This blog post is part of a Virgin Australia promotion in conjunction with Problogger.
If you eat gluten free, it can be tough to find the best places to go when you’re on holidays.
But in Byron Bay you’re spoiled for choice. With so many health conscious folk around, your GF requests are never met with raised eyebrows. The floor staff and chefs up here are more than used to it. Cafes carry a range of dairy free milks, vegans are catered for, and there are even coffee places serving bone broth for all your paleo needs.
Getting off the beaten track is not a problem either, with plenty of healthy options available. Next time you’re here, grab yourself a rental car and head out to explore the surrounding towns – some of Byron’s finest foodie delights are just a short (and very scenic) drive away.
Harvest Cafe and Deli
A trip to Harvest is almost a day out in itself. Nestled in the little “blink-and-you’ll-miss-it” village of Newrybar, the establishment boasts a bakery, restaurant, function space and deli. This once sleepy stretch of road has been turned into a thriving foodie hub that has a true country warmth and friendliness about it.
Over in the cafe, you’ll find awesome Allpress coffee and an abundance of fresh, healthy dishes featuring locally sourced meats and fish, and fresh veggies, greens and herbs from their own organic garden.
The inspiring modern dishes on the menu reflect the abundance of produce at their doorstep and they’re more than worthy of the hat recently awarded by the Sydney Morning Herald Good Food Guide.
Locals and tourists alike flock to Harvest for Sourdough Weekends – a decadent mini-festival of breads and pastries, which happens from 8am till 11am every Saturday and Sunday. If you’re gluten free, you’ll find a few little goodies there for your enjoyment too. However, if you’re going to have a holiday blowout, this is the place to do it. You can always walk it off in the veggie garden later.
If you’ve got time, head next door to Harvest Deli, where you’ll find an array of fine foods, cured meats, chef-made goodies and a few local specialties that you can stash in your suitcase for the return trip home.
Locals’ tip: Grab a selection of cured meats by local producer Salumi (all gluten free!) from the Deli, along with amazing pickles, dips and sauerkrauts made in-house.
Harvest Cafe is open 7 days a week from 8am for breakfast and lunch, and for dinner from Thurs-Sat.
Address: 18-20 Old Pacific Hwy, Newrybar.
A brand new local favourite, the focus at this tiny establishment is on showcasing fantastic, fresh seasonal produce. The menu is constantly changing, depending on week-to-week availability, allowing for exceptional creativity to shine through with the dishes.
Colour, texture and flair are the order of the day here.
Gluten free requests are not a problem. My advice? Order the chef’s selection to be sent out, dish by delicious dish. Sit and watch the magic unfold. Every little detail is carefully thought out, right down to the unique handmade bowls and plates.
In no way does my little iPhone do justice to the amazing food and overall sensory experience.
Fleet recently picked up finalist berths for Wine List of the Year and Regional Restaurant of the Year at Gourmet Traveller’s annual restaurant awards. And they’re only just getting started. This is one to keep a close eye on.
Locals’ tip: Try the Diplomat Cocktail, made with Surly Jim’s Cold Brew Coffee.
Fleet is open Thurs-Mon from 3pm till late.
Address: 2/16 The Terrace, Brunswick Heads
Tucked away in the little town of Federal, about 20 minutes from Byron Bay, this is almost the last place you’d expect to trip over the best authentic Japanese food. But right in the middle of town, there it is, in all it’s cute yellow weatherboard glory.
Welcome to one of Byron Bay’s best kept secrets.
The food is authentic, fresh, and there are plenty of healthy lunch options, like this freshly made brown rice and salmon roll.
Doma comes into its own on Sundays with live music and a festive vibe. Locals chill out at picnic tables and on blankets, soaking up the afternoon sun. It’s a heady mixture of couples, families, dogs and groups of 20-somethings enjoying a few BYO beers. The pace is relaxed – don’t expect the fastest service ever, but it’s totally worth the wait.
Locals’ tip: Get there early as tables are snapped up super fast.
Doma is open 7 days a week for lunch.
Address: 3-6 Albert St, Federal.
Mullum Farmers Market
Most visitors to the region know about the Byron Bay Farmers Market (which happens in town every Thursday morning), but there’s an even bigger one on Fridays, just 20 minutes up the road, with more stalls, more produce, and a happy, laid back atmosphere.
Grab yourself some gluten free dumplings, check out the insanely good Coopers Shoot tomatoes and sample the Alive Foods sauerkraut. All the while there’s fresh, local and organic produce as far as the eye can see. If you’re staying in a holiday rental and cooking your own meals, this is most certainly the place to stock up.
Locals’ tip: Wear gumboots if it’s been raining overnight!
Mullum Farmers Market happens every Friday morning from 7-11am.
Address: Mullumbimby Showground, 51 Main Arm Rd, Mullumbimby
Roadside Stalls on Broken Head Rd
It’s not always farmers market day, so if you have a hankering for fresh produce and love a bit of a country drive, head up Broken Head Rd between Broken Head and Newrybar to discover a collection of roadside stalls where farmers sell freshly picked produce every day of the week.
This is a fun way to find out what’s in season. Some times of the year you’ll pick up kale, lemons and oranges. Other months you’ll come across avocados, mangoes and limes. And there’s always the chance that you’ll bump into a farmer keen for a chat!
Keep an eye out for freshly roasted coffee, amazing garlic, and the region’s finest potatoes. Just before the Pacific Highway you’ll find an organic stall selling the best citrus around, along with kale, tomatoes and the occasional exotic fruit.
Photo courtesy of Emily Rooney from The Home Alchemist.
It’s not unusual to see custard apples, black sapotes (chocolate pudding fruit), “miracle fruit” and other unusual delights. You never know what you’ll find!
Locals’ tip: Don’t forget to take lots of gold coins with you to pay for your produce. These stalls don’t exactly have Eftpos 😉
Open every day of the week, usually between 9am and 5pm.
Address: Broken Head Rd, Newrybar, between Picadilly Hill Rd and the Pacific Hwy.
Virgin Australia have daily flights in and out of Ballina/Byron Bay Airport (and the most fun crew members around!). Velocity members can also earn extra points when hiring a car through Virgin’s car rental partners. So grab a set of wheels and avoid the tourist crush by getting outta town – you never know what you’ll discover!
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