April 14, 2023
12 mins Read
The Byron Bay hinterland has an incredible amount to offer by way of lush green rolling hills, incredible nature, and character-filled towns and villages that are full of interesting and dynamic locals and a thriving food scene. Here we list some of our favourite places to visit on a drive into the hills. (Remember to always check for road closures before setting out on your journey, especially after recent flood events).
Where: 10-minute drive from Byron
What: A very charming and chic historical village full of heritage buildings and friendly locals.
Wander the charming main street, exploring its shops (the Bangalow Pharmacy is a highlight). There are so many lovely places to shop, eat and explore. For shopping, we recommend Our Corner Store, The Flower Bar Co., Island Luxe, and Bisque Traders, to name a few.
For the best coffee in town head to the little coffee window at Sparrow (for a delicious Allpress coffee and very happy vibes). For food, don’t miss Woods for a delicious healthy brekkie, Mangosteen for some authentic Japanese for lunch, and Ciao, Mate! or You Beauty for a delicious dinner. Also, “The Bowlo” (the Bangalow Bowling Club) is always fun for a drink, some good food, and a game of bowls with some mates.
The weekly Saturday morning farmers market that is held behind the Bangalow Hotel; also the regional Bangalow Market, held on the fourth Sunday of the month at the Bangalow Showgrounds, features more than 300 stalls of art, crafts, clothing, food, and produce.
If you feel like getting creative, book in for a pottery class at the nearby The Clay Barn, or explore the painting classes on offer with highly acclaimed local painter Dominique Sutton at her Bangalow studio. Or see what shows are playing at Bangalow’s A&I Hall with the Bangalow Theatre Company.
Where: 15-minute drive from Byron, a seven-minute drive from Bangalow
What: A very pretty and idyllic one-street historic hinterland town that is always bustling with locals and visitors alike. It is also home to Australia’s oldest bakery.
Wander the very charming old street with its gorgeous shops and century-old buildings. Housed in one of those century-old farmhouses is the award-winning Harvest Newrybar (also featured in our pick of best restaurants in Byron and beyond).
We recommend dining at either their more formal restaurant or just grabbing something to go from the Harvest Deli – the menu beautifully celebrates and champions the diversity of the region and its local farmers, growers and producers, showcasing local, wild and seasonal produce.
Check out Newrybar Merchants, a unique retail collective that features local artisans and makers such as Mark Tuckey, Life of Uscha, Loco Love Chocolates and many more. And pop into the lovely antique store, Luther & Co.; as well as Drift Lab, The Lost & Found Department, and Misko Jewellery. If you need any supplies (or fuel), head to The Little General Newrybar.
Don’t miss the weekly and monthly events hosted by Harvest Newrybar and Newrybar Merchants. There is Story Time for kids every Wednesday morning, the Newrybar Eats & Produce Market every Wednesday afternoon, the Harvest Fun Fridays on the first Friday of the month (with live music, food stalls and more), the Harvest Sunday Bar (on Thursday, Friday, Saturday afternoons), and the Harvest Breakfast BBQ and Live Music on Sunday mornings! Also, Killen Falls is just a short eight-minute drive away if you feel like some nature time – we’ve also put together a guide to other waterfalls in the region.
Where: 20-minute drive from Byron
What: A lovely rolling green hills kind of vibe.
Visit ceramic artist Brooke Clunie at her Red Door Studio and Gallery, open daily to the public from 10am to 4pm (closed Tuesdays), or book in for one of her “two pot” sessions where you individually make two vessels each on her wheel… with a bit of help, of course! As well as that, you can see (and shop) some of Brooke’s beautiful work that is on display. Red Door Studio is just five minutes down the road from Newrybar.
Where: 20-minute drive from Byron Bay, a seven-minute drive from Bangalow
What: A lush, green, pastoral patch of paradise.
Don’t miss Frida’s Field! We love Frida’s Field for both its beautiful setting – on a 50-hectare regenerative farm – and its delicious farm-to-table menu by award-winning chef Alastair Waddell which celebrates the seasons, their ecological farming practices and the abundant produce of the Northern Rivers region. They host three long lunches with a set menu per week on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. Check their website for more details.
Where: 25-minute drive from Byron Bay
What: A very charming and “lovely location” (Clunes is the Gaelic term for “lovely location,” named after an early engineer named Robert Clunes).
Hang at The Clunes Store. It’s your one-stop shop for everything you could possibly need, so much more than just a general store! You will find a little cafe serving Allpress coffee, a great little grocery store, a little post office, and a bottle shop (we recommend trying the handcrafted wines by Jarad Dixon of Clunes-based small batch wine label, Jilly Wines).
Grab something to go and take it over to the Clunes Heritage Park across the road for views of the valley. A nice place to rest if you have been driving for a while. There’s also a second-hand book store, a hairdresser, a butcher, a mechanic, and a plant shop!
The Clunes Store puts on a number of different delicious food nights throughout the week. There are wood-fired pizza nights with Il Carreto Pizza on Thursdays and gyoza nights on Mondays and Fridays with Shoza Gyoza.
Where: 35-minute drive from Byron Bay, a 20-minute drive from Mullumbimby
What: A super lush and green, hidden, mystical, magical rainforest.
Hidden in the hills outside Mullumbimby, Wilsons Creek is home to Lilium Love – a truly magical place. The drive to get there is beyond spectacular. Lilium Love is a general store/cafe offering organic food, organic coffee, and plant-based and vegan options with live music, pizza and a side of witchcraft. All of their food and products are 100 per cent organic, seasonal, medicinal, and consciously created.
You can find 100 per cent organic and locally handcrafted products in their Apothecary, and there is a licensed tonic bar as well. Lilium Love is open from Tuesday to Sunday until 2pm, and on Friday evenings from 4pm to 9pm with chef Daniela Maiorano cooking up the most incredibly delicious seasonal, local, organic dinners.
You won’t find it on the menu, but you might be able to make a special request at Lilium Love for one of their ‘Blue pea flower infused damiana medicinal G&Ts’. Dogs are allowed, they just ask that they be kept on a leash. It’s very beautiful here.
Where: 20-minute drive from Byron Bay
What: The “biggest little town in Australia” with a vibrant and distinctively laid-back community on the edge of the Brunswick River at the foothills of Mt Chincogan.
Wander this picturesque town with its wide palm-lined streets, lovely weatherboard houses, and very friendly, laid-back locals, and explore the shops and cafes. You absolutely can not miss the Friday morning weekly Farmer’s Market held at the Showgrounds just a little outside of town. You will find all the very best in local produce, delicious food stalls, and amazing buskers – it’s really the best of everything.
Also, do not miss Baker & Daughters in town for the very best of all things bread and baked goods (they are so super friendly – say hi to Beck and Matt – and they do great coffee as well). If you didn’t eat too much at the market and you’re still hungry, Punch and Daisy is great for breakfast or lunch.
The Banya (which only opened in January 2023), is a brand-new European bathhouse that celebrates the wonderful social bathing culture of Northern Europe.
It features a lap pool, a wood-fired sauna, a steam room, two hot mineral pools and a cold plunge – plus a bar and dining facilities – and some treatment rooms as well. It is the sister bathhouse to Mullumbimby’s iconic Kiva Spa.
Where: 25-minute drive from Byron Bay along the very scenic Coolamon Scenic Drive!
What: The most beautiful little one-street village that is bursting with charm (and good food).
Wander this cute little street to soak up all of its goodness: Doma, for the most amazing Japanese food in the most friendly and beautiful setting; Moonshine Coffee, for delicious, locally owned and roasted coffee; and Benilato Gelato, for delicious Italian style gelato from a cute ice cream cart; and visit its shops, for such a tiny one-street town there are quite a few (if you are into antique tiles, make an appointment to visit the showroom of Jatana Interiors). Also, the general store is so great for anything and everything you might need. Another one-stop shop.
Doma, Doma, Doma. And also, a soundbed healing session with local musician, Benny Holloway. Incredible! On your way out to Federal from Byron, be sure to stop at the St. Helena Lookout as you first turn onto Coolamon Scenic Drive to enjoy the beautiful 360-degree views of the coast, Wollumbin (Mount Warning) and the lush, green hinterland.
Where: 30-minute drive from Byron Bay
What: A very small but lovely hinterland village.
Eat, drink, sleep, and boogie at Eltham’s very own country pub, The Eltham Hotel. The Eltham is a very authentic, 118-year-old iconic Aussie pub that was recently revamped and is now a major drawcard for the local and surrounding communities (as well as out-of-towners).
The Eltham’s live music. Check out their website to see who’s playing, and book one of the beautiful rooms (designed by Julia Ashwood of The Vista). Also, if you feel like a hit of tennis, you could book one of the two tennis courts across the road available for hire.
Where: 20 minutes from Byron
What: Another quaint and historic one-street hinterland town with little more than a pub, a general store, and a whole lot of mechanic repair shops.
Grab a drink or some food at the Billinudgel Hotel, a traditional old pub from 1898. Full of charm, this is a meeting spot for locals and travellers alike. Proudly family-owned and operated. They are open seven days a week for lunch and dinner. You can expect traditional pub food. There’s a great outdoor beer garden out the back.
It’s worth doing a drive by the little roadside stall at the end of the main street (to the left) that belongs to Church Farm General Store. If you are lucky, you might just find some of their handmade, package-free soaps out at the stall that can be purchased. It’s an honesty system, so just leave your money in the little deposit box. Church Farm’s products are much loved and are all made from scratch and by hand (without any fake stuff), supporting their local farmers.
The Nudge Nudge Wink Wink dance party that is held once a month at the pub featuring local and international and an amazing shed dance floor under the stars. It was awarded “Community Event of the Year” at the Byron Shire Australia Day Awards a few years back.
Where: a 50-minute drive from Byron Bay
What: The gateway to the subtropical rainforest of Nightcap National Park.
Eat at The Channon Tavern, for great local vibes and lovely outdoor picnic tables. Their kitchen has recently been taken over by The Channon Shokudou (Japanese Kitchen), so you can enjoy more delicious Japanese food out in the hills.
They are open from 12pm every day from Thursday through Sunday (closed Monday to Wednesday). They have live music some nights, host trivia nights on Thursdays and Joker night on Fridays.
Also check out the Channon Gallery which features award-winning local artists’ exhibitions of contemporary art, housed in a former butter factory located on the banks of Terania Creek.
The Channon Market. The longest-running market in the Northern Rivers. Held on the second Sunday of the month, with live music, home-made artisan food and products,
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Great information of surrounding areas around Byron
Thankyou for such a positive and informative overview of our area
I really enjoyed it and agreed with all your recommendations