While it would be very handy if the weather fitted in with filming scheduled Getaway
stories, it doesn't always play fair. When Catriona Rowntree visited Mullumbimby the rain tumbled down but she turned a negative into a positive and found some good things to do indoors.
Mullumbimby, known to locals as the Rainbow Region, was settled by European cedar cutters in the 1880s. Bananas and other tropical fruits thrive in the warm climate and rich soil. It sits on the Brunswick River, overshadowed by subtropical hills.
It's one of the few remaining small country towns on the far NSW north coast that has not embraced the tourist dollar. The community prides itself on their small-town, laid-back lifestyle and caring and looking after each other.
It has an alternative, hippy feel and embraces Eastern ideas, spirituality and culture. It also has a very Australian small-town pub culture where everyone knows each other.
When it isn't raining, and that's most of the time, there are some wonderful things on offer in and around Mullumbimby. The walking trail through Brunswick Valley Heritage Park has more than 200 rainforest plant species to enjoy. Local history is recorded at the Brunswick Valley Historical Society Museum.
Each September the New Age Mullumbimby Chincogan Fiesta is a highlight and many people join the foot race from the post office to the top of Mt Chincogan and back.
Put your sunglasses on a visit the castle a few minutes out of town. It's the ultimate healing destination and a one-stop shop encapsulating the alternative lifestyle vibe of the area. It has sacred gardens and life-affirming gems in a myriad of colours.
The beautiful gardens have many mystic statues, an ancient labyrinth and Buddha walk lined with rose quartz and hand-carved statues. A 4m-high 14-tonne Buddha welcomes you to a place of reflection and peace.
There is exquisite jewellery, books and treasures and Lotus Café serves wonderful coffee and goodies made from local produce.
The Middle Pub
Catriona reckons the best steaks in town are served at the historic Middle Pub. It began trading in 1904 and has recently undergone another renovation. It still has old-world charm with the addition of modern amenities.
It is an important landmark and community gathering place. Bar staff and locals known each other by name and visitors are always very welcome.
The Bistro is great and prices are very reasonable. As well as their regular menu they have special nights.
On Monday you can choose from five pizza toppings and garlic bread for just $8. On Tuesdays for just $13.50 you can tuck into steak, chips, salad and a pint of ale. Take your appetite along on Wednesday for a 250g char-grilled T-bone, chips and salad. On Thursday nights they serve chicken or veal schnitzel with chips, salad and choice of sauce for just $12.
Between Monday and Friday there is a ladies' lunch blackboard special with a glass of wine and seniors' concession meals are both $14.95. All meals come with cake of the day and coffee. The ever-popular Devonshire tea is served on weekends for $4.50.
The Poinciana Café
This rustic little cafe with funky decor and beautiful courtyard serves fresh, wholesome food and, some say, the best coffee in the Byron Shire.
Owners Keven and Karin Oxford have based their menu on simple, fresh food with most herbs and vegetables coming from their own garden. It's all very global with cuisine influenced by the foods of Italy, South-East Asia, Baja California, the Caribbean, South America, the South Pacific and Australia.
You can enjoy great coffee or try a mango lassi or a fantastic cocktail as you take in the arty surrounds assembled by the owners.