Ballina Things to Do

  • Court House
    Court House
    by iandsmith
  • Ballina Maritime museum
    Ballina Maritime museum
    by balhannah
  • Ballina waterslide
    Ballina waterslide
    by balhannah

Best Rated Things to Do in Ballina

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    LOOK FOR WHALES AND DOLPHINS

    by balhannah Written Oct 8, 2013

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    Not a Whale in sight!
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    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!

    Related to:
    • Whale Watching
    • Hiking and Walking
    • Fishing

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    BALLINA COURTHOUSE

    by balhannah Written Oct 8, 2013

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    The historic Ballina Court House and what used to be the Post Office, are two of the nicest buildings in Ballina.
    The old Post Office, now the Ballina court offices, was built in 1856. Back then, the mail came by Horse-back between Ballina and Casino.
    Adjoining this building, is the Court House, built in 1867 and still contains many of its original fixtures and fittings.

    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Architecture
    • Photography

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    TOURIST INFORMATION CENTRE

    by balhannah Written Oct 8, 2013

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    Ballina Information centre
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    We were welcomed at the Ballina Tourist Information centre by a friendly local. Could she help us, no, we were just browsing around, so she left us alone.
    The centre was well equipped with plenty of souvenirs, and a couple of display boards with photo's taken around Ballina. These were good!

    Nearly all the brochures and pamphlets are free, and at this centre there are some beauties! I think the brochures cover nearly everything making it easy to find your way around town.
    Brochures are of... 'Services & Facilities', 'Dining Out Guide', 'Market Days in the District', 'Arts and Crafts', 'Golf on the Far North Coast', 'Parks and Picnic Areas in Ballina', 'Viewing Spots for Dolphins', 'Cycle/Walking Track's ', 'Ballina River Drive' and 'Self Driving Tours'.
    They will find accommodation for you and book it, plus are very helpful with local knowledge.

    Our friend bought some souvenirs and we picked up brochures to peruse for our days at Ballina.
    Look for the blue sign with the yellow "i" when trying to find the centre.

    Plenty of FREE PARKING
    Open Hours: 9am - 5pm, 7 days a week

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    • Budget Travel

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    FENWICK HOUSE

    by balhannah Updated Oct 8, 2013

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    Fenwich House
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    A large double storied old house I saw on my way into Ballina, turned out to be Fenwick House.
    There is no entry to the house as people live in it, so I had a little read about the inside.

    It sounds quite luxurious with Italian marble tiles and fireplaces, an English mahogany staircase, said to cost £900, a ballroom, four metre-high ceilings, chandeliers and more, all still in the house at 120 years old.
    Fenwick House was built by Captain Thomas Fenwick in about 1886 for £9000 - a small fortune back then. The architect was the captain's nephew, James, and all materials and labourers were brought to Australia for the work.

    And, it does have some GHOST stories!
    Apparently you can sometimes smell a woman's perfume wafting from room to room, while others have reported "shadows" flitting across the upstairs hallway. Is it true that there was a tunnel from the basement of the house through to the other side of Missingham Bridge, which Captain Fenwick used to sneak supplies to the house- maybe!
    There is a door at the back of the stairs, which opened to a small room. Planks of wood removed from the floor to revealed a deep, dark hole, perhaps the start of a tunnel.

    Today it is known as Shaws Bay Hotel and is a prominent landmark.

    Related to:
    • Historical Travel
    • Architecture

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    PIONEER MEMORIAL PARK

    by balhannah Updated Oct 9, 2013

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    Of all the times I have been to Ballina, I can never remember seeing this Memorial Park. Set high on a hill, overlooking Missingham Bridge and the Richmond River, is the Pioneer Memorial Park. A wall has been built and the headstones from Ballina's first cemetery have been added. These date back to 1853. I wandered around and read and looked at the headstones, people died differently in those days to today. No car accidents back then, more death through sickness, falling off a horse, etc., quite interesting reading.

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    • Historical Travel
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    NAVAL MARITIME MUSEUM

    by balhannah Written Oct 8, 2013

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    Ballina Maritime museum
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    Like the Navy? Then come to this Museum with its many displays and models of ships!

    For me, the most interesting is the display of one of the original three rafts which journeyed from Ecuador to Ballina in 1973.

    Other displays include rafts, dugout canoes, paddles, oars, sail, sailing ships, steam and diesel powered engines, uniforms and much more. Excellent models of ships of the Royal Navy, including the HMAS Melbourne whose career ended in 1985, by being towed from Australia to China for scrap metal!.

    A sobering moment is the lists of casualties and the diary of ships lost in WW2. Of interest to Australians is the loss of ships due to enemy action in Australian waters, this is shown on maps. The ocean liner, the Aquitania, carried as many as 14000 troops at a time - one of the many models on display.

    The Museum has a souvenir and gift shop.

    THE MUSEUM IS OPEN 7 DAYS FROM 9 - 4PM

    ADMISSION ADULTS $5 children $2

    Plenty of FREE PARKING by the Visitor Information centre.

    Related to:
    • Family Travel
    • Budget Travel
    • Museum Visits

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    LIGHTHOUSE BEACH

    by balhannah Written Oct 8, 2013

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    Lighthouse Beach
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    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

    Related to:
    • Water Sports
    • Surfing
    • Beaches

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    BALLINA SWIMMING POOL & WATERSLIDE

    by balhannah Written Oct 8, 2013

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    Ballina waterslide

    How lucky are the people of Ballina to have an Olympic pool and a huge Waterslide situated in the town centre!! Fun for everybody and very popular!
    There is the 50m Olympic pool-with solar heated water, three pools for toddlers, a learn to swim pool, and even wheel-chair access ramps for the disabled, isn't that great!

    Toilets, Ladies & Gents Change rooms, showers, Pool Kiosk, Picnic tables, two shorter waterslides and a longer, faster slide for those who want to scream!

    2013/2014 Swimming Season: 16 September 2013 to 27 April 2014
    Opening Hours: Monday to Friday 6.00am to 6.00pm.
    Saturday 8.00am to 6.00pm.
    Sunday & Public Holidays 9.00am to 6.00pm.

    ENTRY FEES FOR 2013/2014

    Waterslide Fee $15.00 (including pool entry fee)
    Adult Single Entry $3.80
    Spectator Single Entry $2.60
    Adult Ten Entry Ticket $35.00

    There are many different types of entry fees, so please check the website.

    Related to:
    • Family Travel
    • School Holidays
    • Water Sports

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    BALLINA MANOR

    by balhannah Written Oct 8, 2013

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    Ballina Manor is a historic building in Ballina. We found it because of the Brown Tourist signs!

    There is a quite a story to this building. It all began after WWI, when the Methodist Church purchased land for the erection of a Church and Parsonage. This didn't happen, instead the Reverend decided it was more more important to build a Girls College, this was built in 1924/45. Sadly, it closed in 1930 due to the lack of boarders. The building then became a guesthouse, then later in the 1960’s to flats. In 1999, it was to be demolished, instead it was saved by the former Mayor of Lismore & his wife, who had a dream for the old North Coast Girls College. The Ballina Manor was born!
    The Manor was restored by them to its original granduer.
    FREE GUIDED TOURS operate 7 Days a week / 10:00am to 5:00pm

    It is now used as a Boutique Hotel, where you can enjoy luxury accommodation and fine dining.

    Related to:
    • Luxury Travel
    • Historical Travel

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    SHAWS BAY

    by balhannah Updated Oct 13, 2013

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    Shaws Bay
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    Shaws Bay is a pretty lake that was formed when the Ballina Breakwater was constructed.
    We were very lucky that our Caravan Park was located on the edge of this lovely lake.

    On my early morning walk I found the water to be very calm and I was able to get some reflection photo's.. A few fishermen were about, and a couple were making a few ripples on paddle boards.
    Later on, more people came, children paddled, some went out deeper for a swim. The seagrasses in the bay provide a good environment for snorkeling, I did see some people doing this.
    I could have sat here for ages just watching the Pelican catching quite a few fish and enjoying life passing by!

    Pop Denison Park adjoins the caravan park. Here is a sandy Beach, picnic facilities, BBQ's and Toilets.
    Further around, is Shaws Bay Hotel which had a country western band playing. We stopped here for Dinner, which we had at one of the outdoor tables. This was a nice way to end a day!

    The inaugural Dragon Boat Regatta was held in Shaws Bay in 2013.

    Related to:
    • Beaches
    • Fishing
    • Diving and Snorkeling

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    BALLINA HEAD LOOKOUT

    by balhannah Written Oct 9, 2013

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    Ballina Head Lookout views
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    Ballina Head lookout is situated on the coastal road that leads to Skennars Head. It is still in Ballina, not that far from Lighthouse beach. This is a proper lookout, where we could pull into with our car and sit and watch the surf. Views were good and far reaching towards Skennars Head.
    You can either walk or ride here along the bitumen track, or do like us, and come by car.
    Worth stopping at!

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    • Photography
    • Budget Travel

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    FABULOUS ARTWORK @ SEA SILKS GALLERY

    by balhannah Written Oct 9, 2013

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    Sea Silks gallery
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    Kim Michelle Toft is the brilliant Artist who does the work and to whom I was able to speak to. She was in her Gallery, busily painting another one of her silk paintings. She loves to paint marine life and coastal scenery as this is where she has lived all her life and is her love!
    Not only are there paintings [that would look very nice on my wall] but children's books all beautifully illustrated. I was very tempted to buy some painted cards to frame for myself, these were only $4.

    If you enjoy good Art, then this Gallery is a MUST SEE in Ballina.

    The website shows more of her work.

    Related to:
    • Arts and Culture

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    THE PILLAR & WAR MEMORIALS

    by balhannah Written Oct 9, 2013

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    Queen Victoria Building Pillar

    Ballina has lots of parks and bicycle/walking paths. We drove into Owen street [no through road] to check out a pillar I had noticed. The pillar turned out to be one that was used in the building of the Queen Victoria building in Sydney, why it was here on display, I really don't know!

    As we had parked the car, we went for a walk towards Meldrum Park. North Creek was on one side, quite attractive with the tide out and many sandbars showing. People were fishing and children were playing the shallow waters. The friendly Pelicans were nearby!
    On the other side was the lawned area, and it was along here where all the War Memorials are located.
    The pathway leads from Meldrum Park to Commemoration park, past Missingham bridge along the foreshore to the Visitor Information centre.
    Next time I'm bringing my Bicycle!

    Related to:
    • Hiking and Walking
    • Historical Travel
    • Cycling

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    THE BIG PRAWN

    by balhannah Written Oct 9, 2013

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    Big Prawn
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    I guess if your a tourist travelling around Australia, you may have seen just one or two of Australia's BIG ICONS.

    If you come to Ballina, which happens to be know for its Prawns, then you will see a beauty!

    I will tell you the story of this Big Prawn, as I have seen it grow and change colours over many years.
    It goes back to 1989, when the Big Prawn was tail-less and sat atop the West Ballina transit centre, restaurant and souvenir shop. Inside, visitors could climb up into its head and look through its eyes. Businesses came and went as did the Prawn's colour, fading from the original cooked-prawn red to pink, then finally a ghostly white.

    It really had gone downhill, so in 1990, the local council approved its demolition!
    Now, to us Aussies, it's quite normal to love these "BIG THINGS," so no wonder the towns folk got together and put up a fight to have the Big Prawn stay!
    Luckily, the hardware giant Bunnings decided it would be good to have it stay. They built their big Hardware store, and have repainted and given the Big Prawn its much needed tail. It looks really good now, the best ever, but alas, we no longer can go and look out the Prawn's eyes!

    Ballina's inaugural Prawn festival is November 2013

    Related to:
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    • Family Travel
    • Arts and Culture

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    Ballina Breakwall

    by Colzy Updated Sep 15, 2006

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    Fishing trawler

    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!

    Related to:
    • Sailing and Boating
    • Fishing
    • Beaches

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