If you can call a beach new, then Lighthouse Beach is one, as the beach only came into existence after the construction of the adjacent Richmond River breakwater rock walls in the early 1900s. The construction caused the area to fill with sand, thus building a beach.
I was here several times in a day, and found different activities through-out the day.
Early morning, and it was Surfers here trying to catch some very small waves! Evidently it does have good good breaks on the outer bar and inside the north entrance wall, just not the days I was there!
Later in the day, it was families and children enjoying cooling off in the ocean and sunbakers lapping up the sun. Between the beach and the road is a grassed area and then trees
This beach is patrolled by Surf Life-savers, which is a good thing, as it does have rips and strong currents, resulting in quite a high lot of rescues each year. If you get into trouble while swimming, put you hand high up so a Life saver can see you, then come to your rescue.
Life-guard Patrol 9am-5pm
One Lifeguard Monday to Friday
Volunteers on weekends and public holidays
There were plenty of FREE CAR PARKS and paths to the beach
- Water Sports
LOOK FOR WHALES AND DOLPHINS
From approx. June to November, Whales coming from Antartica, pass along the east coast of Australia.
At Ballina, there is a breakwater where the Richmond River enters the ocean. It is along the top, where a bicycle/walking track leads to the very end.
It was along here, where I saw four Dolphins frolicking in the River head, how-ever, I wasn't lucky enough to see the Whales, even though three different groups of people had seen them from here - just the luck of the draw! I was told, sometimes you need Binoculars and at other times, they are quite close and can be seen easily.
Look for Lizards [Water Dragons] sunning themselves in the early morning on the rocks.
People were fishing too, in a Kayak and off the rocks, didn't see any Fish caught!
- Whale Watching
- Hiking and Walking
Perhaps the most famous exhibit at the Ballina Maritime Museum is the 12-metre long and 6-metre wide Las Balsas which landed at Ballina on 21 November, 1973. The balsa wood raft floated across the Pacific from Ecuador, a journey of 3760 nautical miles which it achieved in 178 days in an effort to prove that historical journeys could have been made during the past. It was originally planning to land at Mooloolaba in Queensland but coastal currents swept it south to Ballina. By the early 1980s more than 15,000 people a year were stopping in Ballina to see the raft. It is open seven days from 9.00 a.m. - 4.00 p.m. Contact (02) 6681 1002 for more information.
Beyond the Maritime Museum the road crosses the mouth of North Creek on Missingham Bridge. On the far side are two attractions: Fenwick House and the Pioneer Memorial Park. Fenwick House was built by Captain Thomas Fenwick in the style of a Scottish manor house. It is characterised by an English mahogany staircase, a slate roof and stained-glass windows. Today it is known as Shaws Bay Hotel and is a prominent landmark.
- Historical Travel
- Museum Visits
This beautiful Court House was built in 1867 and now is a central feature of the town's main street. Located between the Post Office and the Police Station it is part of an impressive lot of public buildings. Located riverside it stands out against all the 20th century architecture that stands nearby and around it.
The main street of Ballina used to be an extension of the Pacific Highway but these days the highway has finally bypassed what had become a bottleneck.
The road has a number of particularly attractive buildings - the post office and the courthouse - as well as an excellent tourist information office which is combined with two museums. There is the FNC Family History Group and the Naval Museum as well as a Maritime Museum. On the water rides the MV Florrie which was built at Brisbane Waters in 1880 and traded on the Richmond River as a passenger vessel and tug. At the time of her retirement in 1975 she was the longest working vessel in Australia. In front of this collection of museums and information centres is the MV Richmond which operated on the Richmond River for nearly 50 years.
- Family Travel
- Historical Travel
Byron Bay Lighthouse
The Lighthouse on the cape at Byron Bay is the most easterly point in Australia and for that reason, it has become a very popular place to visit. It is a beautiful lighthouse that is well looked after and restored, however the fact that they actually charge you a fee to park up there is I think a deterrent for visitors. On the day we drove there, it was terrible weather and had just started to rain, so we did not stop, but I do think it is worth a visit, if only to say that you have been to the most easterly point in the whole of Australia!!!
We went for a drive around the main Ballina Beaches on the morning of Bluesfest just to pass some time, there are some lovely beaches which would be beautiful places to spend a few hours on a sunny summers day.
The macadamia castle
On the Tuesday, the only day we really had to spend in and around Ballina, it was terrible weather and rained for most of the day. So we just went for a drive along the freeway to the Macadamia Castle to have a look. They do not charge entrance to the shop and cafe, but there is a fee to go into the Animal Park, which we did not go into.
Not a whole lot to do and see here, the macadamia nuts were rather expensive I thought, although you could taste test for free. Some interesting gift ideas in the shop. The cafe was very busy, I wanted a cappucino but the wait was about half an hour, so instead I bought a slice of macadamia caramel tart, which was absolutely delicious but a rip-off at $8 a piece!!!!!
The Macadamia Castle is open daily from 8am-5pm. The Park houses native birds, animals and reptiles, also petting nurseries, barbeques, picnic areas, mini-golf, train ride and an andventure tree house. On a nice weather day, it would be fantastic place to spend a few hours with young kids.
Other acts at Mojo Part #2
Buffy Sainte-Marie - well none of us (by us, I mean those all around us who by the end of day, we called family!!!) had ever heard of her, but OMG she was amazing! She could sing incredibly, she was Canadian Native American and so were her whole band - really really enjoyed them. By the way, she would also have to be about 60 years old at least and had a great body!!!
Warren Haynes and Band were great, although probably the act i liked the least, with a lot of heavy guitar solos.
Bob Dylan - well no more needs to be said - simply legendary!
Elvis Costello and Band - Frank stayed to watch them for a little while, and I left the tent to go to the toilet and attempt to get food. He said they were great, and in fact he knew more of their songs than he thought he would.
OTHER GREAT ACTS PLAYING AT BLUESFEST 2011:-
BB King, Grace Jones, ZZ Top, Xavier Rudd, Wolfmother, The Cat Empire, Gurrumul, Jethro Tull, Paul Kelly. So as you can see an amazing lineup of talent, and these are only the ones that I know, there was plenty good music there from artists that Id never even heard of! If you are into Blues/alternative music, then this is the place to spend your easter for amazing value for money ticket price. Earlybird tickets already went on sale for Bluesfest 2012 - the only catch is that even though the ticket price may be cheaper, you have no idea who might be playing!!! But .... as I said, if you are really into this style of music, there would definitely be something there to entertain you.
Other acts at Bluesfest Mojo Tent
We were lucky to be given an interesting selection of performers in the Mojo Tent on Monday 25th April! Frank and I actually enjoyed all of the acts we saw, most of them we had never heard or indeed never even heard of!!!
Schedule for the day was this:-
12.00-12.45pm Bobby Long
1.15-2.00pm Michelle Shocked
2.30-3.30pm Clare Bowditch
4.00-5.00pm Tim Robbins and The Rogues Gallery Band
5.30-6.30pm - Buffy Sainte-Marie
7.00-8.00pm Warren Haynes and His Allstar Band
8.30-10.00pm Bob Dylan
10.30-11.30pm Elvis Costello and The Imposters
Bobby Long was a solo guitarist from England and his music was very enjoyable.
Michelle Shocked (Shell shocked!) was hilarious - she was from America, could belt out a tune and tell a good joke as well, plus she ended with a version of Blowin in the Wind.
Clare Bowditch is Aussie and an amazing beautiful voice.
Tim Robbins was awesome and YES indeed it is the same Tim Robbins from Shawshank Redemption and Susan Sarandon fame!!!!!! I had no idea he could even sing, let alone that he had his own band. His music was very bluesy and very easy to listen to - loved him a lot.
Bob Dylan at Bluesfest
The obvious highlight of my time at Bluesfest was to see Bob, and we got there early and marked our spot so we were up close and personal! Being second row from the front was awesome, and even though Frank did not have a great camera, he managed to take some pretty good shots throughout the day, and im very grateful to him for that. The photos he took earlier on in the day were better, as there was more light, and you were not allowed to use flashes inside the tents. Towards the end of the day, as it got darker, the pics did not turn out as good.
Many people were disappointed with seeing Bob at Bluesfest, but Im glad to say that I was not. It must have been a special request of his to not have the huge screens on, both inside and outside the tent, so if you were not close to the stage, you could not see much at all, and this is the main reason people were disappointed. He had also requested that no press photographers be allowed to take his photos, I guess he is trying to preserve his privacy.
Bob also does not sing how you hear his songs on a cd, he likes to sing differently in concert and he has done the same thing at every concert Ive seen him at, well all 5 of them anyway!!!! Sometimes it takes me till half way into the song for me to actually work out what song he is singing! A lot of people are not happy with the way he sings his songs these days, also the fact that he does not seem to sing many of the older and more famous songs at all, like Blowin in the Wind, Tambourine Man etc. At the 2 concerts I saw him at in April I think I knew over half the songs he sang, the others were newer ones I hadnt heard or in fact older ones I hadnt heard or did not know and like.
It was simply amazing to be standing sooooo very close to my idol and the legendary Mr. Dylan and I shall treasure that memory for the rest of my life. Love you Bob xxxxx
Bluesfest - Easter Weekend at Byron Bay
I will freely admit that while I enjoy listening to Blues music, that I am not really into it or a huge fan. However, when it was announced that Bob Dylan would be playing at this years Bluesfest back in November 2010, that was it ..... I was going!!!!!!!!! At the time that Bluesfest tickets went on sale, no other concerts for Bob in Australia had been announced, so I thought this would be my only opportunity to see him this time around, and in fact my last opportunity to see him, as he does turn 70 in May!!!! Then a few months after Bluesfest tickets went on sale, concerts were announced around Australia, including Wollongong!!! So, as you do, I bought tickets for Wollongong as well on April 23rd and then Bluesfest on April 25th, so OMG I will be seeing Bob twice in 2 days - awesome!!!@!!
Bluesfest usually runs for 5 days over the Easter Long Weekend, with a variety of tents and acts playing on each day. Bob was due to play on the fifth and final day, so I got tickets online the day they went on sale! They cost I think about $165 per person for a day ticket. Obviously if you buy a whole 5 day pass it worked out cheaper, I think it was about $450 for a 5 day pass. They then added a sixth day to the Festival on the Tuesday, and Bob was playing on Day 6 as well.
There are 5 tents set up at Bluesfest, with Mojo Tent being the biggest one and housing most of the biggest names playing. Bob of course was playing in Mojo Tent, so our aim from the minute we got into the compound, was to find Mojo Tent, and mark our spot!!!! By the time we got there, we were second row from the front and pretty central and pretty happy!!! However .... this meant that either one of us had to stay in that same spot from 11am in the morning until 8.30pm in the evening, when Bob was due to play!!!!!!!!! It was gonna be one long and tiring day thats for sure. You were not allowed chairs in the front section of the Mojo tent, and you were able to sit on the ground, in between acts, but it was fairly cramped sitting!
Some general Bluesfest information for future festival goers!!!!
Gates usually open at 11am and close at midnight.
There are 2 entry points to the festival. The north entrance is mainly for day patrons, car parking and bike parking. The south entrance is for campers, drop-offs, buses and taxis.
Bluesfest is a 15+ age event. All people buying alcohol will need to show id. You cannot take any alcohol into the festival with you. People under 15 years are welcome, but must be accompanied by an adult.
Wristbands will be fitted on presentation of your ticket and must be worn the whole time. passouts are welcome for the whole 6 day festival and your wristband acts as your passout.
There are 3 bars and one VIP bar at Bluesfest. There are several water refill stations around the festival.
BRING WITH YOU- ticket, photo id (even though they did not check this for us), unsealed bottles, cash, food
DO NOT BRING WITH YOU- alcohol, drugs, unsealed bottles, glass, umbrellas, professional cameras
No smoking is allowed inside the festival tents, and no cigarettes are not sold at the festival.
This is one of my favourite things to do in Ballina. A breakwall is an artificial wall, commonly built of stone, which protects a harbour from lake waves. Ballina's version of this is especially pretty when some of Ballina's 100 strong fishing fleet go out to sea between them. It is quite a sight especially as dusk or dawn sweeps in. The fact that you can walk out onto the wall and feel as if you are in the midst of everything is a fantastic feeling. This feeling is usually compounded when you glance to your left and see the surfers amongst the waves and the sound of water crashing against the rocks. Perfect!
- Sailing and Boating
Ever had your aura photographed?
Well, the first time that I had that done was in 2001 and it was predominantly red and yellow then, this time it was a different story. Quite painless ........ I didn't have to disrobe or anything like that you just sit and place your hands on a hand shaped devise and hold steady for a moment. Hey presto out comes your aura.
I became interested in auras when the Biologists started talking about the energy radiating from plants and were showing photos of this to support the philosophy many years ago. I often used to wonder about dogs and cats awareness and hearing being more sensitive than ours too. So it wasn't much of a step for me to agree that just because most people don't see some things with the naked eye doesn't necessarily mean that this energy doesn't exist. Read more through the link below.
- Theme Park Trips
- Castles and Palaces
- Arts and Culture
Walking the Labrynth at Crystal Castle
I had never seen a labrynth up close and personal before and was intrigued to discover what makes it so special to people. The site for reference speaks of a labrynth as being an important aspect of many ancient cultures. I took my lead from Jan, the only other person in my group to actually 'do the walk', but her experience was different to mine. I guess that under other circumstances and with unlimited time I would have completed the circuit in a tai chi meditation walk but with time constraints I just walked it..........slowly. I was about half way through when I became aware of a shift of consciousness if you like.......I almost teetered over but I realise now that there was never any risk of that. It, the feeling was one of being adjusted or rebalanced or attuned, if you like. It was a lovely experience and next time I will take the time to do it properly.
- Adventure Travel
- Family Travel
- Arts and Culture
The Rock Pools at Shelley's
Shelley's Beach is basically main beach in Ballina. It is a surf beach which features some rock pools to the right of the main break as you look out to sea. If you dont feel like going for a swim (and even if you do in fact!) I recommend going for a paddle through the pools and discover beautiful sea life and shells there. It is very safe and the thrill of the occasional big wave splashing against the rocks which sends you scurrying back a few metres is fantastic. And so be it if your clothes get a little damp! If you look at the piccie I have uploaded you will see a beautiful starfish and sea snail sitting side by side that I discovered on my last trip there. It was lovely and my little nephews who were there with me could hardly contain their excitement at being there. Very nice and cheap day out for the whole family and one of the 'small things' in life that are extremely precious.
- Family Travel