The small town of Mullumbimby – just a 15min drive inland from Byron Bay – is the perfect base to explore the stunning hinterland of the North Coast of NSW. Nestled beside the Brunswick River and beneath the escarpments of the Great Dividing Range, it’s emerging as quirky and colourful rural escape.
Things to do in Mullumbimby
Mullumbimby is so close to nature that you can go bushwalking right within the town limits. You can also visit the Brunswick Valley Heritage Park, a botanical haven for hundreds of rainforest plant species, some of which are endangered. Take the heritage park's trail to the Brunswick River for a picnic by the water.
For a guided meditative tour, visit the gorgeous Shambhala Gardens at Crystal Castle. You'll find giant crystals, a labyrinth and various reflective experiences in amongst five hectares of gardens and rainforest. The hills around Mullumbimby are alive with all sorts of cosmic escapes.
Eat and drink
Once you’ve worked up an appetite, drop into one of the rustic cafes and eclectic, hole-in-the-wall restaurants like the much lauded Flock Mullumbimby, or new local favourite, Punch and Daisy. Iconic watering holes like The Middle Pub and Empire Cafe are a great place to meet locals.
You’ll also get to see them at the weekly Mullumbimby Farmers Market, a popular community event that features the best local produce, as well as singers and performers. Held every Friday, it’s a great place to grab breakfast and good coffee, then stock up on some sweet treats to take home.
The annual Mullum Music Festival is huge a drawcard. It attracts some of the country’s most under-rated music acts in what youth radio station Triple J calls the “cutest and most unique festival in Australia”. The festival is gaining in popularity with each year, but still manages to feel like a local secret.
And don’t forget Byron Bluesfest held each Easter. It’s one of the country’s largest music festivals with more than 200 performances across seven stages over five days. It’s held in Tyagarah, just 15min from Mullumbimby, making this quirky town the ideal base for the festival. (Unfortunately, Bluesfest has been cancelled for 2020.)
Getting there and where to stay
Mullumbimby is an 8hr 30min drive north of Sydney and just under two hours south of Brisbane. You can fly into Ballina Byron Gateway Airport, a 35min drive away. There’s a growing list of accommodation offerings in Mullumbimby, from budget pub rooms and motels to holiday houses and wellness retreats.