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My Byron Bay Bucket List

balloon_pano

Byron Bay is many things to many people. A place where you can forget that rest of the world exists and allow yourself to let go. A place for people who want to look back on their lives and say “I am so glad I did that” rather than “I wish I had the courage to….”. So right now, as you read this, take a moment to decide what you want your future self to be saying as we give you our version of the must-do Byron Bay Bucket List, and if you come and stay with us here at First Sun Holiday Park we’ll do all that we can to make sure you can tick off all of these and perhaps a few more of your own…

Learn To Surf and Catch a Wave

This is a big one for so many people and while you could learn to surf in many locations around the globe, there is nowhere on earth more suited to the beginner surfer than Byron Bay. Safely protected by the ‘Bay’, the waves are generally clean and glassy and the perfect size for learners. With surf culture and salt water in the veins of locals, there is a swag of surf schools ready and waiting to take you and a group of your best friends from the sand to the swell and make it fun. Byron Bay Surf SchoolStyle Surfing and Black Dog Surf Schools are just a few of the biggest names all with great reputations. Find an opening and get paddling because all year round our gorgeous subtropical climate and warm waters are surf ready.

TIP: If you graduate and head out on your own make sure to stick to surfer’s code and respect for other surfers. There are many signs around the beaches to help you out on this or ask one of the locals and stay safe. Take it easy and ALWAYS have others with you.

Watch the Sunrise from Minyon Falls

If you’re an early riser or a ‘party all-nighter’ your chances of catching a Byron Bay sunrise are pretty good. However an even greater miracle is waiting for you in the lush forest of the Byron hinterland. Minyon Falls in the Nightcap National Park is a vertical drop waterfall that plummets 100m to its base. Be prepared to feel 100 feet tall and so tiny and humble – all in one split second – as the sun starts to peep over the lip of the valley below at sunrise. This is a magic place that will touch you forever.

Tip: You’ll need to be up early to make the 45 minute drive to the falls before sunrise. But for first timers we recommend you give yourself at least 1 hour to travel in safety. Dirt roads will greet you toward the end of your journey so please DO NOT speed. Alternatively seek out a guided tour with folks such as Byron Bay Adventure Tours or Vision Walks who will take you there and back again!

Soaring Balloon Flight 

Soar up and away and be truly awed by the diversity and colours of Byron Bay. No other experience in Byron Bay will allow you to see the coast and the hinterland, the forest and the beach all at once with the peace of floating on a cloud. Include a champagne breakfast with someone incredible and you have the kind of pinnacle moment that could not only be ticked off your bucket list but could be one of the most romantic of your life. Ballooning in Byron is an experience like no other.

TIP: Plan ahead and be prepared to be a little flexible if the weather conditions are not quite right.

Kayaking with Dolphins

Imagine the excitement and the cool spray of the ocean against your face as you paddle out across one of the most iconic Bays in the world. Suddenly you see a fin break the surface. Don’t panic! You’re about to encounter one of Byron Bay’s happiest residents – not Tommy Franklin, a dolphin. Wildlife encounters always rate highly on a must-do list, but dolphins are genuinely keen to encounter us too. A kayak adventure on the water will bring you close up to the pod and often a whole swathe of other marine life. Cape Byron Marine Reserve is a protected haven for turtles, rays and of course during May to October the giants of the deep – the humpback whales. Go Sea Kayak Byron Bay and Cape Byron Kayaks offer guided paddles that the whole family can enjoy.

TIP: Sun safety is a must, even on cloudy days as you’ll get a double dose of the rays from above and the reflection off the water.

Byron Bay can be the place you let your wildest dreams come to life. A little stay is all it takes to make the difficult days we all have that little bit easier to get through. Find out how a getaway at First Sun Holiday Park could spark your inspiration to live a life that’s full to the brim with experiences!

On the Food Trail in Byron Bay and the Hinterland

The Barossa and Hunter Valley, Margaret River and Tasmania have long been renowned as the ultimate Australian foodie destinations, but the gloriously fertile volcanic soils and a resurgence in organic and slow cooked foods have now lifted Byron Bay and the hinterland of the Northern Rivers high on the list of “must-taste” holiday spots.

Blessed with scenic beauty, quaint cottage industries and a swag of ex-city chefs, Byron Bay and the surrounding hinterland has a unique blend of venues, food events and gourmet delights just begging to be sourced, sampled and taken home. Read on and savour our guide to the ripest and juiciest local food in the Byron region!

 

Local Farmers’ Market

The first point of call for any foodie interested in tasting the best and freshest of a region is to hit the local farmers’ market, and the Byron region is no exception. Be prepared to load up as the range and quality you’ll find is second to none. Prime organic fruits and veggies, cheeses, olives, nuts, lovingly made condiments and expertly distilled liqueurs all with the essence of the region can be gathered here.

• Byron Bay Farmers’ Market – Every Thursday, Butler Street Reserve, 8-11am
• New Brighton Farmers’ Market – Every Tuesday, New Brighton Oval, 8-11am
• Bangalow Farmers’ Market – Every Saturday, Bangalow Hotel Car Park, 8-11am
• Lismore Farmers’ Market – Every Saturday, Lismore Showground, 8-11am

 

Harvest Cafe & Deli, Newrybar

Imagine the smells of freshly baked pastries and sourdough bread, local coffee and sumptuous seasonal foods, all nestled in the midst of a picturesque historic village, and you have Harvest. History, passion for food and sustainable living are all part of the Harvest experience. Breakfast, lunch or dinner your yearnings for organic and locally produced food (most of which is grown in their own gorgeous gardens), will be satisfied here. Located in the darling little village of Newrybar, Harvest is less than a 15 minute drive from the First Sun Holiday Park and you must not leave the shire without visiting this local gem. If you’re planning on visiting Harvest Cafe on the weekend, during summer or on a public holiday, we highly recommend you call and reserve a table to avoid disappointment. Phone: (02) 6687 2644.

harvest3

harvest2

 

Sample Food Festival

September brings spring and the much-loved ‘Sample Food Festival’. Now in its 4th year, the Sample Food Festival is a colourful celebration of all things food and is held in the historical Bangalow showgrounds. Attracting top chefs from around the country and the best of the region’s gourmet producers, chefs and restaurateurs this is your chance to indulge, taste, try and simply delight in the heady pleasures of eating great food with good friends. Tasting plates and stalls are all in abundance, along with special dinner events, cooking workshops and much more. The Sample Food Festival is on early September each year, the perfect excuse to slip away for a weekend in Byron Bay. Our glamping safari style tents would make the perfect foodies retreat to bring back your gathered goodies and relax with a platter and drink beside the sea.Click here for more information.

sample

 

 

Say Cheese Please

If relaxing with platters and cheese plates is your idea of holiday heaven then you must seek out the cheese makers of the Northern Rivers. Byron Bay Cheese Co’s ‘Nashua Washed Rind’ and ‘Brooklet Brie’ are 2 stunning varieties; and for lovers of all things blue Nimbin Valley Dairy produce decadent and piquant blue goats cheese that will blow your mind. Both are stocked in a number of delis around Byron Bay and at the Byron Bay Farmers’ Market.

 

Top of the Class

Or if making your own cheese features on your bucket list, why not include a cheese making course as part of your stay. ‘Cheeses Loves You’ in Burringbar offers a range of courses in cheese making, as does Peppertree Kitchen in Lismore which offers cheese making plus other gourmet cooking classes in their custom made cooking school above their delightful kitchen shop and tea house.

cookingclass

shop

 

Espresso Yourself

The local subtropical climate and rich red soils have leant themselves perfectly for coffee growing, which has led to an industry of award-winning coffee producers. Many of Byron Bay’s cafes proudly support this industry and serve freshly brewed local coffee. Byron Bay Coffee Company is a well-known brand but Zentveld’s, Newrybar Coffee, Ewingsdale Coffee and Mountain Top Coffee from Nimbin are just a few of the other outstanding players who all brew a great cup! If tea is your thing then Byron Bay Tea Company teas combine the finest teas and herbal blends for that perfect relaxing ‘ahhh…’ moment that comes from a cup at the end of a day of exploring. Find them stocked at many stores around the region including ‘Baz and Shaz Fruit and Veg’ right here in Suffolk Park. Or take in the sights, sounds and smells of tea cultivating and manufacturing at the Madura Tea Plantation, Murwillumbah. You can book a one hour tour of Australia’s only sub-tropical tea plantation every Tuesday and Thursday from 10am. Bookings are essential – call (02) 6670 6000.

 

Sweet, savoury, organic and delicious the food trail which meanders from Byron through the hinterland and around the Northern Rivers is a smorgasbord of delights. Along with our suggestions, exploration will be the essential ingredient to getting the most from your foodie escapade and we haven’t even mentioned the amazing array of eateries. Why not book a foodie getaway today and come taste the flavours of Byron Bay. Mmmmmm….

 

Top 10 Tips for Camping With Kids

In Australia most of us have memories of childhood camping trips and adventures in the great outdoors. For some it’s long weeks of bare feet, sun and sand at the beach and sleeping under the stars, for other it might be the memory of riding bikes, making some new friends and eating ice cream and marshmallows. But some things are for sure, they nearly all involve the simple pleasure of being together as a family and being surrounded by those you love. Because the truth is kids mostly remember the feelings more so than the details and what seems ordinary to adults can be wondrous, exciting and amazing to a child.

So if you’ve never had the opportunity to take your kids camping (or your last attempt was disastrous and left you vowing never, never again) let our guide to camping with kids inspire you to set off on your own camping adventure and create some new family memories.

1. Choosing Your Location

Before you trek off, stop and consider how experienced you and your kids are at camping. Decide ahead of time what facilities you want and what luxuries you are prepared to do without. Pitch a tent, bring a van or unhitch your caravan.

2. Make a List and Check it Twice (with the Kids)

This technique doesn’t just work for Santa, it makes sense and can be a fun way to get everyone involved in preparing and thinking about your family holiday. It’s the small things that are often more important and they make a HUGE difference to your comfort and happiness once you arrive. Getting kids to have their own backpack also helps them think about what they need.

Some must-haves include:

  • Sunscreen and insect repellent
  • Esky for cold food
  • Hand sanitiser
  • Torches for everyone
  • Marshmallows + healthy snacks
  • Bottled drinking water
  • Multiple changes of clothes (kids have a habit of getting wet and filthy in the blink of an eye)
  • Warm clothes (it can always get cold)
  • Plastic zip lock bags for wet clothes and various collected “treasures” from the beach
  • Closed-in shoes – for bush walking, bike riding etc.
  • Thongs
  • Bikes
  • Card games
  • Lots of towels
  • Beach toys

3. Fun, Healthy Food

Little bodies playing all day need good fuel to keep them going. Camping is the perfect time to make healthy food fun and easy. Try simple recipes that the kids can be involved in preparing like damper, spuds cooked in foil, baked beans, fresh fruit salad, a trail mix of seeds, nuts and dried fruit and veggie ‘snack packs’ of cut up carrot, cucumber, celery and cherry tomatoes. As with everything, moderation is the key – so make sure you do include some fun treats like marshmallows or pancakes.

4. Helpers Hats On

Kids are great helpers and love to feel they are part of the whole experience. Choosing a campsite, sweeping the tent site, washing up pots and carrying the torch are just some of the jobs that you can get kids to do. Not only does this keep them out of mischief it helps build essential life skills. Feeling part of the family decisions also lets them experience responsibility with your guiding hands for reassurance. Many hands make light work so it will also remind them gently that Mum and Dad are here to have some fun and relax too.

5. I’m bored!

If camping and the outdoors is brand new to your kids and they are pining for their iPods or devices, then be patient. The whinging and whining will pass especially if they see you getting in and trying new things. Swimming, fishing, bike riding, bird watching and bush walking are the obvious camping things to do, but think outside the box and invent your own list of outdoor games and fun. Set up a treasure hunt with clues, invent stories about the pirates and dinosaurs that used to live at your camp site (this will spark a wave of imagination and a host of games), bring a small pack of pencils and a blank sketch book and encourage your “little artists” to draw what they see and hear around them, explore rock pools and creeks, go bug catching, build sand castles, fly kites on the beach, get up early and watch the sunrise over the ocean…the list is endless.

6. Keep it Clean, Keep it Green

Keeping your campsite clean and organised will not only help things go smoothly, it will also teach your children the importance of protecting our environment. Have clearly designated rubbish bags or recycling buckets and have regular clean ups where the family work together. Discuss the animals and plants that call the area home and how they would feel if you left rubbish about and destroyed their home. Being a good camper involves caring about the world we live in.

7. Rain Rain Go Away

So you’ve planned your family camping getaway for months, the time has finally arrived and low and behold down comes the rain. All is not lost. If you’re well prepared with spare clothes let the kids go out and get wet. The feeling of summer rain, giggling and running free will stay with them always. Clothes, hair and towels can all be dried. If you’ve chosen to stay at First Sun Holiday Park you will be grateful, as having undercover eating areas, washing machines and the “real world” just minutes away can keep your sanity intact and with so much to do in Byron Bay the family is guaranteed to still have a great time. Click here to read our guide on things to do in Byron Bay. 

8. Take Baby Camping

Many mums are put off by camping while babies are small, but if you are well prepared it can actually be a very rewarding experience for mum, dad and bub alike. The peace and quiet of nature can often sooth restless babies and when the food source is mum you can travel light. Choosing a campsite not too far from town with good facilities can also help if anything goes astray.

9. Don’t be Afraid of Dirt

Dirt is part and parcel with any camping adventure, but it need not mean a constant state of panic for mum if you remember that dirt means FUN! Relax a little while you are away even if you love having your children and home spotlessly and germ free. Allowing kids a healthy dose of outside play including dirt, sand, sunshine and fresh air is good for them and helps kids build a resistance to bugs and illnesses.

10. Record Your Experience

When you return home, the gear is packed away and the washing is all done, take some time to relive the fun with your kids by creating a camping book or journal. Include pictures you have taken, maps, stories and mementos. Also make a list of things you realised you needed but forgot, some fun facts you learnt and start planning your next trip! With school-age kids it’s important to book early as many holiday parks fill up quickly over the school holidays.

Looking for accommodation these school holidays? Plan ahead and book your accommodation NOW. Places fill fast and we want you here for all the fun! 

Top Tips for a Byron Bay Family “Glamping” Getaway

You want to take the family on a Byron Bay holiday with all the sights, sounds and feelings of being close to nature? You want to relax, take your time and soak up the culture of being free and to take each day as it rolls? You want to be comfortable and indulge in some of life’s little luxuries without all the hard work of setting up a campsite? Then you want to go GLAMPING – and with our helpful tips you’ll get back to nature without sacrificing any of your creature comforts!

1. Less Is More (work that is)

When it comes to glamping in Byron Bay, the less you have to do the better. Book ready-to-go accommodation such as our safari tents or self-contained cabins. These good glamping options can provide you with kitchen facilities, bathrooms, bedding with linen and more! All you need to do is bring the family! Click here to view all our beachfront accommodation options.

2. Location Is Everything

Whether you love the beach, the hinterland or the forest, location is everything and Suffolk Beachfront Holiday Park is located a handy 5 minutes from the centre of Byron Bay and only a short drive from the Byron Hinterland. Bush walking, biking, fishing, swimming and surfing all heighten the glamping experience and by having them close at hand, you and your family will be encouraged to get active together, creating lifelong memories.

nimbin

3. Get The Right Gear

There are so many amazing glamping accessories to be found and you really ought to set aside some time prior to your holiday for a fun shopping trip. From those found at traditional outdoor and adventure stores to stylish vintage glamour pieces. Gone are the days when spending time in the great outdoors meant going without the comforts of home. Some essentials to look for include picnic wear and baskets, luxurious small rugs and throws and classic retro cases and glass wear.

Great Fishing

4. Going Gourmet

Fine food and wine compliment every glamping experience and you’re spoilt for choice when staying in Byron Bay. There is no shortage of excellent fresh local produce and cuisine available all year round which you can buy pre-prepared, or try gathering a delicious bounty of ingredients from the local farmers markets. We can also recommend stopping off at some of these locations to find exactly what it is you’ve been craving – for authentic Asian foods including superb yum cha and dumplings you can’t go past Red Ginger on Jonson Street. Those of you who love deli delights will need to include a visit to Citrus, the ultimate delicatessen also on Jonson Street. Locals and tourists alike all love the Green Garage in Tennyson Street for all things fresh and local.

farmers-market

5. The Special Touches

Every holiday can be made even more special by having a few surprises and delights arranged for ahead of time. In Byron Bay the choice of options is incredible. An adventure tour or experience is easy to arrange online before you come. We can recommend some amazing options for you like Byron Bay Adventure Tours who operate a range of tours to suit all ages, Byron Bay Ballooning for a lofty look at the natural beauty of this area or arrange for a Gourmet Byron Bay Hamper to be delivered directly to your glampsite.

at-the-markets

6. Remember To Have Fun

Style, accessories, food and luxury are all important parts of glamping but not at the expense of having fun and enjoying your beautiful family time. Glamping is about brining all the elements of comfort together to create the best of all worlds combined into one. If you can’t find marinated goats curd then relax – it’s better to get some Greek fetta from the supermarket than to turn into “Glampzilla”.

7. Capture The Moments

Happy snaps are a staple of all family holidays, but with awe-inspiring Byron Bay scenery you will want to let your inner photographer run wild and free. Fully inspired, relaxed and armed with a plethora of magazine-worthy images, it’s now time to add your family Byron Bay glamping interlude to your blog, Facebook, Instagram or other fav social media site. Share your glamorous time away including your glamping ideas, creativity and newly honed ‘mobile’ interior design skills with family and friends!

Gold Coast to Byron Bay Road Trip – Tomewin Mountain Magic

Driving to Byron Bay from the Gold Coast goes together like bacon and eggs but it’s truly amazing how many paths can get you there. This itinerary leads you through the majestic Gold Coast Hinterland via the Currumbin Valley and Tomewin before winding down to Murwillumbah and returning to the coast at Byron Bay. We’ll cover some of the top spots to include, but as this region is a treasure trove of natural wonders and places to stop we think you may need to visit more than once to truly experience all there is to see and do.

Leave the highway and get on to Currumbin Creek Road at the southern end of the Gold Coast. In a matter of minutes you will be in the hinterland winding your way up into the mountains. One thing that will hit you along this entire journey is the brilliant green formed by both lush rainforest and fertile farming land which leaves little question as to why this region is known as “The Green Cauldron”. Scattered along this way are some truly beautiful opportunities to stop, breathe and cool down. Babbling creeks running with crystal clean water, quaint coffee and gift shops and BBQ and picnic areas abound. Watch for the signs to our top picks:

Nicholls Scrub National Park – Great for families with birdlife including geese and ducks for feeding.

Currumbin Rock Pools – Pack your swimmers and BBQ goodies for these natural pools loved by locals for cooling off over the summer months.

Follow the signs onto Tomewin Mountain Road to begin your climb up and over the next valley. The air becomes fresher as you climb and get closer to the NSW border and it is here you will find an icon of mountain life and the most scenic place to buy fruit anywhere – Freeman’s Fruit Stall. Run by the 4th generation of the Freeman family you can pick up fresh organic produce for the road, grown in the fertile volcanic mountain soil.  The Arthur Freeman Lookout on the QLD side of the border and Elliot Gruner Lookout on the NSW side of the border let you see the entire scope of this ancient landscape from the Gold Coast down to the Tweed and offer views that are truly awe inspiring.

freemans-fruit-stall

Pass through the historic town of Tomewin, and take a pitstop at the Red Rattlers Gallery. This gorgeous cafe and gallery is filled with local arts and crafts and is built in two vintage 1928 rail carriages affectionately known as “red rattlers”. Stop for coffee or browse for gifts to take home. Then it’s full steam ahead as the road descends from the mountains and enters the pioneer sugar cane and banana growing town of Murwillumbah. The heart of the Tweed Valley, its unique blend of eateries and galleries is mixed with old fashioned country charm. You could easily spend a few hours browsing and soaking up the atmosphere or just lazing beside the river with a view of Mt Warning in the distance. The Rainforest Information Centre is home to a unique panoramic display expertly painted by local artists that offers visitors a 360 degree simulation of the view from the top of Mt Warning.

Leaving Murwillumbah you’ll head towards Byron Bay via Moobal and the Burringbar Range. This was the original highway but is now a scenic drive that takes you back to the true essence of the Northern Rivers and away from the freeway. The Moo Moo Café in Moobal is very hard to miss with its cow print exterior and is a cute spot to make one last stop before your destination.

Arrive in Byron Bay with a sense of satisfaction that you’ve just unlocked some of South East QLD and Northern NSW’s hidden secrets. Then make the most of this great journey with a stress free stay so close to beach you can hear the waves. But there’s no hurry AND you can always take the scenic road home!

Byron Bay Lighthouse – Everything You Need To Know!

It’s one of Byron Bay’s most iconic images, a must-do tourist attraction and a great whale watching spot, but the Byron Bay Lighthouse is also a working wonder and the brightest lighthouse of its kind in the southern hemisphere. Be ‘illuminated’ by our celebration, tribute and guide to visiting Australia’s most eastern, and arguably, most beautiful lighthouse.

Byron Bay Lighthouse

Whale Watching

The Byron Bay Lighthouse is a marvellous place for seeing the humpback whales on their annual migration, so it’s no coincidence that one of the original lighthouse precinct buildings is also home to the Southern Cross University Whale Research Centre. The official whale watching season is May to late October and the Cape Byron headland is the place to view these majestic creatures as they surface, breach and glide on past. Humpback whales like to travel close to the shoreline, and from late winter onwards it’s not uncommon to watch baby humpback calves and their mothers playing in the water – a memory you will keep to the end of your days!

Tip: Also keep an eye out for turtles and dolphins, which can be spotted playing in the waves around the base of the Cape Byron Headland.

Going Loopy

When you’re staying in Byron Bay you can’t leave without having done at least one leg, if the not the entire Cape Byron Loop Walk. With the Byron Bay Lighthouse at its peak, meander your way around this 3.7km of walking tracks, boardwalks, resting points and beach paths that all have one thing in common – postcard views of the coastline around the bay. The Pass Cafe is a great place to kick-start your walk with a light breakfast and a coffee (or two) before you hit the track. On your return, reward yourself with a swim at The Pass beach – one of Byron’s most beautiful beaches.

Tip: On your walk, keep a look out for wallabies, bush turkeys and a vast variety of sea birds that all call the Cape Byron Headland home.

Step Inside

You’re welcome to visit the lighthouse 364 days of the year and if you’ve ever been curious about how it feels to be a lighthouse keeper then why not find out! For a small gold coin donation you can be taken on an insider’s tour of the lighthouse and wind your way up the spiral staircase to enjoy the 360 degree views from the top. Operating between 10am and 3pm, tours leave every 20 minutes each day (except Christmas Day) from the Cape Byron Information Centre located a few meters from the lighthouse itself. You’ll also find a kiosk serving great local coffee and snacks along with public facilities and information boards about Cape Byron and the lighthouse. To get there, drive up along Lighthouse Road or go by foot using the Cape Byron Loop Walk.

Tip: If you’re planning on driving, please be aware there is a $7 parking fee.

Once a Danger Now Safe

Look above the cedar doorway of the Byron Bay Lighthouse and you’ll see the Latin phrase Olim periculum-nunc salus which translated means “Once a danger now safe” and is a permanent testament to the important task the lighthouse has performed since the beginning of the 20th century. This phrase is also carved onto Cape Byron’s sister lighthouse The Norah Head Lighthouse on the NSW Central Coast. Popular with onlookers from the first lighting on 1st December 1901, there are now over 500,000 visitors each year to the Cape Byron Lighthouse precinct.

5 Interesting Facts about Byron Bay Lighthouse

    • The lighthouse lens is 2 meters in diameter, weighs 8 tonnes and contains 760 pieces of prismatic glass
    • The light flashes every 15 seconds and continually revolves even throughout the day when the light itself is out
    • Standing tall, the lighthouse is 23 meters to the top of the lantern
    • The very last lighthouse keeper was retired in 1989 when the lighthouse became fully automated
    • A herd of mountain goats once inhabited the cliffs around the lighthouse, but were relocated in the 1990’s to protect the fragile coastal cliffs (except for the infamous ‘Wategoat’ – a lone female goat who has been on the run ever since.)

If you’re longing to visit Byron Bay and its iconic Byron Bay Lighthouse then the accommodation options here at Suffolk Beachfront Holiday Park are a great starting point for your exploration and we’re always on hand to give you any extra information you may need. We look forward to welcoming you soon.

Road Trip from Brisbane to Byron Bay – The Road Less Travelled

Are you the kind of person that loves the journey as much as the destination? Then why not make your next adventure a road trip to Byron Bay from Brisbane – but with a difference! Unleash your inner explorer by veering away from the coast road and travel along the lesser travelled Mt Lindsay Highway and onto Lions Road and Rainforest Way before continuing through to Byron Bay.

If you have never discovered this amazing and unique part of Northern NSW then you haven’t truly discovered everything this colourful and pristine region has to offer. Come with us as we guide you through this adventure and share just some of the highlights and “must see” places to stay or stop along the way.

Which Way from Brisbane to Byron Bay?

Program your GPS and head off the M2 Ipswich/Toowoomba Motorway through Logan and onto the Mt Lindsay Highway. As you enjoy the picturesque rural landscape you’ll find yourself passing some of the many horse studs, wineries and cattle properties along the way. You’ll already be starting to get the feeling that this is a new experience from the coast road. Your first leg should take you around 55 minutes.

Beaudesert

beaudesert

Picture credit: Scenic Rim Escapes

As you enter rural and rustic Beaudesert you get an immediate sense of its agricultural history. Part of South East Queensland’s “scenic rim”, this town is a springboard for exploring a host of nature, food and art trails. You may also be interested to learn that Beaudesert is one of the most popular places in Australia for hot air ballooning. Stop for a break or put together a picnic for the coming drive. As a starting point to find out more about what’s available to see and do here you can visit the Beaudesert Tourism or Scenic Rim Escapes websites.

http://www.beaudeserttourism.com.au/
http://scenicrimescapes.com.au/

Nature and History Surround You

Leaving Beaudesert behind the journey South continues along the Mt Lindsay Highway and the kaleidoscope of colours is breathtaking as the terrain changes to incorporate rugged valleys and rock formations. As you begin to climb the McPherson Range the winding road will lead you through areas of eucalypt forest, lush rainforest and mountain heath all with their own unique beauty and wildlife.

Tip: There are many charming picnic areas and lookouts dotted along this road so keep an open eye and be prepared to stop so you can revive and truly take in the beauty of this area. Our top pick is Captain Logan’s Lookout in the historic village of Rathdowney.

While you are there make sure you include a stop off at the adorable Information Centre and Historical Museum, open every day of the year (except Christmas Day). Take advantage of their local knowledge, pick up maps and unearth the history of the region. Rathdowney is also host to the unique Heritage Festival and Bush Poetry Competition held in March.

historical-museum

National Parks

At this point of the journey it should be becoming clear why you’re travelling along what’s known at the Rainforest Way. With the Mt Barney and Border Ranges National Park on either side you now have access to some of the most pristine wilderness in Australia. We recommend you check out both the QLD and NSW National Parks websites for advice on the many recreation and camping areas nestled around the two parks and for any warnings or bush fire advice.

Mt Barney National Park: http://www.nprsr.qld.gov.au/parks/mount-barney/
Border Ranges National Park: http://www.nationalparks.nsw.gov.au/border-ranges-national-park/travel-info

 

The Lions Road and Border Loop Railway

Follow the signs from Rathdowney and snake your way along to experience two marvels of engineering and human endeavour. The Lions Road is a scenic shortcut through the Richmond Gap built in the early 70’s. In a massive community effort led by the Lion’s clubs of Kyogle and Beaudesert they created this amazing stretch of road that will take you through some unforgettable scenery. It is here that you will cross the Border from Queensland into New South Wales and come upon one of the most extraordinary lookouts that is a favourite of train buffs from around the globe. Here nestled amongst the forest is the vantage point for viewing the Border Loop Railway. As you look down upon the railway line winding around and through the mountain twice, you cannot help but marvel at the skill and dedication of the 1500 men who worked to build this essential link to connect Brisbane the rest of the nation for both goods and passenger trains. Take the short bush walk (suitable for all levels) or have a BBQ and smell the forest air as you look down along the valley toward your next stop Kyogle.

Tip: To find out train times call 132 232 for the best chance of seeing the track in action.

Kyogle

A bustling and vibrant country town with a friendly atmosphere, Kyogle (which is the indigenous word for place of the Bush Turkey) is a great spot to grab a bite to eat spend some time and explore its many outlying villages. A must see here is the The Roxy Galley a home some stunning works from talented local artists with changing feature exhibitions. If your timing is right you may also include gathering some fresh local produce the Famers Markets held every Saturday morning 8am to 12 noon.

http://www.visitkyogle.com.au/

Nimbin

It’s an enjoyable and scenic 40 minute drive from Kyogle to the iconic and world-famous village of Nimbin. With its colourful alternative atmosphere, and bustling community it is an essential part of any visit to the Northern Rivers region, especially when your ultimate destination is Byron Bay. Feel the pace slow to what’s known locally as “Nimbin time” and be immersed in the laid back counter culture. Allow yourself time to browse and shop for souvenirs as there are many artisan shops, stalls and handmade trinkets available all with a uniquely Nimbin feel. Taste the flavours of the region in one of the many cafes, or put together a range of local and organic delights available along the main street.

http://www.visitnimbin.com.au/

TIP: Watch out for the many honesty boxes and roadside stalls selling freshly grown local and often organic produce. Delicious!

nimbin

Your Byron Bay Destination Awaits

As you descend from the mountains and enter the township of Byron Bay you can enjoy the wave of elation and sea breeze that will meet you. Most importantly you can look forward to the many awaiting adventures along with the diverse range of eateries, entertainment and natural beauty on offer here in “the bay”. And if you’ve chosen to stay with us here at the Suffolk Beach Holiday Park you can relax knowing you have the perfect beachside accommodation with everything you need. If you haven’t booked your stay yet – then what are you waiting for!

Click here and start planning to hit the road.

South East Queensland to Byron Bay Road Trip

Last month we took you on a road trip from Sydney to Byron Bay along The Legendary Pacific Coast. This month we reverse directions and discover what’s on offer from Brisbane to Byron Bay – the perfect escape for a weekend getaway. Click here to visit our Accommodation page or click here to visit our Accommodation Specials page! 

Historic Town of Murwillumbah

With its picturesque streets, federation buildings, magnificent shady trees and meandering river, Murwillumbah has all the charm and character of a quintessential country town. Spend a morning looking for antiques, browsing home ware stores, visiting the Tweed River Art Gallery and of course – enjoying some great eating. For an authentic 50’s diner experience, check out the Austral Cafe with its vintage booth seats, traditional roast lunches and great coffee and cakes.

Go Green!

Murwillumbah is located beneath the awe-inspiring Mt Warning, which is part of the Wollumbin National Park and the Gondwana rainforests. The park is accessed 12km south-west of Murwillumbah off Kyogle Road. Captain Cook named Mount Warning, but to the Aboriginal community it is a sacred place known as Wollumbin. Enjoy a picnic or walk the Lyrebird Track which winds through the lush subtropical rainforest.

Border Rangers National Park is also accessible from Murwillumbah. Follow the Kyogle Road west to Lillian Rock and turn right onto Williams Road. From Kyogle, travel 15km north along the Summerland Way to Wiangaree and then turn right onto Lynchs Creek Road. Experience spectacular views across the Wollumbin National Park, Mt Warning and the Gondwana rainforests as well as rainforest walks, picnic areas and campgrounds. Travel around the national park by taking the Tweed Range Scenic Drive.

Beautiful & Historic Village Market

Only a short drive from Mount Warning through the countryside of green hills and along the gentle flowing river is the wonderful hinterland village of Uki. On the 3rd Sunday of the month the town comes alive with the Uki Buttery Bazaar markets, which is a kaleidoscope of food, music, fashion, art and hand-made goods! When you’re finished browsing, the town is well worth a visit. A true regional treasure.

Beach & Creek Swimming

For beach lovers, there are so many great spots to enjoy along the way from Brisbane to Byron Bay. Four of our favourites are Snapper Rocks Coolangatta, Norrie’s Head Cabarita Beach, Pottsville and Brunswick Heads.

Snapper Rocks is a very popular surfing beach with classic, long, easy right-hander waves making it popular with locals and visitors alike. If you are looking for less crowds then head further south to Norrie’s Head Cabarita Beach. Located on the coast road, the small township of Cabarita fronts onto a long open stretch of beach which is ideal for swimming, fishing, boating, canoeing and surfing. If you’re looking for calm waters for the kids, then take a break at Pottsville and enjoy a splash in the Mooball Creek. Finally make a stop at the tranquil coastal town of Brunswick Heads, 20 minutes north of Byron Bay. Not only will you enjoy a great surfing beach and a beautiful riverbank, Brunswick Heads also has the added bonus of the iconic Brunswick Heads Hotel with a large outdoor beer garden, great pub food and live music.

Cuddle A Koala!

Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary is a must visit destination on the Gold Coast and offers visitors the chance to cuddle a koala, pat a kangaroo and is home to the original wild Lorikeet feeding. Set amongst 27 hectares of rainforest, this place is a delightful way to spend the day.

Soak Up Some Art

Set high on a rural hilltop, the Tweed River Art Gallery and cafe offers breathtaking views across the Tweed River. A variety of exhibitions are presented in six spaces and range from contemporary to historical works. The gallery’s extensive collection of Australian portraits, prints and other works are always on display. Open Wednesday to Sunday with easy access and parking – admission is free.

Where ever your adventure takes you, don’t forget to STOP, REVIVE and SURVIVE! There are many ‘Driver Reviver’ stops along the way offering motorists free tea, coffee and biscuits. Remember the most important thing is to get yourself and your loved ones there safely!

We look forward to welcoming you soon.

South East QLD

Are you driven to hit the road and explore The Legendary Pacific Coast from Sydney to Byron Bay? Then read on as we wind through the scenic landscape and discover what’s on offer.  Of course, all this driving is tiring work, so don’t forget to book a stay at the First Sun Holiday Park! Click here to visit our Accommodation page or click here to visit our Accommodation Specials page!

Road Trip – Sydney to Byron Bay by Car

So you’ve hired the camper van, strapped your caravan to the 4WD or jumped in the car with the kids and are set to explore the east coast of NSW. Well…you’re in for a treat! This adventure truly does have something for everyone, whether it’s getting out in the wild (or admiring it over the top of a latte), surfing up the coast, taking in some culinary delights, backpacking or discovering the local arts and indigenous culture.

With so much on offer, we have created the below recommended highlights:

National Parks

Get back to nature and experience ancient rainforests, majestic waterfalls, pristine beaches, bush covered headlands, aboriginal heritage sites and endless walking tracks by visiting some of the 48 national parks and 12 state forests between Sydney and Byron Bay.

Our picks includes Cape Byron National Park in Byron Bay which offers some of the best vantage points to watch the migrating Humpback whales during the winter months, not to mention the stunning coastal and hinterland views. Nightcap National Park in Northern NSW is also well worth the visit and home to the awe-inspiring Minyon Falls. And what’s more, the park is a short 30 min drive from Byron Bay and First Sun Holiday Park. Bouddi National Park on the Central Coast offers visitors the opportunity to explore important historical aboriginal sites, go swimming, enjoy some fishing or camp by the beach. Arrawarra Headland in Coffs Harbour, which is a favourite with swimmers and surfers, rewards visitors with incredible views over Solitary Islands Marine Park and finally Bundjalung National Park which stretches from Iluka to Evans Head and offers adventure seekers river canoeing, mountain biking or Ten Mile Beach.

To find out more visit:

http://www.nationalparks.nsw.gov.au

http://pacificcoast.com.au/trails-and-itineraries/national-parks-and-nature-trails

Food Trail

Whatever your style – cafe hopping, fine dining, fish & chips by the beach, traditional aboriginal fare, wineries, surf clubs, farmers markets, coffee stops, boutique local beers – The Legendary Pacific Coast has it all! There are so many good cafes and restaurants along the way and more than 40 farmers markets, offering visitors a real taste of the region.

With so much to choose from, we recommend heading to The Legendary Pacific Coast website for their downloadable guides. To find out more visit http://pacificcoast.com.au/trails-and-itineraries/food-wine-farmers-gate-journey or read our many local dining guides including our ‘Locals Guide To Byron‘, ‘Dining On A Budget‘ and our ‘Local Byron Bay Dining Guide‘.

Surfing Safari

There is arguably no better surfing safari road trip in Australia than from Sydney to Byron Bay! Australia has some of the best waves in the world, and most are located along the east coast of NSW.

Some of the highlights include Tallow Beach First Sun Park which is located on our doorstop and is one of Byron Bay’s best surfing beaches. At either end of Tallow Beach is two of the best point breaks in Australia – Broken Head and The Pass – offering fantastic left and right breaks. Wategoes Beach Byron Bay is another ‘must do’ surfing beach and the ultimate long board haven, as well as being one of the most picturesque beaches in the world. The famous Byron Bay Lighthouse rises out of the rainforest which comes right down to the beach meeting the crystal clear ocean waters. Sheltered from northerlies, this glamorous beach is a favourite celeb hangout! Other favourite breaks include Newcastle, Crescent Head, Port Macquarie, Lennox Head and Ballina. To get a full list of surfing hot spots visit:

http://pacificcoast.com.au/trails-and-itineraries/legendary-surfing-safari

Backpacking

You haven’t backpacked in Australia until you’ve visited the East Coast of NSW. Where do we start? Everything from dolphin and whale watching, stunning national parks, some of the country’s best music festivals, surfing, beaches, diving, kayaking, bush walking and some great nightlife. Highlights include the Splendour in the Grass music festival held in Byron Bay, Walkabout Wildlife Park at Calga, the Akoostik music festival at Wingham, Chinese Junk Boat ride at Port Stephens, learn to surf at Port Macquarie, a ‘selfie’ at the Big Banana in Coffs Harbour, kayak with dolphins in Byron Bay, a visit to the historical hippie town of Nimbin, diving at Julian Rocks in Byron Bay and snuggling up to a Koala at the Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary! Get inspired and visit The Legendary Pacific Coast website for more ideas including working holidays http://pacificcoast.com.au/trails-and-itineraries/backpacker-working-holiday-trail

Arts & Culture

Soak up the diverse arts and culture of the region including everything from history-packed museums, art galleries, local artisan studios, community markets, quirky cinemas and much more! The Northern Rivers region is well known as the regional arts capital of NSW and attracts some of the finest artists, musicians and performers. Highlights include The Avoca Beach Picture Theatre which has been operating since 1950’s, Newcastle Art Gallery and Museum, Myall Riverside Art Walk at Tea Gardens, Artisans…On The Hill Gallery at Tinonee, The Glasshouse Performing Arts Facility at Port Macquarie, Northern Rivers Community Gallery at Ballina, Lismore Regional Gallery, Lismore Lantern Festival, Channon Community Markets and the Byron Arts Trail which takes visitors on a journey through the Byron Arts & Industry Estate visiting local fashion designers, jewellery makers and furniture studios. For more inspiration visit http://pacificcoast.com.au/trails-and-itineraries/legendary-culture-heritage-trail

Where ever your adventure takes you, don’t forget to STOP, REVIVE and SURVIVE! There are many ‘Driver Reviver’ stops along the way offering motorists free tea, coffee and biscuits. Remember the most important thing is to get yourself and your loved ones there safely! We look forward to welcoming you soon.

Pacific Coast

The Hidden Gems Of The Byron Hinterland

Don’t for one second think that the Byron Bay beaches are the only attraction in the Northern Rivers region. Behind the coastal strip is a fascinating mix of cultural and geographically attractions and Suffolk Beachfront Holiday Park is your gateway to the hinterland’s green rolling hills, world heritage national parks and charming villages. It really is the best of both worlds!

Firstly, Minyon Falls which is located within the Nightcap National Park, is a scenic 30 minute drive from Byron Bay. Part of the volcanic escarpment, the top of the cliffs are forested with ancient rainforest and abundant wildlife including koalas, goannas, whipbirds and Yellow Tailed Black Cockatoos. Definitely worth a visit on a hot day as the temperature is always cooler than on the coastal strip and a great place to be on a wet day when the falls are at their majestic best.

While we are in this region, why not take a diversion to the The Channon Markets, a mere 45 minute drive out of  Byron and 20 minutes from Minyon Falls. One of the longest running markets in the area (35 years!) it is held on the second Sunday of every month and still upholds its founding mantra “Make It, Bake It, Grow It”. The stallholders are as colourful and unique as the objects they sell. You are sure to run into a busker (or ten) as you lazily make your way around the stalls or sit down under a tree to enjoy the delicious organic and locally grown food choices.

Protesters Falls, just outside The Channon, is historically significant as the scene of a long and ultimately successful protest against the logging industry in the 1970′s. Just 14km from The Channon village, it is well worth a visit. You can appreciate the vigour with which the protesters clashed with the loggers when you see the natural beauty of this ancient area. There’s a track which wanders through old growth timber and rainforest and gives you a close up appreciation of the area’s natural assets. Especially worth a visit if it has been raining, as the falls cascade to wonderful pools and waterholes. Take a moment to thank those who fought for this absorbing landscape.

Bangalow is one of the area’s prettiest villages with its main street architecture virtually intact and untouched since settlement and development in the 1880′s. Visually enhanced as a tourist destination, whilst maintaining its old world charm, Bangalow offers the diner a wide range of cafes and restaurants as well as funky boutique shops. One of the local fashion leaders, ‘Lazybones’ has a shop here as does the upmarket lifestyle store ‘Island Luxe’. Standouts include an original art deco cake shop and a traditional old time butcher. One of the oldest buildings is the Bangalow Uniting Church built in the early 1900′s and still active.

If you are hankering after locally grown organic produce and really want to savour alfresco dining in a charming, historic cottage with a shabby chic appeal, cross the Pacific Highway and head over to Newrybar, 15 mins from Byron. Open every day for breakfast and lunch and Thursdays, Friday and Saturday evenings for dinner, Harvest Cafe will satisfy your modern palate and your love of history.

Again, just across the Pacific Highway, is the quaintly named Possum Creek Road and off this road is the equally intriguing Friday Hut Road.  Here, you will find a treasure of a restaurant, Lilianna’s. Located in the lovingly restored and maintained Old Possum Creek School, Lilianna’s holds true to its belief in honouring the past whilst devising innovative menus using the best local and ‘in season’ produce. An added bonus is the local Koala population occupying the surrounding trees.

Ok, we have given you a few of the amazing attractions and hidden delights of the Byron hinterland. Now, we will take you to two locations which, while being further afield from Byron Bay, are equally worth the visit. Firstly, Uki, a small village situated near Mt Warning. Legend has it that the early timber getters used to make the finest cedar for export to the United Kingdom as ‘UK1′, hence Uki. Still dominated by its one pub, Uki now attracts day trippers and tree changers. Beautifully green, tropical fruit is now the #1 agricultural activity and you will find lots of stalls along the road offering fresh fruit using the ‘honour box’ system. New settlers have retained the original homes and shops and reinvigorated the town with new businesses. A must-see, historically authentic small town.

70km west of Byron Bay is the infamous town of Nimbin. Once a farming district, whose main claim to fame was being home to the world tug-o-war champions, Nimbin’s renaissance was the Aquarius Festival in 1973. A peaceful takeover by hippies was completed with multiple occupancy communities and the landscape was changed forever. The main street is dominated by street art, a hippie museum, alternative shops and colourful locals. As amusement, Nimbin, cannot be surpassed.

If you want all the fun of a Byron Bay holiday, but without all the hustle and bustle, then stay at Suffolk Beachfront Holiday Park, with all the hidden gems of the Byron hinterland at your door!