Shaded by giant old Poinciana trees and offering 180-degree views of Simpsons Creek (a picturesque tributary of the Brunswick River), Hotel Brunswick in the sleepy beachside town of Brunswick Heads has been a popular watering hole for decades since famed Queensland hotelier Jim Cavill built it in 1940. The combination of classic pub cuisine, shady beer garden and free Sunday music sessions has enabled Hotel Brunswick to retain much of its original charm while navigating the changing face of traditional Aussie pubs.
While late-night lockouts and one-punch laws seek to reform a beleaguered hospitality industry, this iconic North Coast pub is using music to engage the community and has featured music Thursday-Sunday for over 20 years, and some of the best local musicians and some well known acts travelling through appear here. While parking can be an issue, it's a favourite place for locals to grab a top quality pub meal in the spacious beer garden (although the food queue can get pretty frustrating on the weekends) and it's not cheap for a pub, considering you have to line up and answer a buzzer. The meals are really big (almost too big), with generous salads but it's hard to avoid the ubiquitious Aussie chips and they NEVER change the menu. The fish eaters praised the fish and its freshness, with schnapper being their regular special, and the vegetable korma is delicious if you're a vego. While you are paying pretty well top prices for drinks, there is a weekly pool comp, pub raffles, a gaming room, engaging historical photos on the walls, some nice touches like an old rowing boat in the beer garden for kids to play on, and very professional uniformed staff, with some very pretty girls behind the bar.
This is what an Aussie pub should be. So rare now to find one these days not sterilized by yuppydom into what I call a "Woolworths Tavern", since Woolworths started buying up pubs and become the largest liquor supplier in the country. Old traditional pubs like "the Billi" have been homogenised out of existence into these bland sterile places with 19 televisions and you wouldn't know where you were once inside - no character and disinterested staff working for a corporate giant. The Billi is how pubs used to be in Australia.
This old pub used to be run by an old lady known as Ma Ring for many decades and she was over a hundred when she died. Ma took up the licence in 1929, arriving from Barcaldine where she had been a partner in a Hotel. For many years later all the stock arrived by Rail. Almost every parcel was addresed simply with initials M.A.R. The name stuck and most people in town had forgotten that her real name was Margaret Alice Ring. It was something of a tradition at the New Brighton that Mar took up her position in the quaint little Saloon Bar around 5 and the locals would vie for the honour of buying her a glass of beer.
An ardent card player, Mar gave her unique style to the watering hole which still bears her name. Her MBE, awarded in 1971 was recognition of her support for the Ambulance, Red Cross and School of Arts Hall. Mar continued as licensee until her death in 1983 aged 101!When Bob hawke was president of the ACTU he visited the Pub and Mar gave him a twenty minute lecture on how to serve a good beer. Short pull and clean pipes.
It is truly a classic older style Aussie Pub, just as it has been for who know how long, across the railway tracks at the tiney village of Billinudgel, just past Brunswick Heads off the Pacific Highway if you are heading north.
I am an avid Aikido fan (Japanese martial arts) and after a training session I'm usually pretty hungry and I make a habit of visiting my favourite restaurant in beautiful Byron Bay - Kinoko Sushi Bar & Restaurant. Established in 2007 and located in the heart of Byron in Jonson Street, a few shops down on the left after you turn right at the roundabout and head up the main street. Kinoko Sushi Bar and Restaurant serves up a modern twist on the Japanese cuisine in a clean and contemporary environment. Their dishes range from innovative sushi, delicious share plates and fusion inspired main meals. The Kinoko staff is there to welcome you to enjoy warm and relaxed hospitality, and it remains a popular favourite amongst the diverse and creative locals of Byron Bay. The sushi is fresh and interesting and well presented by authentic Japanese chefs. It's always just right for me. I really love the seaweed salad. Vegetarians are well catered for, not just a token. Complimentary jasmin tea, spiced ginger and wasabe always available. A changing cast of attractive backpacker waitresses from all over the world are a feature and always friendly and attentive. You can eat from the sushi train or order a main meal. It's not a large restaurant, so it does get pretty packed. Plenty of drink choices. If you're a fan of sushi it simply doesn't get much better than this. Fully licensed All major credit cards accepted Gift cards available Feros Arcade 7/23 Jonson St Byron Bay NSW 2481 11am-9pm (Winter trading hours) 11am-9:30pm (Summer trading hours) 7 days a week Phone: (02) 6680 9044 BOOK NOW
Turn just past Bangalow and a little before the Byron bay turn-off, it's approximately 5 kms from the Pacific Highway, descending through scenic rainforest, suddenly Peppers' Oasis appears through the trees. It is set in stunning surroundings and is so quiet and peaceful with lots of wildlife around. I would recommend to anyone of a slightly alternate / hippy vibe as it has a gorgeous communal feel to it without being in any way feral. This charming property is set on a beautiful creek - complete with platypuses.
The private cabins look out over the valley, so tranquil, just peace and quiet and all the fresh air you can breath. We listened to the birds or enjoyed a sunset wine from our balcony. it didn't feel like a hotel at all! Their promo states: "we offer comfortable accommodation units that are elegantly designed to blend in with the natural surroundings and character. Each lodge at Peppers Coorabell has its own private balcony overlooking the swimming pool or the surrounding rainforest." We found the cabin was nice, simple yet comfortable and yes, with a lovely big verandah. It was more like a good 3 star room. Not up to the standard of the Restaurant in feel and décor. We got a package with dinner, breakfast and lunch and admission to the nearby Crystal Castle which was an ok deal for $385. It is definitely a lovely spot in the forest with a creek you can swim in, but also decent sized pool and spa and fine dining in a gorgeous restaurant. The masseuse we booked through the front office to come to our room was very good.
The Restaurant is expensive but very high class. The circular room features beautiful timbre, is warm friendly and inviting - great wines and a fabulous chef , whose food made you feel you were in a trendy brasserie in Melbourne, with his stunning take on nouveau cuisine infused with local produce - every mouthful bringing a new taste sensation. On Sunday afternoon they had tapas and some excellent music with local diva Kellie Knight singing smooth soulful jazz, with double bass. Pretty special.
Overall the staff were fantastic - friendly and informative and so laid back. It's a fair way out of Byron Bay if you plan to do the Byron thing be prepared to drive for 20 minutes, but the seclusion is great to come home to after the busy vibe of Byron. Some great local markets to visit and the quaint little town of Bangalow is not far away which has some pretty amazing little shops.