One of the main attractions of the NSW Northern Rivers and Coastal Region is, of course, the world renowned Byron Bay. Byron has changed significantly over the years, progressing from a once sleepy, hippy surf town into one of the trendiest, most popular destinations in NSW. In fact, celeb spotting in the town is now a must do! While you are there, be sure to find yourself a seat with a view in one the many flourishing cafes or restaurants, kick up your feet and keep your eyes peeled. You never know which famous face you might spot casually going about their day!
To truly experience all the beauty that Byron has to offer you can’t beat taking to the skies in a hot air balloon, jumping on your bike for a ride along the beaches at Ballina or trying a spot of beachside yoga as the sunrise pops her smiling face out against the backdrop of the iconic Cape Byron Lighthouse. After immersing myself in all of these activities, I can truly see why so many people are making the pilgrimage to Byron and the Northern Rivers region. The crystal clear beaches and the green rolling hills of the surrounding areas are not only the perfect spot for an amazing getaway but from every vantage point, Byron allows you to soak up some of the most picturesque landscapes in NSW. Then there’s the incredible local produce. Spend an afternoon taking in all that the Northern Rivers has to offer by dining at Three Blue Ducks at The Farm Byron Bay for a ‘paddock to plate’ style lunch. While enjoying the local hospitality and freshness of the cuisine, choose a regional NSW wine from the menu to embellish the moment.
As I quickly learned, there is so much more to the Northern Rivers than just the bay and after leaving Byron my mission was to explore as much of the area as possible. Straight away I was blown away by the beautiful drive and ever changing scenery – from the macadamia tree plantations to the stunning mountain backdrops to the sky blue ocean coastline. And whether you are after something to get the blood pumping or something a little more relaxed, I discovered that the Northern Rivers has something for everyone.
For the adrenalin junkies you can’t go past a helicopter ride around Wollumbin- Mount Warning. Just between you and me, a little bit of locally grown and harvested ‘Dutch courage’ certainly doesn’t go astray before your flight! For anyone who has never been in a chopper before, nor seen the beautiful Northern Rivers from those dizzying heights, you cannot imagine a greater way to take in the mountain and its surrounds.
Other local activities that got my blood pumping included taking a surf lesson in Kingscliff and a sunrise kayak on the Tweed River. I definitely recommend a bacon and egg roll post kayak! Or if a land adventure is more your style then definitely stop by Killen Falls. The 10 minute walk to the bottom is well worth the sometimes narrow trail and there is something truly magical about being completely surrounded by cascading water once you reach the bottom.
For something less adrenalin charged, spend some time browsing the aisles and meeting the locals, both two and four legged, at the local artisan stores in Newrybar. Whether you are after a coffee or vintage cushion you will certainly find that perfect purchase in this eclectic collection of arts and crafts. And how about a trip to the Tweed Regional Gallery and Margaret Olley Art Centre? As the name suggests there is an exceptional collection of works to view plus the world famous recreation of Margaret Olley’s house which really needs to be seen to be believed. Grab a cuppa at the café, take up your spot out on the deck and soak up the sun on your face.
Speaking of cuppas, I highly recommend heading to Lismore institution “Flock Espresso & Eats,” ordering a takeaway (and don’t by shy to grab something sweet while you are there!) and wandering through the neighbouring lanes filled with local outdoor artwork and murals. Just be sure to leave some room in your schedule, and your tummy, for the most incredible pecan pie you will ever try fresh out of the oven at Eltham Valley Pantry.
If you are around on a Wednesday be sure to make time to visit Nimbin Farmers’ Markets. Colourful, vibrant, crazy, energetic, buzzing Nimbin. Just be a little cautious about eating anything they offer you fresh out of the oven there!
You really must experience the Northern Rivers for yourself. There’s a range of accommodation options in the region and booking was easy using the HotelsCombined app.