Thursday 11 March 2010

Bangalow in Brief

A couple of weeks ago I went on a media trip to the Northern Rivers region of New South Wales. These trips, in which a bunch of journalists are driven around in a minibus or the like, are typically fast and furious, covering a lot of ground.

This trip was no exception - we touched down at Ballina airport, then over three days were driven to Grafton and Nymboida, then back via Ballina to Byron Bay and onto Kingscliff, near the Queensland border.

On the way, we had a brief stopover at the small town of Bangalow, inland from the more famous seaside town of Byron Bay. Although it's not on the coast, Bangalow is gaining popularity both with travellers and tree-changers... in fact I noticed that a one-bedroom apartment located above the real estate agent's office was selling for nearly $500,000!

It's an attractive place however, with a vaguely between-the-wars look to the architecture and a profusion of tropical greenery half-hiding the buildings along the main street. Here's a look at some of the snapshots I took...

A Rail Runs Through It... As you can see from the pic, a branch railway line used to run through here and on to Byron Bay. A pity it's not still in use, as the derelict train station is conveniently located right behind the main street. Still, it makes for an evocative photo.

Pub With Two Names... This is the Byron Hotel - or is it the Bangalow Hotel? Actually it's the latter, presumably changed somewhere along the line due to confusion with nearby Byron Bay. By the way, Byron Bay isn't named after the "mad, bad and dangerous to know" poet Lord Byron, but after the much more respectable Vice-Admiral John Byron, his grandfather.

Any Old Iron... This shop selling antiques and collectibles is set behind the main street near the old train station. It does a good job of looking like a working man's supplier while actually catering for the weekend browsing set.

The Little Village That Could... The main drag of Bangalow, formerly part of the Pacific Highway but since bypassed. Nice, isn't it?

Shopping & Eating... I think the town has come along a bit since it was founded in the 1880s to support the timber industry, don't you?

The More Things Change... Now that's what I like to see in a rural eatery, versatility. Chicken caesar salad by day, tom kha gai by night - bliss.

Tim Richards travelled courtesy of Northern Rivers Tourism.


  1. Thanks for the atmospheric glimpse into this place - I especially like the By Day/By Night Cafe/Restaurant. We need more of these!

  2. My understanding is that the Bangalow area was the original settlement of Byron, before the coast area was developed, and hence the hotel was named "Byron Hotel". It was only after the coastal industries started, whaling, timber etc, that the coast town was named Byron (and hence Byron Hotel) and the Bangalow area (and of course the pub) had to be renamed to Bangalow Hotel.

    Bangalow is definitely earning a reputation as being the "other Byron", and this eclectic village is fast becoming a true artist & gourmet foodie trail. For accommodation try, a lush retreat when you're sick of Byron centre and want to treat yourself to something nice in the hills.