Healthy Eating

We're championing fresh food that packs a flavour punch, from salads and vegetable-packed bowls to grains and light desserts.

Subscribe to Gourmet

Subscribe to Australian Gourmet Traveller for your chance to win a $20,000 Flight Centre gift card! Offer ends 24 May 2017.

Gourmet digital

Subscribe to Gourmet Traveller for your iPad or Android tablet.

OzHarvest opens Australia's first free supermarket

"This is about dignity. This is about anyone walking through this door, taking what they need, and only giving back if they can."

Anzac biscuit desserts

These four desserts have one thing in common – Anzac biscuits.

Persian red lentil soup with tahini, beetroot and fried mint

Lentil soup may not sound like the sexiest of dishes, but rest assured, it's a heart-warmer. We've added warming spices and served the soup with a dollop of garlicky tahini. Thin slivers of shaved raw beetroot add earthiness and texture - the beetroot is also excellent simply grated and served piled on top. The poached egg is optional, but highly recommended.

Six sexy panna cottas

We say si to these six takes on the Italian classic. From coffee and caramel to red wine and figs, panna cotta proves to be a versatile dessert to suit all palettes.

Eclair recipes

Here are four spins on the classic French eclair, from Flour & Stone's pillowy choux pastry with salted caramel to a colourful take with strawberry-flecked creme fraiche filling and sprinkled pistachios on top.

Blue Nile's Ethiopian eggplant dip

"I'd love the recipe for the eggplant dip the wonderful Fatuma Tikuye serves at Blue Nile in Blacktown." - Helena Rosebery, Annandale, NSW REQUEST A RECIPE To request a recipe, email fareexchange@bauer-media.com.au or write to Fare Exchange, Australian Gourmet Traveller, GPO Box 4088, Sydney, NSW 2001. Please include the restaurant's name and address or business card, as well as your name and address.

Fifty-four thoughts at Noma Mexico

"12. I'm now sitting at Noma with no shoes on. I feel like a toddler in a sandpit."

Tarte a la tomate

Make the most of end-of-season tomatoes in this delicious tart - perfect for a picnic spread.

Great drives: Byron Bay and surrounds

There's something intensely charismatic about the far north east corner of New South Wales.

New South Wales's far north east has acted as a beacon for travellers seeking a side of spirituality with their adventures since the Aquarius Festival first rolled into nearby Nimbin back in the early '70s.

These days the "make love, not war" vibe has been diluted somewhat - there's no doubt Byron Bay in particular is a town with tourism as its focus - but the Northern Rivers still retains something original, a charm beyond mere genetic blessings. It's a place that never fails to convince you that trading it all in for beach yoga and banana trees mightn't be such a bad idea.

The journey, not the destination
Those coming from southern ports will fly into either Ballina Regional Airport, some 30 minutes from Byron Bay, or Coolangatta, the gateway to the Gold Coast.

From Ballina, it's a straight northern run up the Pacific Highway to Byron, after making the obligatory photographic stop at the town's Big Prawn.

Coolangatta airport, by contrast, is a busy regional hub located a landing wheel away from the New South Wales border. Byron-bound types have two options.

The first is the coastal route, via Kingscliff.

Here you'll find Fins, chef Steve Snow's latest location for his seafood restaurant. Snow started Fins in a quaint cottage by the river at Brunswick Heads, with a huge mango tree dominating its garden and a "just let the seafoood shine" philosophy informing his menu. From there, he took Fins to the low-slung Beach Hotel in the centre of Byron, where it really shone.

Byron Bay's eating scene is poorer for Snow's absence, so either make the drive to Salt Village or consider a night, or two, in Kingscliff. The pace is pleasantly slow and cafés line the seafront main street. Peppers Balé Salt, with a range of self-contained villas to pick from, is a chic choice for a place to stay.

The alternative inland route to Byron Bay also offers pit stops aplenty.

First up is Brunswick Heads, a riverside hamlet dominated by the classic Hotel Brunswick. The curvilinear structure and Jacaranda-dotted beer garden give the pub some serious charisma. Middies all around, please.

Next stop is Mullumbimby. Mullum, in local parlance, remains more alternative and quieter than other parts of the area - the townspeople recently lobbied (although unsuccessfully) to stop a national supermarket chain from opening up shop in town. Don't miss the Friday morning farmers' market at the town's showground and Crystal Castle, on the fringe of town, for crystals, jewellery and casual bites at its Lotus Café.

The most easterly point
Byron Bay's pace can be a shock after the small-town mood of the region. Sure, everyone's barefoot and beautiful, but the town itself is far busier and commercial than it once was.

Get in early to secure a room at The Byron at Byron, the smart resort built within a subtropical rainforest at Tallows Beach. Schedule in some time at the spa and wellness centre: a remedial massage in the rainforest treatment "room" is quite the natural wonder.

Another Byron Bay landmark is the Byron Beach Café at Clarke's Beach. The café has gradually morphed from all-day breakfast territory to something slicker, including dinner on the deck during summer. In August 2012, it's revealing fresh interiors and new chef Paul Wrightson's overhauled menus. Watch this space.

It's a short hop from here to the beginning of the Headland Walk via Wategoes Beach. Climb the steps to the Cape Byron lighthouse for almost guaranteed sightings of dolphins and whales (during migration season).

And then there's...
Bangalow has long been the thinking person's preferred spot in this pretty coastal corner, and for good reason. It has the best Sunday markets on the roving regional schedule, held in the village's showground on the fourth Sunday of every month.

You could do a lot worse than a burger at Bang Burger Bar after browsing the stalls, trawling the racks of Bassike or perusing interesting antiques and imported pieces at Island Luxe. Make sure you leave room for a visit to Town Café and Restaurant, run by husband and wife team Karl and Katrina Kanetani. Downtown is the casual downstairs café; Uptown is the first-floor fine-diner. The emphasis is on local produce, beautifully simple flavours and Katrina's winning way with pastry.

Like it so much you want to stay? The Bangalow Guesthouse offers bed and breakfast accommodation in a tastefully restored heritage homestead. There's also the elegant couple's-only Byron View Farm. Its views are unsurpassed, and it's as eclectic and stylish as you'd expect from former Sydney hotelier Robert Schwamberg and his interior designer partner Andrea Duff.

This online exclusive was published in August 2012.


GT
Signature Collection

Find out more about the Gourmet Traveller Signature Collection by Robert Gordon Australia, including where to buy it in store and online.

Read More
Recipe collections

Looking for ways to make the most out of seasonal produce? Want to find a recipe perfect for a party? Or just after fresh ideas for dessert? Either way, our recipe collections have you covered.

See more
2017 Restaurant Guide

Our 2017 Restaurant Guide is online, covering over 400 restaurants Australia wide. Never wonder where to dine again.

See more

You might also like...

Halcyon House, Cabarita Beach, NSW

A love of food, travel and laid-back luxury have come togeth...

Eat, love, stay

Bowral’s Biota Dining adds room to its service.

Exploring Mudgee and surrounds

Mudgee's country-town friendliness mixed with its creative e...

A food lover's guide to the Byron Bay region

The beaches are as magical as ever and the locals just as he...

NSW Far South Coast travel guide

Roadtripping on the NSW Far South Coast reveals the magic of...

Atura Blacktown

A new brand aimed at savvy business travellers shows cutting...

Albury Atura hotel

Albury is having a moment. The city on the border of Victori...

get the latest news

Sign up to receive the latest food, travel and dining news direct from Gourmet Traveller headquarters.

×