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Having holidayed in Byron Bay more times that I can remember, I thought I’d seen it all. But just outside of Byron Bay in the rolling hinterlands is a super cute town that’s an under-the-radar destination. Introducing Newrybar – a historic town founded in the late 1880s that’s Byron Bay’s newest (and possibly oldest) place to visit.
Newrybar is a one-street-town with just a few houses, shops and cafes that are so epic; they have turned Newrybar into a destination in itself. It’s a 15-minute drive from Byron Bay’s famous beaches and has the same laid-back vibe that the coastal town is know for, mixed with its own country charm.
While you can visit Newrybar just for the day, there’s something really special about staying in town and immersing yourself amongst the crisp hinterland air. We stayed in a 100-year-old cottage for the weekend and spent our days wandering around its sprawling one-acre backyard that included its own veggie patch.
We took advantage of our local base and experienced everything the Newrybar had to offer. We had an epic lunch at Harvest – a restaurant with a seasonable and sustainable menu that has almost become more famous than the town itself. I was in homewares shopping heaven at Newrybar Merchants – a collective of creative local artisans. Newrybar is also home to the designer fashion boutique Drift Lab where you can shop an expertly curated collection of local fashion labels. And because that was such hard work, we then popped up the road to visit Olivia Newton-John’s incredible Gaia Retreat & Spa for a massage. I was in shopping, eating, relaxing and exploring overload and it was amazing.
Whether you’re into food, fashion, homewares or serious relaxation, here’s everything you need to know about spending the day or weekend in Newrybar.
The Art House
If you’ve ever imagined living in the country in a perfect cottage, with a white picket fence and thriving veggie garden, The Art House is your dream brought to life. Built in the 1900s, the cottage is a holiday rental set on an acre of lush green farmland and has floor-to-ceiling windows to make the most of its picturesque location.
The Art House has three serene bedrooms, a large, open-plan living space with beautiful views and three balconies, but the pièce de résistance for me was the bathroom. I’m obsessed with bubble baths and I don’t have a bath in my own apartment, so I took full advantage of the bathroom situation. The bathroom also has floor-to-ceiling windows, which look out to rolling hills, grazing cattle and horses. It was raining outside, so it was perfect bubble bathing conditions and just when I thought it couldn’t get any better, a rainbow appeared!
There’s a reason behind the name of the cottage. The owners have a passion for original art by contemporary Australia artists, making the home an ever-changing gallery of original artworks selected and curated by The Channon Gallery, which is located on the way to Nimbin.
A visit to Newrybar is not complete without a visit to Harvest. The restaurant (and neighbouring deli) is one of the town’s biggest drawcards. Set in a charming early 1990s historic cottage with a leaf-covered alfresco veranda, Harvest is a restaurant known for its seasonable and sustainable menu using local ingredients.
Harvest dry age local meat onsite and bake their own bread and French pastries in a woodfire oven on site, they even have their own farm. We popped in for lunch thinking we’d be in and out in a few hours. Four hours and three amazing courses later, we discovered Harvest’s reputation for ourselves. While every single part of our meal was delicious, the standout was the ‘Violet Crumble’ dessert – a chocolate mousse with a violet ice cream and crumbs on top.
Next door to Harvest Restaurant is Harvest Deli. This is the place to stock up on local and international artisan products like organic meats, local cheeses and damn good coffee. We made sure to take some of our favourite local products home with us back to Sydney.
Newrybar Merchants is a unique retail space set in a charming 1890s dwelling. Created by Zane Grier from Driftlab (a fashion boutique across the road) and Todd Miller from Zieglerbuild, Newrybar Merchants is a collaborative concept store that brings creatives with a passion for design together in a way that compliments the old world charm of the village.
With an array of merchants that include The Society Inc by Sibella Court, Shannon Fricke, Jai Vasicek’s (Ahoy Trader) collab with Patterson + Steele, Beautiflora, Diana Miller, Fate & Fortune, Miller Trading Group, Tigmi Trading and Mister Zimi, Newrybar Merchants delivers on the goods.
Whether you’re after rare Moroccan Berber rugs and artifacts, designer bed linen, curated stationary or luxurious leather goods, this is one destination you need to put on your next trip Byron Bay.
Gaia Retreat & Spa
On a rainy Sunday morning, I headed just outside of Newrybar to visit Gaia Retreat & Spa. Nestled on 25 acres in the breathtaking Bundjalung Country hinterland of Byron Bay, the region is known as the healing heartland of Australia.
Co-owned by the famous Olivia Newton-John, Gaia Retreat & Spa is a boutique retreat made up of 23 peaceful rooms surrounded by lush tropical gardens. The property caters to yoga devotees and those looking to achieve total relaxation. Gaia is also home to an exceptional day spa and the best bit about it, is that you don’t need to be a guest to make a booking. I spent the morning having an incredible 90-minute massage to the sound of the rain, and followed it with herbal tea, fresh fruit and a dip in Gaia’s beautiful pool.
Byron Bay’s beaches
Just 15-minutes drive from Newrybar is Byron Bay’s famous beaches. We headed into Byron Bay for dinner one night and stopped off at Wategos Beach for a quick sunset swim and to shoot a sponsored bikini post on Instagram with Sera from Photography Byron Bay.
As usual, Wategos put on an incredible sunset with the sky changing from a blinding bright orange, to a silvery pink hue as it set behind Mount Warning in the distance.
Road tripping with Hertz Australia
Sponsored by Hertz Australia.
We chose to fly in and out of Gold Coast Airport because the flight times worked better for our schedule than Ballina Airport. We needed a hire car for the one-hour drive south to Newrybar, but after picking up our epic SUV from Hertz, I was wishing our mini road trip was longer. Living in Sydney’s Eastern Suburbs, I’ve only ever had small cars – its just easier finding parking spots. So anytime I can get behind the wheel of an SUV and cruise the open road is always fun. There was no better way to cruise around Newrybar and Byron Bay than in a brand new Toyota Kluger from Hertz Australia – it was the perfect weekend ride.
Where to stay:
The Art House is $500 in high season (September to December and February to May) and $350 in low season (June to August) per night with a minimum two-night stay. Details here.
How to get there:
Newrybar is located in Northern NSW a few kilometres south of Bangalow, just off the Pacific Highway on the western side.
If you’re flying into Gold Coast, Ballina or Lismore Airport, you’re going to need a car to get around. We flew into the Gold Coast Airport and hired a car from Hertz and had a mini road trip experience on our way down. Details here.
Flying to Newrybar:
You can fly into the Gold Coast Airport, which is located in Coolangatta QLD (one hour north of Newrybar). There are a couple smaller regional airports located in Ballina (20 minutes south) and Lismore (35 minutes west).
Driving to Newrybar:
With breaks, Newrybar is about a nine-hour drive from Sydney and about two-hour drive from Brisbane.
Bus to Newrybar:
The Farm Bus is a super convenient one-day hop-on hop-off bus ticket that is ideal for visitors who want to see as much of the Byron Bay’s beaches, and the historic and beautiful hinterland towns of Bangalow and Newrybar. It’s only $15 per person for a day pass with an additional $10 to add the Night Owl service to your trip. Details here.