The Byron Bay hinterland, stretches inland from Australia’s most easterly point, is replete with magnificent villages, stunning scenery, and a calm that washes urban anxieties away from every visitor.

The undulating hills are home to several instances of beautiful scenery and charming communities. There’s lots to do in the region beyond Byron Bay, from day-long climbs in breathtaking scenery to quiet mornings with a coffee and a view.

byron bay hinterland

Byron Bay’s stunning beaches may entice visitors, but most people quickly realise that the interior is equally worth visiting. It provides a scenic and cultural contrast to Byron’s beach lifestyle, with its green rolling hills, lush farmlands, historic villages, and rainforest.

As you travel through the maze of rural roads, you’ll come across various eco-friendly, alternative living communities and little, gorgeous hinterland villages. The hinterland has some of the greatest excellent eating and shopping in the state, as well as World Heritage-listed expanses of old, pristine rainforest.

The Hinterland Villages

Nimbin

Nimbin is a popular day trip from Byron, so you’ve probably heard of this hippy haven and alternative cultural hub. This is the place is notoriously known for its cannabis culture. Note: marijuana is illegal in NSW, but apparently they turn a blind eye to it here.

Nimbin is about an hour and a half west of Byron. If you want to indulge without having to worry about driving back from the Byron Bay hinterland, there are lots of tour buses that make the trip out there.

nimbin street

With many shops, cafes and an amazing pub with one of the most epic views. You can easily spend several hours in this amazingly laid-back hippy community.

Bangalow

Bangalow is a historic community located in the rolling hills approximately 10 minutes drive from Byron Bay. Bangalow was one of the most prolific dairying locations in the state when it was first inhabited in the late 1800s. With numerous lovely turn-of-the-century houses in the main street, such as Bangalow’s Heritage House, the hamlet keeps its heritage image.

You may spend a day exploring the main street, looking at exotic Afghan rugs, exquisite kimonos, and beautiful Tibetan paintings, or browsing antique stores and art galleries. You’ll always discover something uncommon or one-of-a-kind.

Relax at one of the local cafés with some locally grown coffee, or enjoy a drink on the porch at the Bangalow Hotel.

Bangalow is well-known for its events, such as the Billy Cart Derby and the Xmas Eve Carnival. Each year, the Jazz, Classical Music, Mind, Body, and Spirit, and Fathers Day Festivals are held at the newly rebuilt A&I Hall. Every Saturday morning, the residents congregate behind the bar for the Farmers Markets to socialise and stock up on the area’s bountiful fresh local products. The annual Bangalow Show in November features outstanding camp-drafting and should not be missed!

Clunes

Clunes is located 20 kilometres north-east of Lismore on the Lismore-Bangalow route. It was here that the famed north coast dairy industry’s staging station was originally created. Clunes is a Gaelic term that means “lovely location,” and it definitely lives up to its name, named for an early engineer named Robert Clunes.

Visit the Clunes Store & Cellars for fresh fruit and herbs, a wonderful assortment of breads, dips, and spreads, Gyoza and other frozen goodies to take back to your accommodation and eat later, and unique local goods to take home as gifts. Stay around and unwind at the Clunes Cafe (next door to the Store), which has an incredible range of fresh salads and delectable pastries.

Take a picnic across the road at Clunes Heritage Park and enjoy the breathtaking views of the valley and distant rolling hills. Thursdays from 5 p.m., Italian pizza prepared in a wood-fired oven, and Mondays and Fridays from 5 p.m., Gyoza. Try their Japanese beers and their locally bottled award-winning wines from Jilly Wine Co, which are handcrafted by Jarad Dixon.

Jilly Wines is a Clunes-based small batch winemaking enterprise. Each vintage is the pinnacle of a creative journey and represents a moment and location of innovation and inspiration that can never be replicated in the same manner again. All of the wines are made with minimum intervention, using natural yeast, no fining, and no additions other than a little quantity of sulphur before bottling.

Clunes village also boasts an intriguing second hand book store, a plant shop, a mechanic, a hairdresser, and a butcher. These companies are all housed in original 1920 timber structures. There are several lovely examples of north coast Federation residences as well as some fine early Australian church architecture around the area.

Alstonville

Alstonville, formerly known as Duck Creek Mountain, is located on a plateau above Ballina, midway between Lismore and Sydney. It is a horticultural centre with numerous farms, orchards, and nurseries, and it is well-known for the Tibouchina trees that line the streets. Alstonville is also recognised for its rich red volcanic soil, which is used to grow avocados, macadamia nuts, tropical fruits, and coffee.

Alstonville was founded by cedar cutters over a century ago, and you can still witness a remnant of the “Big Scrub” in Victoria Park, where you may stroll through this subtropical rainforest on a boardwalk.

Throughout the year, Alstonville has a rodeo as well as various trade fairs and expos at the enormous community centre.

Take a walk around the village to explore the various historical landmarks. St Bartholomew’s Anglican Church, constructed of local sandstone in a distinctive design, is well worth a visit. Summerland House Farm, located just south of town, is a beautifully kept working farm, café, nursery, and artisan shop that employs individuals with disabilities.

doma federal

Federal

The community, once known as Jaspar, flourished when the Big Scrub was felled, and new inhabitants have revitalised or established new services during the previous decade. A long-closed butcher shop has been transformed into a popular café-restaurant called Doma (a must visit).

This little community is a lovely 20-kilometer journey from Byron, taking you into the hinterland and through some of the region’s greatest waterfalls. Federal is a ‘blink and you’ll miss it’ event, but you won’t want to miss it (miss it, that is).

For one thing, it has that delightful tiny country town atmosphere — there’s one of those general stores that sells everything from groceries to whisky and gasoline and also serves as a post office; and once a month, the people exhibit 16mm film reels in the town hall. But there are a handful of gastronomic and creative surprises nestled away in this inconspicuous small community.

Other notable towns include:

  • Billinudgel
  • The Channon
  • Crabbes Creek
  • Eltham
  • Dunoon
  • Mooball
  • Newrybar
  • Rosebank
  • Bexhill

Only the best of Nature – rainforests, Waterfalls and Waterholes

The unusual top of Wollumbin Mount Warning, viewable from Byron Bay’s Main Beach, stands above the hinterland. Hike up to this hinterland high point in two hours from a trailhead an hour’s drive from Elements of Byron. The magnificent vistas, which stretch from the seashore in the east to lush rolling farmland in the west, reward all efforts.

Minyon Falls is a natural wonder in the hamlet of Federal. The observation platform for these 100m waterfalls is easily accessible through an untreated but well-maintained road. Alternatively, enjoy a variety of wilderness hikes that take in the sceneries of the creek, rainforest, and escarpment.

minyon falls byron hinterland

Even if you don’t go to one of these natural wonders, a simple drive through the Byron Bay hinterland provides landscapes worthy of any painter’s canvas. This rich, green environment is a combination of farmland and woodland, intertwined with rivers and lakes that will have you stopping frequently to take photos.

To find out more about Waterfalls check out our guide.

Visit the Hinterland Pubs

Nothing beats touring the historic rural and seaside pubs of the Byron Hinterland, especially if you’re in the capable hands of a designated driver who can take you from one watering hole to the next in style and safety. The hinterland has some amazing classic pubs circuit which are perfect for a a day tour experience that takes you away from the hustle and bustle of Byron Bay and into the small pubs of its neighbouring communities.

Eltham Hotel

This charming country pub is located 15 minutes between Lismore and Bangalow. Under the elegant jacarandas, in the snug dining room, or the huge outside undercover area, up to 80 people may enjoy live music and a combination of innovative Australian meals and wood fired oven pizzas.

The hotel itself was erected in 1902, when the town was a lively railway settlement, and has since become a popular meeting place for residents.

eltham hotel

Nimbin Hotel

Choose from their 16 beers on tap, which include Byron Bay brewers. The Mended Drum Bistro is open seven days a week and serves delicious meals. And relax with live music and entertainment from Thursday through Saturday.

Nimbin Hotel has everything you might desire in a pleasant local bar, including friendly residents, from superb cuisine and artisan brews to inexpensive accommodation.

Billinudgel Hotel

The venerable Billinudgel Hotel a location where residents and visitors alike may sip a refreshing drink, fill their bellies with home food, and dance until their legs are tired. Our historic bar was founded in 1898, and its unique charm has been carefully kept in both its character and the people that frequent it. A family-owned and run business with a rich history.

The Federal Hotel

Alstonville’s renowned Federal Hotel, affectionately known as ‘The Fed’ by locals, has welcomed residents and visitors alike for more than 100 years.

The Fed is more than just a favourite hangout; it’s a location where the community gathers and friendships blossom. Despite several renovations over the years, the Hotel’s original federation character is balanced alongside the important characteristics of a modern venue.

Inside the original historic structure, there’s a warm, convivial atmosphere, an all-weather eating space, and a shaded beer garden where families can relax and enjoy live entertainment on Friday nights (and most Sunday afternoons in summer!).

Other Experiences in Byron Bay Hinterland

The Nimbin Markets are poised to wow all of your senses with food, beverages, clothing, crystals, and exquisite handmade goods searching for a new home. Nimbin, famed for its grass festival, is also recognised for its organic and handcrafted items, ranging from hand lotions to hemp linen!

hinterland markets

Bangalow’s main street is lined with eccentric antique boutiques, vintage second-hand shops, and genuinely one-of-a-kind items. If you have the means to indulge, you should check out local items at Our Corner Store in Bangalow. Filled to the brim with high-quality homewares and clothing, you’ll always have a unique piece of Byron to take home with you.

Another local treasure, The Farm, has hundreds of thousands of Instagram followers, and it’s easy to see why: stop in to the local Byron community, which includes bakeries, cafés, nurseries, and much more.

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