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5 Best Walks Around Byron Bay

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.
 

Cheers for ten years of beers

Stone & Wood celebrates a milestone with a roll out of releases, events and a brewery opening!

It's been 10 years of beers since the first kegs rolled out of Byron's local brewery Stone & Wood back in 2008.

For the Northern Rivers independent brewery, they're excited but the milestone feels like a drop in the ocean.

"Compared to breweries in other parts of the world that have been around for hundreds of years, we’re 10 years young!" said co-owner Brad Rogers.

Looking back, Head Brewer Caolan Vaughn said that the brewery has released experimental brews since the early days, including Beers of the Earth, The Mash Collective series, Stone Beer, The Gatherer and Forefathers but has always been limited by capacity.

"We've released some memorable beers but until now, our focus has also been on getting enough of it to our thirsty drinkers.'

Stone & Wood is looking forward to ramping up their releases, promising some exciting changes, additions and limited brews in the coming months. But that’s not all... In the coming months, the brewery will put on their inaugural Backyard Invitational event on 24 November, at what will become their Brisbane Brewery in the new year, and the new Byron Bay Brewery will open its doors by the end of the year.

Stone & Wood Brewery Byron Bay project manager Jamie Revell has said "We are excited to be at the pointy end of our brewery build. All of the finer details such as landscaping and timber finishes are now coming to life. The bar and kitchen are both currently being fitted and the last of our brewhouse equipment will move in the coming weeks. We can’t wait to open the doors of our new spiritual home and invite locals and visitors to see how we brew and learn more about Stone & Wood. Early next year we will move our offices to the new space, so the whole Byron team can finally work under one roof."

When asked about the 10 year milestone and everything that’s coming down the line Head Brewer Caolan Vaughn said "We’re proud of the journey so far and having an incredible, passionate team that’s been along for the ride but all of us at Stone & Wood are even more excited for what’s to come!".

Espresso Martini Festival

The Espresso Martini Festival is back and bigger than ever, Balcony Bar & Oyster Co. are celebrating their love for Espresso Martinis once again however this time for the entire month October.

For years Balcony Bar & Oyster Co has been known as the best place in town to grab a drink with friends. The cocktail list is extensive, the wine list is exquisite, the beers are fresh, local and on tap but above all else, the espresso martinis are always flowing and only $12 each from 9:30pm. If you were around the bay at a similar time last year you may remember a festival dedicated to all those Espresso Martini lovers abroad. In just two weeks 2,200 Espresso Martinis were sold going through a whopping 70kg of coffee. Balcony Bar & Oyster Co. love their coffee in a martini glass so much that this year Espresso Fest will be grinding for the whole month of October.

A specialty cocktail menu has been carefully crafted by their expert cocktail masters featuring flavours like

Pop Your Cherry
Cherry Brandy, Cerene De Cacao, cold brew coffee and of course the much loved Cherry Ripe garnish

Bounty Hunter
1800 Coconut Tequila, Crème De Cacao, Espressocello & cold brew coffee.

Kentuck y Cold Brew
Woodford reserve, peach liqueur, cold brew coffee and orange bitters

The Nutty Professor
Disaronno, Frangelico, cold brew coffee & Cracked hazelnuts with a salted caramel rim.

Bam Bam Espresso
Bam Bam Spiced Rum, Licor 43, Triple Sec, cold brew coffee & cinnamon.

The Golden Slipper
Don Julio Anejo, Cafe Patron, cold brew, agave and a gold rim

Yum! Now for the purists simply looking for a classic espresso martini, they’ve got you covered at just $12 all day every day, plus if you have a local member’s card, the price of espresso martinis will be just $10 after 9.30pm.

If the excitement of specialty espresso martinis isn’t enough to get you keen, one dollar from every full price espresso martini sold will be donated to the incredible charity Save the Bees Australia. Where would we be without bees? As far as important species go, they are top of the list. Bees pollinate 70 of around 100 crop species that feed 90% of the world. A world without bees could struggle to sustain the global human population. Bee the cure and get alongside us to save these little yet important creatures. To find out about this very worthy cause, head to www.beethecure.com.au or to book yourself a table to celebrate espresso fest head to www.balcony.com.au.

5 best pizza restaurants in Byron Bay

The Best of Byron series continues – this time, it’s pizza! Pizza is one of the world’s favourite foods, and here in Byron Bay, the pizza-lover is spoilt for choice.

We asked our Facebook fans to vote for their favourite pizza restaurant in the region, and the results are in. So, next time you're craving a slice, check out one of the five best pizza restaurants in Byron Bay below (in alphabetical order).

Earth ‘n’ Sea

Earth ‘n’ Sea Pizza has been a part of Byron’s vibrant dining scene since way back in 1976. The iconic restaurant serves up a delectable selection of 22 individual pizzas – including gluten-free and vegan options – all piled high with fresh ingredients.

One of Earth ‘n’ Sea’s signature concoctions is the Beethoven: prawns, fresh banana slices, and pineapple.

Il Buco Cafe & Pizzeria

Simple, honest, and authentic. That’s what you can expect from Il Buco Cafe & Pizzeria’s Italian artisan pizza.

Committed to using local, seasonal ingredients, the incredible pizzas feature fresh produce picked, grown, and raised in the region: ham from Bangalow Sweet Pork, salumi from the boys at Salumi, tomatoes from Coopers Shoot Tomatoes, and more.

Legend Pizza

Pizza doesn’t get much better than the classics served up at Legend Pizza. Open from 8 am till late for eat-in and takeaway orders, indulge in both gourmet and traditional styles pizzas (plus gluten-free and vegan options) or create your own perfect slice.

Legend has a relaxed vibe and is a firm favourite among locals and visitors alike.

Trattoria Basiloco

Trattoria Basiloco offers up delicious, authentic Italian cuisine with a Sardinian flair. Their pizzas are cooked the traditional way for maximum flavour: in a burning hot woodfire oven.

Alongside their artisan pizza, Trattoria Basiloco serves antipasti, famous fresh seafood, handmade pasta, meats, and classic Italian desserts.

Treehouse on Belongil

Open for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, Treehouse on Belongil is an all-day, fully licensed restaurant, bar, and live music venue. In the evening, pick from an irresistible list of woodfired pizzas, share platters, and daily specials.

Treehouse on Belongil also serves up an exciting cocktail menu and extensive wine list – the perfect accompaniment to fresh pizza and local musical talent.

Best of Byron

Discover our Best of Byron series. Find out where to grab the best coffee, burgers, and breakfasts in Byron Bay and surrounds.

The 2018 Byron Bay Film Festival

Byron Bay Film Festival runs from October 12-21 at the Byron Community Centre and venues in Brunswick Heads and Murwillumbah. The BBFF2018 program and tickets – including 6, 10 or 20-ticket flexi-passes – can be booked online at BBFF.com.au.

The full program for the Byron Bay Film Festival is now available online, introducing a stellar showcase of over 155 films, including 21 documentaries, 15 dramatic features, 20 music videos and 68 shorts as well as an extensive selection of Virtual Reality experiences.

Chosen from nearly 1000 submitted works, the selection reflects the progressive, relaxed, yet engaged ethos of the idyllic coastal town, where surfing, the environment, music, art, health and social activism are key concerns of everyday life.
 
This year the span reaches from the surf off Sierra Leone to the limpid waters of Hawaii’s Kauai Island, from the smoggy bustle of downtown Manila to the infinitely clear and silent skies that dominate the night in Chile’s Atacama Desert.
 
Absorbing documentaries explore the hidden world of the internet’s “content moderators”, the ever expanding role of Artificial Intelligence in our lives, two very different ground-breaking Japanese artists, young Buddhist monks, and how dogs can help us to lead saner lives. The late Rob Stewart’s courageous inquiry into the horrific shark finning industry has particular relevance for the North Coast.
 
Local and talented young Australian documentary filmmakers are prominent alongside their international peers, with stimulating studies of men’s mental health, obsessive pop fandom, the importance of Aboriginal culture, and the crisis in the Kimberley – and the Latrobe Valley.
 
A standout film is Dying to Live from Frackman director Richard Todd, which looks searchingly at Australians’ seeming reluctance to donate their organs for transplant.
 
There are also Australian-made dramas showing that will launch their directors, writers and actors onto the world stage, although some, such as the creator of Jirga, Benjamin Gilmour, are there already, following the film’s sensational reception at the recent Toronto International Film Festival. The Byron screening is a sneak preview before Jirga has its theatrical release, and will be presented in person by Gilmour – now a Byron Shire resident.
 
Other dramas range from dark and almost surreal comedies from Latvia and Iran, romances blossoming within war zones (and an abattoir), and adventures from the Arctic to the south of France. A supernatural thriller, The School, is another product of a Byron Shire team. 


 
The festival also has what is perhaps Australia’s most comprehensive offering of virtual and augmented reality experiences on offer, plus workshops, panels, parties, and even a breath work meditation with visual accompaniment.
 
It’s a 10-day extravaganza of entertainment, learning and fun –Byron Bay’s most colourful and glamorous cultural event – and everyone is invited. Visit the website www.bbff.com.au and their Facebook Page for further details and tickets.

The Mullum Music Festival

From humble beginnings, the picturesque village of Mullumbimby has hosted the Mullum Music Festival (MMF) since its inception in 2008.

Nestled amongst the surrounding mountains in the Byron Bay hinterland, this diverse community of just over 3000 people has embraced this very different type of music event. The last decade has seen more than 600 world-class artists and thousands of people make their way to the festival, not bad for a little festival that started on the night of the electrical storm of the decade.

"The street parade kicks off the final day of a festival which shares a Shire with some of the country's biggest. Bluesfest, Splendour In The Grass and Falls all run around here, but it's Mullum Fest which is truly the jewel in this area's crown."- Rolling Stone

Over the past decade Mullum Music Festival has evolved into one of the most successful boutique festivals in the country, proving small isn't just beautiful, it's also economically & environmental sustainable.

No gates. No big headlines. No VIP areas. Basically a ‘No hassle’ festival. A festival where artists and performers mingle, where shows are held in halls, clubs and pubs rather than tents, and instead of driving hours to park in a field and trudge on site, patrons become enmeshed in the spirit of a vibrant village.

“It’s a great feeling returning to the usually sleepy township of Mullumbimby … It’s a beautiful, restful place any time you drop by, but you know that for one weekend a year it’s transformed into a vibrant mecca of music and community, and during that window there’s no better place to be.” - The Music

The town’s array of boutique performance spaces, cafés, parks, buses and streets are filled with some of the world’s finest international musicians alongside the regions incredibly diverse and talented artists.

"It’s not just about one act, but rather all the performers. Mullum Festival is about the experience. Everyone knows that. It’s all about the people. All of the people. Everyday People!” says Festival Director Glenn Wright

The 2018 event takes place November 15-18, for full details and tickets visit www.mullummusicfestival.com.

5 best breakfast spots in Byron Bay

It’s the most important meal of the day.

Whether you’re looking for a leisurely Sunday brunch spot or a quick bite to eat before heading to the beach, Byron Bay is home to some excellent cafes, all of which serve up exceptional breakfasts.

We asked our Facebook fans to vote for the best breakfast spots in Byron Bay, and here are the results (in alphabetical order).

Bayleaf

Also voted one of the best coffee spots in town, Bayleaf was the clear winner. Popular with both locals and visitors, Bayleaf is a true Byron staple, serving up an inventive menu of fresh and healthy breakfasts.

The Bayleaf breakfast menu is inventive and ever-changing: think dukkah poached eggs, quinoa coconut porridge, and breakfast burritos.

Dip

Another top pick for coffee in Byron, Dip is the perfect spot to sit back, relax, and enjoy a long and laidback breakfast. The outdoor seating is a great place to people watch, and breakfast is served until 3 pm, so there’s no rush.

Dip offers all the classics, plus plenty for those with a sweet tooth – cinnamon and vanilla French toast, buttermilk pancakes with fresh berries, and wild rice porridge.

Espressohead

Espressohead has long been a favourite Byron cafe, and with breakfast this good, it’s no wonder hungry travellers come back again and again.

Espressohead has something for everyone, including a range of vegan and gluten-free options. You can build your own big breakfast from scratch, or opt for one of the cafe’s classics, like the grilled chorizo and house-made baked beans pictured above.

Three Blue Ducks at The Farm

Breakfast doesn't get much fresher than at Three Blue Ducks Byron Bay. Situated at The Farm – a picturesque, fully operation farm just outside of Byron’s township – Three Blue Ducks serves delightful breakfasts every day until 11.30 am.

The innovative menu boasts modern takes on old classics and entirely new concoctions, as well as an enticing list of breakfast drinks.

100 Mile Table

Located in the Arts and Industry Estate, 100 Mile Table Cafe is a dynamic eatery that serves up local, seasonal, and sustainable food and spectacular Marvel Street Coffee.

The curated breakfast menu changes with the seasons. From paired-back basics (think eggs and tomato jam or fruit and granola) to unique breakfast masterpieces, 100 Mile Table Cafe is a fantastic place to start the day.  

Byron Writers Festival 2018 re-cap

The Byron Writers Festival 2018 (August 3-5) is now over. And, with over 150 sessions featuring more than 140 writers from Australia and abroad, the three-day event was entertaining, inspirational, and thought-provoking.

Over 12,000 festival-goers were treated to perfect weather all weekend long. In the late winter sunlight, the site’s many sculptures and rainbow flags create a vibrant yet laid-back atmosphere. Plus, the on-site food and coffee were sensational, especially when enjoyed picnic-style by the water.   

The diverse range of sessions, performances, and panel discusses celebrated story-telling in all its forms, from the political to the poetic and everything in between.

We can’t wait to see what next year’s festival will offer.

Crowds on the move

Christine Milne in conversation with Margaret Throsoy

Anxiety: is it just me? with Mat Haig and Sarah Wilson

One of the many sculptures dotted throughout the festival site 

Lunch time at the Byron Writers Festival

Frontier Wars discussion with Tom Keneally

Oliver Phommavanh during the Kids Big Day Out

Enjoying the winter sun

Learning from the resident poet

Captivated audiences

#byronwf2018 - see you next year!

 

5 best burgers in Byron Bay

Hungry? Sometimes there’s nothing better than a good burger.

Here in Byron Bay, the burger-lover is spoilt for choice. We asked our Facebook fans where they grab the best burgers. Here are the top five results in alphabetical order. Get ready to get hungry.

Beloporto

Beloporto, lovingly referred to as ‘Belos’ by the locals, has long been a favourite cheap-eats option in Byron Bay. Their specialty is Portuguese chicken burgers – marinated to perfection and topped with lettuce, cheese, house-made aioli, and optional chilli.

If chicken isn’t your thing, Beloporto serves up beef and veggie burgers, salads, and delicious fries. It’s all tasty, fast, filling, locally-sourced, and affordable. A true Byron staple.

Main Street Burger Bar

Main Street Burger Bar brings together a mix of classic burgers, real shakes, and craft beers. Their extensive menu offers everything from traditional cheeseburgers and BBQ brisket burgers, to truffle chicken burgers and vegan-friendly pulled jackfruit.

All burgers are made with 100% grass-fed beef, free-range pork, and locally sourced eggs.  

The Northern Hotel Restaurant and Bar

The Northern Hotel is a Byron Bay icon serving up classic pub fare including their delectable range of burgers – the wagyu beef burger, the lemon and herb chicken burger, and the baked ricotta and sweetcorn burger.

What’s more, every single day of the week you can pick up a burger and chips for just $10 between 12pm and 3pm. It’s one of the best lunch deals in town.

The Rails Hotel

The Rails is one of the most-loved live music venues in Byron, offering local, national, and international talent every night of the week.

There’s no better way to soak up the laid-back atmosphere of The Rails than with a freshly made burger. Choose from beef, fish, chicken and bacon, pork belly and slaw, and grilled eggplant – all served with chips or a side salad. Perfection.

The Top Shop

The Top Shop is a go-to for many Byron Bay locals. Known for its single-origin coffee, great breakfasts, and exciting burgers, The Top Shop combines the best of hipster cafe culture and small-town hospitality.  

Their burger menu is pretty extensive and changes regularly. So, whether you’re looking for straightforward American beef burger or something a little more inventive, The Top Shop has it all.

Splendour in the Grass 2018 Re-Cap

Splendour in the Grass 2018 (20 – 22 July) is done and dusted, and what a fantastic festival it was. All 35,000 festival-goers were treated to perfect weather – clear, warm days and cool nights – and a jam-packed line-up of local, national, and international artists.

The site itself looked more colourful and dynamic than ever, complete with new flags, performers, art installations, and punters dressed-up and decked-out in true Splendour form. 

Alongside the music, we enjoyed the science tent, forum discussions, the comedy tent, the craft tent, and the family-friendly Little Splendour. There truly was something for everyone. Our favourites were Henry Rollins in discussion in the forum and Aunty Donna’s comedy set.

As always, there was plenty of food to indulge in-between sets.

Finally, our musical highlights. 

Photo: Stills in Time

Photo: Jess Gleeson

On Friday, we caught Murray from The Wiggles with DZ Deathrays, who played a few songs including an AC/DC cover. Lorde was the headliner, and she put on a great show.

Photo: Stills in Time

Saturday highlights include Franz Ferdinand, an old favourite, and Lil Xan.

Photo: Jess Gleeson

On Sunday, we watched Ball Park Music in the GW McLennan tent. We’d only seen them in the amphitheatre previously, and it was great to catch them up close on the smaller stage. And headliner Kendrick put on a killer performance – the crowd loved it.

Photo: Ian laidlaw

We can’t wait to see what next year has in stall. Thanks, Splendour in the Grass!

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