ON THE MOVE: MULLUMBIMBY
THIS CREATIVE TOWN IN THE NORTHERN RIVERS REGION HAS A STRONG COMMUNITY, ARTS AND ENVIRONMENTAL FOCUS.
The NSW Northern Rivers town the locals call Mullum has a strong creative community at its heart.
TUCKED BENEATH THE conical peak of Mount Chincogan, Mullumbimby — or Mullum, as the locals refer to it — is fringed with rainforest in the bucolic Brunswick Valley. “When I moved from the city, I was mesmerised by the landscape,” says artist Michael Cusack, 57, who has a studio behind the Byron School of Art building in nearby Dalley Street. “It’s such a powerful place to be.” With a population of about 3600 people, part of the town’s charm is its keen sense of independence and community, which embraces diversity with open arms. It’s also possible to walk everywhere — between its cafés, galleries and spas, or trails along the Brunswick River. “There are no traffic lights and I can walk to work. A lot are moving here from the city, but it still has a country feel,” Michael adds. Five years ago, Michael, originally from Ireland, and printmaker Christine Willcocks, along with five other local artists, co-founded the Byron School of Art, which is situated in an Art Deco building in town. Christine, 65, who lives self-sufficiently in the rainforest just west of town, is from Sydney and moved here 40 years ago. “Mullum has always been a strong, creative community and is pulsing with its many festivals,” she says. Local store owner Tiana Wallace, of Coven in Stuart Street, also swapped Sydney for Mullumbimby three years ago. “I’ve never looked back,” she says. “It’s a wonderful, caring and like-minded community, and it’s the first time I’ve discovered what a true community is.” For more information, visit byron.nsw.gov.au
“Mullum has always been a strong, creative community and is pulsing with its many festivals.”
REASONS TO VISIT
BRUNSWICK VALLEY HISTORICAL SOCIETY MUSEUM Located in the former post office, the museum contains memorabilia, exhibitions and stories of the region’s colourful past. Open Fridays from 10am–12pm and markets are held every third Saturday morning of the month. Corner of Myocum and Stuart streets. (02) 6684 4367; mullumbimbymuseum.org.au
CRYSTAL CASTLE AND SHAMBHALA GARDENS This positive energy sanctuary is home to some of the biggest crystals in the world, with views of the beautiful Byron hinterland. Open 10am–5pm daily. 81 Monet Drive. (02) 6684 3111;. crystalcastle.com.au
HERITAGE PARK This botanical parkland at the northern end of town with more than 300 plant species (some endangered) features a walking trail along Brunswick River and a shaded playground area. Gordon Street.
MULLUM MUSIC FESTIVAL One of the nation’s most successful boutique festivals celebrated its 10th anniversary in November 2017. This year will see another great line-up of performers from November 15–18. mullummusicfestival.com
MULLUMBIMBY COMMUNITY GARDEN produces food to share and was established to encourage, educate and empower people to reduce their environmental impact. Stuart Street. mullumbimbycommunitygardens.org THE KIVA SPA Expect total reinvigoration and reconnection in tropical gardens. 1 Mcgougans Lane. (02) 66844 811; thekivaspa.com
REASONS TO STAY
BYRON SCHOOL OF ART A contemporary art school with practice-based programs and mentorship to support emerging and established artists. 112 Dalley Street. 0487 362 141; byronschoolofart.com
MULLUMBIMBY FARMERS’ MARKET supports local farmers and has live music and a vibrant atmosphere. It also hosts workshops and events throughout the year. Every Friday 7am–11am at the Mullumbimby Showgrounds. 51 Main Arm Road. mullumfarmersmarket.org.au
NIGHTCAP NATIONAL PARK Visit this park, about an hour’s drive west, with ancient World Heritage listed rainforest as well as waterfalls. It’s also home to Albert’s lyrebird. (02) 6627 0200; nationalparks.nsw.gov.au/visit-a-park/parks/nightcap-national-park
FLYING DOG COTTAGE A renovated three-bedroom cottage close to the centre of town. Station Street. (02) 6688 4465; flyingdogcottage.com.au
BRUNSWICK HEADS HOTEL is a short drive away in the seaside village. 2–6 Old Pacific Highway, Brunswick Heads. (02) 6685 1860; brunswickheadsmotel.com.au
MILK AND HONEY For wholefoods and wood-fired pizza. Shop 5, 59A Station Street. (02) 6684 1422; milkandhoneymullumbimby.com.au
PUNCH AND DAISY Try the eggs with salsa verde. Open 7.30am–2pm week days and 8am–1pm on weekends. 105 Stuart Street. (02) 6684 6564.
IZAKAYA YU Get a fix of modern Japanese food for lunch. Closed Sundays. 53 Stuart Street. (02) 6684 4545.
SCRATCH PATISSERIE Head to Scratch to find sourdough and pastries. Shop 6/108 Stuart Street. (02) 6684 2914; scratchpatisserie.com.au
ROCK AND ROLL COFFEE COMPANY Great coffee and vibes. They also serve Asian food. 3/55 Burringbar Street. (02) 6684 4224; rockandrollcoffee.com.au
POINCIANA A café by day with live music and cocktails come the weekend. 55 Station Street. 0498 122 453; poincianamullum.com
MADE IN MULLUM It seems obvious, but you’ll find a lot of great local and handmade goods here. 24 Burringbar Street.
TINKER TAILOR DANCER TRADER Homewares, clothing, books, gifts and accessories. Shop C, The Laneway, 55 Burringbar Street. (02) 6684 3692.
COVEN A lifestyle and concept store with perfume, ceramics, fashion and homewares. 1/105 Stuart Street. 0415 652 588.
HAVEN BOTANICAL A florist, garden and lifestyle boutique at the Laneway. 59A Burringbar Street. 0407 721 317
Christine Willcocks CO-FOUNDER Byron School of Art Local artist Christine with her monoprint on lokta paper. Christine has done 12 solo exhibitions and is represented at Flinders Lane Gallery in Melbourne. FACING PAGE, FROM TOP Crystals in Coven store; a walkway at nearby Crystal Castle and Shambhala Gardens.