill with over 300 stalls selling ceramics, clothing, jewellery, beauty products, fresh produce, baked goods, hot food, and great coffee.

Open from 9am until after lunch, the Bangalow Markets are a quick 20-minute drive from Byron By.

Learn more at www.byron-bay.com/markets/bangalow

Weekly Farmers Markets in the Byron Bay Region

In addition to the monthly community markets, many of the towns and villages in the region play host to their very own weekly farmers market. These provide the perfect opportunity to sample the Byron Shire’s outstanding fresh produce.

  • New Brighton Farmers Market at the New Brighton Oval, River St, New Brighton (25-minute drive from Byron Bay). Tuesdays from 8am – 11am.
  • Byron Farmers Market at Butler Street Reserve, Byron Bay. Thursdays from 8am –  11am.
  • Mullumbimby Farmers Market at the Mullumbimby Showground, 51 Main Arm Road, Mullumbimby (25-minute drive from Byron Bay). Fridays from 7am – 11am.
  • Bangalow Farmers Market at the Bangalow Hotel Carpark, 1 Byron St, Bangalow (20-minute drive from Byron Bay). Saturdays from 8am – 11am.

 

Splendour in the Grass 2017

Warm blue sky days and cool clear nights made for an easy and enjoyable Festival. 

Splendour in the Grass 2017’s line-up of over 100 acts played to a capacity 32,500 audience across four main stages - The Amphitheatre, Mix Up Stage, GW McLennan Tent and Tiny Dancer - while the festival’s campground became a home away from home to 19,500 music fans.

The music, artwork, light installations, sunny days and excess glitter helped provide colour and movement across the whole festival.

Appreciative audiences for all performances added to the energy.

Fun bars and interesting food all around - my favourite were the Mary's Burgers. All up, another excellent Splendour - I can't wait for next year!

6 Places to Stay in Byron Bay with Fire Places

Byron Bay is a winter wonderland: clear water, bright blue skies, and mild temperatures. If you’re planning to visit during the colder months, get cosy Byron style at one of these 6 places to stay with fire places.  

1. Coco’s Cottage

Escape to your private home in the lush Byron Hinterland at Coco’s Cottage. The restored 1890’s self-contained holiday house feels a world away from the hustle and bustle of town, but is only a short drive from Byron’s world-class beaches, restaurants, and night life, and Bangalow’s unique collection of shops and eateries. At the end of the day, relax, unwind, and keep warm in front of the stunning fire place.

Learn more at www.byron-bay.com/cocos

2. Toolond Plantation

Take in the panoramic ocean and mountain views at the unique Toolond Plantation guesthouse. Situated on 100 acres of private bushland 20 minutes west of Mullumbimby, the self-contained holiday home accommodates up to 8 people and welcomes pets. Escape the chilly temperatures, and cosy up in front of the log fire.

Learn more at www.byron-bay.com/toolond

3. Elements of Byron Resort & Spa

Take you winter getaway in style at Byron’s newest luxury resort, Elements of Byron. Nestled on 50 acres of absolute beachfront, enjoy all the creature comforts in the privacy of your own villa. Some rooms come with an outdoor gas fireplace, otherwise head to the main pavilion for Fire Pit Fridays.

Learn more at www.byron-bay.com/elements-byron

4. Planula Retreat

Planula Retreat is a tranquil oasis located just over 3km from the centre of Byron Bay. This bed and breakfast style retreat offers a fully equipped kitchen, spacious living area, private rooms, and access to stunning tropical gardens. In winter, guests warm up by the fire.

Learn more at www.byron-bay.com/planula

5. Azabu Nature Guesthouse

With a gourmet breakfast served fire-side, a heated spa pool, and spa treatments available, Azabu Nature Guesthouse is one of the best places to rest and relax this winter. This luxurious guesthouse is located a short 5-minute drive from Byron’s beautiful Main Beach.

Learn more at www.byron-bay.com/azabu-nature-guesthouse

6. Victoria's at Ewingsdale

Victoria’s is a multi-award-winning guesthouse set among incredible landscaped gardens just a few minutes’ drive from the centre of Byron Bay. With ocean, mountain and rural views, and a log fire to keep you warm, this elegant getaway is ideal for the colder months.

Learn more at www.byron-bay.com/ewingsdale  

Go Plastic Free this July

Join over one million people from 130 countries world-wide this July, and choose to refuse single-use plastic. Plastic Free July is a global initiative that raises awareness about the environmental impact of disposable plastics, and encourages people to start making a difference.

In 2016, the Plastic Free July project inspired a group of committed locals to begin their own Plastic Free Byron campaign. Collaborating with individuals and organisations in the Byron Shire, Plastic Free Byron continues to work to reduce plastic waste, and keep our oceans and landfill clean.

To do this, Plastic Free Byron releases actionable tips and information that helps Byron Shire residents minimise the amount of single-use plastic they use on a day-to-day basis.

The Problem with Plastics

So what’s the problem with plastics? What is Plastic Free July and Plastic Free Byron against?

  • Plastic breaks up, not down. This means that plastic pollution is permanent.
  • Even when recycled, disposable plastic is usually down-cycled. This means it’s made into a low-grade product also designed for single use, or it’s sent straight to landfill.
  • Lightweight plastics tend to escape from bins and trucks, turning into accidental litter.
  • Importantly, disposable plastics end up in our waterways. It’s vital to keep Byron’s beautiful beaches clean, and marine life healthy and happy.
  • Plastic manufacturing makes up a huge 6% of the world’s fossil fuel footprint.

The Solution to Disposable Plastic

Initiatives like Plastic Free July and Plastic Free Byron show that refusing one-time-use plastics is fairly simple. Here are some tips:

  • Avoid buying products with plastic packaging. Instead, opt for alternatives – for example, buy loose rather than wrapped fruit and veg.
  • Say no to plastic that tends to become litter, such as straws, balloons, and takeaway cups.
  • Reduce waste where possible. Get refills, and don’t forget your reusable shopping bags!
  • Always recycle when refusal is not possible.
  • Sign up to Plastic Free July and join the #choosetorefuse challenge. Share with your friends and family, and encourage them to get involved, too.

For more Plastic Free July tips, download the Plastic Free July Guidebook.

Get Involved with Plastic Free July and Plastic Free Byron

Sign up for the Plastic Free July challenge right now at www.plasticfreejuly.org

Learn more about Plastic Free Byron and their campaigns at plasticfreebyron.com

7 Free Things to Do in Byron Bay

Visiting Byron on a budget? There are plenty of free things to do in Byron Bay. Check out 7 of our favourites below.

1. Watch the sunrise from Cape Byron Lighthouse

Be one of the first in Australia to watch the sunrise – there really is no better way to start the day in Byron Bay. Walk from the Wategos car park up to the iconic Cape Byron Lighthouse for breathtaking panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean and Byron Bay. As the sun rises over the water, you might be lucky enough to spot dolphins playing in the day’s first light.

2. Wander through the Byron Bay Markets

On the first Sunday of each month, the Butler Street Reserve plays host to the popular Byron Bay Markets. With a range of local and imported arts and crafts, fashion, beauty, kids’ stuff and food, the unique Byron Markets are must for any visitor to the region. Entry is free, but you’ll probably be tempted to pick up a souvenir or two (or at least a Byron Bay Organic Doughnut)!

If you're not in Byron for the first Sunday of the month, chances are there are other markets on in the Byron region. Check out our upcoming markets calendar.

3. Check out the Lone Goat Gallery

Byron Bay and surrounding regions are home to some of Australia’s most talented visual artists, so check out what’s on at the Lone Goat Gallery next time you’re in town. Located on the corner of Lawson and Middleton Street, this vibrant exhibition space is within walking distance from the centre of town.

4. Explore waterfalls near Byron Bay

Just a short drive from Byron Bay you’ll find two stunning waterfalls: Minyon Falls (about 45-minute drive) and Killen Falls (about 30-minute drive). Take the whole day to visit both. Stop for lunch at a hinterland eatery, or pack a picnic to enjoy in the scenic surrounds.

5. Sit on the beach

Byron has a lot to offer, but one of the very best ways to soak up the sights, sounds, and smells of Byron Bay is to sit on the beach and do nothing. With white sand, picturesque headlands, and crystal clear water, Byron is home to some of the world’s most stunning beaches. Swim, surf, read, sleep, or people-watch, a visit to Byron Bay is not complete without a trip to at least one of the area’s beautiful beaches.

6. Catch some live music

Byron Bay has a thriving nightlife, including venues that offer free live music everyday of the year. The Railway Friendly Bar (known as The Rails) is one such place. Located on Johnson Street, The Rails is the perfect place to meet with friends and check out the local talent.

7. Watch a free movie

Once a month, the Beach Hotel puts on a free movie night. With outdoor seating, blankets to keep you warm, and a range of movie snacks on offer, it’s the ultimate movie experience in Byron Bay. Check their Facebook Page to keep up-to-date with the next monthly movie night.

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