Byron Bay Hinterland Towns & Villages
Quaint and unspoiled villages are scattered throughout the Byron Bay hinterland area, many of them unchanged since they were founded at the turn of the century. Well known for their friendly and unassuming attitudes the locals will make you welcome to a part of Australia that is very special to them. Respect their way of life, leave the countryside as you found it, watch for native wildlife and cows on the roads and drive at the leisurely pace suited to the often narrow, winding hinterland lanes.
Originally known as Duck Creek Mountain, the village of Alstonville is situated on the plateau above Ballina and halfway to Lismore. It is a horticultural centre with many farms, orchards and nurseries and is famous for its Tibouchina Trees which line the streets. Alstonville is also known for its rich red volcanic soil producing avocados, macadamia nuts, tropical fruits and coffee.
Alstonville was established by the cedar cutters over a hundred years ago and you can still see a remnant of the “Big Scrub” at Victoria Park where you follow a boardwalk through this sub tropical rainforest.
Alstonville has a number of major events throughout the year including a rodeo and numerous trade fairs and expos at the large community centre. St Bartholomew’s Anglican Church built of local sandstone in a unique style is well worth a look. Just south of town, The House With No Steps is a beautifully maintained working farm, café, nursery and craft shop providing employment for people with disabilities.
Nestled in the rolling hills about 10 minutes drive from Byron Bay is the historic village of Bangalow. Originally settled in the late 1800's it lies almost at the centre of what was one of the most productive areas in the State for dairy products. The village still retains its heritage image with many beautiful, turn of the century buildings in the main street such as Bangalow’s Heritage House.
You can spend an afternoon wandering the main street looking at some of the great specialty shops from exotic Afghan rugs, wonderful kimonos, beautiful Tibetan art or browse… the antique stores and art galleries. You will always find something from the unusual to the unique. Rest up at one of the local café’s and have some locally grown coffee or sit on the verandah and have a cool drink at the Bangalow Hotel.
Bangalow is famous for its festivals including the Billy Cart Derby and Xmas Eve Carnival. The renovated ANI hall has now become the hub of the arts with the Jazz, Classical Music, Mind, Body & Spirit and the Fathers Day Festivals each year. Every Saturday morning the locals gather at the Farmers markets behind the pub to socialise and stock up on the area’s abundant fresh local produce.
The small village of Billinudgel is the home of Humble Pies (a large home baked selection) and Sanctum (skin, body and hair care products). Dominating the small village is the historic Billinudgel Hotel. Check it out for the latest gigs and enjoy a meal in one of Australia’s oldest country pubs.
Famous for its monthly craft market, this pretty village has a heritage listed, renovated butter factory called The Channon Tavern, art gallery, tea house and craft shop. It is close to Terania Creek in the Nightcap National Park and the site of Australia’s first anti-logging protest. Enjoy a picnic and rainforest walk to the spectacular Protestor Falls.
Clunes is 20kms north east of Lismore on the Lismore - Bangalow road. It was where the staging post of the famous north coast dairy industry was first established. Named after an early engineer Robert Clunes, Clunes is a Gaelic word meaning “pleasant place” and it certainly lives up to this meaning. Visit the Clunes General Store or relax and have a coffee at the Clunes Coffee Inn. Wander across the road to the Clunes Heritage Park and take in the spectacular views into the valley and distant rolling hills. There are a couple of interesting shops selling all sort of bric-a-brac. Throughout the village there are some beautiful examples of north coast Federation houses as well as some fine early Australian church architecture.
Crabbes Creek is just off the Tweed Valley Way, the old Pacific Highway, north of Billinudgel. The Crabbes Creek General Store, opened in 1890, still has that old look and hospitality as well as providing every convenience. There are still several dairy and banana farms along Crabbes Creek Road worked by descendants of the early Italian, Macedonian and Chinese farmers. The first Macedonian Hall in Australia was built here. Today the Community Hall is the focus for local, social activities including the big New Year Celebrations which bring residents and tourists to hear live bands, partake of country food and hospitality and enjoy the fireworks.
Crabbes Creek Valley is an oasis for native flora and fauna and there are significant rainforest areas to explore. The creek and its various courses flow directly to the coast. Close by is Wooyung Beach which in earlier days was known as Crabbes Creek Beach.
Dunoon is known as the "Macadamia capital of Australia". The friendly community of Dunoon is conveniently located between Byron Bay, Nimbin and historic Lismore. Dunoon is the gateway to Rocky Creek Dam which supplies drinking water to the area and is a beautiful picnic spot. There is an informative nature walk and boardwalk across the dam wall and into the forest and through wetlands. World Heritage Nightcap National Park is within walking distance. The park is the heart of the Bundjalung nation, particularly the Widjabul people, and there are many sacred sites of cultural significance in the area
A picturesque village just off the Lismore-Bangalow road not far from Clunes. The Eltham Village Gallery & Trading Co is well worth visiting and Eltham Hotel serves excellent country meals everyday for lunch or dinner. Also worth a visit for a tasy lunch or coffee is the Eltham Pantry, located on a working coffee and pecan farm.
Federal is a small village less than 25 minutes drive from Byron Bay, Bangalow and Mullumbimby. Once called Jasper, the village grew after the Big Scrub was felled and over the last few decades new settlers have revitalized the area. Visit the General Store, which really lives up to its name in providing practically everything. A small but welcoming café, Klub Fed, is attached to the store providing great local coffee and good value lunches and breakfasts. You can wander across the road from the store to a wonderful community maintained park with tennis court, picnic tables and a playground for children of all ages. Federal is on the way to Minyon Falls (National Park) with its spectacular views and old logger’s camp at Rummery Park.
Mooball or Mowball as the locals say, is the second town in the Tweed Shire as you drive north on the Tweed Valley Way. You can't miss the Moo Moo Cafe or the entire village - decked out in black and white cowhide patterns. At the historic Victory Hotel you can enjoy a game of tennis, a swim and the restaurant. From Mooball you can travel north to Burringbar and Murwillumbah and the Tweed Valley Art Gallery.
Mullumbimby is known as the "biggest little town" in Australia and is central to the Brunswick Valley. It sits under the watchful eyes of Mt Chincogan. The parks, in particular the Brunswick Valley Heritage Park, alongside the Brunswick River and the landscaped streets of Mullumbimby reflect the sub-tropical rainforest environment of the region from the beach at Brunswick Heads out to Main Arm and the mountains.
Mullumbimby is well-known for its diverse community and alternative lifestyles. The town has a unique country feel and is always a hive of activity with a variety of businesses ranging from the fundamental and organic food stores, indoor and outdoor cafes, restaurants, health and massage clinics to hardware and timber furniture specialists.
It is the home of the Petria Thomas Memorial Swimming Pool. Historically, agriculture and forestry have been of major importance to Mullumbimby's thriving economy and the town's Historical Museum has a great deal of evidence to support this. Mullumbimby has everything and something for everyone.
Situated adjacent to the Pacific Highway 5 minutes South of Bangalow, this pretty little village has a wonderful cafe Harvest perfect for breakfast, lunch or afternoon tea. There is Nurybar Gallery which features regular exhibitions of art works and many Asian artefacts including some amazing larger pieces. Country House Antiques across the road from Harvest is an antique restorer and dealer with a large range of fine & country wares. There is also a General Store/ Bottle Shop.
In the heart of the Byron hinterland, Rosebank offers superb pastoral views of the area with avenues of jacaranda's, magnificent in late October, an abundant birdlife and a quaint village shop and meeting place. Great efforts have been made in reafforestation of the area and it is an excellent stop off point before visiting the National Parks and waterfalls in the area.
is north along the Tweed Valley Way (the old Pacific Highway) and takes its name from a local family and the old banana railway siding that runs through the area. The major attraction is The Pottery which houses the stunning works of Bob Connery as well as local artists. Lovers of the V W will find a dedicated garage for the people's car and the station siding has been converted into a small general store and rest stop.