Located at the mouth of the Richmond River, Ballina relies on fishing, ship building, agriculture and tourism for its prosperity, with resort shopping infrastructure expanding to accommodate the increasing numbers of families visiting and moving to the area.
While many people assume Ballina is named after Ballina in County Mayo, Ireland, it is actually derived from an Aboriginal word – “Bullenah”, meaning “place of many oysters”, so it isn’t any surprise that oyster leases and commercial fisheries within the estuary of the Richmond River are highly productive.
Sport fishing in the area is also excellent and the region’s magnificent beaches are renowned for great surfing.
Numerous sporting amenities and indoor attractions include the interesting Ballina Navel & Maritime Museum, while nearby, Thursday Plantation and Macadamia Castle at Knockrow aka “Maca Castle”, make for enjoyable family outings.
With the Richmond River and extensive estuary, Ballina is a magnet for families, anglers, birdwatchers and nature lovers.
A wide variety of accommodation including apartments, resorts, caravan parks, motels, motor inns, B&Bs, and extensive walking and bicycling paths around the town, make it a great family holiday destination.
The 11.5 km Ballina loop shared walking path/cycleway, offers great views over the river, ocean and creek.
It also has benches, and interpretive signage installed at various points where you can read a little about the natural environment, or take a break to enjoy the surroundings.
Check out the Big Volcano Visitor Guide – Ballina for more information, accommodation options, local tours & attractions, current weather and getting there.
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.
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.
Read more here: Alstonville, Wollongbar, NSW 2477
What is it about Ballina?
With Burns Point, a current film in production written by local Chris Blackburn, and PJ Hogan (“Muriel’s Wedding”), filming the feature “Mental” in Ballina in 2012, not to mention a slew of other film and TV productions in the region recently, you could be forgiven if locals started referring to the town as “Balliwood”.
And why not? After all, there’s only so much Big Prawn you can eat, and with the opening of the Margaret Olley Art Centre, already dubbed “Olleywood”, complete with sign, at the Tweed Regional Gallery in Murwillumbah last month, variations on the theme seem to be very appropriate at the moment.