Brunswick Heads is a little gem of a town that’s long been overlooked for its bigger, more touristy southern sister, Miss Byron Bay—but the times they are a-changin’.
And while we’re stoked people are getting acquainted with this unpretentious fishing village, we’re crossing our fingers it doesn’t get too popular because we’ve pretty much fallen for its relaxed, quiet vibes.
So, what should you do when you’re in town for the weekend? We’ve got you covered with The Urban List's guide to Brunswick Heads.
Jones & Co.
As you roll into town via Tweed Street, keep your eyes peeled for the stripy umbrella and white brick façade of cute cafe, Jones & Co. Come for your morning fix of smooth Allpress Coffee, Probiotic Kitchen kombucha, and baked goodies, though be warned, you may leave with an armful of fresh blooms, locally-crafted ceramics, organic soap bars, and other curious handiworks.
We love ourselves a good bakery, but this corner-hugging home of crusty sourdoughs, savouries, and buttery pastries is seriously something else. First established as a bakery waaaaay back in the 1950s, and undergoing a mind-blowing reno late last year, these days Bruns Bakery is an adored local treasure. We reckon charming Bruns Bakery is a sweet stop for a caffeine fix or a cheap grab-and-go lunch, if you’d prefer to eat riverside.
City-quality specialty coffee served with friendly small town service is a top priority at Table View. These guys also nail it in the brunching department with a distinctive menu that features farm-fresh produce from the fertile Northern Rivers region. Our pick? Pull up a seat in the Scandi-inspired cafe and go straight for the Swedish potato waffle with poached egg, Portobello mushroom, sautéed greens, and crème fraiche.
Spend an arvo sinking frosty pots in the beer garden and under the shady Poinciana trees, and you’ll agree this is hands down one of the coolest old pubs in driving distance of the Gold Coast. The heart and soul of this sleepy coastal hamlet, Hotel Brunswick is a mere 75 years young and comes alive with live music most weekends.
Lauded as one of the best restaurants in Northern NSW, Fleet could’ve been plucked straight out of Sydney or Melbourne, but the fact it’s found a home in the most unlikely of locations, makes it extraordinary. Having migrated up from Victoria, Fleet’s young owner-operators are sea-changers with an impressive resume. The intimate dining room only seats about 20 at a time, and dinner is often booked solid weeks in advance, so be sure to call ahead before you set off on your roadie.
The vintage shopping game is strong in Bruswick Heads, and one gem you absolutely must track down is resould. Treasure hunters will go weak at the knees for lovingly re-upholstered retro furniture and lighting, to collectables and one-of-a-kind homewares.
Fabulous Mrs Fox
You won’t miss this characterful, almost haunted house-like building as you amble down the main drag of Bruns. Covered with creepers outside, inside you’ll find the eclectic vintage boutique, Fabulous Mrs Fox. Fossick through textiles, ceramics, jewellery, and new and old wardrobe additions, plus retro furniture collected from the owner’s travels across the globe.
Brunswick Picture House
While the team behind this adorabubble old movie theatre have “gone fishing” until Easter, it’s still essential we point you in the direction of the Brunswick Picture House. Built in the 50s, this integral slice of the community’s heritage was underutilised for close to 30 years, until a handful of internationally renowned creatives with a cabaret and circus background restored the building to its former glory. Expect a vibrant creative hub, delightful vintage décor, alfresco tea garden, kiosk, food truck nights, and a revolving roster of art house flicks, classic reruns, comedy, and theatre when they are back on deck post April.
Splash About In Simpson Creek
While it might look like nothing more than a drained mud flat when the tide is out, come high tide and with the sun beaming overhead, Simpson Creek, an off shoot of the Brunswick River, could be mistaken for the crystal-clear waters of the Caribbean. Okay, maybe that’s a stretch, but it sure makes for a lush setting to spend an afternoon floating. Somehow the water in this protected pocket stays pretty damn cool too, so join the hordes with a floatie or SUP, or be reckless and jump off the bridge with the local teens.
Art Deco abounds in Bruns, and we’re crushing on the stately Broadview Apartments with its Insta-worthy façade, original floors, and sun-drenched rooms. Book yourself into a self-contained holiday apartment with a private deck overlooking the Brunswick River, and watch those working week stresses melt away.
Image credit: Michelle Begg, Briony Ahearn (Brunswick Heads, Simple Pleasures), Brooke Darling for The Urban List; plus Beth J Howells Photography (Bruns Bakery), Fleet Restaurant, Broadview Apartments, Table View, and resould.