AGFG Swingin' at Bluesfest

Easter Long Weekend, March 24 - 28 2016. 

What a start to the Easter long weekend! Bluesfest kicks off in style as Fantastic Negrito (Xavier Dphrepaulezz) takes the Mojo stage. Self-taught at the age of 20, Dphrepaulezz welcomed the crowd with the enveloping sounds of classic American blues and those compelled in the stadium watched as he was born-again. For all those that missed him, he’ll be at the Delta Stage on Saturday @ 4pm, Sunday @ 9pm and Monday @ 7:30pm.

Fantastic Negrito on the Mojo Stage.  

Be immersed in culture at Boomerang, its own festival in the field between crossroads and jambalaya – be sure to stay and watch the indigenous dancers from not only Australia but also Fiji. Talks about culture and country can be found at multiple times during the day as well as Te Kopere Healing workshops – we’ll be checking this out on Good Friday @ 1:15pm, however it runs each day @ 1:15pm and 5:30pm, check the Boomerang programme for more information. 

Boomerang - Jannawi Dancers, Aboriginal NSW. 

Boomerang - Malu Kiai Mura Buai Dance Troupe from Boigu Island, located in the top western part of the Torres Strait. 

You can be forgiven for thinking that Bluesfest is just about blues and rock n’ roll, but soul can be found on every corner in the form of food! Peter Noble, Bluesfest Director, said that Bluesfest has some of the best festival food on offer – and we can’t deny the truth of his words; from healthy and raw, to deep fried and delicious, we’re going to take you on a play by play of our first day eating our way through Bluesfest.

We met up with Lois from Ginger Necktar, a Bluesfest stallholder for over 10 years with a love and passion for healthy food, ginger infused drinks (by own design) and samples of fresh local produce all hand made in Byron Bay. We delved into a delicious original Byron Bay Ginger Necktar drink as well as a Ginger & Cranberry variety, while chowing down on a raw Pad Thai made from fresh vegetables with zucchini noodles tossed in a vibrant Thai sauce and topped with bean sprouts, fresh herbs, black sesame seeds and peanuts. For all those that are health conscious or want to get their festival energy from something raw and healthy that’s not loaded with sugar, the Ginger Necktar stand is where you need to be.   

If you’re inclined for something a little saucier, then head over to Club Med, Mediterranean Cuisine where they’re serving up a feast of cous cous, Moroccan chicken tagine and Mediterranean meatballs served with a freshly toasted gourmet focaccia that falls apart in your mouth. These flavours have been trialled and tested through the ages and you wouldn’t want to miss out! Pair it with a refreshing yum yum juice slushie of apple, lime, rose water and fresh mint and you’re afternoon hunger pains will be quashed. P.S. Be careful of the chilli red sauce - it's fiery! 

Roaming around the numerous stalls, we met up with Robert over at That Arancini Guy. It’s Robert’s first time bringing his labour of love out to the festival scene, and we were glad he did! Serving four different types of arancini: mushroom and truffle oil, pumpkin and mozzarella, spinach and mozzarella, and ragu, these morsels of happiness will keep even the fussiest eater satisfied. 

Next we find ourselves swathed in love from a family affair over at Little Brazil with Rick and his wife Thais bringing you traditional Brazilian fare (with a hint of music)! Enjoy 100% natural charcoal chicken and beef, paired with house-made black beans, rice, haloumi and salad while sipping on a freshly cracked coconut or house specialty – limonada, made from Rancho organic limes. If you want to take a bit of Brazil home with you, Rick’s main business is importing Tropicana Hammocks made in small villages of Fortaleza – Brazil, there’s nothing quite like them on the market – check them out here

For a quick little snack, be sure to pick yourself up a potato spiral over at Potato Head – cooked in 100% rice bran oil, served with sea salt and lashings of sauces it’s the perfect 3 pm hangry cure.  

Noodle lovers rejoice! Delve into South East Asian Hawker style noodles over at Owen’s Noodles, they come with plenty of options, choose your noodle, your meat (or vegetarian) and one of the seven sauces available and you’re ready to be in a noodle coma. Here we have hokkien noodles, carrots, zucchini, water chestnuts, cabbage, celery, cashews, capsicum, fried shallots, bean sprouts and spring onions as a vegetarian option, we’re going to put a Japanese miso sauce on top, we also highly recommend the Thai lemongrass option. 

For an evening sweet fix, we ended up over with Anna at Petite Waffles, just in front of the crossroads stage. Petite Waffles have been serving hungry, sweet focused crowds for six years at Bluesfest with many more years to come. Anna said that she loves the festival because of the age span of people and it also allows her to be a bit more creative with her creations. Her love for Belgian waffles is clear – be sure to check out her stall and watch as these creations are hand made in front of you. We enjoyed the waffle clam (right): ice-cream sandwiched in two waffles with a smear of Nutella and the waffle works (left): ice-cream, luscious berries, whipped cream and your favourite syrup with pieces of fresh, warm waffle. 

If you're feeling a little under weather or just need a place to chill out, then Hari Har Chai is the escape you need. They've been in the chai creation business for over 20 years and have been welcoming Bluesfest crowds into their sanctum for the last 7 – if you're not at Bluesfest, don’t worry they distribute internationally and there's plenty of flavours! 

No fuss and bigger-than-life burgers can be found at food truck Nothin' Fancy.This is their first Bluesfest (they're near the mojo stage) so give them a massively warm welcome and delve into a beef burger with salad and BBQ sauce or the lamb burger with salad and minted yoghurt, just look for the ladies having coffee on a the side of a retro red truck (oh and they do organic coffee!)

Just a few doors up from Nothin' Fancy, The German Sausage stall is supplying some deliciously naughty loaded fries: beer battered fries topped with cheese sauce, topped with bacon, topped with cheese sauce again – this will be your hangover cure. 

What time is it? Paella Time! Serving out of paella pan's with a metre diameter, there's plenty of room for decoration! We were just in time for this creation of a prawn and chorizo paella – so colourful and so delicious! Paella Time are in their fourth year of attending Bluesfest, they also do corporate, private and wedding catering out of Byron Bay. 

Quirky and displaying to-purchase homewares from Nitsua, Gourmet Goons in the crossroads dining tent is serving some deliciously different dishes to the Bluesfest crowd. We'll start with the drinks on offer, Davidson Plum, acai, chai seed, strawberry, watermelon and Bilpin apple juice as well as an apple and mint iced t made from river mint, guarana, yerba mate and Bilpin apple juice. These drinks pair perfectly well with their chicken wings with awesome sauce (we think it's lemon, honey and soy) as well as their ingenious drunken nachos: kangaroo, mushroom and eggplant in their secret sauce on top of crunchy sweet potato crisps with fresh chilli, shallots, coriander and finger lime aioli. 

If you’re looking for your local, regular Mexican, head over to Guzman Y Gomez, brought to by Mexican Taqueria in Byron Bay, tuck into their nachos and burritos for some seriously good dinner. 

Three generations of Hungarian tradition is what you’ll find over at the Langos Hut – this is festival food at its very best, deliciously fluffy, tasty, snapfried bread with your favourite toppings. If you’ve never tried Langos before, it’s something you must do before you leave Bluesfest. We have two varieties here (they do many more, plus a few sweet ones), firstly the sour cream, garlic and cheese Langos which runs out the door and secondly the Extra-Mex: a Mexican take on a Hungarian classic with beef chilli con carne, sour cream, cheese and jalapenos. 

For street food style Japanese all the way from Mooloolaba check out The Rice Bowl in the crossroads dining tent. We devoured a teriyaki chicken rice bowl with avocado, spring onion and Japanese mayo- the flavours were perfectly balanced and the chicken just melted in your mouth. 

Soulful salads are what you’ll find at Claude’s Food by the mojo stage. Why not mix all the varieties together like we did, then top it with some freshly made Haloumi. Enjoy Mediterranean chickpea and rainbow slaw with lemon, marinated beetroot and capsicum salad with tahini dressing and toasted seeds as well as the tandoori roast pumpkin and brown rice salad with garlic yoghurt. Certainly a healthy alternative if you’ve found yourself eating too much pizza (we can’t blame you for this though!) 

If South American tradition, culture and food is close to your heart, then jump over to Cajun Kitchen where they’re serving authentic gumbo, jambalaya and po’ boys. We couldn’t go past the jambalaya – chicken and chorizo Cajun stew, slow cooked with vegetables and Cajun seasoning in a rich tomato base. It’s the perfect dish to enjoy in the doom and gloom weather Bluesfest is enjoying this Easter Sunday.  

When on the run between stages, it’s often best to find food that’s easy to hold and quick, but filling to eat. That’s exactly what you’ll find at Yum Cha, where Marie is serving sticky BBQ pork buns as well as custard buns, vege gyoza, vege buns, vege dim sims, pork gyoza, golden mushrooms, pork dim sims, fish cakes, prawn dumplings and seafood triangles. We were able to get a photo of all of them together, before we devoured the sticky BBQ pork bun. 

We capped off our Bluesfest foodie experience with one of the most popular on-the-go treats, Byron Bay Organic Doughnuts. We couldn’t go past the chocolate filled doughnut, which was absolutely worth the wait in the massive line-up, we suggest going their early to beat the after-dinner sweet fix crowd.

Our foodie experience at Bluesfest was truly amazing, we couldn't fault any dish that we tried and implore future festival goers to experience not only the music but the diverse food on offer.  

Words by Karissa Straughen, photography by AGFG and experiences by the AGFG Foodies. 

Escape to Orange

A seasoned traveler will always tell you that a perfect foodie holiday is a balancing act between exertion and consumption. Orange in New South Wales is the perfect landscape for just that type of holiday. Bordering on The Great Dividing Range, Orange is a stunning country town, rich in character with activities galore and an abundance of gourmet delights to be tasted. It has also made a name for itself as one of the best wine producing regions in the country. They say life is too short to drink bad wine and we say your trip is also too short to be planning on the go, so we have compiled a list of the must do’s for your stay in Orange. If you're travelling to Orange during April 8 to April 17, be sure to be a part of Orange F.O.O.D Week, more information here

Orange Botanic Gardens: 

After your travels, there is nothing more energising then going for a long walk and filling your lungs with the crisp, fresh high country air. Orange’s botanic gardens is the perfect place to start your stay on the right foot. The gardens were officially opened in 1988 for the Australian Bicentenary with plantings ranging from original native and exotic trees to newly developed displays. The gardens offer various walks including strolls through the apple orchards and exotic and indigenous woodlands. The colourful heritage rose garden is set below a quaint historic church.  

Millthorpe Providore: 

Fresh produce is readily available in Orange, and what better way to enjoy it than by grabbing a pre-packaged picnic basket. Millthorpe Providore is a gourmet delicatessen offering perfectly brewed coffee, cheeses, delicious sandwiches, baked goods and sweet treats. You can select from a range of items to be included in your basket or simply just grab a couple of items to go.  

Di Lusso Estate, Mudgee.  

Wine tours: 

Cool climates are the ideal growing conditions for many varieties of grapes. The Orange region has encapsulated this by hosting some of the best vineyards in the country. There are several types of grape varieties grown here, including Arnies, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Riesling, Pinot Gris, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, just to name a few. The Orange terroir is unique in that its grapes are grown in a region that is 600m above sea level. It is in fact the only terroir in Australia to be defined by its altitude. Taking a wine tour is the perfect way to see the best of what the Orange wine scene has on offer. For a collated list of wineries in the region, check out our Central NSW Winery section, or check out Orange Wine Tours.  


Pay a visit to vibrant hotspot cafe and award-winning venue, Dotted Eight Café and Studio for a kick of caffeine and a snack in Orange. A wide selection of classic and contemporary breakfast dishes are available such as baked eggs with mushroom, garlic, baby spinach and tomato relish, topped with Parmesan cheese on toasted rye, with exciting specials on rotation to tease the tastebuds. 

If you’re a little homesick, then make your way to Bissys café for some good old fashioned home cooking and great conversations – we suggest their delectable spread of home-made cakes and slices or perhaps pick up one of their hampers for a picnic best enjoyed on the hills of local wineries.

Don’t set your sights on just inner-city Orange, as a short drive will find you on the doorstep of Chicane Bar & Grill, located in the Rydges Mount Panorama Bathurst Hotel. Chicane Bar & Grill is innovative and versatile, lending itself to occasions both casual and refined with its spacious and contemporary layout, booth style seating and chic colour palette of red, black and cream.

If it's indulgence you're after, then a dining experience at taste Canowindra should do the trick. Located in the historic township of Canowindra, this Star Cellar Door award winner offers all the warmth and comfort of a country restaurant combined with displays of the region's artistic, theatrical and musical talent. A haven for creatives and foodies, the newly renovated establishment woos diners with sweeping Belubula and Lachlan Valley views in addition to a seasonally changing menu.

For more suggestions, visit our article on the best ways to enjoy Orange F.O.O.D Week

Orange Region Farmers Market:

If you are visiting Orange on the right weekend, a visit to the regions finest growers market is imperative. Sourcing food fresh from the farm and straight to your basket, the markets offer seasonal varieties including fruit and vegetables, fresh eggs, cheeses, olive oil, Artisan breads, an extensive range of meats including salt bush lamb and beef, cut flowers and mustards, chutneys and sauces. The perfect end to your visit, bringing home with you some of the produce delights that Orange has to offer

By Freya Ensbey, images supplied and experiences by the AGFG Foodies.  

Escape to Greece

Do you have a serious case of the travel blues and just need to get away to somewhere completely different, exciting and a little bit exotic? Jump on a plane to the other side of the world and begin an adventure, relax on your honeymoon or simply enjoy some downtime, exploring the raw beauty, ancient history and charming cobblestone alleyways of Greece.

Part of south-eastern Europe, Greece’s landmass includes two main peninsulas and a collection of thousands of islands dotted around the alluring azure blue waters of the Aegean Sea. Popularly visited by tourists, Greece’s drawcards include seemingly endless coastlines, ancient ruins and excavated historical sites, sumptuous food and welcoming locals, passionate about their country and ready to share it with anyone who asks.

For a taste of what to expect and to pique your interest in this diverse and culturally rich country, take a look at our sight-seeing suggestions below.  


Santorini is ever-popular for its famous volcanic black sands and the well-known Red Beach with impressive red rock formations giving an incredible backdrop to red sands and picturesque blue water that is fantastic for snorkelling. In four towns across the island, whitewashed houses cling to the cliff sides, perched over the circular archipelago. Santorini was previously one island, but after a volcanic eruption, an underwater crater now separates the main island from other smaller islands, still considered part of Santorini. Apart from iconic beaches, other drawcards include galleries, a thriving nightlife and excellent wines.  

Acropolis Citadel and Parthenon Temple  

This famous UNESCO World Heritage Site comprises of a 5th Century B.C. temple complex - an ancient citadel that includes the Parthenon building, all sitting atop a high rocky outcrop above the city of Athens. Though many may not know it by name, they will surely recognise the crumbling columns of Parthenon. This former temple was dedicated to Athena, goddess of wisdom, military victory and the patron of Athens.

Mount Olympus

The highest mountain in Greece, home of the Gods and the throne of Zeus – if mountains of epic proportions are your thing, then be sure to visit Mount Olympus. This mountain is found near the borders between Thessaly and Macedonia and reaches 2918 metres high. The highest peak is named Pantheon and is the mysticised home of 12 Gods. Hiking and climbing in the area are popular activities and there are routes for most levels of ability. Larger animals prowl the parks below the ridges, such as wolves, jackals, wild cats, foxes and deer, however, the park is also famed for its beautifully coloured butterflies.


Another thriving Greek island, and extremely well known, Mykonos, or Mikonos, is one of the most visited in the Mediterranean for its party atmosphere. The nightlife is so popular here that clubs stay open until after dawn and attract renowned DJs from around the world. There are bars right beside the beach, so tourists looking to unwind are in the perfect place for hanging out along the Mykonos shoreline. Explore during the day; cubed white homes glow in dazzling sunsets and the labyrinth of alleyways are full of delightful surprises.


Historic site of the ancient Olympic Games and the Temple of Zeus, founded in the 8th Century B.C. the extensive site of ruins includes the training area of athletes, a stadium and temples dedicated to various Gods. Wander through the site before heading over to the museum to discover unbelievable sculptures which used to decorate the site by well-known artists of the time.

Zakynthos Island and Navagio Shipwreck

Navagio Beach, also known as Shipwreck Beach is an exposed cove on the island of Zakynthos, accessible only by boat and surrounded by steep cliffs. With images featured in holiday brochures around the world, be sure to bring your camera to capture the absolute raw beauty of this idyllic cove. The story behind the shipwreck is quite recent, dating back to just 1980 with the boat became shipwrecked after hitting rocks during bad weather. On the day, the boat was being pursued by the Greek Navy as it was suspected of carrying contraband cigarettes.  


An island popular for its interesting geology, consisting of a remarkable volcanic district, the island of Milos is another addition on an ever-increasing list of places to visit. There are also numerous coves containing interesting rock formations and consecutive caves in the cliff faces. Such caves are noted historically for being the hideout of pirates and are usually visited by most day-trip boat cruises around the island. 

Samaria Gorge

Enjoy hiking through canyons along the 16km stony trail on the island of Crete, suitable for travellers of all physical abilities who wish to see vertical walls that reach up to 500 metres, and in the narrowest part are only 3 metres wide. In the right seasons, it is incredibly scenic, covered in wildflowers that adorn the path. This trail extends through protected National Park so you may encounter a number of protected endangered flora and fauna. Walk past the abandoned Samaria village, discover the 14th Century church of Osia Maria, and while the last 3kms of the trail are considered the hardest, the trail ends at the inviting beach of Agia Roumeli.       

By Annabel Rainsford.  

Please note travel safety:

As outlined by, rioting can break out with little warning in Athens and other Greek cities. Australians are advised to avoid all protests and demonstrations as they may turn violent. Strikes affecting air, sea and rail transport, as well as taxi services happen regularly in Greece. If you are affected by transport disruptions, you should monitor the media, maintain contact with your airline, your travel agent and your insurer, and be prepared to change your travel plans. We strongly suggest vigilance when travelling to Greece. There is also an ongoing threat of terrorism in Europe.  

Images: Photos free of copyrights under Creative Commons CC0 as sourced from pixabay for royalty-free images. 

Korean Kitchens

Korean cuisine is rising in popularity, with hole-in-the-wall sized restaurants found in numbers tucked into city streets and impressive destination restaurants making a stand with an elegant finesse. For those who love the wild and wonderful flavours of Korean cuisine, we have a few extra suggestions for you to try below.  

SUT & Wine Korean BBQ Restaurant – VIC, Box Hill  

'Sut' means charcoal in Korean and as the name suggests, SUT & Wine Korean BBQ offers a tantalising culinary journey across the world with just a little effort from Melburnians to exit the busy city rush and make their way out to Box Hill. An a la carte menu details sumptuous options, but for a true dining experience, SUT’s Korean BBQ sets will excite taste buds with an abundance of flavours, named and loved as the house specialty. Bring along a bottle of your favourite wine to share and enjoy, or choose from a palatable selection of wines available to complement a feast.

Goha Korean Restaurant – QLD, Southport  

Deviate from the Southport Chinatown restaurants along Davenport Street and head around the corner for some tasty Korean delights at Goha on Nerang Street. Family owned and operated, a little heart and soul goes into each dish, using meats sourced fresh from the family butcher shop next door and spiced up in the kitchen. Experience a DIY Korean barbecue with marinated meats served to the table, giving diners the opportunity to cook the meats as they like them at the table over a sizzling plate. For those who want to sample a range of everything, a barbecue buffet is on offer every night. 

Mapo Korean Restaurant – SA, Adelaide City    

Mapo Korean Restaurant has gained a swift following of loyal Adelaide locals since opening its doors on Gouger Street back in 2002. Follow the crowds through the city to Mapo’s front, nab a table for yourself among a suave and sophisticated setting and prepare to delve into a feast. From the widely celebrated kimchi and bibimbap to innovative dishes such as coffee infused pork ribs and South Australian Black Angus eye fillet with Korean black raspberry sauce, each dish reflects Mapo’s fusion of Korean and Western flavours as well as aiming to serve only local, organic produce.  

ORee – VIC, Melbourne City 

Jump off the tram at Queen Street and head to Melbourne’s widely known Bourke Street for some Korean feasting at ORee restaurant. Stylishly traditional in design, warm red walls and low levelled tables make for an ambient dining experience. Translating directly to ‘duck’ ORee serves a wide variety of duck dishes, including fried dumplings, smoked duck, duck pancakes and aromatic stew. Should you want for more, try a white Bingsu for dessert – that’s Korean style shaved ice milk with sweet red bean, soy powder, condensed cream and nuts. 

Danjee – NSW, Sydney City    

When scouring the bustling streets of Sydney’s CBD for Korean cuisine, be sure to step into the warmly beckoning Danjee restaurant. Split across two levels, inside feels inviting, set between exposed red brick walls and furnished with chocolate toned décor for a suave and stylish escape from a hurried energy outside. Those with an appetite for a spicy kick may enjoy Danjee’s signature spicy fire chicken, hotly marinated in cayenne peppers, while diners after authentic style dishes can opt for an alternative served in a hot stone bowl. 

Don't see a suggestion that's close to you? No worries, find your closest Korean restaurant here.  

Compiled by Julie Johnson. 

Delve into a Sizzling Korean BBQ

Korean BBQ restaurants have been slowly popping up across the country for quite some time now, welcomed into the open arms by those already familiar with the flavours that delight and tempt the senses, however, given not much more than a sideways glance from those who are yet to experience the mouth-watering experience.

Photo ~ Sut & Wine Korean BBQ Restaurant  

Check out other Korean restaurants around you here.

Korean barbecue refers to the Korean method of roasting and grilling meats such as beef, pork and chicken, often prepared at the table right in front of those about to eat it, on a gas or charcoal grill that has been built into the tabletop. Where this isn’t possible, a portable stove is often also used, though it doesn’t feel quite as special as the more traditional inbuilt style setting. Grabbing the nearest utensil and joining in cooking at the table encourages a sense of community, whether being introduced to friends of friends for the first time or getting back in touch with family after a week spent living separate lives at school and work. It also avoids the hassle often experienced by that one fussy eater (there’s always one!) This person can simply cook their own portion of food exactly how they like it, with no complaints or complicated orders needed.

The most common type of Korean barbecue is Bulgogi, where thin slices of beef are marinated in a number of tasty condiments such as soy sauce, sugar, oil, garlic and pepper, slowly soaking into the meat for an evenly dispersed level of deliciousness throughout. Other common meats include pork belly, short rib, beef tongue, brisket and squid, though the possibilities for barbecuing your favourite meats in Korean style are endless.

Often, these tender meats are wrapped up in fresh lettuce leaves or other types of wraps like nori and steamed cabbage leaves, then combined with tasty sides to make a delicious mouthful. This means you can keep every bite interesting and different from the last, combining new flavours and ingredients every time. Banchan, the name for small sides, invokes images of kimchi in all shapes and sizes such as radish, cucumber and cabbage. Other sides may include pickles, fermented soybeans and sautéed spinach.

There is much fun to be had in the culinary adventure of Korean BBQ, whether trying it DIY in your own home, perhaps over a camper burner, or heading to the nearest Korean BBQ restaurant. Here are some quick tips on how to dine out at a Korean BBQ restaurant for the first time: 

  • Some restaurants are a la carte, but often they are all-you-can-eat. When you want more ingredients to cook, there’s a button to press at the table to alert your waiter you are ready for more.
  • Korean BBQ is a communal experience, so best not to go alone or it will more than likely be very expensive. Live by the saying ‘the more, the merrier’ and you’re in for a fun time.
  • There are usually raw and marinated meats presented to diners. Seasoned visitors know that raw meats cook faster, so if you are hungry, try these first, then move onto the marinated meats. It also means you won’t be mixing the raw meats with any marinade leftover on the hotplate.
  • Keep the drinks flowing, make sure the glasses of people around you are full, but traditionally, it is frowned upon to pour your own.
  • When finishing a meal, you must absolutely head to the closest karaoke bar. 

By Julie Johnson. 

A Foodie's Guide to Byron Bay

If you haven’t already, take a road trip along the Northern New South Wales Coast and find delight among its pristine coastline, lush and ever-changing terrain and the welcoming demeanour of hospitable locals. With so much to see and do, it can be hard to pin-point the best way to get around to seeing everything. Among the surplus of adventures and activities to be had, one could almost forget the abundance of amazing produce to be admired in this region, if not for the roadside fruit stalls and vibrant rolling landscapes.

While the coastline offers fresh caught fish, the hinterland is full of farmlands owned by passionate people who believe in wholesome living, producing organic harvests and free-range, grass-fed livestock. While the township tempts holidayers with a cheery ambiance, street side ice-cream parlours, crowds hanging out at rooftop bars and the draw of convenient fish and chip eateries, those after a little inside knowledge can see a touch more of what’s available with the venues mentioned below. In the event that you should be fortunate enough to find yourself in this breath-taking region, take a look at our guide for experiencing the various facets of dining in the Byron Bay region.

Start your morning early with a kick of caffeine from Espressohead Café, found on the corner of Middleton and Byron Street. The smell of aromatic beans sourced from some of the world’s most prominent coffee bean growing regions are intoxicating and it’s worth a short stay if only to observe eclectic foot traffic. Soak up some of Byron Bay’s laidback atmosphere over a slice of organic, wood-fired fruit toast, served with local macadamia honey and butter. With a second take-away coffee in hand, crafted from the coffee bean of the month, (perhaps Guatemala’s Santa Felisa Estate beans) it’s time to head off to explore nearby tourist destinations.

With a final, vertical tip of the cup, the last few drops of what could well be the elixir of life are finished and a walk around the Byron Bay Lighthouse is first up on a short-but-sweet checklist of sights to see. After some happy snaps standing on the tip of Australia’s most eastern point, schedule in a visit to Harvest café, perched up in the Byron Bay hinterland. This multi-functional venue offers visitors the rustic charm of a time gone by, homed in an early 1900s historic cottage. The menu has been awarded a Chef Hat of 12, showcasing the region’s fresh, organic local produce, much of which is sourced within a 2km radius and supplemented by what is grown in the onsite garden. After gorging on a feast, tasting the in-house brewed ginger beer and indulging in a tastebud tingling dessert, choose to ease digestion with a stroll along the famous Byron Bay beach.

If the main drag is too crowded, sneak around to Tallows Beach for a long and leisurely walk. With toes in the sand, waves roll in, fresh sea breezes blow and surfers catch big barrels further out. Once you’ve walked far enough to work up an appetite, slowly make your way back, freshen up at your accommodation and attend the dinner booking you made earlier in the day.

Decadent Italian indulgence is also available in the Northern Rivers region, and can be experienced at restaurant Cicchetti Byron Bay. Not far from where coffee was enjoyed earlier in the day, Cicchetti is a hit with locals and tourists, winning the Readers’ Choice Award 2016 for Italian cuisine in the region. While Cicchetti translates from Italian to mean tapas, and there are certainly plenty to share over a bottle of wine, one may prefer to delve into dishes of roasted Borrowdale free range pork belly or Byron Bay hinterland grass fed Angus yearling.  If a romantic occasion is to be celebrated, or you have trouble making decisions, opt for the degustation menu and include wine pairings to have all aspects covered without you needing to lift a finger. 

After a solid night’s sleep, make an easy pace towards The Pass Café and settle in for breakfast, nestled among the greenery of Palm Valley forestry. While delighting in the scenic beach views from the deck, dive into The Pass Big Breakfast, or opt for a lighter dish like the Brookfarm Macadamia Muesli with berry compote and a side of coconut yoghurt to fuel you up for another day of touring.

The day is now yours to do with as you wish. Perhaps spend a day in Byron Bay, exploring the boutique shops for one-off items, trinkets and all sorts of knick-knacks and lock in an afternoon sea kayaking tour, or alternately, head out to the hinterland again for a morning of peace and tranquillity wandering the Crystal Castle and Shambhala Gardens, detouring on the way back through Bangalow’s quaint main street for lunch, perhaps at Helix Café Deli Wine Bar and travelling further down the coast to Broken Head.

The afternoon could be enjoyed walking among the rainforest of Broken Head Nature Reserve to eventually emerge at a spectacular setting overlooking Kings Beach. If time permits, stay awhile to soak up the panorama of rough coastal terrain, peering into the distance to spot whales frolicking as they travel along their yearly migration routes. Learn about the Aboriginal story behind the three rock formations known as the Three Sisters, and watch on as all sorts of bird life effortlessly dip and weave around the rocky outcrops.

Make tracks back to the car as the sun begins to sink on yet another awe-inspiring day filled with breath-taking scenery and crisp sea breezes. Should a craving arise for delicious Indian cuisine while making a beeline for Byron, stop into Suffolk Park and take to Yellow Flower on Clifford Street. Yellow Flower has flourished since opening in 2000, with a steady following of locals and tourists returning for tandoori chicken wings, spicy beef vindaloo and lamb korma with sweet potato and almonds. Let Yellow Flower do the dishes for you, or pre-order your favourite curries to pick up and take back to enjoy in the comfort of your hotel.

However, if you can hold hunger pains at bay long enough to reach the township again and wish to finish off a road trip with an ambient dining experience, save your stomach for rustic European cuisine at Targa on Marvell Street. Just a few streets back from the beach, Targa offers both alfresco dining for balmy evenings and a stylish, contemporary setting indoors. Graze over antipasto boards with Lismore prosciutto, house made focaccia, aged balsamic and more before moving onto generous mains such as confit duck leg with sherry braised forest mushrooms, kale and potatoes. Complete an evening of culinary decadence with an affogato with hazelnut ice-cream, a nip of Pedro Ximenez and honeycomb and a mouth-watering cheeseboard selection.

For more ideas on how best to experience the beautiful Byron Bay region, please peruse our site under sections for restaurants, attractions and accommodation.  

Compiled by Annabel Rainsford, photography courtesy of establishments and words by the AGFG Foodies. 

Take Five in Byron Bay

Cheer Up. Slow Down. Chill Out. Six little words painted on Byron Bay’s welcome sign that automatically makes you drop your shoulders, let out a sigh of relief and turn your body clock off. You are now on the Bay time. Byron Bay is spectacular year round and will never fail to recharge your batteries. Its laid back persona allows you to unwind and de-stress, whilst still offering plenty to do and see. Whether it’s for a long weekend, an overnight stay or if you’re just passing through, these top five things to do and see are the perfect way to taste the best of what magic Byron Bay has to offer. 

The Farm Byron Bay:

Set on lush, rolling green paddocks, The Farm Byron Bay is an establishment with a philosophy and goal set out by many, yet achieved by few. The Farms sole focus is to grow, feed and educate and they have hit the mark with people travelling from all over to experience what they have on offer. This is an ethically run 80 acres of permaculture based farm land offering a distinct point of difference for their customers. Three Blue Ducks, is the resident restaurant. A warm and rustic style set up with both indoor and outdoor seating. Serving a menu predominately dictated by what is in season and being grown by their farmers. You are invited to stroll through the farm and visit the local animals including the heritage-breed pigs, Scottish highland cattle and free range chickens. The produce store enables you to purchase straight from the farmers offering 100% spray and chemical free fruit and vegetables along with gourmet pantry items. For those who enjoy the sweeter things in life, The Bread Social have you covered. They are an onsite, Artisan bake house creating crunchy organic sourdoughs and exquisite, melt-in-your-mouth pastries. The Farm is also host to like-minded businesses such as Milkwood, an organisation offering permaculture education and courses and boutique florist, Flowers at the Farm, making sure you leave with a spring in your step and a sunflower in your hand. 

The Farm Byron Bay from their Facebook page.  

Stone and Wood Brewery: 

Established in 2008, Stone and Wood is a boutique brewing company with one vision in mind, get back to basics, keep it simple and appreciate the natural beauty of your surroundings. The epitome of what Byron Bay is all about. The brewing company has three signature ales including the Pacific Ale, Green Coast and the Jasper Ale along with regular signature limited releases. All of their beers are brewed with no additives and no preservatives. The brewery is open seven days a week and runs regular tours and tastings. Alternatively, there is a cellar door which is available to the public to drop by and purchase some local brews. This is the perfect way to kick off a Saturday afternoon with a group of friends. 

Stone and Wood from their Facebook page.  

Cape Byron Lighthouse: 

Ask any local their opinion of the most iconic place in Byron Bay and they will more than likely say Cape Byron Lighthouse. The whole town seems to revolve around this pinnacle of light, being able to spot its glow from almost anywhere within Byron. Whether you join the joggers who take on the steady climb up the hill or enjoy the picturesque view from the comfort of your car, you will be blown away by the sparkling blue Pacific Ocean, the endless green hills and jiggered horizon of the Byron Bay Hinterland and if you are lucky, a whale travelling past.

Byron Bay Lighthouse from their Facebook page 

Crystal Castle and Shambhala Gardens: 

Given the Sanskrit name Shambhala, meaning peace, tranquillity and happiness, the Crystal Castle will leave you feeling nothing less than what its name signifies. Set in the Byron Bay hinterland it is a world within its own. As you enter through the front gates you are taken into a harmonious space filled with colour and life. The perfectly landscaped botanical gardens are filled with sub-tropical plant life and some of the world’s largest crystals. The gardens invite you to walk their five acre manicured track winding through the grounds which leads you to Australia’s largest stone blessing Buddha, perched regally above a pond abundant with water lilies in flower. A maze labyrinth walk also clears the mind whilst working up an appetite to dine at the charming Lotus Café for a tasty lunch made with home grown produce and unspoilt views of Byron Bay. There are daily activities, yoga classes, workshops and experiences consistently on offer also.  It is hard to leave empty handed from the crystal shop with divine jewellery, rare crystal pieces, semi-precious stones and home wares all available for purchase. 

The Crystal Castle and Shambhala Garden from their Facebook page

Beaches / Surfing:

Australia is known for its beaches. Byron Bay is known for some of Australia’s best beaches. Byron Bay hosts a plethora of different beaches suitable for everyone. If you are a surfing enthusiasts, The Pass is the perfect break to paddle into, sheltered by headlands on both sides, The Pass is a gentle wave which is also suitable for beginners. If frolicking in the water and reading a book on the sand is more to your liking, there is no place better than Main Beach. Grab yourself a fresh organic juice from the selection of cafes nearby and roll out your towel. If you are a competent swimmer, a snorkel off Main Beach to shipwreck The Tassie II is a spectacular way to see the locals of Byron who live under water. 

Byron Bay from their Facebook page.  

By Freya Ensbey. 

Laughs and Leeches at O'Reilly's

By Julie Fison

“If you find a fallen tree on the path, don’t try to climb over it,” the guide at O’Reilly’s on the Queensland/NSW border tells us earnestly. “I’ve seen those things shoot down the hill. You don’t want to be on one, when that happens.”

No. I definitely don’t want to fly down a gully clinging to the mossy bark of an Arctic Beech and have to wait to be rescued at the bottom with a broken ankle (and that’s a best case scenario). I won’t be climbing over any fallen trees. In fact I’m wondering if I should leave the comfort of the lodge at all. Perhaps a day in the library with a cup of tea might be a good option. The spa also looks inviting.

I’m on a walking weekend with my book group, but a wave of thunderstorms have hit the Lamington National Park leaving countless hazards in its wake. We’ve had to cancel our planned 23 km walk along the Main Border Track and we’re looking at alternatives. The resort guide is keen to make sure we understand the risks before we set off anywhere. She advises us to take warm clothes and food in case we get stuck in the bush. OK. Now I’m getting nervous.

We download an emergency app, sort out a packed lunch and plenty of water and bravely head off for the Box Circuit – a track on the more protected side of the mountain that should be a reasonably safe option.

The route isn’t really important. For me, walking is all about the journey. The chance to enjoy the rainforest, catch up with friends, find out what’s really going on behind the happy-family snapshots on Facebook. Maybe even talk about books.

It’s a foggy morning and light drizzle is falling, but once we’re on the track, the towering Booyongs protect us from the rain. Light filters through the fog, hanging among the fern trees as we wind our way down to Canungra Creek. It’s damp and there must be a thousand leeches per square metre, but the rainforest couldn’t be more beautiful. It feels so pre-historic that I wouldn’t be surprised if a dinosaur strolled out of the mist. A hobbit wouldn’t be out of place either. But I get a nasty shock when a snake decides to join us on the track. 

“Watch out for the red-belly black,” one of my fellow walkers calls calmly. “It’s much more scared of you, than you are of it.” That, I doubt.

I’ve only just recovered from the snake encounter when an enormous blue crayfish gives me the shock of my life, snapping its pincers menacingly from the side of the track. You don’t see that every day. Luckily.

We eat lunch standing on a wet boulder at Picnic Rock to minimize our interaction with leeches. It’s not entirely successful, the little buggers don’t just jump off the track, they also launch themselves from the trees. Someone finds a leech in her belly button. Not cool.

We make it back to our gorgeous villa without having to resort to the emergency app. I’ve transported a sock full of leeches on our 20km walk and my feet are aching. But I wouldn’t have missed it for anything.

Walking with friends is therapy for the body and the mind, no matter where the track leads.

Festivale 2016

Launceston City Park, Tasmania Friday 12 – Sunday 14 February 2016. 

Whether stopping by for just a day, or spending all three inside Tasmania’s Festivale 2016, you’re bound to have a merry time! Head to all of your favourite stalls, get involved with classes and activities and soak up the lively atmosphere, surrounded by some of Tasmania’s world class produce.

On Saturday and Sunday, Tamar Valley Wine Route Experiences are on offer inviting festival-goers to indulge in a palate pleasing array of Tasmanian wine, beer, spirits and produce. Engage with some of Tasmania’s most inspirational food and beverage producers and check out our six suggestions for making the most out of Festivale.

Learn something on Saturday:

Two very popular wines – Pinot Gris and Pinot Grigio. Is the only difference French and Italian?

This is just one of the Tamar Valley Wine Route Experiences to enjoy over the weekend. Join Penny Jones from Bay of Fires Wines and Stewart Burns, Josef Chromy Wines as they taste and explore different wines from these intriguing grape varieties. This class runs from 1:00pm – 1:45pm. 

Attend the awards:

Each year Festivale recognises the outstanding efforts of stallholders in all categories including food, wine and cider with a number of classes under each awarded category. Be sure to attend the awards and show your support for local businesses.

Eat your weight in a day:

In between events and activities, spend the time to wander around the site to food stalls like the Clover Hill Sparkling Wine Oyster Seafood Bar for succulent seafood starters. If hunger pains are really starting to hit, head over to Flamecake to satisfy your stomach with European style flammkuchen, served hot off the wood fire. This is a traditional Bavarian and French dish similar to the pizza, but made with a sourdough base and crème fraiche sauce. It’s a great way to warm up on cool days or an easy option to share with friends and family as you explore.

Have some fun – for yourself and the kids:

Visit international buskers by Vjam Avenue as they perform acrobatics, body contortions and other exciting acts while the kids enjoy some fun themselves in Kid’s Kingdom with face painting, ballooning and temporary tattoos. Tailrace Communities will be offering children’s activities every day, like circus school, Taiko drumming workshops, dance workshops and interactive music lessons so parents can sit back, relax and enjoy a long weekend off.

Test your new-found knowledge:

Do your best to pair a wine or cider from one of the many stalls with a spicy curry from Indian Empire or a meal with more Mexican flavours from Tio Rico, then treat yourself to another round with decadent desserts or a platter of cheese. 

Feast like a King:

For a tasting experience to remember, purchase tickets now to Festivale Lunch with Greg Malouf. Held at Stillwater on Friday 12th of February, Greg Malouf will share his passion for cooking, his knowledge and experience as he works with Head Chef Craig Wills to showcase Middle Eastern cuisine and incorporating Tasmanian produce.   

For more information on Festivale 2016, head to the official Festivale website. Those travelling from elsewhere can find accommodation options for Tasmania on our website, simply follow the link for suggestions.  

Our Favourite Tasmanian Producers

Are you visiting Tasmania and want to know more about where the best produce comes from as you explore? Keep a look out for the producers that supply some of our chef-hatted restaurants with high quality goods, like Stillwater Restaurant, Me Wah Hobart, Geronimo Aperitivo Bar and Restaurant, Monty’s on Montpelier and Mud Bar and Restaurant. Space permitting, we would name and fame all the dedicated and passionate suppliers across Tasmania, however, we do our best by offering you a snippet of six suppliers. Get a taste for what Tasmania’s lush, fertile lands can produce with our few mentions below. 


Kate’s Berry Farm

Located in Swansea, Kate’s Berry Farm produces cool climate berries, picked at the peak of ripeness. Berries like raspberries and strawberries contain no fungicides, pesticides or harmful chemicals, grown using only organic foliar fertilisers. 

Robbins Island Wagyu

Run by fourth generation cattle farmers, this farm has bred wagyu beef on Robbins Island since the early 1990s. Featuring Beef Marble Scores of 4-6 and 7+, the signature taste is a specific combination of genetics, regional pastures and pristine environment. 

Nutpatch Nougat

Situated in iconic Kettering, Nutpatch Nougat is ideally located 2km drive away from a hazelnut orchard, with further production in Kettering. They also specialise in handmade fine chocolates with a range that grows every year. 

Scottsdale Pork

Fostering a culture of continuous improvement ensures Scottsdale Pork pigs are nurtured through the highest standards to produce a tasty, juicy, natural pork with a superb eating experience. Naturally juicy, pigs are left to roam free-range, with no extra additives, it's just 100% natural pork.

Evandale Estate

Evandale Estate olive grove in the northern midlands of Tasmania consists of 3500 trees planted in 1999, alongside figs, chestnut and hazelnut trees. The main olive varieties include Frantoio, Correggiola, Leccino, Picual, Nevadillo Bianco, Manzanillo, Verdale and Barnea, producing award winning cool-climate cold pressed Extra Virgin Olive Oil entirely pressed and bottled onsite.

Gillespie’s Ginger Beer

Crafted on the south-east coast of Tasmania in the coastal Hamlet of Bream Creek, Gillespie’s Ginger Beer is free from preservatives and additives. Premium ingredients include natural filtered rainwater, organic fresh ginger, Tahitian lime, lemon, native Tasmanian pepper berry leaf and sugar. 

To complement a meal full of fresh, vibrant Tasmanian produce, it would only be right to drink wine and ciders from Tasmanian companies. Check out some of our featured companies below:

Two Metre Tall Farmhouse Ale and Cider

Nestled on the banks of the Derwent River, Two Metre Tall Farmhouse Ale and Cider is the perfect location to soak up Tasmania’s breathtaking natural wilderness and enjoy unique farmhouse-style beers and ciders. Two Metre Tall’s entire selection of beverages can be purchased at the farm bar, as can its farm-raised ‘beer-fed’ beef.

Goaty Hill Wines

Offering panoramic views of rocky hillside and rolling greens, Goaty Hill Wines in Kayena encapsulates the essence of Tasmania. Complement a gourmet platter of local produce with a bottle of Goaty Hill’s latest release – perhaps an elegant 2014 Riesling bursting with honey and green apple flavours or the 2014 Pinot Gris laced with floral notes, best paired with smoked cheese.

Bay of Fire Wines

Extensive green gardens and sweeping vineyard views make up this Tamar Valley winery, alluring and distinctively Tasmanian. There is sure to be a wine for all tastes from the spicy, citrus and stone fruit Chardonnay to multi award-winning Pinot Noir in all its graceful strawberry aromas.

Clover Hill Vineyard 

Situated in Tasmania’s Pipers River, Clover Hill effortlessly combines classic French methodology and vivacious Tasmanian style to produce a stunning collection of Cuvée wines. 

Quick mentions: 

Keep an eye out for these brands and you know you’re in safe hands for quality and fresh produce. 

Wild Clover Lamb

Lost Pippin Cider

Black Ridge Farm

McHenry Distillery

Bruny Island Cheese

Bay of Fires Cheese

Mount Gnomon Farm

Flinders Island Meat 

Compiled by Julie Johnson. 

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