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.
Take a stroll around the village and see the many interesting historical sites. St Bartholomew’s Anglican Church built of local sandstone in a unique style is well worth a look. Just south of town, Summerland House Farm is a beautifully maintained working farm, café, nursery and craft shop providing employment for people with disabilities.
If you feel like a sporting activity, why not play 9 holes at the picturesque golf course at Teven. Book a tennis court, play lawn bowls or take the family along to the Olympic swimming pool which is located in a quiet area close to the town centre. Or perhaps you would prefer to find one of the local swimming holes or Killen Falls.
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, Bangalow was one of the most productive dairying areas in the State. 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, and 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 drink at the Bangalow Hotel.
Bangalow is famous for its festivals including the Billy Cart Derby and Xmas Eve Carnival. The renovated A&I 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 annual Bangalow Show in November showcases exceptional camp-drafting, and is not to be missed!
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 Store & Cellars for fresh produce & herbs, tasty selection of breads, dips and spreads, Gyoza and other treats from the freezer to take back to your accommodation to eat later, as well as interesting local products to take home as gifts. Stay awhile and relax at the Clunes Cafe (next door to Store), with an amazing selection of fresh salads and yummy cakes. Wander across the road to the Clunes Heritage Park for a picnic and take in the spectacular views of the valley and distant rolling hills. Special ‘pop-up’ food nights – Thursdays Italian pizza cooked in wood fired oven from 5pm and Mondays and Fridays Gyoza from 5pm. Also try their selection of Japanese beers, and their locally bottled award winning wines of Jilly Wine Co hand made by Jarad Dixon. Jilly Wines is a small batch winemaking company based in Clunes. Each vintage is the culmination of a creative journey, and marks a time and a place of creativity and inspiration that can never be reproduced in the same way. All of the wines are minimal intervention wines, utilising natural yeast, no fining, and zero additives aside from a small amount of sulphur before going to bottle.
Clunes village also has a very interesting 2nd hand book store, as well as a plant shop, garage, hairdresser and butcher. All of these businesses are located in original 1920 timber buildings. 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.
The highlight of Dunoon is picking up some pure honey from the Honey Man’s house which you can’t miss on the main street driving through Dunoon. There is also a general store, bottle shop and sports club. Just up the road, is one of the best swimming areas in the Hinterland at Whian Whian Falls. You simply take Whian Whian Rd, cross the bridge and park on the left. This spot has a great waterfall, jump rock and plenty of pools to swim in on a hot summer’s day.
A picturesque village just off the Lismore-Bangalow road not far from Clunes. The Eltham Hotel is a locals meeting place and serves excellent country meals everyday for lunch or dinner. They have a wide selection of on-tap beers. Also worth a visit for a very tasty lunch or coffee is the Eltham Pantry, located on a working coffee and pecan farm. Patrons are welcome to wander through the pecan orchard, and visit the small pecan precessing factory onsite, and on weekend enjoy a picnic while listening to live music in the gardens.
Enjoy the very picturesque rural countryside as you drive or cycle you way around this stunning area.
Federal is a popular small village in the heart of the Hinterland. Doma Café attracts crowds from far and wide for a delightful breakfast, sushi and amazing burgers. There is also a general store, post office and Moonshine Coffee Roasters who make a great coffee. If you are feeling like a dip, close by is swimming at Keys Bridge.
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. The town also thrives on its eclectric collection of clothing and homewares ranging from new, second hand, recycled and reclaimed!! Market days are always a hit as are the weekly Farmers market every Friday.
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 has something for everyone.
Newrybar is a quaint village just off the freeway and home to Harvest Restaurant & Deli which is one of the most popular dining options in the area. Whether enjoying a long lunch or stopping by for coffee Newrybar is worth a visit and a shop at Newrybar Merchants, a collective of creative local artisans and curators of fine goods.
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. A great place to stop before heading the back way to the Tweed Valley Art Gallery in Murwillumbah or over to Uki and Mt Warning.