Courtesy of the folks at Kiff & Culture, a duo who started their adventure in South Africa before expanding to the tourist hot-spot and crystal haven, Byron Bay — you and your best food-friends can embark upon a three-day whirlwind tour of some of the most innovative, ecologically sound, and delicious food stops across the Northern Rivers. The food trail brings together some of the absolute best that the region has to offer, and it all starts with the eco-resort group, Crystalbrook.
The hotel group is hardline in their ecological approach, from solar roof panels, kitchen garden, bamboo keys and everything in between, a fitting start for a tour that places the environment above all else. Home-base for the tour is Crystalbrook’s Brisbane crown jewel, the newly kitted out Crystalbrook Vincent on the Brisbane River. The perfect locale for your first night, rolling distance from Howard Smith Wharves, live like royalty and kick off with a couple of bevvies and snacks at Felons Brewing Co. then head next door to Stanley, modern Chinese with a strong emphasis on seafood.
After a night city-gazing at the glittering brown snake, you will be picked up, either from Vincent or your chosen location within Brisbane or the Gold Coast, and head off to your first stop, Witches Falls winery. Named for the gnarled trees local kids think look like witches brooms, the vineyard sits at the base of the famed Tamborine Mountain. The fun really kicks off with a very grown up tasting, their grenache a total standout and great for getting you in the mood for a spell or two (or three). Keep it classy and be sure to enjoy their award-winning cheese board, which comes with black ash triple cream brie, clothbound cheddar and all the trimmings.
Stop two of the day is just around the corner at Mason Wines where you’ll enjoy a two-course lunch on the lush lawns with views across the picturesque bushlands. Again, the artisanal wines here are worth slogging through another hard day of imbibing and indulging.
Once you have sufficiently relaxed into your new life as a chauffeur-driven lunchtime drinker, your guides will deliver you to your new home for the next two nights, the five-star Byron at Byron by Crystalbrook. From the moment you pull up you will realise this is the place for you. White linen, wood, you are a high-flyer with a property portfolio now and this is what you deserve. The personable staff will greet you and guide you to your suite, taking you through the dense rainforest where all you’ll hear is the chirp of frogs and the crashing of waves.
Photograph: Supplied/Kiff & Co
As you settle into Byron at Byron you’ll be welcomed to an experience few get; foraging for bush tucker and medicinal plants whilst learning about ancient Bundjalung customs in the Cape Byron peninsula. During this ceremony you will pay homage to the traditional owners on an Indigenous culture tour led by a respected Arakwal custodian, Delta Kay. Follow this up with a delicious dinner at in-house restaurant, Forest, serving up ethically sourced produce. This is living.
The dawn of day two leaves you with a few hours to yourself to enjoy the hotel's facilities, take a swim, beach stroll or even roll straight into breakfast at Forest restaurant. Overlooking the pool and the rainforest you will be pinching yourself and asking “How’s the serenity?” without a hint of irony. From one lush to another, the haloumi breakfast tacos are a must, or if you need some more serious re-fueling, the Bangalow Sweet Pork bacon and egg roll hits the spot.
After some down time, the day gets swinging at The Farm at Byron, home to a diverse range of allotments with local smallholders experimenting with different forms of biodynamic and biodiverse farming techniques. Stroll past the macadamia grove, the friendly horses and the South American-style lot with the wild chooks that no one has been able to catch, taunting the smallholders and delighting the tourist. Lunch is at the adjacent Three Blue Ducks, farm to table fare that has made this a local and tourist favourite since opening nearly a decade ago.
Next up is Stone and Wood, known from such places as everywhere, a tasting flight will set you up nicely for the afternoon. If they have the musk stick beer on tap when you’re there, give it a whirl and be hurtled back to childhood and confirm whether you hated or loved those pink sticks of chalk.
Hop back onto your Australiana-kitsch Isuzu van and head to your final stop for the day, Cape Byron Distillery, affectionately known as Brookies. Before you realise, your drinking hand has been replenished with a Gin and Tonic to accompany your story time of how the now 4000+ strong macadamia tree vista you are overlooking was transformed from a barren wasteland. The rainforest tour will have you learn there are more myrtles than mere mortals, and if you’re lucky a sighting of the koala family Dazza, Shazza, Kazza and Bazza. The tasting will work you through Shirl the Pearl’s cumquat gin to macadamia liqueur.
Photograph: Supplied/Kiff & Culture
Day three starts with your meander back north to Brisbane, starting with a stop at Tropical Fruit World and a tasting of a selection of their 500 species from around the world. The highlight here is the tractor tour of the farm where you’ll see the prehistoric-looking way that dragon fruit grows and learn about the history of the family who started the farm. Marvel at how many fruits you have never heard of as atonement of sins from the previous day’s indulgences is found here.
The final stop on your tour de stomach is Husk Distillery, Margot-Robbie-level-famous for its butterfly pea flower Ink Gin, the purple-to-pink elixir eliciting an involuntary “wow.” The magnificent side to all this luxury is the safe knowledge that the sustainable credentials are on your side with Kiff & Culture and Crystalbrook, from reusable water bottles to eco retreat, all providores have a sustainable-first ethos. Farm to table, nose to tail, vine to wine, nothing goes to waste here. This is for the conscious consumer, ultimate in guilt free consumption.
This stunning tour can be booked via the Kiff & Culture website here, with bespoke tours available for groups.