Creative types with a love of organic produce and clean living have found their spiritual home in Bangalow.
Nestled in the valley of the Byron Bay hinterland, a mere 15-minute drive from its flashier, more commercial cousin, Bangalow is a town full of passionate locals, many of whom swear they would never live anywhere else.
“I have children in Sydney and even they want to move here.”
There is something about this town that makes people fall in love with it, and it certainly cast its spell over our researchers who rated it highly on the ‘x-factor scale’.
What’s to love
With Nimbin to the west and Byron Bay to the east Bangalow is in the centre of the northern New South Wales counter-culture.
It is blessed with an abundance of natural beauty — a sub-tropical oasis surrounded by verdant rainforest and plantations, and a short drive to the coast.
And for those who do wish to venture further out, the major town of Lismore is 34 minutes away, while the southern tip of the Gold Coast is a 46-minute drive. A weekend in Brisbane is very doable at just one hour and forty-five minutes’ drive north.
At 6.7 per cent, the unemployment rate is edging up in Bangalow, but residents can always commute to one of the nearby centres for work.
Our researchers noted that the town centre successfully mixes contemporary with the historic, and the occupancy level is a healthy 93 per cent.
It is, however, expensive to buy here, with a median house price of $605,000.
Visitors often spend hours strolling down the main street, such is the abundance of stores and cafes to enjoy.
“I will often set out at 10am if someone is visiting and not get back to the house until 4pm,” says Eva Heath, owner of Heath’s Old Wares Collectables.
The Bangalow Market, on the fourth Sunday of every month, is a hit among locals and tourists, and the Windhorse Gallery is worth a look for its excellent array of local art.
The Italian Diner offers delicious Italian fare, while Utopia café serves decent breakfasts.
Try and catch a concert at the Bangalow A&I Hall, which is not only a beautiful venue, but also plays host to a range of notable acts (folk band The Waifs played there recently).
What the locals say
Photographer Suze McLeod moved to Bangalow with her young family from nearby Lennox Head two years ago.
“It was our Saturday morning ritual to drive to Bangalow for the farmers’ markets and have breakfast,” she says. “We just loved the town so we moved here.”
Ms McLeod also loves the kind of people Bangalow attracts.
“There are lots of notable people living here, who have done very well in their careers, flying under the radar in Bangalow,” she says.
Bangalow is a mecca for clean living advocates, with most locals making good use of the weekly farmers’ market, the monthly Bangalow Market and the abundance of fresh produce.
“I went to the doctor the other day and he was shocked that as a woman in my 50s I did not take any pills,” says Ms Heath.
“I told him I didn’t need to as I live in Bangalow.”
To explore properties in Bangalow click here.