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The hills are alive with the sound of music yes, but also whip-cracking, boot-throwing, sheep-shearing and plenty more. Ladies and gentlemen, it’s show season!
November may not be the time of year most people associate with a trip to Byron Bay and the stunning Byron Hinterland, but here’s a word to the wise: great time of year to come.
Sure there’s no Splendour or Writer’s Festival but the weather is great, with warm days and very little rain this time of year*. The crowds are small, with November neatly straddling school holidays, it generally means accommodation, car parking and tour bookings are less challenging to come by. The Farmer’s Markets are pumping, with spring produce coming through thick and fast, despite some tough growing conditions.
But the real reason to come in November is to partake in the oh-so-country tradition of a show.
I love them!
I grew up with the annual Wagga Wagga Show as a social highlight not to be missed, and as an adult I maintained the tradition with a yearly trip Sydney’s Royal Easter Show before we moved from the city. That said, you can take this as an informed opinion that nothing compares to the atmosphere and sheer joy of a country show.
There are a few held at different times of the year in the region but the two worth marking in your November diaries are the Mullumbimby Show and the Bangalow Show. Both are fantastic reminders of the region’s agricultural heritage and make for a perfect day out.
Mullum’s Show rolls around on 9-10 November. Billed as the Biggest Little Show, this one has all the great things you’d expect at a country show. Cattle, horse and poultry competitions, a demolition derby, show-n-shine car show. Rides, entertainment, pavilions and more. Great fun.
A week later, Bangalow Show runs on 15-16 November. At this one you can catch some camp-drafting, working dogs, the pet parade and even watch the trots. Better still, you can try your hand at the boot toss or raise your hand in the auction of all produce, baking and preserve competition entries to raise money for charity. Last year we picked up a brilliant tray of goodies!
Kid or adult, resident or visitor either of these shows will make for a completely authentic local experience.
But did you think I’d forgotten the music?
Hot off the heels of the Mullumbimby Show comes the Mullum Music Festival from 14-17 November. Smaller than the region’s other music festivals, this is a much more laid back affair, but that doesn’t mean the quality is any less. A great line-up, something for all ages and tastes and in held in a fun, quirky little town. Win, win, win.
And while this one isn’t a show either, I did want to put in a quick tip for the Ballina Country Music Festival being held this weekend. With lots of free gigs across the multiple venues, Ballina may be a surprise to many people visiting the area. There are some great cafes and restaurants and beautiful beaches making it well worth the exploration. If you need a tip on food options, please ask!
Whatever you do this November in the Hinterland, just make sure you enjoy real food, from real people at real places. Probably best to skip the dagwood dogs!
* The lack of rain is a double-edged sword. Like most of the country, we desperately need rain, but that doesn’t mean we shouldn’t enjoy the perfect weather without it. Just take short showers while you’re visiting please!
Postscript – the good folks at Bangalow Show have let me know that this year the programs have switched. Mullum Show will have the trots, while Bangalow Show has loads of other events. Fun to be had everywhere!