Ballina ByronThe Ballina/Byron region is delightfully diverse. It ranges from the quiet family world of Ballina to Byron Bay, the former hippy capital of Australia. Byron Bay was once a simple whaling station later rediscovered by surfers. Now, long after the 60s, the place is swarmed with tourists and celebrities wishing to experience this alternative town, which is still one of the most hippy destinations on the East Coast.
The CityThere are a plethora of pleasures to be experienced in Ballina, Byron Bay and the surrounding area. Creative types are particularly attracted to this region and there are many authors and film-makers who seek their inspiration alongside surfers and sun lovers. Ballina originally gained its reputation as a fishing and timber port on the wide Richmond River. Then, road transportation took over, and with it came one of the craziest moves in town planning history: Ballina’s main street was set way back from the river, with buildings on both sides of the street blocking all river views. However, this has now changed with the development of the river foreshore area. Only three decades ago, Byron Bay was a small sleepy enclave unaware of the hustle and bustle it would later experience. Nowadays, it has a small town charm mixed with a cosmopolitan — yet alternative — lifestyle that attracts many people from all over the world. Among its attractions, there are kilometres of unbroken sandy beaches and heaps of great surf waves to catch, but also pristine nature and wildlife. Due to its location as Australia’s most eastern point, the majestic humpback whales can be spotted twice a year on their migratory routes. There's always a local market taking place somewhere and all through the year several festivals take place. Despite the coastal town’s reputation as being laid-back and alternative, it is anything but boring and visitors have the time of their lives in Ballina and Byron Bay.
Do & See
There is no lack of beaches along the coastline if you want to enjoy a day on the sand. Once you're rested, outdoor and water activities are a must in Ballina and Byron Bay. Walking, picnicking, kayaking, swimming, surfing, snorkeling... You'll be spoilt for choice. Day trips in the surrounding villages are also possible, as well as museum visits and spotting dolphins and whales.
The Ballina/Byron Bay region has some top restaurants, highlighting the region’s fine produce, like the world’s best macadamia nuts. Fresh seafood also plays a leading role in the local cuisine.
With the city now being home to a beguiling mix of surfers, “new-agers”, artists, craftspeople, writers and film makers, this is a perfect place for people watching while sipping a cup of coffee. Sit down and enjoy the relaxing atmosphere at one of many cafés in Ballina and Byron Bay.
Bars & Nightlife
Byron Bay rocks like jelly in an earthquake and has gained a reputation as one of Australia’s very best music venues. Major world-class groups will often tour the major state capitals of Australia ’plus Byron Bay’. In Ballina, there are many places to kick back and relax before you head off to Byron Bay for a lively night.
Ballina is known as a regional hub for bargain shoppers, but there are also two shopping centres. In the main thoroughfare, River Street, you'll find a number of intriguing small boutiques. Byron Bay is home to many small boutiques as well, focusing mainly on hippy style clothes and accessories. However, some of the best shopping can be done at the local markets, hosted every weekend in different places. You can get some good deals for yourself and shop souvenirs for friends.