2019 - What's on in the Northern Rivers

Looking for a reason to escape to the Hinterland? We've compiled the best events in the Northern Rivers for 2019. 

Contact us to add your event.

MARCH

7 - 8 March: Ocean Film Festival

The Ocean Film Festival World Tour showcases amazing footage taken above and below the water’s surface. It includes a unique selection of films of varying lengths and styles covering topics such as the oceanic environment, marine creatures, ocean-related sports, coastal cultures and ocean lovers. More info.

9 March: Eat the Street Lismore

Eat the Street food festival is coming to Lismore CBD on Saturday, 9 March from 12 – 8pm. There will be more than 80 stalls, cooking demonstrations, street games, performances, free live music and entertainment all day. More info. 

APRIL

18 – 22 April: Bluesfest

Bluesfest showcases music from around the world every Easter long weekend on 120 hectares at Tyagarah Tea Tree Farm, just north of Byron Bay, NSW. More info. 

MAY

3 – 5 May:  Nimbin Mardigras

The rally and parade is held on the first weekend in May, featuring the Hemp Olympix, Joint Rolling, Bong Throw and Yell and Growers Iron-person events. Also held during the festival are the Nimbin Cannabis Cup, Harvest Ball & Picker's Ball. More info.

11 – 12 May: Byron Bay Triathlon

The Byron Bay Triathlon welcomes children as young as seven years old and offers racing in a variety of distances. Whilst the standard Olympic distance is the most popular race, you can also race in Sprint, Tempta, Teams and Kids events. More info.

18 – 19 May:  Lismore Gemfest
The biggest annual event in the country devoted to lapidary and allied arts. Held at the Lismore Showgrounds, there’s everything from rough stone for cutting, through to finished jewellery, along with mineral specimens, fossils, gold nuggets and meteorites on display. There are gem sieving activities for children, demonstrations of jewellery making and other craft activities. More info.

Harvest Food Festival

Three days of foodie events profile local food producers, educate people about sustainable food production and promote the Northern Rivers region. Date TBC. More info.

JULY

Splendour in the Grass

Splendour in the Grass is a three-day music festival which takes place close to Byron Bay and features local and international acts. Date TBC. More info. 

12-14 July: Lismore Outdoor Leisure Show

Held at the Lismore Showgrounds, this is the largest outdoor leisure show in regional NSW. Everything for an outdoor enthusiast. Adventure from your back door and beyond. Caravans & Campers, Fishing, Boating, 4WD & Accessories, Camping, Adventure Gear & Holiday Destinations. More info.

AUGUST

2 – 4 August: Byron Writers Festival

The annual Byron Writers Festival is Australia’s largest and leading regional celebration of storytelling, literature and ideas. More than 150 sessions are held during Festival Week attracting more than 12,000 people to the area. More info.

North Coast Mud Trail – Open Studios

Once a year, as part of The Australian Ceramics Association’s Open Studios, Northern Rivers’ artists open their spaces to the public for one weekend only, giving the opportunity for visitors to see demonstrations, hear artists’ talks, participate in workshops, learn about their processes, and purchase ceramics directly from the artists themselves. Date TBC.

NOVEMBER  

9 November: Freedom MTB Race

The 13th annual Freedom Mountain Bike Race on Saturday, 9 November 2019 is at Nightcap National Park in the Byron Bay Hinterland in NSW held the day before the associated trail run event. More info.

10 November: Freedom Trail Run

The Freedom Trail Run is being held in the Nightcap National Park. This is a running event but you’re welcome to shuffle, moonwalk or speed walk. More info.

Mullum Music Festival

No gates. No big headlines. No VIP areas. Basically a no hassle street festival where artists and performers mingle and where shows are held in halls, clubs and pubs rather than tents. It's a great way to experience the vibrant village of Mullumbimby. Date TBC. More info.

 

Got vegan?

Got vegan?

No longer confined to the fringes of society, veganism is set to become a more mainstream lifestyle choice in 2018.

Around the Northern Rivers region, vegans and vegan food is abundant. However there aren’t hard statistics available on the actual number of those following a vegan lifestyle in Australia.

If we follow the money, Australia is now the third-fastest growing vegan market in the world, after the United Arab Emirates and China. According to market researcher Euromonitor International, Australia's packaged vegan food market is currently worth more than $135 million and is expected to reach $215 million by 2020.

Between 2012 to 2016, according to Roy Morgan Research, the number of Australian adults whose diet was all or almost all vegetarian has risen from 1.7 million people to almost 2.1 million or 11.2 per cent of the population. 

While it’s becoming a nationwide trend, the shift towards vegetarianism has been most striking in New South Wales, where there has been a 30 per cent growth in those following a vegetarian diet.

A vegan is someone who rejects meat or animal products. However there are strict vegans who won’t touch sugar because in some cases it can be processed with bone char. Then there are vegans at the other end of the scale who might eat the odd egg from their chooks or spoonful of honey from their own bee hives.

According to the Vegan Society, modern-day veganism started in the 1940s when a guy called Donald Watson met with a group of other non-dairy vegetarians to discuss their lifestyle and what they should be labelled. After rejecting names such as ‘dairyban’ and ‘benevore’ they settled on vegan, the first three and last two letters of vegetarian.

However, rejecting animal consumption has been around for more than 2000 years. Greek philosopher and mathematician, Pythagoras promoted kindness amongst all species and followed what was essentially a vegetarian diet. Around the same time, Siddhārtha Gautama, better known as Buddha, was discussing vegetarian diets with his followers.

We hit the streets and spoke to the owners of insanely popular café, Flock in Lismore. Sarah Jones and Kim Strow started Flock in a small arcade in 2013 and when the 2017 floods hit they lost nearly everything. With some help from the community and a lot of soul searching, they took the opportunity to take over a much bigger premises on Woodlark Street and it has gone from strength to strength.

“When we opened we actually started as a vegetarian café and in the first six months, when we were testing out our menu, our customers were asking for both meat and vegan options,” Sarah said.

“Now around 40 per cent of our menu would be vegan and you can also alter many of our options to be vegan.

“I think veganism is growing in popularity but it seems to go in waves. Last year there definitely seemed to be a spike in the number of vegans,” Sarah said.

This may have had something to do with documentary, What the Health, released in 2017, which brought veganism into the mainstream media and many a dinner party conversation. The film looked at the health and environmental impacts of meat and dairy product consumption, and questioned the practices of the leading health organisations as well as major food and pharmaceutical companies.

Along with vegan food, vegan or natural wine is also gaining popularity.

Local Clunes winemaker, Jared Dixon from Jilly Wines said, “Most wines aren’t vegan because they’re made with animal products which are used to fine a wine and help in stabilisation and clarification of the wine.

“The animal products generally used for this are milk, isinglass which is fish guts, egg whites or gelatine.

“I don't use anything to clarify my wines other than natural stability from malolactic fermentation where lactic acid bacteria convert malic to lactic acid.

“In addition, the cool months in winter help to stabilise my wines naturally.

“I also only ever move my wines on the full moon because the gravitational pull at this time is at its strongest so anything suspended in solution will tend to settle better at this time.

Jilly Wines has seen the financial benefits from producing vegan-style wines with top class restaurants, Fleet in Brunswick Heads, Three Blue Ducks, Roadhouse, DUK and St Elmo in Byron, Harvest in Newrybar and Shelter at Lennox Heads, all stocking his wines.

Jilly Wines are also being sought after internationally with Japan taking quite a chuck of wine this year.

“The natural and organic wine scene is growing at a rapid rate in Japan,” Jared said.

Where to eat and drink vegan

Flock Espresso & Eats – 49 Woodlark Street, Lismore

7 days a week 6:30am – 4:30pm

As mentioned above, nearly half their menu is vegan or can be altered to be vegan. They have a good range of salads and raw vegan treats and they are really filling and yummy. 

20 000 Cows – 58 bridge Street, Lismore (Vegan restaurant)

Wednesday to Saturday 6:30pm – 9:00pm

This restaurant is a Lismore institution offering vegan fare and there’s suggested prices for the food items. It has a great philosophy and vibe. You feel as though you’re sitting in someone’s lounge room.

Clunes Store, Café & Cellars - 33 Main Street Clunes

Café open 7 days 7:00am – 2:00pm

The Clunes Store, Café and Bottleshop definitely punch above their weight in terms of their range of vegan food and wine options.

No Bones - 11 fletcher Street, Byron Bay (Vegan restaurant)

Open 7 days 5 - 9pm 

This new plant-powered gem sources their ingredients locally, focussing on seasonal and organic produce with no compromise on flavour.

Manna Haven - 97 Jonson Street, Byron Bay (Vegetarian restaurant)

Sunday – Friday 11:00am – 3:00pm

Manna Haven focus on whole-food plant based meals made from fresh, wholesome and natural ingredients. They serve a range of vegan and vegetarian meals, desserts and smoothies.

Three Blue Ducks at The Farm - 11 Ewingsdale Rd, Ewingsdale

Restaurant opening times

No visit to Byron is complete, especially with kids, without a visit to The Farm. You can wander through the farm and check out where your food comes from or sit back and relax in the industrial-sheike restaurant. While there is quite a focus on meat, there are vegan and gluten free options for breakfast lunch and dinner.

Shelter Café and Restaurant - 41 Pacific Parade, Lennox Head

Sunday – Wednesday 6:30am – 3:00pm

Thursday – Saturday 6:30am – 10:30pm

Shelter is a beachside café and restaurant with great coffee and a relaxed feel. They have a couple of vegan options for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

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