If the latest holiday trend is to go retro and revisit places we went as children, then the Ballina Coast and Hinterland is surely top-of-mind.
This picturesque area figures prominently in a generation of memories about the rite of passage known as the beach holiday.
These memories, in many ways, are part of the Australian makeup: reassuring recollections of time spent in tried and tested holiday areas.
And, despite the challenges of modern motorways and cheap overseas flights, the Ballina Coast and Hinterland – like most of the Legendary Pacific Coast – has maintained its attraction to visitors by diversifying into an eclectic blend of old and new.
Ballina continues to lure holidaymakers with remarkable sunsets and long stretches of pristine beach and charming riverland, ideal for boating, fishing, surfing and other outdoor activities.
This is a region that also recognises natural beauty and superb climate needs to be accompanied by a vibrant community, diverse economy, high quality facilities – and even a taste for the exotic.
There’s a theory that a key to economic growth lies in the ability to attract creativity. If that’s so, then Ballina Coast and Hinterland – and in fact, much of the Legendary Pacific Coast – is way ahead of the game and is showing the rest of Australia a thing or two about creativity and cultural diversity.
For example, Ballina Coast and Hinterland has gained an enviable reputation as a foodies paradise, with some of the finest local produce imaginable, including plenty of fresh seafood, macadamia nuts, avocados, honey, hydroponically-grown tomatoes, fresh vegetables and even coffee.
There is a genuine attempt, as much as possible, to highlight local produce in local outlets, cafes and restaurants.
For example, the cafe at The Macadamia Castle, Knockrow, has a colour-code on its extensive menu to show where its food is sourced – with the emphasis on fresh local products. it is wonderful read the eggs may have come from no less than 5kms away, the tomatoes equally close by and the number of food miles all other ingredients have made the journey to this great eatery.
Like Summerland House Farm at Alstonville, the popular Macadamia Castle is an attraction centred on promoting local production.
The Macadamia Castle includes a wildlife park, gourmet food store, animal nursery and Macadamia nut sales outlet. We reckon the breakfast is one of the best in the region and if you are not counting calories definitely take to the pancake menu – decadently delicious!
Ballina’s seafood is known for its high quality and the town’s Fish Co-op plays an important role in the local economy.
And then there’s the area’s thriving arts and music scenes. From world-class pottery to performing arts and theatre, Ballina Coast and Hinterland oozes cutting edge creativity.
Surrounded by such natural beauty and peacefulness, it’s probably only logical that the area would also become a magnet for those seeking health and well-being. The hinterland and surroundings have become well known for retreats and spas, including the famed Gaia Retreat and Spa at Brooklet, part-owned by entertainer, Olivia Newton-John.
This complements the Ballina Coast and Hinterland’s healthcare industry and strong outdoor flavour, where visitors and residents can get up close and personal with nature on a kayak tour, cycling on a modern network of paths, or trying their hand at Stand Up Paddleboarding on Lake Ainsworth.
And to top it off, today’s sweeping highways can get you to the Ballina Coast and Hinterland well within a day’s travel from Sydney and just over two hours from Brisbane.
Thoughts of a retro holiday at Ballina Coast and Hinterland may well tug at the heartstrings, but like most of Australia’s Legendary Pacific Coast, this fascinating area now offers visitors so much more than just the beach scenes from those faded black and white snapshots.