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Byron Bay's Hinterland

Eat local in Newrybar

All the best cafés and restaurants in Byron Bay and its surrounds pride themselves on serving local produce. If you really want to get a taste of the Byron Bay hinterland, head 20 kilometres (12 miles) south-west from Byron Bay to the village of Newrybar. Here you'll find Harvest restaurant, deli and bakery, which serves up the best of the Byron hinterland's organic fruit and produce, from breakfast till dinner. What the owners can’t source locally, they grow themselves in their kitchen garden, visible from your table. Work up an appetite before you eat by browsing through the village's galleries, clothing stores and artist workshops. 

Eat and shop in Bangalow

Stock up your picnic hamper with home-grown supplies or pick up a unique souvenir at the weekend markets in Bangalow, another typical hinterland town about 20 minutes drive south-west of Byron Bay. This is where Byron locals come to eat, shop and escape the summer holiday crowds. The historic main street shopping strip has an eclectic mix of fashion, homewares, antiques, art and gifts. Look out for Island Luxe, a beautifully curated store boasting a fashionable selection of homewares and clothing. Don't leave town without trying some locally grown coffee in one of the many cafés and eateries. The Stockpot Kitchen at the local bowling club is an unexpectedly good foodie find.

Hang with the hippies in Nimbin

The small dairy farming town of Nimbin became the Australian heart of the hippy movement when it hosted the Aquarius Festival in 1973, and many of its locals still follow an alternative lifestyle. Most of the area's farms are low-impact, organic or biodynamic and some shops are run on a co-operative profit-sharing model. Psychedelic murals adorn the streets, shops like The Green BankCreative Terra and Hemping Around sell hand-made eco-friendly clothes and new-age cafés serve sustainably farmed produce - head to Truffula Seeds for organic treats or the Abundance Cafe for dishes made with home-grown organic produce. For something sweet The Contented Tummy has home-made slices and serves locally-grown coffee.

Be the first to see the sun rise

No holiday in Byron is complete without boasting that you were the first in the country to see the sun rise. The majority of travellers do it from Cape Byron, the most easterly point on Australia's mainland, which is an hour's walk or a 10-minute drive from Byron's town centre. However, Mount Warning, the plug of an ancient volcano, is actually the first place in mainland Australia to be touched by the morning sun. The self-guided walk to the top takes about 2 1/2 hours, so it's an early start, but there's something very special about greeting the first rays of the day from the small viewing platform at the summit. Byron Bay Adventure Tours has an AUD $189 overnight camping tour that includes a sunrise climb. 

Walk through ancient rainforests 

Massive tree ferns, lush palms and cascading streams are just some of the things you'll find in the World Heritage-listed Gondwana rainforests. There are 41 Gondwana rainforest national parks and reserves along Australia's east coast, and five of them – Border Ranges, Wollumbin, Mebbin, Nightcap and Limpinwood – are in the Byron Bay hinterland. There's a range of walks in these parks, from easy 20-minute strolls to all-day hikes, or you can follow one of the half-day driving loops on the Rainforest Way. One of the prettiest is the Wollumbin-Mount Warning Circuit, which starts in Murwillumbah, 57 kilometres (35 miles) north of Byron Bay, and goes around the base of Mount Warning.

Taste fresh gourmet nuts in Alstonville

Native to Australia, the macadamia nut is prized for its delicious buttery taste, and Alstonville, about a half-hour drive south-west of Byron Bay, grows a lot of them. The world's first commercial orchard of macadamia trees was planted here in the early 1880s and the nuts are now one of the region's largest industries. Macadamias are a popular delicacy in fine dining restaurants, but you can buy buckets of nuts from farm gate stalls in and around Alstonville for just a few dollars

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