Thats the life

  • Written by Greg Rogers, Editor of That's The Life

Not far from Byron Bay and not far from Coolangatta Airport, Brunswick Heads is a quintessential coastal small town on the shores of the South Pacific Ocean.

A long time ago, the Pacific Highway used to run through the village but despite having countless trucks and thousands of cars pass through each day, Brunswick Heads was hugely popular with day trippers and holiday makers. The Pacific Highway bypasses Brunswick Heads these days and it is even more popular.

Real estate prices are high due to the location on the coast in Byron Shire, the climate and the fact that it is adjacent to a vast estuary system fed by the Brunswick River.

Reflections Holiday Parks operates three camping - caravan parks in Brunswick Heads and they are very popular. In an Australian first for sustainable travel, Reflections Holiday Parks has become the first holiday park group in the country to be certified as a social enterprise.

As a profit-for-purpose based business, Reflections Holiday Parks reinvested $9.1 million in FY22 into their 36 holiday parks and 43 community Crown reserves, which are vital habitats for animals and plants, as well as being treasured playgrounds for regional communities and visitors.

This re-investment into communities and the environment saw $3.5 million allocated to Crown Land reserves managed by councils and community groups, $2.6 million to Reflections Crown Land nature reserves and $3 million to cross-subsidise the operation of inland parks and reserves - in turn creating and maintaining jobs in regional communities.

Reflections’ CEO, Nick Baker, said the certification by Social Traders reflects a growing consumer movement towards businesses that exist for social and environmental good.

“An increasing number of travellers want to reduce their environmental footprint and contribute to local communities when they travel,” said Mr Baker.

“Securing social enterprise certification demonstrates that Reflections exists for social and environmental good by investing profit into local communities and the environment across NSW. It also introduces a network of social enterprise businesses that we can engage as suppliers, further enhancing our social, cultural and environmental impact.

“As well as preserving vital flora and fauna habitat, we attract 2 million visitors to regional NSW each year and encourage them to spend with local businesses and tour operators, injecting $83.2 million into regional economies and supporting local jobs.”

“When you buy from a social enterprise, you are purchasing quality goods and services that your business needs, while buying community impact in the same transaction.”

Visitors to Brunswick Heads and the community of local residents, have a wide range of natural attractions, shopping experiences, food outlets, places to swim or surf and special spots like Rosafina's Place, to enjoy.

Situated across the bridge on the way to the surf beach on South Beach Road, this converted caravan based coffee and light snacks specialty shop is well worth a visit.

I ordered a toasted ham and cheese sandwich, a home made cookie and a large decaf cappuccino and I enjoyed all three. There are plenty of seats under cover from the Sun provided by tropical trees and plants, on which to enjoy your snacks. Rosafina's Place offers great food that is well worth the modest charges.

The Brunswick Hotel is the centre of the social and entertainment universe in town. It is huge and often offers live entertainment. I found the fish and chip meal that I ordered less than appealing due to a higher than would be fair price and the small and thin portions of overcooked fish sitting on a lot of thin warm chips.

The Gelato shop offers a wide range of flavours and styles of confection.. I felt compelled to go there often ( for review and testing purposes only of course ) while I was in town for a few days.

Brunswick Heads should be on your "places to visit list".

There are lots of things to do in "Bruns" and for those who like to fish or spend time on the water on a jet ski or in a boat, this is the village for you. I prefer quieter aquatic pastimes and so I took to a stand up paddle board to explore the estuary that is adjacent to Reflections Holiday Park on The Terrace.

As I said at the start of this report on Brunswick Heads, it is a quintessential Australian coastal small town and the one thing that struck me as I walked around, was how people looked you in the eye, smiled and said "Hello".


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