Weekend road trips to laidback, peaceful little villages that aren’t too far away but are just far away enough to escape the Gold Coast hustle are our favourite thing.
Especially if those laidback, peaceful little villages are also very pretty and boast exceptional coffee-slinging cafes you’ll definitely lose a few hours in.
Which, if you haven’t already guessed, is exactly what is happening at Burringbar, a leafy little spot just a short half hour drive from the Coast and a sweet new space we (and owners Jack and Soph) like to call Elwood.
After a beautiful drive that winds through mountains and tree-lined streets you’ll arrive on The Broadway at Burringbar, a road reminiscent of a time when all anyone needed was a general store, a coffee shop and a solid sense of community – the simple (most delightful) things.
And that friends, is exactly what Elwood is all about – strangers becoming friends and the simple pleasure of a perfectly brewed cup of coffee with said strangers who become friends.
It’s the very picture of cosy, vintage good vibes with stools pulled up to windows set with flowers that catch the morning light, corner armchairs placed under hats hung on the wall and shelves stacked with perfectly imperfect ceramics you can add to your own collection. Put simply, it’s the lounge room we wish we could just throw together but absolutely don’t have the eye to create.
We’re kind of in love, give us a minute.
Okay. As mentioned it’s the work of the lovely Soph and Jack who met while working in Bangalow, had a dream to build something of their own together where people in the community could come and hang out, and so they set about doing exactly that.
Jack spent considerable time with coffee roasting connoisseurs Moonshine (from Federal) who brew an exceptional cuppa (one of our favourites just quietly) and can also be found at Burleigh newbie Next Door Espresso.
Soph has a foodie background including having worked at St Elmos in Byron Bay and grown up in a family who cooked direct from the veggie garden (jealous), and together they’re the perfect pair to bring a stunning new venue to the people.
Food-wise everything is locally sourced with all pastries and breads made in-house. As of right now, the menu is made up of simple treats like croissants and brownies and the like but within the next little while there’ll be a full offering of fresh, tasty goodies of the breakfast and lunch varieties.
In summary, you must gather your crew and prep for a weekend road trip to Burringbar. We bet you fall a little bit in love too.
LOCATION: 33 The Broadway, Burringbar
HOURS: 7.30am until 2.30pm Wednesday to Sunday
Words and photos by Kirra Smith
Quite obviously the Gold Coast is home to a growing number of epic eateries that will keep your Instagram feed filled for the rest of time. However, sometimes it’s nice to step outside your comfort zone and taste something slightly further afield.
Upon investigation, it seems there are plenty of epic eateries just outside our pretty city that are guaranteed to knock your socks off (should you be wearing socks due to these slightly chilly temps) now that border restrictions are easing.
Also, how fun are road trips (miss you!). Grab your gang and get out on the open road, your tastebuds will thank you.
Not even where to start to be honest. Harvest is THE GOODS. They weave fresh, local and organic produce into dishes that are the equivalent of Chris Hemsworth in the looks department and as tasty as anything you’ve ever eaten. Anything. Found in a renovated weatherboard cottage and with a deli, bakery and coffee shop on the premises, it’s an absolute must-visit. You need never eat elsewhere again. Where: 18-22 Old Pacific Hwy, Newrybar Village
The Mez Club, Byron Bay
It’s Mediterranean magic at The Mez Club with high ceilings, all of the white walls, wooden furniture and on point rattan seating and light fittings. The vibe is laidback sophistication, the food is share plate style and the cocktails are all the best things in the world. How does a Peach & Thyme Collins sound? Gin, peach liquor, fresh thyme, lemon juice and soda – it sounds like a party in your mouth does it not. GO NOW. Where: 4/85-87 Jonson St, Byron Bay
Federal Doma Café, Federal
It’s Japanese food in the Byron Bay hinterland and it’s some of the best you’ll ever put in your mouth. From hand-rolled salmon cones to the tastiest miso soup there is and Japanese-style burgers, you’d be crazy not to eat one of everything. The produce is fresh, there’s live music on weekends and you can sit outside under the trees, sampling stunning food and contemplating why it is you live in the city when apparently the country is where it’s at. Where: 3-6 Albert St, Federal
Mavis’s Kitchen Restaurant, Uki
Nestled at the base of the Mt Warning is a 25-acre former dairy farm, home to a relaxed country-style restaurant where as much produce as possible is sourced from the organic kitchen garden. The breakfast and a la carte lunch menus are filled with beautiful dishes that taste like your loving Grandma cooked them (if your loving Grandma is Nigella Lawson). If you over-indulge, which you will, you can stay overnight in a pretty little log cabin surrounded by sweet, sweet serenity. Where: 64 Mount Warning Road, Uki
TOWN Restaurant And Café, Bangalow
It’s the quaint little town known for fresh air, mountain vibes and epic weekend markets but were you aware there is also quite a lot of good food to be taste-tested? Probably since you’re reading this, but let’s power on. TOWN is a modern, one-hatted (for their degustation) restaurant offering next-level contemporary eats for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Cute as a button too (who decided buttons were cute). Where: 33 Byron Street, Bangalow
Spice Den, Casuarina
Oh guys, Spice Den is the business. Just 25 short minutes down the road, it’s an Asian fusion-style establishment serving share-style dishes you definitely won’t want to share though. There’s ridiculous curries, sashimi, whole snappers, scallop shooters – all of the good things. One visit is definitely not enough. Do yourself a favour and order the Grilled Spice Lamb Roti and report back (with samples if you don’t mind). Where: 9 Dianella Drive, Casuarina
Fleet, Brunswick Heads
The tiny Brunswick beauty is perhaps the most stunning venue on the NSW north coast. The ever-changing menu is made up of a series of smaller dishes, each with a focus on a few primary ingredients and each is sleek, refined and packing a flavour punch. Produce is sourced sustainably, as is the wine menu of course and there’s a degustation menu if choosing becomes too much. It’s authentic, local, incredible food that must be tasted to be believed. Where: 16 The Terrace, Brunswick Heads
Words by Kirra Smith
Is there anything more romantic than spending a weekend tucked away with your nearest and dearest? Picture the scene: you’re both mountainside snuggled up in front of a crackling fire, glass of red wine in hand and soft jazz caressing your ears. Sounds almost too good to be true? It’s all yours for the taking though, come the impending — albeit short — winter ahead! So it’s time to pull out that roll neck jumper (that, let’s face it, hasn’t been used much) and get planning! To help you along the way, we’ve found the six most romantic cabins and mountain lodges for you, right at our doorstep in the Hinterland.
Cedar Creek Lodges
A mere 40-minute drive from Surfers Paradise, but once you arrive you will feel like you’ve entered an entirely whole new world. Welcome to stunning Tamborine Mountain! Cedar Creek Lodges provide you with a full range of options. The 2, 3 or 4 bedroom self-contatined lodges are situated on your own private section of the gurgling and beautiful Cedar Creek — the perfect romantic getaway to immerse yourself in nature! But if glamping is more your style, look no further than their brand new Lotus Tents taking glamping to the next level with an ensuite allowing you to shower under the stars. The adjacent Thunderbird Park also offers horseback riding for the more adventurous romantics among you. We’re confident when it comes time to check out; you won’t want to leave.
Binna Burra Mountain Lodges
You may recognise the name, as in the 2019 bushfires, most of the property was sadly lost to fires. But where there is a will, there is a way. Rising like a phoenix from the ashes, the newly rebuilt and renovated Binna Burra is an authentic heritage-listed lodge offering one of a few genuine Australian experiences in nature. Just imagine, the lodge has been welcoming guests since the early 1930s and still retains its original charm and character. They’ve also been listed in the top 10 eco-lodges and green hotels globally with their unique isolation. If you’re after the perfect escape from everyday life and a chance to get back to basics, leave your phone at home and look no further.
Witches Falls Cottages
Total privacy is the maxim at Witches Falls Cottages. Sip on a glass of wine (from nearby Witches Falls Winery, of course) in your private courtyard garden, relax in front of your cosy fireplace with a book, or just soak away in your own double sized spa bath and reconnect with that special someone. A traditional style breakfast is even part of your stay and delivered to the door — including fresh homemade bread — so you won’t have to leave your room if you don’t fancy it.
Another romantic Tamborine Mountain retreat is Edges Lodge, the faultless suggestion for a well-deserved getaway with your lover. Sweeping vistas of the Pacific Ocean and our Gold Coast skyline will have you captivated from the moment you arrive. The lodge itself is shared between three deluxe suites, but fear not, the large, sophisticated communal areas are more than enough for you to escape to and feel tranquil — or feel free to socialise if you want to. There is a long list of extras for you to enjoy, but our suggestion is you arrange a massage in the privacy of your room! Sign us up!
The Polish Place Cottages
Your romantic stay on Tamborine Mountain starts at these charming European-style chalets only an hour from the beach and surrounded by a myriad of walking trails, waterfalls, and wineries: a hidden gem — within an hour of arriving, you will feel any stress disappear as you take in the spectacular view overlooking the Scenic Rim! How does a cosy woodfire fireplace within a loft-style chalet with private balcony, double sized spa (in your lounge room no less) and full breakfast basket provided daily sound like to you? Idyllic, no? Well don’t forget that at The Polish Place, wildlife, lorikeets and birds come to say hi on your balcony. Add to this the amazing onsite restaurant serving up all your favourite Polish winter warmer dishes like their famous Roast Duck for two with cherries (trust us, order it!) accompanied by a couple of Polish beer or vodkas, you’ll be glad checkout isn’t till 12pm!
O’Reilly’s Safari Tents
If staying at the base of a world heritage listed rainforest is at the top of your list, you’ll be happy to know, you can do that only an hour from the surf. A the end of 2020, O’Reilly’s Rainforest Retreat launched 17 safari tents within their new campground found at the Green Mountains Camping Area in Lamington National Park. The new world class ecotourism attraction is set amongst the rainforest of World Heritage Lamington National Park meaning you get to soak up the mountain magic in one of the most beautiful places in the world. Being right at the doorstep of O’Reilly’s Rainforest Retreat certainly has it’s advantages, you’ll have access to all the same experiences and adventures you love about O’Reilly’s including hikes, romantic rainforest picnics, visiting O’Reilly’s Canungra Valley Vineyards for a tipple or two (where you can also now have a picnic with the alpacas!) or just kick back together and breathe in the fresh air.
Words by Alex Mitcheson.
Now is it just us, or is a weekend road trip taking in the best of what the GC and our Northern NSW neighbours have to offer good for the soul? This just in: nope it’s not just us, as every year countless locals cancel their boozy Saturday and/or Sunday BBQ’s in favour of a chilled drive to marvel at our abundant natural beauty.
On that note, we’ve rounded up the best local scenic spots perfect for a spot of unwinding and resetting, allowing you to just ‘be’. Everybody exhale…..
Lost World Valley
A true rugged wilderness by the dramatic Razorback Mountain and Lamington Plateau, the Lost World is as enchanting as it sounds. Decompress and slow the pace along the scenic Lost World Tourist Drive through the Kerry Valley, Lost World, Lamington Gorge and Christmas Creek. Channel your inner farmhand at Tommerup’s Dairy and stock up on the freshest produce at Farm Gate Trails. Feel that? Yep, it’s your stress level plummeting.
Where: Christmas Creek Road, Lamington National Park
Advancetown to Murwillumbah
Fancy winding your way through tree-lined hills and lush green paddocks and oops, you’ve suddenly crossed the border into NSW and don’t you love it when that happens?! Let this journey give you a healthy hit of zen as you switch out the rat race for the simpler pleasures. There’s plenty to see, plus a tonne of eats icons like the majestic hat-winning Tweed River House.
Where: Southbound out of Advancetown on the Nerang-Murwillumbah Road
The Granite Belt
It may be a bit of drive but it’s well worth the fuel (quite a statement right now). There are amazing wineries to visit (just a glass of course – you’re driving remember!),…and umm, case closed coz #vino. The crisp air, endless sky and big flavours of the Granite Belt are only matched by the divine locally made cheese and artisan products, perfect for a romantic picnic among the vines.
Where: Head out west toward Beaudesert, then on to Warwick, and follow the signs from there
Famous for its epic monthly craft market, The Channon is a delightful village with artistic flare, friendly folk, and country charm in spades. The village has tea rooms, craft shops, galleries and a historic tav, not to mention the rainforest walk to end all rainforest walks in the spectacular Protestor Falls on Terania Creek Road. Don that Fitbit…or don’t, and just take it allllll in.
Where: Southbound on the M1 before exiting towards Lismore
Okay if you haven’t visited Brunswick Heads, quite frankly #RemedyThisNOW. A quaint, lush and unspoilt coastal village just 15 minutes north of Byron, happy snaps of its stunning beaches and spectacular river will set your socials alight. Also, when one visits this area, one MUST check out ‘The Brunswick’. Full stop. Exclamation mark. You’re welcome.
Where: Southbound on the M1, about half an hour away
Just 5km south of popular big sister Yamba, its famous point-breaks have made it a must-see with the world’s top surfers. Explore the renowned Yuraygir Coastal Walk, which kicks off here and take a dip (or a photo this time of year brrrr) of Mara Creek, Back Beach, Lake Arragan, and the Shelley headland caves. If you’re lucky, you may even spot Free Willy (well, close-ish) frolicking in the beautiful waters.
Where: Southbound on the M1, between Ballina and Yamba.
Words by Bianca Trathen.