Ballina is a coastal town, just south of Byron Bay and Lennox Head in the Northern Rivers region of New South Wales.
- 1 Ballina Airport (BNK IATA), Southern Cross Drive (around 5km from the centre of Ballina). Virgin Australia, Jetstar and Rex fly direct from Sydney. Jetstar flies direct from Melbourne. It does see some low cost flights, but if your purpose of going to Ballina is to get to Byron Bay and towns northward, also check flights in the Gold Coast.
Avis, Hertz, Thrify, Budget and Europcar all operate from the terminal building.
Blanches Bus Company operate a scheduled service to the airport, travelling as far as Byron Bay for $3.60 to Ballina downtown, $9.40 to Byron.
Airport shuttles to nearby Lennox Head and Byron Bay are readily available .
Taxis operate from outside the terminal building, but a taxi to Byron Bay is expensive.
Ballina is on the Pacific Highway, around 9 hours drive north of Sydney or just over 2 hours south from Brisbane.
There is a local public bus service in Ballina, that operates every day of the week. Services can be infrequent, most useful is probably the weekday shuttle that runs between Tamar St and Ballina Fair about every hour or so.
Taxis are available, as are hire cars from the major operators.
There is a shared path running along the waterfront connecting the two sides of town, suitable for walking and cycling.
- 1 The Big Prawn, 507 River St, ☏ +61 2 6618 5600. 24 hours. Ballina is home to the world's largest prawn sculpture, and can be seen alongside the road when travelling east towards the beach from the freeway. Free.
- Swim at local beaches and in the inland waterways:
- 1 North Creek sandbars (Parking on The Serpentine and Serpentine Place). This very shallow area at the outlet of North Creek just upstream from the Hill St bridge is often used for fishing and wading, calmer than beaches and may be fun for small children, but unpatrolled.
- 2 Lighthhouse Beach. Southern-most of the ocean beaches off East Ballina, patrolled between September and April.
- 3 Shelly Beach. Middle of the ocean beaches off East Ballina, patrolled between September and April.
- 4 Angel's Beach. Longer northern beach off East Ballina, patrolled at the north (Flat Rocks) end in the peak summer season.
- 5 Sharpe's Beach (Park at north end near Headlands Dr). Beach to the north of Ballina at Skennars Head, patrolled in the peak summer season.
- 6 Flat Rock, Flat Rock Rd. Flat Rock headland has marine pools to explore at low tide and a popular surf break.
- 7 Ballina War Memorial Pool, 4 River St, ☏ +61 2 6686 3771, email@example.com. M-F 5:30AM-7PM, Sa 7AM-6PM, Su 8AM-5PM. 50m and 25m swimming pools. $5.80 adults, $4.80 children and concession.
- 8 Ballina Waterslides, 4 River St (Inside Ballina War Memorial Pool), firstname.lastname@example.org. Open weekends and NSW school holidays from Sep to Apr: 10AM-4PM. Two enclosed tower waterslides, a gentler shorter one and a more adventurous one with a steep drop at the start. $16 for unlimited rides per session, pool entry also required.
Ballina has two shopping areas. One is the main street, called River Street and the side streets around it, such as Tamar Street, which runs parallel to River Street. The other location is at the end of Kerr Street, where there is Ballina Fair on one side of the road and Ballina Central on the other. There is a fairly good cross section of shops between the two shopping centers, as well as Coles, Woolworths, K Mart and Big W. There are also Red Rooster, KFC and Hungry Jacks fast food outlets in the area.
There are also smaller shopping centres at East and West Ballina however these are only of interest to anybody who would be staying nearby, being mainly groceries and other services.
- 1 The Boardwalk, Ballina RSL, 1 Grant St, ☏ +61 2 6681 9500, Member.Services@ballinarsl.com.au. W-Su noon-2PM, 6-8PM. Ballina RSL in the main street serves excellent meals — mostly pub-style meat and seafood — has great views of the river and is reasonably priced. Reservations strongly recommended for larger groups or if you want a riverside table. Mains $20–40.
- 2 Thai by Night, Unit 2/187 River St, ☏ +61 2 6686 7217. W-Su 11:30AM–2PM, daily 4:30–8:30PM. Mains $25.
- 3 Wharf Bar & Restaurant, 12-24 Fawcett St, ☏ +61 2 6686 5259, email@example.com. Th-M noon-10PM. Pizza and seafood restaurant with a great view of the sunset over the Richmond River. Mains $30-45.
- 4 Sporties Restaurant & Cafe, Cherry Street Sports, 68 Cherry St, ☏ +61 2 6686 2811. Cafe daily 9AM-5PM; restaurant lunch daily 11AM-2:30PM, dinner Su-W 5-8PM and Th-Sa 5-8:30PM. Basic pub fare including steak, chicken schnitzel, pasta and similar. Mains $15-$20.
- 1 Ballina Travellers Lodge, 36-38 Tamar Street, ☏ +61 2 6686 6737, firstname.lastname@example.org. Rooms from $115 (shared bathroom).
- 2 Ballina Beach Village, 440 South Ballina Beach Road, ☏ +61 2 6686 3347, email@example.com. Cabins, caravan parking, and campgrounds.
- 3 Alstonville Settlers Motel, 188 Ballina Rd, ☏ +61 2 6628 5285. Check-in: 2PM, check-out: 10AM.
- 4 Ramada, 2 Martin St, ☏ +61 2 6618 1000, firstname.lastname@example.org. High rise hotel walking distance from the shopping strip and right on the river's edge, with a pool. From $270 per room per night.
There are several cheap but comfortable motels on the Pacific Highway at West Ballina starting from $60 a night through to just over $100. There are also some located on Cherry Street in the middle of town-these are slightly, but not that much more upmarket.
Byron Bay is the most well known beachside destination in the region, but the Gold Coast and theme parks are also a possible day trip from here. Lennox Head, between Byron Bay and Ballina is also close by.
|Routes via Ballina (New South Wales)|
|Brisbane ← Gold Coast ← Bangalow ←||N M1 S||→ Evans Head → Coffs Harbour|