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ULTIMATE GUIDE OF BEST THINGS TO DO IN BRUNSWICK HEADS

INSIDE: Looking for the best things to do in Brunswick Heads NSW?  You’ve found it.

Old school charm.√

Cute cafes, antique shops, and coffee shops galore. √

An iconic old but effervescent pub, and one of Australia’s highest-rated wine bar restaurants? √

And just 15 minutes north of Byron Bay? 

We’ve compiled a list of the best things to do in Brunswick Heads.  

This laid-back riverside town is on the up, and you need to visit before its overrun!

Take a look below for all the local’s favourites. 

Disclosure: This article contains affiliate links. If you make a purchase after clicking on one of these links, we may receive a small commission at NO extra cost to you.

brunswick heads river view pic

Guide to the BEST things to do in Brunswick Heads 

What to do in Brunswick Heads?

Correct at time of publication on Roam the Gnome. Please check with venue for updates. We apologise in advance if there have been any changes we are unaware of. All prices in AUD dollars, unless otherwise stated

Look beyond the burgeoning crowds, and you can find some pretty “daggy” but definitely super cool stuff to do.

The town itself is a 4 minute drive from the highway turnoff, but you might as well be a million miles away. 

Here’s our favourite things you must do with kids when you visit our home town,  and are looking for fun things to do in Brunswick Heads.

housie at brunswick heads pic

BEST THINGS TO DO IN BRUNSWICK HEADS

No.1: Housie at the Brunswick Heads Carnival

Housie is a game like BINGO, but it’s Bingo’s cooler cousin.

Played on cardboard bats, these boards have miniature plastic windows that you close over the numbers as they are called.

A Housie caller keeps things lively with unusual patterns to match:

  •  the called numbers might have to create an X, a T, a W
  • there’s even a call called ‘possums in the roof’ (any three on the top row, and the entire middle row horizontally.)

At 5 games for $1, (20 cents a game!), it’s an old-fashioned game with an old-fashioned price tag.

Cash prizes, and jackpot rounds make this THE best fun you’ve had in years.

This annual event launches in mid-December at the Brunswick Heads carnival, on the night of the Christmas Market.

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No.2: Brunswick Picture House

Dress up in your best costume outfit for a Film Event at the quirkily refurbished Picture House.

I’ve been in the audience of DIRTY DANCING when “Johnny” (one of the BPH Team) did his thing down the middle of the aisle, and cheered my heart out when “Baby” aced the lift!

And I’ve called on my inner “Sandy” during a showing of GREASE, singing along to all the hits in my sweetest voice while around me, the local 80’s dance troupe “The Cassettes” bopped their way through a 50’s routine.

They also have monthly Cheeky Cabaret shows where you WILL laugh your pants off.

Bring your grandma, but NOT your kids!  

The Picture House has become THE place to be for:

  • super fun theatre
  • music
  • interactive community shows
  • kids holiday entertainment, and more.

Stop by at least once for some old-school fun!  

Our tip: Catch Bunny Racket live, or score yourself and your kids a seat at Dr Hubble’s Bubble Show.

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No.3: Brunswick Heads swimming spots

Do not leave town without taking a dip in the Brunswick River’s crystal clear waters, shining emerald and turquoise, and catch a glimpse of golden sand under your toes.

This river is THE reason we live here.

It’s made its’ way into our hearts and our blood.

I think there’s magic in these waters!

  • Watch as teens and dads challenge one another to jump from the car bridge into the depths below.
  • BYO blow-up inflatables to splash and float with your family at high-tide or
  • hire a stand-up paddleboard or kayak from the Pirate Ship.

It’s the life, we tell you. (Bet you never want to leave.)

Brunswick Heads tide times

Go at high tide. It’s peak prettiness. 

Check tide times here.

bruns river swimming spots pic

Best Brunswick River Swimming Spots

Wondering where to swim in Brunswick Heads in the Northern Rivers?

Want the secret to the best kid-friendly river swimming spots in town?

Set up your picnic rug and towels in one of these spots:

  • At the end of the little ‘add-on’ road leading into Massey Green (very end of Tweed St)
  • Beyond the memorial pines and the Cenotaph at Fawcett Street (walk through the dune pathway to find grassy areas)
  • Via the stairs opposite the Bruns Pub (and behind the blue playground) at Banner Park
  • Via the concrete boat ramp opposite the Bruns Pub (on the left where the car bridge starts)
  • Via the little pocket of sandy beach to the right of the car bridge. Step down via the sandbags.

There’s a place to hire kayaks and canoes too.

Look out for the Pirate Boat, near the blue playground opposite the Bruns Pub. 


Book Now: Enjoy a Sunset Eco Rainforest River Cruise on the Bruns River (with complimentary drink & tapas)

NB: You can take an Eco Cruise on the Bruns River in the early morning too. Details here. 

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Brunswick Heads Beach for kids? Torakina Beach

If your kids love a little wave action, Torakina Beach, just over the car bridge to your left, is your destination. 

Explore nature in this much loved swimming area on your family holidays. 

Be sure to park in a designated spot.

The carpark rangers are not afraid to sting you with a steep fine if your car is out of bounds.

If you love surfing and want to catch a few waves on the coast, check out the Brunswick Heads surf cam for a view of the main beach before you go. 

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Christmas Beach Brunswick Heads

Don’t visit Bruns without taking a short detour to this locals secret beach in NSW, accessed through the Brunswick Heads nature reserve.

Click here for all the details, including how to get here, and what to pack. 

Brunswick Heads Bakery building pic

No.4: Brunswick Heads Bakery

Forget fashionable food.

Eat like we did as kids, at the best bakery around town. 

If you haven’t heard about the GIANT-SIZED slices of cake at the Brunswick Bakery, you have seriously been living under a rock.

Hop out now, and get yourself down to this shining star for:

  • an enormous Vanilla slice
  • a non-slimy custard tart
  • a Nutella-flooded croissant or donut, or
  • a slab of sponge cake.

FORGET LUNCH. 

We go for the sweet stuff, although Ned swears by their Steak Pie.

Read our review here.

old and gold festival market pic

Image credit: Brunswick Heads Old and Gold

No.5 – Brunswick Heads Festivals: Old and Gold Festival 

If you covet all things olden, you’ll fall in love with this.

The Annual Old and Gold Festival is held every year on the Saturday of the June long weekend.

The entire town comes alive with:

  • vintage collectibles
  • retro finds
  • local’s second-hand goods for a gold coin or two
  • sustainable living displays 
  • sausage sizzles and fete food
  • entertainment and buskers 

All-day entertainment includes:

  • a Marble Rolling competition
  • Horse and Carriage rides
  • busking
  • entertainment
  • food trucks, and
  • Grandma’s favourite cake stalls (bags the Lemon Slice).

brunswick heads fairy trail pic

No.6: Brunswick Heads Fairy Trail Map 

Explore the town with help of the local Fairy Trail.

Pick up a page of clues and a map from the Visitors Centre on Park Street, and wander your way around town finding all the fairy houses as you go.

brunswick heads fairy trail footbridge house pic 800

Brunswick Heads Fairy Trail Address

Find them tucked into all kinds of nooks and crannies, and these fairies have made their home out front of many community venues including:

  • the Fire Station
  • the Police Station
  • inside the Brunswick Heads library
  • restaurants
  • by the footbridge on both sides 
  • shops, and
  • the local school. 

This magical endeavour launched in 2016 and is still going strong.

Families and children LOVE it. 

brunswick-heads-family-carnival-pic

Image credit: McGregors Family Carnival

MORE Fun Brunswick Heads Events

No.1: “McGregors Family Carnival”

Housie continues to operate (volunteers willing) for 5-6 weeks over Christmas and New Year as part of the Brunswick Carnival and Sideshow Alley.

You’ll also find these things at McGregors Family Carnival:

  • rides including the swinging chairs, giant slide, dodgem cars, 
  • sideshow alley
  • popcorn, waffles, and fairy floss food trucks
  • hot dogs, dagwood dogs, and hot chips food trucks 
  • jumping castle
  • meet characters such as Paw Patrol or Elmo!

Enjoy fireworks on the Christmas Fair night too.

No.2: The Fish and Chip Festival

The Festival of Fish and Chips is an annual celebration that includes:

  • Twilight Markets on Banner Park
  • Brunswick Heads Woodchop Carnival for Australian and international competitors 
  • A mega fireworks display 

The Brunswick Heads Woodchop competition includes approximately 34 events, including 2 Australian Championship titles.

brunswick heads hotel entrance pic

WHERE TO EAT IN BRUNSWICK HEADS

Best Brunswick Heads Restaurants? 

No.1: Brunswick Heads Hotel & Pub

Eat at The Brunswick Pub.

They serve:

  • main meals
  • seafood
  • burgers
  • salads
  • pizza, and
  • bar snacks.

Hotel Brunswick Bar and Grill servings are gigantic, so share your parma and chips with the kids. 

The Buffalo Chicken pizza with pesto is a hot favourite. 

Let the kids roam free in the Kids Back Yard play area, with Australiana mural to boot. 

No.2: Fleet Brunswick Heads 

If you love wine, or to beat the crowds to the hottest place around, get yourself on the waitlist for Fleet.

Co-owner Astrid McCormack is up for MAÎTRE D’ of the year in the Gourmet Traveller Awards. 

Book as far ahead as you can so you don’t miss this elegant dining experience. 

yami brunswick heads logo

No.3: Yami Brunswick Heads

Try the falafel plate at Yami.

It’s hummus, tahini, Israeli salad, tabouli, salsa, lettuce and pickles either in a pita pocket or on a plate.

Or their Melawach, a traditional savoury pastry accompanied with grated tomato, boiled egg & chilli or their famous halloumi burger! 

Best Turkish food in the Northern Rivers! 

No.4: Fish and Chips Brunswick Heads

The best fish and chips is a toss up between the Fish Bar, or Starfish takeaway.

Try your luck. 

No.5: Fresh Pasta & Pizza

Order freshly handmade pasta from the Park St Pasta Bar.  (Kids night is Tuesday night – half price meals for kids!)

There’s no question that the best pizza in town is from Sticky Fingers

It’s not the cheapest, but it is the BEST.

No.6: Old Maids Burgers 

Old Maids Burger Store on Tweed Street is THE spot.

Locals love it. 

Or visit Hoopers Burgers, Fish and Chippery.

Their food is fresh, fast, and fabulous. 

No.7: Brunz Indian Brunswick Heads

Head to the IGA in Bruns.

In the same complex, facing Tweed street, you’ll find an Indian takeaway restaurant with all the goods.

Brunswick-Heads-Bakery-interior pic

Best Brunswick Heads Cafes?  

Grab your coffee at the Footbridge Cafe, or The Terrace cafe on the corner, or circle back to Bruns Bakery (pictured above). 

The Footbridge Cafe is the most popular with locals, so it’s a good bet. 

death-by-chocolate-cake at brunswick heads health food shop pic

Image credit: Brunswick Heads Health Food Store

Best Brunswick Heads ice cream & treats?  

No.1: Brunswick Heads Health Food Shop

You can also pop into the health food shop to pick up takeaway treats for afters.

Try the DEATH BY CHOCOLATE.

This petal covered, fudgey concoction sells out faster than they can stock it in the cake cabinet.

Get your hands on one today. 

(I shouldn’t tell you this, as now I can never get my hands on one!) 

No.2: Bernardis Gelato

Buy a scoop or two of Gelato from Bernardi’s Gelato at 22 Fingal St.

Next to the health food shop. 

Bernardi’s is the BEST Value for money, and a local institution.

Don’t be fooled by newcomers.

st vinnies brunswick heads 800

WHERE TO SHOP IN BRUNSWICK HEADS 

No.1: Brunswick Heads Op Shops 

For a tiny town, we have our fair share of good quality op shops.

There’s St Vinnie’s on the left of Fingal Street, and there’s another one directly opposite at the entrance to the Memorial Hall.

A third one, the CAWI (Companion Animals Welfare Inc) Op Shop is in the same block of shops as the IGA on Tweed St/Old Pacific Highway.

No.2: Resould Brunswick Heads Retro Furniture 

Plus there’s retro antiques, mid century sideboards, lamps, and super cool kitsch memorabilia at Resould Brunswick Heads at 48 Tweed St.

brunswick heads library pic 800

No.3: Bookshops in Brunswick Heads

If you’re staying in town, and need a good read, pick up a second-hand novel or magazine at Network Video (3/7 Fingal St).

The Library has a rack outside the front door of old favourites for sale too.

lazybones brunswick heads nsw

MORE Brunswick Heads Shops

Shop for cute stuff at any of these spots.

No.1: Lazybones (pictured above)

Find sweet, pretty dresses at our favourite dress shop, Lazybones.

Plus leather shoes, woollen tights, cute cardigans, all for the woman who loves stylish elegant design. 

1/8 Park St. 

No.2: Sunshine Trader

This is one of the best shops in Brunswick Heads for the whole family, with a design edge. 

Pick up:

  • birthday cards
  • fashion 
  • children’s clothing
  • good books
  • homewares
  • natural cleaning products from Koala Eco
  • fab hats and leather shoes
  • candles, ceramics and more. 

Find it at 2/8 Park Street

fabulous mrs fox logo

No.3: Fabulous Mrs Fox

You definitely need a sense of humour and irreverence to love this shop but if you have that, you’ll adore it.

Find:

  • Acacia timber serving platters, perfect for DIY charcuterie boards (find savory ideas & a chocolate charcuterie board tips here)
  • cologne,
  • puzzles
  • teething toys
  • one of a kind fashion dresses
  • Saltwater Sandals
  • perfume oil
  • MOTEX tape writers and stamps
  • antiques such as scales and random rocking horses, and more. 

10 Park St. 

No.4: Violetta’s shoes

Stylish presentation of leather shoes and quirky footwear.  1/10 Park Street. 

brunswick heads pharmacy logo

No.5: Jit Chong Brunswick Heads Pharmacy

Surprisingly, the local chemist is a beacon of stylish giftware including:

  • Butter London nail polish
  • Loom designs handwoven textiles, homewares, scrunchies, tea towels, bamboo straws, and jewellery
  • Reality Eyewear

Take a peek inside. You’ll be glad you did. 

No.6: The Monthly Brunswick Heads markets

Stop by the Brunswick Heads market on the 1st Saturday of every month to find all kinds of treasures, including:

  • fresh local produce
  • timber cutting boards
  • plants
  • soap
  • jewellery, and more. 

Hot tip: Hungry? Try the Pizza Loca. 

chalet motel brunswick heads 800

BRUNSWICK HEADS ACCOMMODATION

No.1: Brunswick Heads Hotels & Motels

These are the best places to stay in Brunswick Heads with kids.

  • The Sails Motel (pool pictured above)
  • Brunswick Heads Motel (has a pool)
  • Brunswick River Inn
  • Chalet Motel (has a pool)

All of these hotels are within 5 minutes walking distance of town and the river. 

reflections holiday parks cabins at brunswick heads 800

No.2: Brunswick Heads Holiday Parks (Now: Reflections Holidays Parks )

Reflections Holiday Parks have three caravan parks in Brunswick Heads.

  • Terrace Reserve Holiday Park cabins on the water, near the footbridge. 
  • Massy Greene Holiday Park (on the other end of town, near the Caltex and War Memorial. Also right on the river, with lovely views) 
  • Ferry Reserve Holiday Park (on the other side of the highway, so about a 10 minute walk into the main hub of town) 

brunswick heads camping at the terrace reserve pic

No.3: Best Brunswick Heads Camping Ground

Our pick of the best is Terrace Reserve, as the camping area is treed, and shady, and quiet but only two minutes walk to the main street. 

This camping spot has stairs access to the best part of the river.

Launch your kayak easily from here. 

There are two amenities blocks available, and the park runs along a residential road.

It’s safe and secure for your belongings too. 

No.4: Brunswick Heads Holiday Rentals

There’s plenty of these too.

Contact the Tourist Office on 02 6685 1002 for information.

Brunswick Heads Map

Want MORE SUPER FUN things to do around Brunswick Heads and Byron?

Click the blue links below for more Byron Bay attractions

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