Ballina Coast & Hinterland
Alstonville & Wollongbar
Alstonville is ocated on the Bruxner Highway 13km west of Ballina and 19km east of Lismore. The village of Wollongbar is situated 4 km to the west of Alstonville. Alstonville is considered as the service centre of the area known as the Alstonville Plateau.
Crawford house, a pioneer house situated next to Elizabeth Ann Brown Park is now a historical museum. Directly behind is the town’s major shopping centre, Alstonville Plaza, which has a few specialty shops, and a major supermarket. The town has a post office and several banks are located in the town.
Summerland House, previously known as the “House With No Steps”, has been operating near Alstonville since 1971. Summerland House provides training and employment opportunities for in excess of 80 people with physical and intellectual disabilities in fields such as farming and hospitality. It is a ‘must see’ visitor attraction now with tractor tours for the kids around the working farm and produce for sale so pop into Summerland House and taste what the region has to offer.
Some interesting facts, Tibouchina ‘Alstonville’ (Tibouchina lepidota) is a small tree grown in many parts of Australia for its brilliant display of purple flowers in autumn. This variety along with the dwarf variety ‘Jules’ was developed by Ken Dunstan a resident of Alstonville, hence the name.
The world’s first commercial orchard of Macadamia trees was planted in the early 1880s by Charles Staff at Rous Mill, on the Alstonville plateau, just 7 km south west of the centre of town.
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Centred on an island at the mouth of the Richmond River lies Ballina, the commercial and cultural heart of the area. The town is absolutely brimming with things to see and do. Visit the Maritime Museum and the Northern Rivers Community Gallery, discover treasure troves of antiques and curios, art and craft shops and local markets, browse the boutiques, enjoy delicious food at the numerous cafes and restaurants, stroll the magnificent walks and cycle the scenic bike paths or take your pick of fun activities for the kids. And a visit to Ballina isn’t complete without getting a photo of the Big Prawn!Add to my itineraryView on map
Lennox Head is well known for its windsurfing and kite sailing offering spectacular action and of course the surfing. Pat Morton lookout (at the headland) offers spectacular views of the village and of Seven Mile Beach extending up towards Broken Head and on to Byron.
Located on the northern edge of the village is Lake Ainsworth, a freshwater lake that has distinctive tannin-stained waters from the surrounding tea trees and is in stunning contrast with the white sands of Seven Mile Beach.
The headland, also known as Lennox Point, is popular with surfers, who come for the famous right hand break. Hang-gliders too are drawn to the headland to launch from its 65m cliff. The point is also a great spot to watch the dolphins surfing and the annual whale migration. It’s all about watersports and Lennox is a popular spot with great swimming, fishing, snorkeling, sailing and just about everything else you can do in a coastal town. But best of all, you can relax here.
History tells that Joseph Banks on Captain Cook’s Endeavour noticed a group of aboriginals walking along Seven Mile Beach. The presence of an Aboriginal ceremonial ring or ‘bora’ at the western end of the town suggests that the area played an important part in Aboriginal traditional life. The ‘bora’ is unusually large measuring over 30 metres across.
Lennox Head is part of the Bundjalung nation. According to Bundjalung Aboriginal Dreamtime, 3 brothers settled on what is now known as Seven Mile Beach and one of them, Yarbirri, produced a flow of fresh water by thrusting his spear into the sand. At low tide there is said to be a stain marking the spot from where the water flowed.Add to my itineraryView on map
A quaint little hamlet nestled in the hinterland above Lennox Head; Newrybar is home to the award-winning Harvest Cafe. Harvest Cafe combines stunning contemporary cuisine with a very relaxed and friendly atmosphere. A must visit whilst you’re in the region.
There are several quaint shops in Newrybar and across the road you’ll find endless treasures at Newrybar Antiques with the adage ‘old is beautiful.’ Leave yourself a hew hours to dine and discover in Newrybar.Add to my itineraryView on map
Home to the beautiful Tintenbar Oval, the local cricket pitch, tennis courts, picnic ground and the Tintenbar General Store. A little further down the road, Teven Valley Golf Course is a delightful course in a superbly tranquil setting.
Enjoy a scenic drive in the hinterland, make a stop at Killen Falls, located off Friday Hut Road, and connect back with nature.Add to my itineraryView on map
Upstream on the Richmond River, the river village of Wardell is a great place to start a river journey on Tourist Drive 28. The drive from Wardell to Alstonville takes in spectacular rural vistas as it rises to the top of the Alstonville Plateau. Wardell has historic timber buildings, including Mayley House (1910).
Recently renovated and restored, Mayley House is used as a home but also operates as a restaurant. On the edge of the village in Pine Street is the historic Wardell cemetery. The cemetery has numerous interesting headstones, many belonging to the earliest Europeans to settle in the Wardell area. The cemetery’s bush setting makes an important contribution to its heritage values.
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