Day Trip To Makers & Finders Markets Murwillumbah, NSW. Australia.

DAY  TRIP TO MAKERS & FINDERS MARKETS MURWILLUMBAH, NSW.
Explore the natural beauty of the Tweed Valley and the Gold Coast hinterland – and everything in between

Continue reading “Day Trip To Makers & Finders Markets Murwillumbah, NSW. Australia.”

BALLINA, NSW

BALLINA


We had decided to go to the Childer’s Festival, but a last minute change of plans, we decided to head to Ballina for four days.

Ballina is a bustling holiday town and home of the Big Prawn, one of Australia’s iconic big things. Situated at the mouth of the beautiful Richmond River, Ballina is also blessed with gorgeous beaches and great surf.

The streets of downtown Ballina are lined with stylish cafes and restaurants, classic country pubs and modern clubs that offer first class dining and entertainment. There are pools, parks and entertainment centres offering loads of fun for the kids, and you can visit museums, galleries, expos and festivals bursting with the vibrant works of local craftspeople. There are antique and curio shops and, for the dedicated shopaholic, a mind-boggling choice of boutiques and designer stores.

The coastline is a beach lover’s dream with sheltered coves, vast ocean beaches and some of the world’s finest surf breaks. The beach fishing is legendary and if you wet a line from the North or South Wall, you’ll be in for a reel treat!!

With a quick couple of hours on the highway we took a detour and dropped into The Macadamia Castle, which has been the area’s most popular activity destination for over 40 years. We then headed back on the highway and over the South Ballina barge to Ballina Beach Village. 



The Ballina Beach Village, Dolphin Bay at South Ballina is a relaxing eco destination and was dog friendly. We were able to take our dog Shari into a cabin.


We unpacked the car and decided to let Shari have a good run at the nearby dog beach. Patchs Beach is located 15 minutes south of Ballina and 5 minutes from the local township of Wardell.  The area is a popular seaside getaway and is famous for its ocean and river fishing with full 4WD access. Shari loved it and enjoyed the open space and meeting a couple of doggy friends on the way. We headed back after a couple of hours and played with Shari in the park, then cooked up and Barbie dinner.

The next day we were up bright and early with a drive to Ballina’s Big Prawn, which is one of Australia’s iconic big things.

Built in 1989, the Big Prawn has undergone a makeover and was reopened in July 2013. It now has a tail, and is situated adjacent to Bunnings Warehouse on River Street.


We then took a drive up to Lighthouse Hill and spotted some whales and dolphins swimming by. After a couple of photos of the lighthouse we headed back to the Spit at the dog friendly section. We saw many dogs running around and playing in the water, Shari was over excited on joining them. We let her loose and she bolted to see each dog as many times as she could. We spend a good couple of hours letting her run, because she wouldn’t come back to us anyway. Finally she tired enough to catch her and put the lead back on and we headed back to the car and into the centre of town so Kim could look at some shops. 



The main street is small enough and with a couple of boutiques to interest Kim into buying a couple of things. We then headed to the side by side main Shopping Centres, but no interest in them what so ever.  Back to the caravan park late afternoon, Kim played with Shari and I took a drive to the south wall. Great fishing spots with plenty of people lined up catching Bream, Whiting.

The next day we headed first to Lighthouse Lookout to spot more whales before heading to Boulder Beach. Boulder Beach can be found on The Coast Road, between Ballina and Byron Bay. There is a gorgeous headland where you can sit at sunset and watch the guys catching some waves in the water below. It is an unusual beach as the foreshore is covered in black, smooth boulders, which is an interesting element to add to your photos. At low tide you can explore the rock pools below the headland which also is a great spot for interesting foreground elements in photos. Generally this is a great spot for sunrise but it can be really beautiful at sunset too. 

We then headed to the top of Lennox Point, Pat Morton Lookout, which had extensive views especially to the North stretching up Seven Mile Beach.  We did a bit of whale watching and dolphin spotting. It is the best vantage point for watching the surfers at its famous right hand break. Many of photos we headed down into Lennox Heads. 

We bypassed the town and kept going onto Byron Bay. Byron is one of our favourite spots and we try to get there at least twice a year.  It is really a fabulous holiday destination for everyone. There is something to cater for everyone’s tastes. Although I have to admit when we go it is all about the beach, the pub and the organic donuts!  This is broken up with bouts of shopping for Kim. 


There is nothing better than shopping on holidays for Kim. New shops to explore and you usually have the time to browse at a leisurely pace, while Shari get pats waiting patiently outside. Shopping in Byron Bay doesn’t disappointfrom the array of unique shops and boutiques along Jonson, Lawson and Fletcher Streets, to the Arts and Industry Estate. 


After a few hours we headed back to the car and made our way back to Lennox Heads. Lennox Head is a quiet seaside village situated at the southern end of Seven Mile Beach between Ballina and Byron Bay. It’s named after the headland that stands sentinel at its southern gateway.

Lennox Head has a great coastal village atmosphere, with a main street full of boutiques, cafes, restaurants. We dropped into the markets first then back to the main streets for a look at the boutiques. The surfers know Lennox Head for its internationally famous right hand point break, and the hang-gliders love the place for the sensational views when they take off from Pat Morton Lookout. From the main street we spotted the hang-gliders and headed to the lookout.

Late afternoon we headed back and packed up, then next day we headed back to Brisbane. Was a fantastic weekend to get away from the traffic and noise. The soft sound of the waves breaking in the distance made the best nights sleep in ages. Looking forward heading back in a couple of months.


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LEVUKA, NORTHEN NSW

LEVUKA 4WD PARK
Camping is one of our second loves when it comes to holidays and being in a couple of 4wd and camping groups we do a number of weekend getaways. Most of the time we have managed to keep my camping trips confined to South East Queensland to Northern New South Wales.

The order for our first camping trip in 2016 was to be with one of our Social Camping and 4wd Club to Levuka Rainforest Recreation Park – a 4wd-ers paradise located just outside the sleepy town of Urbenville in North West New South Wales.

We must say we were pleasantly surprised at just how well organised Levuka actually is. When you check in Robert (the very friendly property owner) hands you a laminated map of the 600 acre property and is happy to answer any questions you may have.

Levuka is a working cattle property so you also have to be prepared for the odd herd that will wander by your campsite. With cows there of course also comes cow poo – an abundance of it in fact but luckily enough one of our group was a boy scout in a past life and informed us that it goes very well in a campfire. Most sites come equipped with their own pre-prepared fire pit. You can bring your own fire wood if you want but we found it far easier just to buy some on site. Robert has a seemingly endless supply of good quality timber to burn for just $10 per 35kg bag.

We are no great 4wd-ing experts but the group all seemed to enjoy themselves thoroughly. Options range from open farm tracks, to rocky climbs, bog holes and tight rainforest drives. The aptly named playground is apparently a must for those wanting to test their skills. Tracks are graded in difficulty from 1-5 so you always know exactly what you are getting yourself into. For those who prefer their weekends a little slower paced there is also bushwalking available around the property and Lake Levuka for a swim or a kayak. But note Lake Levuka is a small dam, not much for swimming or kayaking.  There is also apparently dams stocked with fish on the property but our resident fisherman said, at the time of our visit, they were less than impressive. We didn’t do any track work, but we took a drive up to the lookout, overlooking the range and looked at the lake for the dog to have a little swim.

The group on Saturday split into 2 groups, one was for and easy scenery drive around some easy tracks and the second group took to the more challenging tracks. That afternoon they all drove some medium tracks. The week before there was some rain, so some of the tracks were more of a challenge.

Night fell we cooked up some tea and the group headed to the main campfire to talk some yarns of their challenging day. The great aspect of the group is that they come together as a group and not unsociable pockets of groups.

Whether you are an experienced 4wder or a new 4wder, Levuka has tracks that will test, challenge and entertain you. If you have a highly modified 4wd or a stock standard 4wd, you can certainly have fun at Levuka. Whether you are looking for a country escape with the family or a weekend of high octane fun we would highly recommend this beautiful piece of New South Wales countryside.

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YAMBA, NSW. PART 4 OF ROAD TRIP

YAMBA

Before we hit Brisbane we stopped into Yamba, for an overnight to catch up with family that was camping at Dolphin Caravan Park.

It’s quiet, the breaks are known to be some of the best in Australia, and you are not fighting for waves. Of an evening you can chill out and give your body time to rejuvenate to prepare for another day of surfing. There are no wild night club hot spots here, no wild drunken debauchery or louts tearing up the streets. It’s early to bed here and early to rise to greet a usual warm, sunny day. It’s a one street town of cafes and restaurants sitting under shady trees that are chilled out, yet classy, and boast delicious meals.


We can vouch for the Wato’s fish and chips on the corner. Not your usual fish and chip shop with Pluto pups and frozen calamari rings. Whatever is cooked here is made from scratch: potato and sweet potato scallops, mouth-watering calamari  and then there are the seafood dishes that you’ll never find anywhere in another take away chipper: seafood laksa and coconut curry.


Sunset is said to be the magical time to be sitting on the deck watching the sky wash over in orange and pink hues. Yamba is of course famous for seafood, particularly prawns. If you climb up to the lighthouse hill of an evening and look back down the river you’ll see the lights of the trawler boats prawning for the evening.


You have 16 pristine beaches to choose from in the area. We walked from the breakwall past Turner’s Beach to Main Beach. The surf looked clean and like it was breaking nicely to my novice-surfie eyes. Why the waves were empty of surfers then I do not know, but if you love catching waves, then you should just bypass Byron and forget the crowds and surf here.

We then took a look at Angourie Beach which is where the most powerful and pumping waves are and is the place where legendary surfers like Mark Occhilupo, Taj Burrow and Mick Fanning come to surf. One of the highlights of the Yamba area that we loved was the walk to Shelly Beach through the National Park along the coastline.


There was no one around, the walk was stunning and we had the beach to ourselves when we arrived.  If all of that isn’t enough, Yamba also has pods of friendly dolphins and is a hot spot for whale watching. The town has the look and air of a place that is modernizing itself. It’s modern and classy yet still retains that old-world feeling to it. It’s the slowness, the gentleness of its people who stop to say hi and chat to friends and strangers on the street.


It’s also the old buildings like the iconic Pacific Hotel that sits on the cliff faces with the best views in town for a schooner. It has the look of a place in desperate need of a reno, but doesn’t look like it would happen to soon, and you don’t really want it to. And then the movie theatre, just one old building with a small shop front, its sound and atmosphere worth experiencing. The next day we rose and jumped back in the car to head for home.

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