For a long time the unspoilt coastal village of Brunswick Heads – 15 minutes north of Byron Bay and 30 minutes south of the Gold Coast – was considered Byron’s less ashy cousin. Today, standing gracefully at the mouth of the Brunswick River, ‘Bruns’ is a welcome reprieve from the busier pockets of the Rainbow Region, and there’s a steadily growing selection of shops and eateries to complement its beautiful location.
STOP 1 | Peace By Piece
In 2000 Amanda Coutts set o for Nepal, armed with a love of the earth and a vision that led to the production of fair trade beaded sandals that supported local women and spread the message: “Tread lightly on this earth, learn it’s lessons as you go”. Amanda was ahead of her time, and her gorgeous boutique, which opened in 2009, continues to break the retail mould. Initially she created all stock herself, but a look at her work-life balance last year prompted her to invite others to join, what is now, a creative and commercial haven for artists.
Must-haves: Amanda’s vegan and animal-friendly felted fleeces, from $600; handcrafted and custom-made thongs, sandals, boots and shoes, from $120 (top, far left); ‘Sacredflower’ room and body fragrances made with essences extracted from Byron flowers, from $29.
Open: Wed to Sun, 10am-5pm.
Visit: Shop 2/22 Mullumbimbi Street, 0423 423 339.
STOP 2 | Saffron Home Essentials
This shop is a locals’ favourite. Nicole Harders, who owns Saffron Home Essentials with her husband, Rick Collings, encourages visitors to get interactive with her quality range of kitchen, table and bathroom ware. “You can touch and feel the things in here, and I am happy to demonstrate any of the products,” says Nicole. She knows her stuff, and only stocks quality products that boast purpose and function. “It’s my practical nature,” she says.
Must-haves: ‘Zeal’ self-sealing silicon lids, from $17.95; wooden beaded trivet, $27.95; ‘HoneyBee’ reusable beeswax food wraps, from $35/pack of 3; Robert Gordon ‘Gold Leaf Pollen Dot’ mug, $49.95/set of 4.
Open: Mon-Sat, 9.30am-5pm; Sun 10am-4pm.
Visit: Shop 2, 3 Park St, (02) 6685 0236.
Bookmark: Follow Saffron Home Essentials on Instagram @saffron.home.essentials.
STOP 3 | Lazybones
Lazybones is something of a North Coast institution. Owner Tracey Hocking launched her first range – pyjamas, hence the name – back in 2000, but it wasn’t until three years ago that the Brunswick store opened its doors. Lazybones has evolved to become much more than sleepwear, with gorgeous ‘modern vintage’ frocks, pretty cotton sheets, quilts and pillowcases, soft furnishings, garlands and ceramics, too. And Tracey’s resolution for 2017: to try and be completely fair trade and organic by the end of the year.
Must-haves: Fair trade, organic cotton jersey rosette quilts in a selection of colours, from $219; 3m pompom garland handmade from fabric o cuts, $35.95; retro cup, $12.95, and saucer, $10.50.
Open: Mon-Sat, 10am-5pm; Sun, 10am-4.30pm.
Visit: 1/8 Park St, (02) 6685 1091.
STOP 4 | Fabulous Mrs Fox
Always wanted a crystal chandelier in the shape of a ship? Or a toucan sculpture to liven up a drab corner? Look no further than the Fabulous Mrs Fox, a shop that could double as a museum of interesting things. Renovators and decorators hunting for quirky antiques and collectables stand a good chance of finding what they need in here. There are also replica tin lightshades, refurbished retro furniture, baskets, bags, fashion, artworks, gifts and more.
Must-haves: Toucan on stand, $95; replica tin light shade, $159; lava lamps, $39; antique New York traffic lights, $3000.
Open: Mon-Fri, 10am-5pm; Sat, 9.30am-5pm; and Sun, 10am-4pm.
Visit: 10 Park St, (02) 6685 0020.
STOP 5 | Table View
Size can be deceptive, and this pocket rocket of a cafe, offering fresh, flavourful dishes with a northern European edge, is something out of the ordinary. The all-day menu puts local produce to mouth-watering use in dishes, such as Belgian waffles with macadamias and coopers shoot tomatoes with sliced hard-boiled egg on house-made Danish rye. It’s no surprise that the owners, brothers Marc and Allen Shubitz, have Danish heritage. “I lived in Copenhagen for a year and when I was there I ate a lot!” says Marc. “The food was fresh and simple, and the ingredients are what matter the most. What better place to do that than here?”
Must-haves: Smoked salmon on Danish rye with house pickled cucumbers, crème fraîche, dill and capers, $16 (top centre); organic coffee cherry soda, $4.30.
Open: Seven days, 7.30am-2.30pm for food; until 3.30pm for coffee.
Visit: Shop 4, 28-30 Mullumbimbi St, (02) 6685 0111.
While you are there… You might think you’ve just emerged from Doctor Who’s Tardis when you stroll past the charmingly retro Brunswick Picture House at 30 Fingal Street (brunswickpicturehouse.com, (02) 6685 0280). After a 30-year hiatus the premises have been dusted off, revamped and reopened. Visit the leafy kiosk for a beverage or light meal, open Wednesday to Sunday from 7am to 3pm and an hour before shows. The venue also features movies, cabaret and comedy shows. Alternatively, if you love the great outdoors, enjoy a picnic lunch under the big shady trees lining the banks of the creek that runs off the Brunswick River, along Mullumbimbi Street.