Guide to the Hinterland
Blessed natural beauty, Byron Bay is one of Australia’s most iconic destinations. This half-day excursion is a great way to experience more of the region’s beautiful countryside, villages and rainforests.
Byron at Byron to Bangalow Village
Turn right out of the Byron at Byron past Byron Bay Golf Club and then turn left along Bangalow Road. This scenic road will take you all the way to the village of Bangalow.
Bangalow is a delightful heritage listed precinct of tall, verandah-clad buildings housing a wonderful array of art galleries and shops selling Oriental carpets, clothing, exotic homewares and books. The village also has a variety of cafés and restaurants, so you can stroll around the shops and then replenish your energy with a local coffee.
Back in the late 19th Century the little village of Bangalow was one of the most productive areas in the state for the dairy industry. Being only 15 minutes from Byron Bay, it’s a popular side-trip for tourists and a hideout for Byron locals in the busy times.
Tip: Check out the French style pharmacy and stop in for lunch at the Italian Diner.
15-minute drive (approx)
Bangalow Village to Crystal Castle
From Bangalow take Hinterland Way B62 (the Old Pacific Highway) North (direction toward Tweed Heads). After 2.8kms turn left (at lookout at top of hill) onto Coolamon Scenic Drive. After 6.8kms turn right (this is still called Coolamon Scenic Drive). After 4.6kms turn left onto Goonengerry Road. After 0.6 km turn right onto Monet Drive.
Crystal Castle is an enchanting destination with acres of lush gardens adorned with mystic statues, the ancient Labyrinth, the Rainforest Walk and giant crystals. Stroll the famous Buddha Walk and see Australia’s biggest stone-carved Blessing Buddha, a 15 tonne, awe-inspiring masterpiece, rising 4 metres high from its pond. Enjoy a delicious lunch or great local coffee at the Lotus Café overlooking Byron’s magnificent hinterland. Kids can discover the adventure of the Fireheart Crystal Dragon playground. Find exquisite jewellery, crystals, books and treasures in the gift shop. Enrich your spirit.
Tip: Allow 2-4 hours to take it all in. Have your aura photographed in the Gallery.
10-minute drive (approx)
Crystal Castle to Mullumbimby
Depart Crystal Castle and follow the signage to Mullumbimby – ‘The Biggest Little Town’ in Australia. Mullumbimby or “Mullum” to locals, is a traditional Australian rural community set against the magnificent backdrop of Mount Chincogan. Macadamia plantations, bush tucker agriculture, farm forestry and nature based tourism are thriving new enterprises, while new capital investment is revitalising the retail precinct, with new eateries and new age retail outlets adding a touch of colour to the laid back atmosphere.
In April 2001 the townspeople of Mullumbimby celebrated the liberation of the old Westpac bank building into one of the greatest health food shops in the country. Santos Natural Food Shop has a large range of healthy food products including organic fruit and vegetables, healthy cosmetics, herbal remedies, spices and macrobiotic dairy products.
Mullumbimby to Byron Bay
Follow the signs from Mullumbimby to the Pacific Highway south to Byron Bay. If you have time you may also like to detour through Brunswick Heads. Originally inhabited by people of the Bundjalung nation, the Brunswick River was charted by Captain Rous in 1828. His visit was followed more than 20 years later by cedar cutters whose activities led to the first town in what is now Byron Shire. By the 1880s Brunswick Heads was a busy port and a robust little commercial centre.
The township went into decline after the construction of the railway through Mullumbimby in 1894. In time, however, Brunswick’s popularity for family seaside holidays returned, and from the 1920’s onwards its fame spread far and wide. You’re always welcome at Brunswick Heads. Unspoiled, yet you can get a good cup of coffee. Where peace prevails. The shops are eclectic, the pleasures are many. And where a clean, uncrowded beach, wide streets, quiet nights, a smile and friendly g’day are still considered invaluable to a memorable holiday.
Continue along the Pacific Highway to Byron Bay
Bordered on one side by beautiful coastline and the other by magnificent rainforest, Byron Bay is ideally positioned as a centre for relaxation and activity. Situated at the easternmost point in Australia, this stylish coastal village enjoys a subtropical climate with clean air, crystal clear water and pristine beaches.
Those wanting to experience the natural surroundings can partake in activities such as kayaking with the dolphins, snorkelling and scuba diving while the adventurous can try tandem skydiving, horse riding along the beach, hang gliding or windsurfing. Surfing is also popular and the beaches in Byron Bay offer some excellent options, even for beginners.
The local cuisine is superb and cafés, bistros and award-winning restaurants abound. The retail experience is uniquely Byron, with local artisans and crafts people supported in a diverse range of outlets alongside internationally renowned brands. Key areas include Jonson Street, the Lawson and Fletcher Street block and the Arts and Industry Estate - each has its own flavour.
Depart Byron Bay and return to Byron At Byron
If you have extra time….
Finish your hinterland tour with lunch or a drink at the Brunswick Pub. Relax in the shady courtyard and soak up the atmosphere. Or visit the secluded beach cove (just left over the bridge) for a dip – perfect on a summer day.
Markets are on every Saturday and Sunday somewhere in the region and there are also Farmers’ Markets during the week. Grab a list from Reception before you leave so you don’t miss out.
The Rainforest Way has seven loops and trails which wind throughout the scenic national parks in the area north and inland from Byron Bay including the World Heritage-listed Mount Warning in Wollumbin National Park. It’s worth the extra drive for an enchanting glimpse of amazing rainforests, short walks into lush green stands of ancient ferns and palms, sitting beside a crystal clear stream or just taking in the gorgeous views. Please see Reception for further information and maps of the routes available.