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Murwillumbah

Surrounded by cane farms, cows and the stunning backdrop of Wollumbin (Mount Warning), Murwillumbah quickly draws you in like a warm hug packed with country charm. Combining a great mix of country town charm with Art Deco architecture, a bohemian arty edge and a buzz of vitality, Murwillumbah is a place that’s quite magical and our favourite town in The Tweed. Here are 10 of the best things to do in Murwillumbah and beyond.

Murwillumbah the Tweed River & Wollumbin (Mount Warning)
Murwillumbah and the Tweed River and Wollumbin (Mount Warning)

1. Tweed Regional Gallery and Margaret Olley Art Centre

This gallery has a fantastic blend of modern architecture, a location with stunning views and an amazing collection of art that will have you going “Wow!”. Even better, the Tweed Regional Gallery and Margaret Olley Art Centre is free to visit.

Arriving at the gallery, you might be wondering “What’s the fuss?” as the building itself is quite plain, but once you enter all that will be washed away by the gallery’s clever layout, views and its centrepiece, the Margaret Olley Art Centre.

Housed at the rear of the gallery, you’ll find local artist Margaret Olley’s art studio, lounge, dining room and kitchen as she left it before she passed away. This amazing space is surrounded by her masterpieces and is beautifully curated to put you in touch with the artist and her creative space.

You’ll also find some excellent rotating exhibitions and artworks here so every visit is different. We’ve seen a travelling exhibition of Archibald prize winners and, more recently, one of Monet’s most famous paintings on loan from the National Gallery of Australia

Tweed Regional Gallery and Margaret Olley Art Centre sculpture
Sculpture at the Tweed Regional Gallery and Margaret Olley Art Centre

2. The Northern Rivers Rail Trail

Grab your water bottle and your active wear for a relaxing ride though the stunning rural landscape of the Tweed Valley along the Northern Rivers Rail Trail. This is the first part of a continuing rail trail project in Northern New South Wales that comprises a 24 kilometre section of the rail trail connecting Murwillumbah to Crabbes Creek with a mix of sealed asphalt and gravel bikeways.

Starting at the old Murwillumbah Railway Station (where you’ll also find the Murwillumbah Visitor Information Centre) you can explore the amazing countryside, visit the townships of Burringbar and Mooball, cross multiple bridges, go through tunnels and stop at cafes, restaurants and galleries along the way.

You also have the option of opting for a picnic adventure put together by Pedals and Picnics, a local company that provides a range of packages and lots of treats for an amazing day out enjoying some romance or family time in the delightful rural landscape.

The Northern Rivers Rail Trail
The Northern Rivers Rail Trail

3. M|Arts Precinct

Set within an iconic Art Deco building and historic warehouse in the heart of Murwillumbah, the M|Arts Precinct is an eclectic collection of artist spaces and galleries plus a bar and dining options. The multiple artist studios range from a silversmith to contemporary artists, sculptors, painters and more.

In the centre of the precinct is a community area that encourages locals and visitors to mix and mingle within the historic workshop building surrounded by artist galleries and workspaces.

There is always an exhibition or show to entertain and delight here. Add a croissant or sweet treat from Ben’s Patisserie, catching a movie or show at the historic theatre, dining at an award winning restaurant and more, and you have a place worth exploring at length.

Handmade paper at the M|Arts Precinct

4. Makers & Finders Market at Murwillumbah

This monthly market offers an assortment of trash, treasure, art, food and entertainment in Knox Park in the heart of Murwillumbah and is equally popular with locals and visitors. Get in early and enjoy a chat with the artists and stallholders before it gets busy.

5. The Murwillumbah Farmers’ Market

Known simply as ‘The Market’ by the locals, the Murwillumbah Farmers Market fresh product market takes place every Wednesday and is the place to go for locally produced produce in the Tweed Valley. Stock up and self cater at one of the nearby accommodation options like La Rocher Eco Retreat or Avion Retreat or buy some goodies to take home.

6. Tweed Regional Museum

The Tweed Regional Museum offers a mix of heritage architecture and contemporary exhibitions that showcase the local area in permanent and temporary displays. Exhibitions range from ones focussing on the history of the region to music from the local area, from the Sunnyboys to Kate Miller Heidke’s Eurovision dress.

Tweed Regional Museum – Murwillumbah
Tweed Regional Museum – Murwillumbah

7. Murwillumbah shopping and more

There is some great retro shopping to be had in Murwillumbah, so grab a few bags and head out to find that special something. For clothing and homewares, try Firelilee Boutique, Chantilly Lace Boutique or The Foundry Murwillumbah. The Vault is a specialty antiques store for restored antiques, specialising in mid-century modern furniture and many interesting objects.

The Vault antique store at Murwillumbah
The Vault antique store

8. Go on the Murwillumbah Art Deco Walk

Head to the Murwillumbah Visitor Information Centre and pick up the free self-guided Art Deco walking trail map. This guide will take you around town to explore the architecture of Murwillumbah and the history and amazing style of Art Deco that the town is famous for.

9. Best Murwillumbah restaurants and cafes

There is no shortage of culinary delights in the town of Murwillumbah or a short drive away with options from hipster cafes to historic bakeries and multiple award-winning restaurants. Here are a few of our favourites.

The Austral Cafe and Bakery

Let’s start with a trip back in time at The Austral Café, a Murwillumbah institution serving old school classics from a bygone era, hamburgers with the lot that could feed two, pies with peas, chips and gravy, sausage rolls, salad rolls and more. The food is great and so is the classic retro 60s café decor. Tiana used to come here as a little girl and loves it just as much now as she did back then.

Bistro Livi

The Good Food Guide’s Regional Restaurant of the Year in 2023/24, Bistro Livi is the cool cat in town with an ever-changing menu that highlights local produce, with a focus on seafood. It’s stylish and perfect for a romantic dinner.

Bistro Livi
Bistro Livi

Tweed River House

This traditional country house and award-winning restaurant is the place to be for great dining day and night. Perched on the banks of the Tweed River, there are stunning views of Wollumbin and the hinterland but your eyes will be on your plate. Local produce from the earth and the sea sourced from local producers is the star of the show and worthy of a standing ovation. Tweed River House is a must-visit!

Tweed River House
Tweed River House

Pasta’bah

This delicatessen is a den of Italian delights with house made fresh pasta and sauces that will have you coming back for more. The lasagna and cannelloni at Pasta’bah are special, but the pasta and sauces are the best. They also have pop-up pasta-making classes so drop in or call to make a booking.

Kat Harvey Cheese

Kat Harvey Cheese is a specialty cheese shop with a delicious selection of the very best cheese from local artisans, and Australian and imported small-batch producers. It’s the kind of place where you drop in to pick up a piece of cheese and end up walking out with five. Kat is lovely and generous when it comes to sharing her knowledge about all things cheese related.

The selection at Kat Harvey Cheese is amazing
Kat Harvey at Kat Harvey Cheese

Keith

This is the coffee shop/bakery that left me heartbroken because they sold out of their pies by 10am on our last visit (yes, they’re that good). The coffee is amazing, the donuts are great and there’s a small deli out the back.

Ben’s Patisserie

Ben’s French Patisserie is part of the M|Arts space and the place for all things French that melt in the mouth, from croissants to macarons and many other pastry delights. Be warned the cabinet of cakes will leave you drooling and buying way more than probably should.

Old Quarter Coffee Merchants

Finding good coffee is not a problem here but if you’re like us, you may end up coming home with too much coffee. Drop in and savour the many delights in this lovely coffee shop which has a window with bench seating for people watching and chatting with the locals.

Old Quarter Coffee Merchants
Old Quarter Coffee Merchants

10. Go on a Murwillumbah day trip

You don’t need to go far on a Murwillumbah day trip to see some of the best local spots in the surrounding area. Some of our favourites include:

Uki Post Office: Bastion Lane Coffee is housed in Uki’s heritage listed post office and is the place to come when you want to post a letter or parcel and enjoy a fantastic brew. They roast all their own coffee and exhibit local artists on the wall. If you’ve got a coffee machine at home, it’s also worth getting a bag or two .

Bastion Lane Espresso Uki
Uki Post Office -Bastion Lane Espresso Uki

Flutterbies Cottage Café Tyalgum: A unique venue that combines a café, a bakery and a boutique shopping area housing multiple shops in a delightful rainforest setting. On weekends Flutterbies features local musicians and entertainment. The Devonshire tea is amazing.

Mavis Kitchen: This lovely restaurant is only open from Friday to Sunday but there are a range of menu options to suit every taste for breakfast, lunch, dinner, or you can just relax with coffee and scones and enjoy the breeze on the balcony then take a stroll around the Mavis Kitchen garden.

Husk Farm Distillery: You’ll find hand-crafted rum and gin in small batches and multiple flavours at this boutique distillery. There are also tours or you could have cocktails and indulge in a long lunch on the lawn or at the Husk Farm Distillery restaurant courtesy of their farm kitchen.

Potager – A Kitchen Garden: This multi-award-winning restaurant also specialises in local produce, but Potager has dual French and Australian influences and a menu that changes with the seasons.

Disclosure: The writers have visited Murwillumbah as guests of The Tweed Tourism Company and at their own expense. It remains one of their favourite destinations.

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Trevor Templeman is a photographer and writer who travels the world capturing the essence of locations through their landscape, architecture and people. His words and photographs are published in magazines, newspapers and online around the world.