OUR TRAVELS ~ BRUNSWICK HEADS, NSW
This little Northern New South Wales seaside paradise is the perfect spot for a low-key family holiday.
Relaxed, unpretentious and far less crowded that its more famous southern neighbour, Byron Bay, Bruns - as the locals call it - offers up the kind of chilled, old-school coastal holiday we had as kids. Just one weekend in Bruns feels like an entire month - even with the kids in tow.
We stayed: At The Sails Motel, a revamped motel on Tweed Street. With comfortable family rooms, a great little pool area with a barbecue and gazebo, bike hire and just a 10-minute walk/skate/scoot to the beach and town, we felt right at home at Sails. The hosts Amanda and Simon are warm and hospitable and happy to share their tips for where to eat and what to do if you’re unfamiliar with the area.
We ate: Aside from self-catering and beach barbies, there’s plenty of quality food options at Brunswick.
After a day at the beach, we love the fresh and delicious takeaway sushi from the front counter at Rice [available from 12 noon until 3pm on Wednesdays through to Sundays].
Overlooking the river, the iconic Hotel Brunswick [4 Mullumbimbi Street] is a good spot for a pub meal, has live music and plenty of space for the kids to run around.
The Bruns Bakery [15 Fingal Street] is a must for sandwiches, pies, cakes, pastries and coffee, or grab some takeaway fish and chips at Starfish [Mullumbimbi Street] and eat under the trees by the river.
For a super casual Mexican dinner, we like Gringos Fresh Mex [Fawcett Street]. With its kitsch Mexican décor and little garden courtyard, it reminds us of Mexican joints we used to visit with our folks as kids. The staff were not overly friendly but the food is fresh, affordable and the margaritas are good.
It hadn’t opened its doors when we visited but Old Maids Burger Store [30 Tweed Street] is earning rave reviews and offers bowls and gourmet burgers - with plenty of vegan and vegetarian options - made from locally sourced ingredients everyday from 8am until 9pm
If you have some grandparents handy for babysitting, be sure to visit the award-winning Fleet Restaurant. Just make sure you book well in advance.
Other great spots are Yami, for vegetarian middle eastern goodness with a really casual vibe and outdoor seating (lets face it, that's a must with the kids) and YuCafe which is a delicious offshoot of the Mullumbimby restaurant Izakaya Yu and is found parked outside Clems Cargo [Tweed Street].
Coffee: Jones and Co. Counter is conveniently located right across the road from Sails for your morning Allpress coffee fix. Their pastries are as good as the coffee (deadly) and they have a really nice selection of locally made curios such as ceramics and candles, if you're looking for a little something to take home with you.
Highlights: On high tide, the Brunswick River is the perfect place for a dip – or a bridge jump, which our kids absolutely loved. Again, and again and AGAIN.
The free Fairy Trail is also an absolute winner for families. Grab a map from The Visitors Centre on Park Street and follow your excited little ones as they search for fairy houses hidden around town. The world needs a little more of this magic!
We love the protected Torakina Beach, just inside the break wall of the river for a swim as its and perfect for our young kids and good for a snorkel around the rocks.
You should definitely also check out whats happening at Brunswick Picture House when you're in town.
If you can drag yourself away from the beach and river, our kids loved the skate park on the outskirts of town.
Getting there: Brunswick Heads is just 15 minutes north of Byron Bay and 30 minutes from both Coolangatta and Ballina Airports.