17.1 C
Byron Shire
August 9, 2022

Check out the rock at Aquarius

Latest News

Comment: Time for another Police Royal Commission? 

It might be time for another investigation into the NSW Police Force, but this time, the police conduct under the microscope would be alleged overreach in the application of certain powers.

Other News

Free parking and protected farmland ‘concerns’ as government trumpets height of new Tweed Valley Hospital

The NSW State government is trumpeting the height of the controversial new Tweed Valey Hospital but the community remains...

Engineers available for structural assessments

Engineers Without Borders (EWB) will be providing freely-accessible engineering expertise to the Northern Rivers in conjunction with Holding Hands Under...

Increase in Reef coral cover comes with a warning

As we witness the ongoing destruction of the Great Barrier Reef by global warming and climate change, new data showing an increase in coral cover in some areas of the Reef is promising news.

Vision not so splendid for Lennox businesses

Ballina Shire Council workers have been taking advantage of sunny weather this week to advance the Lennox Village Vision. Unfortunately for local businesses, roadworks and noise have also disrupted them and their customers.

Plan for floods

Some stories have been told and the full story of the 2022 floods is still unfolding. Society is realising...

Ballina development application worries locals

A DA has just gone on public exhibition for a 15 unit, two storey complex in the midst of a large suburban block between Norton and Camden Streets, Ballina, not far from North Creek. Surrounding residents have a number of concerns.

The Rocks @ Aquarius Burger

By Vivienne Pearson

I admit that I’ve been past The Rocks @ Aquarius many times thinking: ‘That looks nice but I wouldn’t go in because it’s a backpacker hostel.’*

Luckily, this story made me walk in the door and I will now definitely go back. The Rocks @ Aquarius is a backpacker hostel but also a place for locals (and non-backpacking visitors).

‘We have a huge local following,’ says Bel Grbac, general manger, ‘including library staff, cyclists, and the ‘beach boys’, a group of local surfers who come in every day.

‘We also have families who holiday here regularly – we see the same faces every year.’

The street-side cafe has a cool, green-adorned verandah that captures the morning sun in winter but stays shady for much of the hot days of summer.

The food is unfussy and good, with dishes such as Ultimate Salad (crumbed chicken, haloumi, olives, lettuce, cucumber and a basil-and-lime dressing) and Atlantic pan-seared salmon (served with tabouli and a honey-and-cumin yoghurt dressing). Head chef is Kath Hobbs, who has worked at The Rocks for five years, after a stint of running the restaurant at the Bangalow Hotel.

Locals and families are also welcome in the more backpackery area** where food is served once the streetside cafe closes at 2pm. There is table tennis and a pool table and, according to Bel, the cheapest bar in town. ‘A schooner in our 6–8pm Happy Hour is only $3.50,’ she says.

I have also now discovered a well-kept Byron secret – the outdoor ‘backpacker’ eating area has a pool that is welcome to be used by anyone eating. The small, resort-style pool is well visible from several tables – perfect for families where the adults want to enjoy a decent-length lunch but the kids need other activity.

The history of the building is interesting. It was the first motel in Byron Bay. ‘It was the only fine dining in Byron,’ says Chris Schneider, manager. ‘Like where you would take your missis to to propose.’

The name comes from the giant rock that was craned in in the mid-1980s in order to hold up the roof. ‘The architect was a bit alternative,’ says Chris, adding that the rock apparently fell and broke – you can see the repaired split if you look carefully.

Bel assures me that I’m not the only one who has mistakenly skirted around The Rocks. ‘People say: “Isn’t it only for backpackers?” all the time.’ Not any more.

* No offence intended to any backpacker – I was one once, and loved that stage of my life.

** Families with under-18 kids are welcome in the bar area until bed-ish time (8pm).

The Rocks @ Aquarius, 16 Lawson Street, Byron Bay. Streetside cafe open for breakfast and lunch 7am–2pm, then afternoon/evening food until late in the bar Ph: 6685 7663, www.aqcafe.com.au.

Support The Echo

Keeping the community together and the community voice loud and clear is what The Echo is about. More than ever we need your help to keep this voice alive and thriving in the community.

Like all businesses we are struggling to keep food on the table of all our local and hard working journalists, artists, sales, delivery and drudges who keep the news coming out to you both in the newspaper and online. If you can spare a few dollars a week – or maybe more – we would appreciate all the support you are able to give to keep the voice of independent, local journalism alive.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Tucked away in a Mullumbimby music studio, a group of local musicians have been pouring their hearts out through song.

Pedal power celebrated at Murwillumbah film night

Those with an interest in films and cycling will be in heaven this Thursday night (August 11) when the Regent Cinema in Murwillumbah hosts the Big Bike Film Night.

Beekeepers can get a permit to move hives away from flood water

With so many challenges currently surrounding the bee industry, it comes as a relief to many that NSW Department of Primary Industries will issue a special group permit for beekeepers in flood warning areas to move their hives to higher ground.


Who’s with me in launching a class action against Byron and Lismore councils for compensation for us hapless ratepayers as we daily shred expensive...