Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Going north: not so Byron Bay, NSW

By Anna at The Beetle Shack

Byron Bay is as famous as can be but I've often wondered if it's actually all that? It is. I know it it is but to be honest whenever I'm up there I find myself wanting to get away from the main street and beaches and carve out my own little escape in the quieter pockets. So, that said here's my go-to list of places that are not so Byron Bay proper. But still fabulous in my eyes.*

Around Byron Bay

The Roadhouse
Impressive cocktail & whiskey menu, freshly made delicious local food served with awesome service. Great for an intimate little winey dinner (oh the red wines) or brunch – go wild and order your coffee on coconut milk. Please.

Top Shop
Amazing burgers (as a creature of habit I exclusively order the Haloumi Burger on GF everytime), fresh juices and a sweet little grassy knoll to pitch your picnic rug and escape the main street.

Tallows Beach
This can't all be about food (although it really nearly is), Tallows is like the ultimate wind-down spot. It's a little walk which makes it totally worth hitting it for the day and all the more special. Bright blue waters, untouched rocks to explore and fun little surf waves make it the best beach for anyone and everyone. Closing my eyes and picturing it right, now.

Outside Byron Bay proper, go adventuring...

I'm completely biased but I've spent some truly magical sun-soaked days in this gorgeous little country town. Approx 15-20mins from main Byron it's packed with cute little boutiques, great vintage stores, health food shops and my personal favourite cafe Punch & Daisy (seriously good local coffee). 'Mullum' is more mountainous than Byron and way more country-style. It's quieter but you still get to enjoy the colourful locals and all the benefits of the Byron shire.

Brunswick Heads & Beach
Similar distance from Byron, 'Bruns' has the most beautiful stretch of beach for walking (with your canine pals) and is a popular surf beach. It's a lot quieter than main beach and the river is super fresh and crystal clear for swimming. Again (I know I'm a complete addict) there are some great coffee options along the main stretch as well as some cutesy antique shops and a couple of solid op-shops. It's got a really lovely feel overall. Super chill.

More like 25-30mins from Byron, Federal is a completely different landscape. You're up high in the mountains surrounded by lush green properties and winding roads. It's completely gorgeous. Although there's not too much to do or see besides the sublime nature, it is home of the BEST breakfast & lunch spot around. Doma. Home of the most delicious Japanese eating, beautiful juices, freshly baked sweets and great coffee – you have to promise me that you'll take the time to hit this spot during your lifetime. It's the best. Cute picnic tables and a pet-friendly lawn surround a little wooden building with a hole in the wall takeaway. Eat in for lazy brunches that warm the heart and hit the spot.

Do you have any favourite haunts around Byron Bay? And how do you go with the crowds – is it just me that gets overwhelmed?

*Shout out to my sister who is the BEST host in the world and totally takes me to all of the best places (including the above) whenever I visit her up north. I'm clearly spoilt, mwah to you Cockles!

Images from visitnsw.com


  1. Yes it is truly beautiful in the Byron hinterland. Can I suggest Bangalow for the most gorgeous shops ever?

  2. I was lucky to be born and grow up in Byron - but now I no longer call it home. Fabulous tourist spot and place to holiday, but to live there it drives you nuts. Traffic madness, no parking, inflated prices, minimal industry and employment (unless it is hospitality based!). I still love to visit though - some of the best beaches and food ever xx

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Thanks so much for your words of encouragement, advice and solidarity.

xo em