Bangalow is one of those country gems: a picturesque, heritage listed village, largely nineteenth-century streetscape of tall verandahed buildings, shady trees and quiet parks.
The Pacific Highway is the major transport route along the central east coast of Australia, with the majority of it being part of Australia’s national route 1, and it used to run right through the centre of town bringing hustle and bustle 24 hours a day. But in the 1990’s in a major upgrade, the road bypassed Bangalow and the town, with a population of just under 2000, regained its peace and quiet. But it didn’t slowly die, as many towns do in those circumstances, instead it became a hub for artists and talented craft people. These artistic people found the tranquillity and beauty of an area where they could settle and create works of art and things of beauty. They displayed their crafts in the old style buildings along the one main street, and word spread. And the visitors came to look and to buy.
It is now a vibrant, bustling community. No empty shops and no big multi-nationals have moved in.
Bangalow is only 20 kilometres from our housesit, so we drove over to look around and have lunch. It was Monday and I thought it would be a quiet day to visit. Wrong, it is school holidays and the weather was fine. It was crowded and the first challenge was finding a place to park the car. 15 minutes later we are parked and ready to wander around.
This looked interesting with the Jolly Roger flying and a name like that it invited us in.
It was an Aladdin’s cave of colour and goodies. Then I spotted this sign and to me it says what this town is about.
I have never, ever seen a shop saying they will pay for breakages. I walked out with a smile on my face.
Then a door, narrow passage way and a sign saying creative glass pointed up some stairs. So up we went and I stopped at the entrance and gazed in awe at the display.
This is how these stunning works of art are described in the web page of Zakay Glass Creations.
“Unique and timeless, these stunning three dimensional art works are resplendent of sparkling gemstones: facets and symmetries shimmer as colours of the rainbow bounce off their bevelled edges when they are touched by natural and artificial light. Adding majesty to any space in which they are displayed, a Zakay keepsake regularly decorates homes, balconies, corporate foyers and hotels around the world. Founding artist Asaf Zakay’s pursuit of creative and aesthetic excellence has resulted in three dimensional glass designs that capture the essence of nature. Using the stained glass technique (a process Asaf studied whilst in his native Israel) each magnificent creation is a sacred symbol, evolving from natural geometric patterns. “
As well as the glass sculptures these Escher like wood sculptures adorned the walls and other stunning glass vase sculptures were displayed.
Asaf Zakay this talented artisan was in the studio and Jack took his photo. (To see more of his work follow the link.)
Back on the street I spotted this door. How intriguing, what is behind it?
Entering the shop, or I should call it a boutique, it had very expensive Italian fashion wear. Leather jackets and boots, fine cotton shirts and very exclusive hats. But the draw card for me was to go out through a side door and find this court-yard.
Like stepping into a Spanish hacienda.
Mmm, very tempting Jack. But time to find some lunch. So many to choose from Trip Advisor lists 17.
I chose Town Café. It was awarded a Chef’s Hat for 2012.
I chose a chicken, bacon, mushroom and leek pie. The filling was tasty, but unfortunately the pastry was like leather…
No worries, the salad was fresh and the coffee was good…
Time to browse around a few more shops. An art gallery ticked all the boxes for me. Local artists and world-class paintings. “Windhorse Gallery”
A book shop called “Poet” with a large choice of philosophical and new age books. A news agent who stocked a large display of art materials and art books. An antique shop full of memorabilia and a junk shop tucked away down the back, behind the pub. What a load of junk it stocked and I couldn’t believe he was serious about the prices. For example an ancient old paint brush, stiff with dried paint $10. This business was for sale and closing down in a weeks time. (I should’ve taken a photo)
Time to go home along the back roads.
Parking the car we wander around taking photos.
Passing through the small village of Federal (712 population) with a store and café that seemed to be popular we decided to stop for a coffee.
Finally home by 3-30pm and Mitch was patiently waiting for his 4-30pm walk.
Another walk Jo, this is almost the last one. I have one other but it was so overwhelming that I am struggling to sort through the almost 300 photos.
Restless Jo leads a diverse of group of walkers from all over the world. To join them click here.