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!