Monthly Archives: October 2013

Tommy Franklin_Kirra Pendergast_thumnail

Follow Byron’s dancing man

Follow Byron’s dancing man

The Byron shire is warming up for the summer tourist season, with solid bookings from beachfront to national park.

The rainbow shire’s peak tourism body VIA Byron reports that more and more travellers are staying in places like Brunswick Heads, Mullumbimby, Bangalow and the hinterland villages and visiting Byron’s famous beaches and cafes during their stay.

“Byron itself is still a major drawcard” said VIA Byron President Cameron Arnold. “But further afield there are just so many unique properties to choose from, from old dairies to tee pees, apartments and historic homes. You can really get away from it all and soak up the colour, that’s what it’s all about”.

No-one embodies the freedom of the Byron shire more than Byron’s Dancing Man Tommy Franklin. Tommy starred in Splendour in the Grass’s 2012 festival line-up video, which featured him dancing around Byron’s iconic landmarks. Since then he has found national fame as a Grand Finalist on Australia’s Got Talent.

“Tommy puts a smile on the face of everyone he meets, it’s a gift” said Splendour in the Grass’s Jo Hickey, who produced the video featuring Tommy. “He makes you want to just bust out of your stressed out city life.  He’s full of magic and life and that’s what Byron’s about, people visit here for a dose of life”.

In true Byron style Tommy is humble about his new celebrity status, recently telling a journalist “I don’t shit golden nuggets” and attributing his childlike joy and wonder to a “Steve Irwin gene”.

The music keeps coming between now and New Years’ Eve in the Byron Shire, with the Byron Latin Fiesta November 1 – 3, Mullumbimby Music Festival November 21 – 24 and the Byron Falls Festival from December 31.

There are still bargains to be had in the rainbow region. Head to for specials like

►Five nights for the price of four in a two bedroom bungalow at the deluxe Bayshore Bungalows on Belongil Beach in Byron Bay

► Three nights for $330 or seven nights for $540 from February in a two bedroom apartment in the heart of Brunswick Heads with Brunswick Seaside Holidays

► Three nights for the price of two between May 13 and July 31 at Beach Suites on Byron’s Main Beach

► Two nights for $250 (normally $360) Monday to Thursday at the award winning Apartments Inn in the heart of Byron Bay

► Save 40% when you stay for three or more nights at BreakFree Eco Beach in Byron Bay

With 52 flights a week into the Ballina Byron airport.

Watch Tommy Franklin’s promo video for Splendour in the Grass 2012

Background for journalists:

With some of the world’s best beaches, stunning national parks and award winning restaurants and cafes, the Byron shire offers respite and inspiration. Home to Australia’s highest concentration of creative professionals and artists per capita, it’s little wonder Byron is a place of annual pilgrimage for many. Whether for a festival, time in or time out the Byron shire, with its politically active communities, Green Council and plethora of healers, is open to all.

Downloadable high resolution images:

Photo 1 – Tommy Franklin – image by Kirra Pendergast for

Photo 2 – Tommy Franklin – image by Kirra Pendergast for

Photo 3 – First Sunday of the month, Brunswick Heads – image by Michelle Begg

Photo 4 – Apartments Inn Byron Bay

Photo 5 – Apartments Inn Byron Bay

Ryan Squires

Ethical restaurateur in vogue

Ethical restaurateur in vogue

Ryan Squires did Byron

The stars shone at The Byron at Byron Resort and Spa on the weekend, when the multi award winning resort hosted the annual Vogue Living Champagne Dinner. Guests were treated to the charms and talents of one of Australia’s youngest three hatted Chefs, Ryan Squires of Brisbane’s Esquire and Esq restaurants. Owners Gerry Harvey and Katie Page, who usually attend, were unable to make it this year.

Ryan’s five courses were matched to the world’s finest Champagnes at the soirée, where roses and candles hung from the vaulted ceiling over multicoloured candelabras adorning long tables.

“Ryan’s creativity is well known” said The Byron at Byron Head Chef Gavin Hughes. “But what truly sets him apart is his ethical consideration of the origin of his ingredients and their treatment. To me this establishes him as the Chef of today, the guy is an inspiration”.

Squires, who describes himself as “mad keen on fishing and boating”, has moved away from seafood sourced unsustainably, a choice which has taken a number of species from his menu.

“The tons and tons of fish that would go through restaurants nationally is phenomenal” said Squires. “It’s totally the Chef’s responsibility to put on the menu what they feel is sustainable. It was my choice to give up tuna and I haven’t served tuna, snapper, swordfish or billfish here at the restaurant. The fishmonger is going to tell you what you want to hear, you have to wiggle in there and find out the truth! The fun bit about my job is the creativity and knowing how to work with these species and get the most out of them”.

Seafood dishes served at the Byron at Byron Champagne Dinner included Raw yellowtail kingfish, green mustard leaf and shitake and Blue swimmer crab, corn, almond and malt.

“I respect his stance on sustainable food, it’s a brave thing to do” said Gavin Hughes. “Ryan is a true gentleman and we would be honoured to have him back in our kitchen at any time”.

Upcoming events at The Byron at Byron include a New Years’ Eve party 1920s style party.

Downloadable high resolution images:

Photo 1 – Ryan Squires

Photo 2 – Guests at the Byron at Byron Vogue Living Champagne Dinner

Photo 3 – John Parche, General Manager of The Byron at Byron with Elisabeth Drysdale from The Champagne Bureau