Coolamon Scenic Drive lookout

A day in Federal – Byron Bay Hinterland

Head for the hills

 

When we first moved to Byron Bay many moons ago, all we wanted to do was explore. So we jumped in our cars to head for the hills. It might sound like a cliché, but our reality looked like the stuff of our daydreams; waterfalls, swimming holes, quaint little villages with the yummiest wholefood and hunting for treasure in artisan stores were all on the agenda. And not much has changed. A trip to the hills is always a good idea, and we’d love to show you one of our favourite spots: Federal. So, whether you are a local or are reading this from the other side of the world, come and take our tour of this creative hub and natural wonderland.

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You’re about to be on ‘hills time’

 

You can’t deny that Byron Bay is almost magnetic in its beauty, but there is plenty to see just beyond the coast. Federal is an easy 23 km from Byron along the Coolamon Scenic Drive – and ‘scenic’ it is. Your first stop should be the lookout as you first turn on to Coolamon Scenic Drive. There are stunning 360-degree views of the coast, Wollumbin (Mount Warning) and lush rolling hills. Take a deep breath and relax. You’re about to be on ‘hills time’.

Coolamon Scenic Drive lookout
Minyon falls road forest

On the road to Federal

Drive through the winding hinterland roads with banks of wildflowers, corridors of trees, breathtaking views of the ocean and Byron Bay lighthouse and before long you will find yourself in Federal. It’s safe to say that this is not your typical country town. Artists looking for space to create, join families, hippies, baby boomer sea changers and everyone else you could imagine who have come for a more ‘country soul’ type lifestyle.

Doma Café for lunch

 

Stop in for lunch at Doma (3/6 Albert Street, Federal). Doma was opened by Japanese chefs Takayuki Kuramoto and Takashi Yaguchi in 2012 and is often described as a Japanese/Australian fusion. Everything here is good. You simply cannot make a mistake so pick a spot in the garden and enjoy. Don’t take our word for it though. This humble little café has even been very positively reviewed in the New York Times.

📍 Doma café – Federal
Colour – Florence nail polish

Doma cafe Federal Byron Bay hinterland

Time for a caffeine hit

 

Moonshine Roasters is a small, family-owned and operated roastery and espresso bar. They’ve been roasting in the hills for close to a decade and supply loads of the cafes in Byron Bay. Is it time for a coffee? Or a chai? Pop into their House of Shine (447 Federal Drive, Federal) to refuel before you get involved in some retail therapy.

📍 Moonshine Roasters – Federal
Colour – Peace nail polish

Moonshine cafe Federal Byron Bay Hinterland

Retail therapy, hills style

 

With its rustic tin walls and sky-high bush poles, The Hills Emporium (441 Federal Drive, Federal) would be worth a visit, even if it didn’t house the most covetable collections of artisan-made fashion and interiors. Owners Kaidee and Bulan make and source items that resonate with their ethical and sustainable ethos and all we can say is… “yes”.

📍 The Hills Emporium – Federal
Colour – Embrace nail polish

The Hills Emporium Federal Byron Bay Hinterland

Wild swimming under a spectacular waterfall

 

Is it time for a wander through the bush and perhaps a swim under a 104 metre tall waterfall? Yes, it is. Minyon Falls (Nightcap National Park) is a hop, skip and a jump from Federal but please take care on the roads; they can be slippery if there has been heavy rainfall. There is a lookout with the most glorious views from the top of the falls, as well as lots of micro walks in and around the national park. It’s possible (and wonderful) to swim at the base of the falls or in a pool further down. We all love a wild swim, but some things to remember are that rocks can be slippery and the winds can be wild if the falls are really pumping. The other thing to consider is sunscreen and bug spray – both can disastrously upset the balance of delicate ecosystems.

📍 Minyon Falls – Byron Bay Hinterland
Colour – Marble nail polish

Minyon Falls Byron Bay Hinterland

Federal, we love you

So that’s Federal. Not bad for a village with a population of 700. We hope you have a great day out!

Killen Falls Byron Bay

The top 3 waterfalls in Byron Bay

We are so lucky to have some absolutely beautiful waterfalls an easy day trip from Byron Bay. Whether it’s a lazy Sunday afternoon or a midweek meander, these are the spots Byron Bay locals turn to. Some of these waterfalls are easily accessed via a short walk, while others require a bit more planning and a decent hike to reach. Be sure to check out our favourite swimming spots when you’re ready to hit the coast again.

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Killen Falls

 

Killen Falls (Killen Falls Drive, Tintenbar) is perfect if you only have an hour or so to spare. A small carpark leads to the viewing platform overlooking the falls, or take the short track down to the bottom of the falls. The path can get slippery, so be careful if it’s been raining.

Killen Falls Byron Bay

Minyon Falls

 

Minyon Falls (Nightcap National Park) is one of the largest waterfalls in the area. Water thunders down from 104 metres and it is absolutely spectacular after rainfall. The lookout at the top of the falls is a short walk from the carpark –and it is no exaggeration to say the views are stunning – with granite cliffs and dense bushland as far as the eye can see. Be sure to bring your camera. If you’re looking for a full-day adventure, the Minyon Falls walking track allows you to wander through the forest past beautiful creeks leading to the bottom of the waterfall. The track is 13km return, so be prepared with plenty of food and water to last you throughout the day.

Minyon Falls Byron Bay
Photo credit: flickr.com/photos/tk_five_0/show/

Protestors Falls

 

Also in the ranges of the Nightcap National Park, the World Heritage-listed Protestors Falls is another definite stop if you’re travelling through Northern NSW.  It’s a short walk to Protestors Falls from the carpark but expect some short, steep hills. You’ll be able to rest and refuel with a picnic at Terania Creek on the way back. At the time of writing, swimming is prohibited in all creeks nearby to protect the habitat of the Fleay’s Barred Frog.

Protestors Falls Byron Bay
Photo credit: Bradley Bow

Leave no trace

We all know the importance of leaving no trace. So please be sure to be self-sufficient and leave the area as you found it. It’s a good idea to check official websites before visiting if you have any questions or to check directions – patchy mobile reception means you may not be able to rely on GPS. We hope you love exploring our local waterfalls and experiencing all this incredible area has to offer!

Best Byron Bay beaches you need to visit while you’re here

our favourite byron bay beachesmain beach byron bay

little wategoes byron bay

the pass byron bay

wategoes beach byron bay

wategoes beach byron bay

If you’re coming to Byron Bay on holiday we are certain you’ll be spending ample time at many of the amazing Byron Bay beaches. Knowing which Byron Bay beaches are worth your time, away from the masses and secluded enough for a blissful beach day can be a bit of a gamble! We’ve laid it all out for you with our top 5 favourite Byron Bay beaches for achieving exactly that.

  • Wategos. It goes without saying really, we’re sure you don’t need an explanation why! (The pictures speak for themselves!). One thing we do recommend for Wategos is to arrive early, because once the car parks are all gone, it’s really difficult to get there. Also, if you’re actively inclined, bring some supportive shoes do you can make the trek up to the Most Easterly Point of Australia, and further up to the lighthouse! It’s a beautiful way to finish your beach day, before heading home to relax on the couch with a glass of wine!

 

  • Little Wategos. This one is slightly more hidden and sheltered from the hustle and bustle of Byron. Again, park at Wategos (remembering to be early!), and take the same track that leads up to the lighthouse. Around halfway up, you will get to a split, with one path leading downwards, that’s the road leading to Little Wategos! Try to go when its low tide for maximum beach space (high tide swallows most of the beach up), and bring the whole kit and caboodle (picnic blanket, umbrella, food, drinks, good book etc), because once you get there, you’ll want to spend the entire day just basking in the serenity!

 

  • The Pass. Popular with surfers and families alike, The Pass is the place for your typical picturesque Byron beachside sojourn. Bring your surfboard, and your comfiest cozi and prepare for hours in the surf. Even if you’re not usually a water dweller, the crystal clear shallows and perfect rolling waves will keep you immersed for what seems like an eternity! Bring your camera for that perfect snap overlooking Clarkes and Main beach from up at the lookout!

 

  • Whites Beach. The not-so-secret spot that feels miles away from reality the moment you wander down the track leading to the shimmering waters. A little bit outside of Byron but trust us, you want to go there. Whites Beach is all crystal-clear ocean, creamy white sand and rockpools to perch on and explore, and a little bit of an effort to get to but oh so very worth it when you do!

 

  • Torakina Beach (Brunswick Heads). This is the Team Sienna favourite. We literally bump into each other at Torakina so frequently and so unplanned, it’s almost a joke! The perfect combination of beach meets river, the sheltered Torakina is right at the bar of the Brunswick River. It’s quiet and peaceful, and the perfect buoyancy for floating away the day. Torakina is also right next to the wall, one of our favourite locations for sunset gazing!

If the thought of beach days has got you craving those blue hues as much as us, be sure to check out our ocean pack and all the blues in our collection.

turmeric latte at woods bangalow

Bangalow, a spotlight on our favourite sleepy town.

Spotlight on Bangalow title

bangalow markets A&I hall

bangalow fashion markets

vintage clothes at bangalow markets

vintage clothes at banglow markets

people walking in bangalow

woods bangalow

woods bangalow

avocado on toast at woods bangalow

turmeric latte at woods bangalow

turmeric latte at woods bangalow

Oh how we love escaping to Bangalow! The sometimes sleepy, sometimes bustling town in the hinterland of Byron Bay, is the perfect weekend escape for a Saturday morning breakfast date, or Sunday morning stroll through the monthly markets. After spending our weekdays in the world of nail polish, we love exploring the Shire for new inspirations on the weekend.

We made our way to Bangalow this past Saturday, to take a look through a vintage fashion market. Her Wardrobe is a fashion market held in Brisbane, Gold Coast, Sunshine Coast and Bangalow multiple times throughout the year. Vintage fashion lovers, girls trying to de-clutter their wardrobes and the like, all come together to sell vintage, pre-loved and quirky items. The Bangalow market, held in the beautiful A and I hall, was packed full of vintage denim, pre-loved designer clothes and bright prints for sale. You have to be quick at these events though! A pair of vintage cowboy boots we were eyeing off from afar were quickly snapped up, you can’t be slow when searching for hidden gems.

After the markets it was time for an obligatory Saturday wind-down. We couldn’t help but stop for breakfast at our Bangalow favourite Woods, sister café to our Byron go-to Folk. Of course, avocado on toast was the winner, with a turmeric latte on nut milk. Woods is hidden away behind a big wooden gate, and down a gravel path that opens out into a shady courtyard. Just like Folk, it is humming with energy, a favourite of locals and visitors alike.

The main street of Bangalow is well-worth taking your time and meandering down, taking a look in the Corner Store, Auguste and the recently opened Rowie store. The monthly markets are just off the main street, and host many local brands (including us!), food vendors and entertainment. As the days start to cool off and we head into autumn/winter, it’s the perfect way to bask in the sun while strolling through town.

byron shire markets mullumbimby

Byron Shire Markets- part of our weekly agenda.

byron shire marketsbyron shire markets mullumbimby

byron shire markets chillies

byron shire markets mullum farmers market

It’s no secret we, along with every other local in the area, love the Byron Shire Markets. There is a different farmers’ market, beachside market or craft market on nearly every day of the week.

The farmers are best when incorporated into your weekly routine. Perfect for purchasing your stable fruit and vegetables, as well as other delicacies including olives, dips, breads, jams and chutneys. There is almost always a local musician performing at each farmers’ market, so arrive a little bit earlier to give yourself some time to chill out with a coffee and listen, before tackling the rest of your day.

The monthly arts, crafts and food markets are held in many of the local towns in the area including Byron, Brunswick Heads and Bangalow. With clothing, accessories, gifts, plants, crystals, antiques, the monthly markets are worth taking your time meandering around. The Byron Shire Markets are a tradition ingrained in the local community, and a great opportunity for residents and visitors alike to come together and support local! Many of the incredibly successful brands and businesses in the area started out at the markets. An amazing opportunity to discover your next favourite!

One thing to take note of when visiting the Byron Shire Markets- they are almost 100% plastic bag free. So do the environment a favour and bring along your own basket or bag to carry all your fresh produce in.

Farmers Markets

Bangalow Farmers Market, Saturdays 8-11am

New Brighton Farmers Market, Tuesdays 8-11am

Byron Bay Farmers Market, Thursdays 8-11am

Mullumbimby Farmers Market, Fridays 8-11am

Monthly Arts, Craft and Food Markets

Brunswick Heads, first Saturday

Byron Bay, first Sunday

Mullumbimby, third Saturday

Bangalow, forth Sunday

You can find Sienna at the Byron and Bangalow monthly markets!

Other markets we LOVE!

Byron Artisan Market, every Saturday 4pm-9pm during summer

Lismore Car Boot Market, first Sunday

The Channon, second Sunday

Uki Markets, third Sunday

Visit the Byron Shire Council website for more information.

byron melbourne roadtrip the blue pool bermagui sunset

Byron Bay road trip

There is something so special about an East Coast road trip. Before low-cost air travel was the norm, this trip was a classic rite-of-passage experience, and it’s still as magical as it ever was. So pack your bags, cue the playlist, jump in the car, and head north to Byron Bay from Melbourne. It’s a great opportunity to explore the Australian coastline and discover some amazing spots along the way. Start from Melbourne and follow the Princess Highway to Sydney, and then take the Pacific Highway from Sydney to Byron Bay. For the lucky ones who can take their time and meander up the East Coast, we’ve mapped out our favourite towns and beaches along the way for your Melbourne to Byron road trip adventure.

byron bay road trip
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Wilsons Promontory

 

Begin your Byron road trip with a stop off at Wilsons Promontory, 200km from Melbourne. This may not be the usual route but, once you get there, you will understand why we love it so much. The stunning national park at the southernmost tip of mainland Australia offers granite mountains, rainforest, open forests and sweeping beaches. The 3-day trail walk tours are a stunning start to your journey.

Wilsons Promontory

Lakes Entrance

 

Three and a half hours from Wilsons Promontory is Lakes Entrance. Drive down Seaview Parade for unparalleled views over the town centre, marinas, Cunninghame Arm and down Ninety Mile Beach.

lakes entrance
photo credit : visitvictoria.com

The Blue Pool

 

The Blue Pool is the next on our list. It’s located 350km from Lakes Entrance in a small town on the south coast of NSW called Bermagui. This gorgeous, natural rock pool is perfect for swimming and snorkelling. The pool is set against a backdrop of dramatic cliffs. You may have seen the photos, but this is a spot you need to see in person. A natural rock pool washed with clear ocean water, The Blue Pool is situated at the bottom of a dramatic cliff face and you just know it will look amazing in your travel snaps.

blue pool bermagui
photo credit: visitnsw.com

Jervis Bay

 

Jervis Bay is your next stop. It’s 200km north of The Blue Pool and is famous for having some of the whitest sand in the world. This natural wonderland is a haven for bottlenose dolphins, penguins and other sea creatures. A definite stop on your East Coast road trip.

Jervis Bay
photo credit: visitnsw.com

Sydney

 

Three hours later you’ll arrive in Sydney. Stop for a meal or even the night. The iconic Bondi to Bronte walk is a favourite of ours. Stretch your legs and breathe in that fresh coastal air.

Sydney city

Crescent Head

 

If you’re starting fresh the next morning, head north for five hours and stop in at the sleepy surf town, Crescent Head. Take the Big Hill Rainforest track and find yourself a spot to take in sweeping views of the ocean.

Crescent Head
photo credit: surfinn.travel

South West Rocks

 

A short drive north (just under an hour, but worth the extra stop!) you’ll arrive at South West Rocks. This seaside holiday town is situated at the mouth of the Macleay River and boasts uncrowded beaches in Arakoon National Park. The ocean here is literally crystal clear.

South West Rocks
photo credit: big4.com.au

Coffs Harbour

 

Yes, Coffs Harbour has the Big Banana, but it also has so much more than that. It’s an easy 100km drive north of South West Rocks and is a good spot to refuel and recaffeinate. Be sure to visit Sealy Lookout for spectacular views from the Forest Sky Pier at Sealy Lookout, a short drive from the city through hillside banana plantations. The wheelchair-accessible platform extends almost 22 metres over rainforest escarpment. Otherwise, simply wander the marina or sneak in a cheeky surf on your way up the coast.

Sealy lookout Coff harbour
Photo credit: visitnsw.com

Yamba

 

It’s the last stop on your Byron Bay road trip! Keep heading north and two hours later you will land in the coastal town of Yamba. Take a refreshing dip in the ocean pool, and get your caffeine fix in town!

Yamba ocean pools

Byron Bay

 

You’re here! About 90 minutes later you’ll reach Byron Bay. We know you’ve read all about what to do in Byron, but if you’re looking for inspiration, you can read all about our Byron summer bucket list, or favourite swimming spots.

Byron Bay Surf

Byron Bay Sunset and Sunrise – Local style

Who loves a beautiful sunrise or sunset? Us too. Living in Byron Bay, we are very lucky to have big beautiful skies all year round. Whether it’s the blazing oranges and reds of an Autumn-Winter sunset or the neon pinks and oranges of a Summer sunrise, we are there to take it all in. And we’re not alone. Visitors and locals alike can be seen sitting peacefully and taking a moment to observe the natural rhythms of the sun and the moon. You can do that too now; you’re on Byron time.

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Sunrise

 

The iconic Cape Byron Lighthouse is the most obvious spot to enjoy the sunrise. It’s set at the most Easterly point of Australia so the sunrises are spectacular. The hour before the sun finally peeks over the horizon is beautiful, as the sky lights up with pastel shades of orange, pink and blue. Walk (or drive) up to the lighthouse with plenty of time before sunrise, find a spot to perch yourself and settle back and relax. If it’s a peaceful and calm morning, you can hear the first birdsong of the day and the waves crashing down below.  There is usually quite a crowd up at the lighthouse – even as early as 4.30am – but it’s a gentle crowd, all there for the same thing: to watch the sun come up. It’s a beautiful way to start the day.

Sunrise Byron Bay

Sunset

 

Main Beach in downtown Byron Bay is the hub of sunset activity every evening. It is the perfect spot to go with friends and a picnic blanket, find a patch of grass and chill out. The reflection of the sky onto the ocean is spectacular on both low-cloud or clear days. Park at Clarkes Beach and walk along the boardwalk for an amazing view and photo opportunity. There is an opening in the trees that looks out across Clarkes, down to Main Beach, and you can watch the sun set over the mountains in the distance. Magic.

Sunset Byron Bay

Byron Bay, we love you

Next time you’re visiting set your alarm early for at least one sunrise, and break away from the pub or restaurant one evening to watch the sunset from Main Beach. It will be the best light show you’ll ever see.

Toraja Luxury Fireplace 2

Byron Bay Accommodation for the perfect weekend away

Byron Bay Accommodation with a Fireplace – Our pick of Cosy Cottages for your Winter Escape!

As the weather cools we are inspired by the thought of long romantic weekends away, hunkering down in front of the fire…..Fireplaces are a necessity for a Winter Weekend Getaway, even when you live in paradise. There’s not much that beats a cup of mulled wine, curled up with your loved one and a book by your side. It’s romantic and dreamy, and we love that.

We thought you would too so we hunted around to find the best Byron Bay accommodation for winter. They’re all cute and cosy with character and charm…

 

Byron Beach Abodes Yard    Byron Beach Abodes Kitchen    Byron Beach Abodes Fireplace

 

Byron Beach Abodes – Magnolia House

These gals have your aesthetic needs covered. They have a range of accom to suit every budget, each as pretty as the next. Check out the main house ‘Magnolia’ (which is also their home outside of holiday time). This light filled home is great for your photo book; timber features, white everything, green leafy plants, a pool and a pool table. Private and self-contained with a large deck for entertaining, this gorgeous home has a cosy lounge with a wood fireplace and is just the spot for a weekend getaway this winter. For amazing coffee and treats head to The Top Shop (50m walk), it’s a short stroll to town and only 500m to the beach… Add a chocolate fondue platter or a fresh rose petal pack for that extra touch of romance. Be warned: You’ll love this place so much, you might not want to leave.

Details: Sleeps 8-10 people. Check the website for enquiries and bookings: http://www.byronbeachabodes.com.au/ 

 

Grove Byron Bay Fireplace    Grove Byron Bay Dining    Grove Byron Bay Bedroom

 

Grove Byron Bay

If you are a lover of clean lines, natural light, contemporary luxury, restful living areas, quaint verandahs, and lots of places to lounge your time away, this modern indoor-outdoor house will suit you perfectly. Located just out of town, this is Byron Luxe living at best.

Foodie types will be thrilled with the gleaming kitchen and open-plan dining space – the spot to cook up a storm with all the local ingredients you can find at the Byron Farmer’s Markets every Thursday. If not, it’s a short drive to all the wholesome food options and restaurants in town. Immerse yourself in the Byron lifestyle by diving into the lap pool, or take a walk through our great outdoors. Fuel up the toasty wood fires (both indoors AND outdoors) and relax in front of the fireplace with a glass of wine in hand.

Details: See the Grove’s website: http://www.thegrovebyronbay.com/

 

Toraja Luxury Fireplace 2    Toraja Luxury Fireplace 1    Toraja Luxury View

 

Toraja Luxury

Our all time favourite, nestled in the hills behind Byron is Toraja Luxury. Where the country meets the coast, our two loves. Relax outdoors in the morning sun, read your paper or simply soak in the spectacular aspect; views of Byron and the expansive ocean across the green macadamia fields. Their resident horses love hanging out and you will often see them waiting by the fence for you. The beautiful stone fireplace is our top choice in the Byron shire, you can see by the photos…. Imagine curling up in front of this fireplace after a winter day’s adventure in Byron Bay.

Toraja is bout 15 minutes from town, right near ‘The Harvest’ cafe/bakery/restaurant and Newrybar’s beautiful boutiques. You’re also only a few minutes drive from The Gaia retreat so stop on in for a spa and massage, or even a fresh manicure….

Details: See the Toraja website: http://www.torajaluxury.com.au

 

Where have you stayed in Winter? What was your favourite place? Let us know in the comments below….

We hope you enjoy our warm favourites…

Sienna xx