This tiny gem of a village is a scenic 20-kilometre drive from Byron, heading into the hinterland and on the way to some of the region’s best waterfalls. Federal is a ‘blink and you’ll miss it’ kind of experience, but you won’t want to (miss it, that is). For one thing, it has that lovely small country town vibe — there’s one of those general stores that literally sells everything from groceries to liquor and petrol and is a post office; and the locals screen 16mm film reels in the town hall once a month. But tucked away in this unassuming little village are also a couple of culinary and creative surprises…
Drive 25 minutes south on the Pacific Highway from Mullum and you hit Newrybar, where we recommend you pause and take a deep breath of that fresh country air amongst the wooded farmland and windy roads. This is the fertile agricultural centre of the region, with macadamia and fruit farms, coffee plantations and cane fields giving it a wholesome vibe that also characterises its award-winning restaurant, Harvest. Throw in some great local retail and the natural beauty of both coastline and inland waterfalls — and you’ve got yourself a perfect little day trip.
At the mouth of the Brunswick River, Brunswick Heads was a busy port and a bit of a commercial hub back in the late 19th Century. Now, it’s more about the Simple Pleasures.
Just 10 minutes drive west of Byron Bay, Bangalow is a quaint town with a growing scene of boutique retailers and eateries on its historic streetscape, making for an appealing combination of old and new. The town dates back to the 1880s, following the establishment of a timber cutters’ camp on the banks of the Byron River in the 1840s, and many of the facades on the main street still retain the charming look and feel of this era.
The ‘biggest little town in Australia’ is our home, so you could say we’re a bit biased. But it really has so many things going for it, and the fact that many Byron folk have in recent years chosen to relocate here gives you a good idea of its appeal. Because whilst big sister Byron has grown up into a bit of a glamour, Mullum, as it’s affectionately known, still gets around in bare feet. Wholesome, unaffected and a bit alternative, she’s the laid-back little sis that’s both carefree and charming.