• Natalie Bannister

Foodie Adventures in the Northern Rivers

From exploring the hidden culinary treats in the lush hinterland to the west and the epicurean delights fresh from the coastal farming region to the north, we’re packing the car and heading out on an epic three-day gourmet road trip, Locale style.

Day 1:

Newrybar, Bangalow

and Byron Bay

We begin the journey where all good meals should start — at Harvest Newrybar, a local favourite set in a delightful Queenslander-style cottage in the picturesque one-street town of Newrybar in the Byron Hinterland. The renowned restaurant, bakery, and deli showcases seasonal organic food sourced from artisan producers and whips up fresh treats using produce straight from their own edible garden. Native wild ingredients are always on the menu, accompanied by award-winning wines from the cellars of conscientious wine-makers. Be sure to swing by Harvest Deli to take home a diverse selection of local and international cheeses, homemade jams, pickles, condiments and charcuterie, as well as their famous wood-fired sourdough bread.

Next, it’s off to Byron, but first, make a detour to neighbouring Bangalow, that oh-so-pretty town nestled between the coast and the hinterland that you just can’t help but fall in love with (we know, we do too — on repeat!).

You’ll find local fave Woods tucked away in the arts precinct on Station Street. It’s the sister venue to Byron favourite Folk, and is our pitstop of choice for a caffeine or fresh smoothie hit (it’s also a perfect rustic spot for a relaxed breakfast or brunch — if you can get a seat!). Perk up before the 15-minute drive to Byron Bay, where you are — quite literally! — going to be spoilt for choice when it comes to dining out.

En route, stop by Cape Byron Distillery, the birthplace of Brookie’s Gin, for a rainforest tour and tasting, or maybe a tour and tasting at Stone & Wood Brewery in Byron Bay’s Arts and Industry Estate just north of the town centre.

Brookies Tasting Tours

Day 2:

Murwillumbah, Uki, Tumbulgum and Pottsville

Jump back in the car and head north to the Tweed area to make a beeline to the exquisitely grand colonial-style Tweed River House on the banks of the Tweed River for a long, languid brunch or lunch (you can thank us later!).

Or, head a little further inland to spend a few hours exploring the cute village of Uki before enjoying a relaxed lunch in the shadow of Wollumbin (Mount Warning) at Mavis’s Kitchen.

While you’re out this way, it’s an excellent opportunity to swing by Husk Distillers in the charming little village of Tumbulgum. The Husk Cellar Door is connected to their working distillery, nestled into the landscape on the family farm in North Tumbulgum, where you’ll discover new ways to enjoy their dangerously delicious purple-hued Ink Gin and the fresh taste of Australian rum, Husk Rum. You’ll want a designated driver today!

We’ll be making our way back to the coast afterwards, so leave some room for a divine dinner at one of the region’s most lauded and exciting fine dining restaurants, Pipit. This creative culinary powerhouse has a residence in the sleepy coastal town of Pottsville, where Chef Ben Devlin (formerly of Paper Daisy/Halcyon House fame) is whipping up innovative set menus inspired by the region’s abundant local produce and fresh seafood, with a focus on wood-fired cooking.

Pipit - Pottsville

Day 3:

Burringbar, Cudgen and Cabarita

Make a short detour back south to pick up some local cheeses at Tweed Valley Farmhouse Cheeses in Burringbar, where you’ll find handmade camembert, brie, feta, halloumi and more. Also, in the tiny township, you’ll find two great foodie offerings: Elwood Cafe, which is perfect for coffee or brunch, and Mercado Juarez, which sells mind-blowing takeaway tacos on Friday evenings and has a Mexican BBQ on Saturdays. Don’t leave town without a visit to Brooklyn Tasting Room, which brings the cellar door experience from the finest wineries in the world to right here in Burringbar.

Save some room for lunch at Farm & Co, the Cudgen café delivering delicious and wholesome food in a verdant setting (if you time your visit right, you’ll see the farm’s sprawling sunflower fields in full golden bloom!).

Then, check-in — or return to — Halcyon House in the laidback beachside enclave of Cabarita Beach for cocktails by the pool. There’s no need to head out for dinner because in-house restaurant Paper Daisy is one of the region’s top tables.

Or, head to Norries Head lookout and throw down the picnic rug to settle into a relaxing afternoon soaking up the sea view with a platter or grazing box from The Picnic Portal. These guys hand-deliver their picnic packages all over the Tweed Shire, with options including a Wandering Folk picnic rug, pillows, blankets, picnic basket and games. They even set it all up and pack it back down for you. Now that’s a chilled out way to feast!

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