Introduction to Alstonville, New South Wales.

Located on the Bruxner Highway about half way between Lismore and Ballina, many visitors to the Northern Rivers region make a day trip to the Alstonville Plateau to take in the stunning views, and to visit popular local attractions like Amaze ‘n’ Place, Summerland House with No Steps and Teven Golf Course.

Photo: Big Scrub remnant, Booyung Nature Reserve © Big Volcano Tourism

Atop the rich krasnosem soils which previously supported the “Big Scrub”, Alstonville and Wollongbar are communities serving a thriving agricultural industry and workers who commute to Lismore and Ballina.

In addition to the more conventional dairy and beef farming, macadamia orchards abound in the smaller villages, while bananas, peanuts, pawpaws, pineapples and other exotic and subtropical fruits are being successfully grown.

Motor Inns, B&Bs and farmstays are the primary accommodations available on the plateau, and in the smaller settlements like Tintenbar and Teven, which also boasts an excellent golf course.

A variety of day tours, river cruises and activities are available at Ballina.

Read more here: Alstonville, Wollongbar, NSW 2477


Shorebird awareness right in time for school holidays

Residents of the Tweed flocking to the beach this holiday season will be reminded to take care around shorebirds, thanks to a program by Tweed Shire Council, NSW Local Land Services, Birdlife Northern Rivers and Tweed Landcare, and local Tweed schools.

Signs created by students of Fingal Head and Bogangar Public Schools are now out and about, warning keen beachgoers to stay a distance away and keep their dogs on leashes to protect the endangered birds.

Council’s Program Leader – Pest Management, Pam Gray, said it was especially important to give the birds space at this time of year.

Fingal_Head_PS_students094242_800 Fingal Head Public School students Urias Miller, Taj Krasna, Ruby-Lee Schofield, Tulasi Krasna, Molly Kirk and Jade Tatam-Lube show off their colourful signs to create awareness in the community about endangered shorebirds.

“Beaches and islands that were once isolated are now busy with boats, beach goers and their pets, which means the birds no longer have anywhere quiet to nest, feed or roost,” Ms Gray said.

“It’s important to keep this in mind while we enjoy the beautiful beaches of the Tweed these holidays.”

She said students enjoyed creating vibrant paintings with important messages that were turned into corflute signs and placed along beach entrances.

“Students learnt how to identify the birds that nest on their local beach and read any signage when entering the beach.

“The five species of beach-nesting birds on the Tweed Coast are the Australian Pied Oystercatcher, Sooty Oystercatcher, Beach Stone-Curlew, Little Tern and the Red Capped Plover, all of which are now in danger of extinction,” Ms Gray said.

“Students also learnt about their needs for survival and what we can do to help, for example, staying a fair distance away from the birds, staying close to the water’s edge when walking or jogging and away from soft sand where they nest and hatch and, importantly, to keep their dogs on leashes.

“It has been a wonderful program, and the students at each of the schools were great to spend time with.  They all worked really hard to make these signs.”

The shorebird breeding season extends from June until late March.

For more information on the Tweed’s beach nesting shorebirds, visit


Courtesy Tweed Shire Council Newsroom

Been there, Seen that. Movies shot here

So the 2014 film award season is upon us, and Huff Post Travel just did a cutesy piece on location settings for some of this year’s Oscar contenders.

Which got me thinking about films shot in our neck of the woods.

Rural view

Ballina beach view

So here’s a quick roll call;

Everyone’s favourite ABBA revival movie: Muriel’s Wedding (1994), had Rainbow Bay, Point Danger and Tugun standing in for Porpoise Spit.

And in 2009, local director Belinda Chayko, filmed Lou (2010), which starred one of the latest of the Doctors Who, John Hurt, entirely on location in the Tweed.

Although, apart from the promotional poster, you’d really need to be a local to realise it, as the director and editor/s did a great job of carefully avoiding including the most distinctive feature of the valley in any shot.

But sharp eyed locals would recognise the Surfside Buslines beach bus route scene being Clothiers Creek Road, as it trundled past the Nunderi turnoff, as well upteen shots with the McPherson Ranges, Springbrook National Park and The Cougals outlined in the background, in other scenes.

Coolangatta Gold (1984), which actually spawned the contest named after it, rather than the other way round, was shot at, funnily enough, Coolangatta and other locations on the Gold Coast.   >> Coolangatta Gold 2013.

And as far a TV goes, well, that list is getting a good work out, with the Brit “reality” favourite; “I’m a Celebrity, Get Me Out Of Here“, being shot on a property located a short drive from Murwillumbah since 2002.

Forays into the local wilds usually include Crams Farm, which also featured recently, along with the usual selection of local villages like Tyalgum, with Rachel Griffiths, who starred in the recent “Camp” TV series (2013 NBC), before she got called up to play in the current Tom Hanks hit “Saving Mr Banks“.

Speaking of Muriel alumni, PJ Hogan’s “Mental” (2012), with Toni Collette and Liev Schreiber, had location shooting in and around Ballina, not to mention a climb of Mt Warning.  PJ must like his old stomping ground.

But then, what’s not to like?

Great scenery and locations, oodles of local talent to call on, close to two international airports: Brisbane and Gold Coast, and of course, being less than 90 minutes drive south of Village Roadshow Studios on the Gold Coast, is a bit of help too.

And while local organisations and groups (below) are doing their best to raise the profile of the region, it also doesn’t hurt when celebrities like Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie fly into Byron for the day (January 2014), and enjoy some quality fun time with the kids at local attractions like Byron Circus Arts, and a meal in town later, before decamping back to Brissie.

And let’s not forget Lady O herself, with a group from Oprah’s Ultimate Australian Adventure, finding out about the pleasures of Byron Bay as part of their New South Wales itinerary.

Local Arts Organisations:

Byron Bay International Film Festival has morphed from an Australian to a truly international film festival.

Nothern Rivers ScreenWorks is the screen industry gateway for the Northern Rivers region of New South Wales, Australia, serving creative practitioners in the film, television, video, and digital media sectors.

Arts Northern Rivers is the peak body for the arts and cultural sector in the Northern Rivers region of New South Wales, Australia.

Flickerfest International Short Film Festival is Australia’s only Academy Accredited Short Film Festival screening the best of new and cutting edge short films from Australia and the world.

#PinItForwardUK with Pinterest The Design Sheppard

I discovered this post about Pinterest on my good mate – Ron Mader’s Weekly at, which I subscribe to for daily update notices.

It’s a very readable introduction to Pinterest for people who haven’t discovered it yet.  (You’re in for a treat if you’re the kind of person who can’t live without Stumbleupon or Delicious.)

#PinItForwardUK with Pinterest The Design Sheppard.

I’ve been using Pinterest for as long as I can remember so I was pretty shocked to find out recently that it is only officially launching in the UK this month.

And, in the spirit of  the “Pin It Forward” campaign, here are a few of Big Volcano’s favourite Pinterest people (Pinteresters?);


About this Region

East: 153° 17″ 17´, South 28° 53″ 58´ (Mt Warning).

Where this region is located in Australia.

Where this region is located in Australia.

Spanning the New South Wales and Queensland state borders, the area is located in the far north eastern corner of the state of New South Wales (NSW), with the state of Queensland (QLD) immediately to the north.

The region is often referred to relative to its location within the state of NSW as “the far north coast”, “Northern Rivers” or simply “the North Coast”.

The Queensland side of the border maybe referred to as “the Gold Coast”, “Gold Coast hinterland” or “south east Queensland”, which is often used in weather and government references, but less frequently in daily use.

The Southern Gold Coast (QLD) suburb of Coolangatta, and Tweed Valley (NSW) town of Tweed Heads are often referred to as the “Twin Towns”.  At Point Danger you can stand astride the state border and during Summer, enjoy a one hour time warp, thanks to the observance in NSW (and lack in QLD), of daylight saving time.

The region is easy to get to and well served by plane, road and train services.

Excerpt from Big Volcano Visitor Guide – About this Region – Place.


Welcome to the Big Volcano Regional Tourist and Visitor Guide. is a comprehensive guide about where to stay, things to see and do, and tours and attractions in the Northern Rivers, New South Wales, and Gold Coast hinterland, Queensland region of Australia.

Localities include Ballina, Byron Bay and hinterland, Tweed Coast, Tweed Valley, Upper Clarence, and hinterland towns and villages in the “Rainbow Region” including Casino, Kyogle, Lismore and Nimbin.

We provide an inclusive Accommodation Directory, Activities, Tours & Attractions Directory and Retail & Services Directory, with listings for most local tourism businesses, and detailed descriptions with links, for Big Volcano customers, so you’ll have your choice of places to stay and activities to enjoy during your travels in our region.

The site also provides extensive information about the Human History and Natural History of the region, especially the national parks and reserves, and the World Heritage Listings.

We look forward to your visit.