A road trip to Australia’s Ballina Coast and Hinterland allowed us to listen to the locals talk with pride about their remarkable part of the world.
And it left an indelible mark.
To say we’re impressed is an understatement.
For us, it’s a bit like: “We’ll have whatever they’re all having”.
Entrepreneurship and community pride
Such ‘can do’ attitude, self belief, determination to find new ways of doing things and commitment to quality service is always uplifting even in small measures. But the Ballina Coast and Hinterland is fortunate to boast these attributes in bucket loads.
We found entrepreneurship and community pride enough to convince us that the Ballina Coast and Hinterland is indeed a special place – not only as a desirable tourist destination, but also to settle, start a business, raise a family and turn dreams into reality.
The second annual Ballina Prawn Festival was a perfect example. Ballina is well known for the ‘Big Prawn’ that stands on the outskirts of the town, so this festival was a logical extension of that fame and a celebration of the importance of the local seafood industry.
Big Prawn Festival
Enthusiasm for this festival met us at every corner. Everyone was going; wanted to know if we’d be there; and felt it was important to showcase what the area could do.
It was an impressive show of support for the Ballina Prawn Festival – and it wasn’t an exaggeration.
The big crowds who braved hot weather to attend the 2nd annual festival, centred on Ballina’s Missingham Park, were certainly enthuastic.
Crowds clapped acts on the main stage; took part in the various events in big numbers; stood in often trying queues for the Ferris Wheel; delighted in the prawn shelling; urged on craft in the DIY Raft Race; and lined the riverbank for the Spectacular fireworks that ended the festival.
Prawn champ wins again
Festival-goers loudly cheered Torben Mikkelsen, of Yamba, when he shelled and ate half-a-kilogram of prawns in 1 minute and 43 seconds to retain the title he won in 2013.
And, at every chance, people eagerly praised the festival concept and the importance of such promotions to the continued prosperity of Ballina Coast and Hinterland.
The enthusiasm was infectious and certainly uplifting.
To us, it seems that a visit to Australia’s Ballina Coast and Hinterland is good for just about whatever ails you.
Where is Ballina?
Ballina and surrounds are about 745 kilometres north of Sydney in sub-tropical northern New South Wales.
Alternatively, the area is just over two hours by car South of Brisbane.
For our visit, our hosts were the Best Western Ballina Island Motor Inn, the Central Ballina Holiday Park and the Alstonville Country Cottages.