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Looking back at Falls Festival 2018/19

The sixth annual Falls Music and Arts Festival in Byron has come to an end, and what a colourful festival it was. 17,000 revellers – including 15,000 campers – enjoyed clear, sunny weather at the North Byron Parklands over the three days (a welcome change from last festival’s downpours). Dressed to impress, crowds experienced a dynamic range of musical acts, art installations and performances, clubs and DJs, food, and more.

The spectacular amphitheatre, known as the Valley Stage, came to life with highlight acts including Hilltop Hoods, DMAs, and US hip-hop sensation Anderson.Paak. As anticipated, festival favourite King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard had punters dancing, jumping, and crowd surfing, while Toto had everyone singing along to their hit ‘Africa’.

The smaller Howl & Moan tent showcased the heavier sounds of local rock bands, and the Jack Daniel’s Barrel House gave revellers a chance to get a closer look at the musicians at work. The Vaccines's performance in the Barrel House was a highlight for us.  

It was more than music that made this year’s festival. The ‘La Henge’ arts area showcased a life-size replica of Stone Henge made from cardboard. And, a jovial battle between cavepeople, sabretooth tigers, and a giant woolly mammoth went down on early New Year’s Eve, which was a hilarious spectacle to witness. The coloured cows were swarmed by festival-goers looking to get the perfect Falls photo.

After three full days and 40,000 steps, we were exhausted. But, we already can’t wait to do it all again next New Years.

5 best cocktails in Byron Bay

Sit back and relax or celebrate with friends with an exquisite cocktail served up Byron style. We’re back with another instalment of the Best of Byron series – this time, it’s cocktails.

We asked our Facebook fans to vote for the best cocktails in Byron Bay, and the results are listed below in alphabetical order.

Loft Byron Bay

Loft is a concept bar that fuses European cuisine with a modern Australian laid-back vibe for a truly unique food and drink experience. Flooded with natural light during the day and cosy by night, the atmosphere of loft is beachy, earthy, sophisticated, and unmistakeably Byron.

Their refined cocktail menu features tried and true classic with a couple of surprises – an acai spritz with dragon fruit, a spiced chai whiskey sour, to name a few.

The Balcony Bar and Oyster Co.

Perched above the bustling streets of Byron Bay, The Balcony Bar and Oyster Co. is a must-visit on any trip to the area. Committed to serving simple, honest food and drink, The Balcony is a perfect place to unwind or celebrate.

The extensive cocktail menu has something for everyone and boasts an exciting array of traditional cocktails and signature creations.

The Bolt Hole

With a striking vintage church door entrance and a cosy interior with nods to hunting, heritage rail, and nautical adventures, The Bolt Hole is an eclectic bar with a personality all of its own.

The Bolt Hole bar showcases an incredible 300 whiskeys, gins, artisanal spirits, organic wines, and craft beers from all over the world. Stocking vintage and rare releases, The Bolt Hole serves up cocktails unlike any other bar.

The Mez Club

Escape to the Mediterranean inspired Mez Club, a light and airy eatery and bar in the heart of Byron Bay. The menu will transport you to the ‘souks’ of Morocco to the family feasts of Greece.

The cocktail list follows suit. All have been expertly crafted with a commitment to freshness and colour. Their signature Turkish Princess, which features locally produced Turkish delight liquor, is a must try.  

Treehouse on Belongil

Live music, great food, and excellent cocktails – what could be better? Treehouse on Belongil is another Byron staple, serving up breakfast, lunch, dinner, woodfired pizzas, and more, all while showcasing local musical talent.

Their cocktail menu has it all, with a few twists on old classics, like their Margarita three ways.

Best of Byron

Discover our Best of Byron series. Find out where to grab the best coffee, burgers, breakfasts, pizza, and ice cream in Byron Bay and surrounds – according to you.

Christmas 2018 in Byron Bay

Celebrate Christmas 2018 Byron style: warm weather, a day at the beach, and excellent food. A few of the restaurants and eateries in town are hosting special Christmas eve and day dinners and lunches.

The Balcony Bar & Oyster Co

The iconic Balcony Bar & Oyster Co serves up some of the best food and drinks in the region. This Christmas celebrate with an all-inclusive, four-course family feast with all the trimmings. Seatings are available for 12pm, 12.30pm, or 1pm for a delicious menu, a glass of Piper Heidsieck on arrival, and an optional beverage package.

Keep in mind the Balcony is not open on the evening of Christmas and will close at 4pm.

Adults $225, kids under 18 $95, kids under 5 free.

The Italian Byron Bay

Is there ever a bad time to indulge in Italian food? Get your nearest and dearest together this Christmas at the incredible Italian Byron Bay restaurant for a four-course meal with a few festive touches. Limited seats are available, so secure your table for the 12pm to 2.30pm or 3pm to 5.30pm seating now.

$165 per person.

Barrio Eatery & Bar

Join the local community and friends and family at Barrio for the first ever Christmas Eve Fiesta. Sample the ultimate Spanish festive feast of picadas featuring Argentine favourites prepared on a traditional Parilla (barbecue) and Asado (fire-pit) plus a welcome cocktail by Brookie’s Gin.

$65 per person, kid’s plate available for over 3s $20.

No Bones

Celebrate Christmas Day the vegan way with a huge vegan BBQ feast hosted by No Bones. The plant-based menu includes appetisers and tapas to share, vegan prawns, No Bones’s famous calamari, char-grilled corn with spicy garlic butter, summer salads, and a selection of desserts.

$90 per person.

3 best ice cream shops in Byron

We’re back with another instalment of the Best of Byron series. With the weather heating up, we thought it was the perfect time to find out where in Byron and surrounds serves up the best ice cream.

We asked our Facebook fans to vote for their favourite ice cream shop in the region, and the results are in. Cool down with a delicious ice cream from one of the most popular gelaterias in Byron, listed below in alphabetical order.

Bella Rosa Gelateria and Espresso Bar

Bella Rosa is a Byron staple and offers up some of the tastiest gelato and sorbets – all made fresh on the premises. Alongside their ice creams, they serve excellent coffee, tea, milkshakes, smoothies, and sundaes.

Located a very short 2-minute walk from Main Beach, Bella Rosa is a great place to cool down after a few hours on the beach.

Bernardi's Gelato and Espresso Bar

Image via www.brunswickheads.org.au

Bernardi’s Gelato and Espresso Bar is a Brunswick Heads favourite, situated about 20 minutes from Byron Bay. Bernardi’s produces all of their traditional ice cream and gelato, as well as dairy and fat-free sorbets, on-site. They also serve up Italian coffee, quiches, frittatas, salads, and cakes

Brunswick Heads is a quaint holiday town with spectacular beaches and idyllic waterways that’s well worth a visit this summer. And if you do make the trip, don’t leave without sampling some of Bernardi’s famous ice cream.

In the Pink

Byron Bay’s In the Pink was a clear winner – our Facebook fans picked the traditional artisan gelati served here as the best ice cream in the region. With 25 years of ice cream experience, research, and development, In the Pink uses a mix of local and Italian imported ingredients with no pre-made powder mixes.

In the Pink is located just 3-minutes from Main Beach, so is another fantastic place to get your ice cream fix after a day at the beach.

Best of Byron

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

A holiday in North Byron

Tucked away in the northern end of the Byron Shire are stunning waterfront holiday rentals that offer a more affordable alternative to accommodation in the heart of Byron. From there, you can escape the hustle and bustle while remaining a short drive from Brunswick Heads’s thriving cafe scene, Byron Bay’s lively atmosphere, and more.

Here are just some of the drawcards that attract travellers to North Byron’s hidden gems.

Spectacular beaches and waterways

South Golden and New Brighton are two quiet, open beaches situated in the north of the Byron Shire. These beaches rarely attract as many visitors as Byron’s beaches and both have dog-friendly areas.

After a short 10-minute drive, you’ll find yourself in Brunswick Heads, a quaint holiday village. The idyllic Brunswick River runs through the town and can be explored by kayak, canoe, stand-up paddleboard, or by swimming.

Cross the Brunswick River via the bridge and discover one of the region’s most picturesque beaches: Torakina (pictured above). Perfect for kids, this sheltered beach offers crystal-clear water and little to no swell.

Cafes and restaurants

Just 8.5km away from the tranquility of North Byron Shire are the many gourmet cafes, restaurants, and eateries of Brunswick Heads.

Bruns – as the locals call it – serves up some of the best coffee and breakfasts in the region. For dinner, enjoy fresh fish and chips (best eaten picnic-style by the river), indulge in an award-winning fine-dining meal, or check out some local musical talent and relax in the beer garden at the iconic Hotel Brunswick. 

Markets and other activities

Although Byron is a short 20-minute drive away, there is plenty to do closer to home.

The Brunswick Heads Markets are held on the first Saturday of each month. And, the New Brighton Farmers Market, held Tuesdays from 8am – 11am, is a great place to sample some of the region's best fresh produce.

If you’re visiting with kids, explore the many playgrounds dotted throughout the North Byron region: in South Golden, New Brighton, and two along the riverfront in Brunswick Heads.

This end of the Shire is also home to a magnificent championship golf course. The Ocean Shores Country Club’s course was designed by world-renowned golf architects in 1972 and remains one of the most highly regarded courses in the country.

Close to two major festival sites

The northern end of the Byron Shire is home to two of the major festival sites in the region: North Byron Parklands (Splendour in the Grass and Falls Festival), and the Blues Festival site at Tyagarah.

If you’re attending a festival, staying a stone’s throw from the site can be a quick, inexpensive, and convenient option.

 

South Golden Beach, New Brighton and Brunswick Heads accommodation inspo 

Stingray South Golden Beach, is beautifully designed 4 bedroom home, situated on the Capricornia Canal, featuring a large deck with views of the canal.

Twin Waters New Brighton, is a unique 3  bedroom beach house with views and access to the pristine Beach and River of New Brighton.

Norfolk On Fawcett Brunswick Heads is a three bedroom rental just a short walk to river, beach and centre of Brunswick Heads.

Summer market schedule: Byron, Bangalow, Bruns & more

Summer’s here, school’s nearly out, the weather is hot, and the water is warm. The festive season in the Byron Shire brings with it a whole host of specialty markets and events.

Here’s an overview of the region’s summer market schedule.

Byron Bay

The Byron Bay Markets are held on both the first and third Sunday of the month in December and January at the Butler Street reserve. So, this summer, the markets will be held on:

  • 2 December 2018
  • 16 December 2018
  • 6 January 2019
  • 20 January 2019

The Byron Twilight Markets

The weekly Byron Twilight Market is held in the centre of town and showcases local artisans and musical talent.

When: Saturdays, 4pm – 9pm (until April 2019)

Where: Railway Park, Byron Bay

The Byron Beachside Markets

Held annually in January, Easter, July, and the September/October long weekend, the Byron Beachside Markets stretch along the picturesque Main Beach Foreshore.

When: Wednesday, 2 January 2019, 8am – 4pm

Where: Main Beach Foreshore, Byron Bay

The Byron Flea Market

The Byron Flea Market is Australia’s only youth-focused market and takes place year-round.

When: Every second Saturday of the month, 8am - 2pm

Where: The Youth Activity Centre, Gilmore Crescent, Byron Bay

A Day in the Bay

A Day in the Bay is Byron’s newest market. The event represents a collaboration between local brands to bring a family-friendly, Byron-focused market to the region.

The market will feature a collective of food trucks, beverage stalls, boutique clothing pop-ups, children’s entertainment, live music, and more.

Entry is $5 with all proceeds to be donated to a local not-for-profit and charity.

When: Saturday, 8 December 2018, 12pm – 10pm

Where: Red Devils Park

Bangalow

The Bangalow Markets are held on the fourth Sunday of the month at the Bangalow Showgrounds. This summer, the markets will take place on:

  • 23 December 2018
  • 27 January 2019

The Bangalow Designers' Market

The Bangalow Designers’ Market is committed to promoting design in the Byron Shire and showcases local fashion labels, artisans, arts and crafts, food, and music.

When: Saturday, 8 December 2018, 8am – 3pm

Where: Bangalow Public School, Bangalow

Brunswick Heads

The Brunswick Heads Markets are held on the first Saturday of the month. This summer, the Bruns Markets will take place on:

  • 1 December 2018
  • 5 January 2019

The Brunswick Christmas Twilight Markets

The annual Brunswick Twilight Markets bring together local creators to showcase their very best during the Christmas season.

When: Wednesday, 19 December 2018, 3pm – 9pm

Where: Banner Park, Brunswick Heads

Mullumbimby

The Mullumbimby Markets are held on the third Saturday on the month. This summer, the Mullum Markets will take place on:

  • 15 December 2018
  • 19 January 2018

The Mullum Twilight Market

The Mullum Twilight Market is a family-friendly picnic meets market event featuring delicious food, artisan stalls, vintage wares, and live music.

When: Saturday, 1 December 2018, 3pm – 9pm

Where: The Mullum Leagues Club, Mullumbimby

Surrounding towns and villages

Outside of the Byron Shire, regional towns and villages host community markets year-round. Here’s a reminder of their schedules:

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.

September / October School Holidays in Byron

On top of all the family fun Byron is known for, there are plenty of options for kid specific entertainment, activities and programs. 

WHAT: Picture House Storytelling: Martin Killips reading “Dances with Hippos”
WHEN: 3 October
WHERE: Brunswick Picture House
COST: Single Adult Free | 2 Adults $10 | Child $8 | Group of 4 $24
Full Day | Single Adult Free | 2 Adults $20 | Child $16 | Group of 4 $36
WEBSITE: brunswickpicturehouse.com/event/picture-house-storytelling-martin-killips-reading-dances-hippos/

WHAT: Dandyman: For the Love of it
WHEN: 4, 5, 6 October,
WHERE: Brunswick Picture House
COST: Adult $16 | Concession $14 | Child $12 | Family of 4 $48
WEBSITE: brunswickpicturehouse.com/event/dandyman-for-love-of/

WHAT: Annie JR. presented by Bright Lights Performance School
WHEN: Saturday 29th September at 2pm and 6.30pm & Sunday 30th September at 2pm.
WHERE: Byron Theatre
COST: Adult $25 | Child under 18 $15 | Family of 4 (2 adults + 2 children) $60
WEBSITE: www.byroncentre.com.au/event/annie-jr-presented-bright-lights-performance-school/

WHAT: Children’s African Drum and Dance Workshop presented by Gabriel Otu
WHEN: October School Holiday sessions – Wednesday, 3rd and Friday, 5th October
WHERE: Byron Theatre
COST: Single $22 | Group of 2 or 3 $20 ea. | Family of 4 $70 | Suitable for ages 2+
WEBSITE: www.byroncentre.com.au/event/childrens-african-drum-dance-workshop-presented-gabriel-otu-6/

WHAT: Bunny Racket – Keep on Rockin’! presented by Bunny Racket
WHEN: October 7, 2018 @ 11:00 am – 12:00 pm
WHERE: Byron Theatre
COST: All tickets $20
WEBSITE: www.byroncentre.com.au/event/bunny-racket-keep-on-rocking-presented-by-bunny-racket/

WHAT: Imaginitis starring Shorty Brown presented by Shorty Brown
WHEN: 2 School Holiday shows!!!! Monday 8 & Tuesday 9 October….
WHERE: Byron Theatre
COST: Full $15 | Family of 4 (2 Adults + 2 Children) $45 | Ages 3 - 8 years
WEBSITE: www.byroncentre.com.au/event/imaginitis-starring-shorty-brown-presented-by-shorty-brown/

WHAT: October Holiday Workshop Show presented by Bright Lights Performance School
WHEN: October 10, 2018 @ 6:00 pm – 7:30 pm
WHERE: Byron Theatre
COST: Adult $5 | Family $20 | Available at the door
WEBSITE: www.byroncentre.com.au/event/october-holiday-workshop-show-presented-bright-lights-performance-school-2/

WHAT: Farm Kids School Holiday Program
WHEN: September 25Th to October 12Th
WHERE: The Farm Byron Bay
COST: Various
WEBSITE: www.thefarmbyronbay.com.au/whatson/

WHAT: Circus Arts School Holiday Program
WHEN: September/October 2018
WHERE: Circus Arts Byron Bay
COST: Various
WEBSITE: www.circusarts.com.au/activities/school-holidays-in-byron-bay/

WHAT: Skateboarding Day Camp or Skatepark Tour
WHEN: 2, 3, 4 October and 9, 10, 11 October
WHERE: Byron Bay Skateboard School
COST: $80/$100
WEBSITE: www.skateboardschool.com.au/daycamp

WHAT: Circus Workshops
WHEN: 9, 10, 11 October
WHERE: Spaghetti Circus Mullumbimby
COST: Various
WEBSITE: www.spaghetticircus.com/holiday-workshops/

WHAT: Brunswick Bush School Holiday Program
WHEN: 1 – 12 October
WHERE: Brunswick Bush School, Brunswick Heads
COST: Various
WEBSITE: brunsbushschool.com.au/index.php/2-brunsbushschool/48-holiday-program

WHAT: School Holiday Kids Hand Building Clay Workshop
WHEN: 3 and 10 October
WHERE: The Clay Barn, Bangalow
COST: $75
WEBSITE: www.theclaybarn.com.au/shop/school-holiday-kids-workshop

WHAT: Enjoy Byron's many beaches 
WHEN: Everyday
WHERE: The Clay Barn, Bangalow
COST: FREE (paid parking in some areas)
WEBSITE: www.byron-bay.com/beaches/

 

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.

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