BALLINA: 6th JanuaryWe woke up early in expectation of a very long drive up to the seaside town of Ballina. Despite our early start, we still found time for a little swim in the hotel pool before playing a round of mini golf at the local golf centre. Whilst sitting by the pool, a large chattering Kookaburra landed on the fence and showed himself off. He allowed me to get fairly close to photograph him before he was scared by a slamming gate from another hotel resident.
|The rather large Kookaburra sitting on the fence by the pool. I was able to approach quite closely without alarming him.|
|The tack-tastic plastic Ulura/Ayers Rock service station. I don't think the real Ayers Rock has shops underneath it though?|
The next stop, another couple of hundred kilometres further on was the town of Coffs Harbour. Once again, there was little here of interest for people just stopping for a look around, but we managed to get some lunch from the local Hog’s Breath Café; staffed by just one overworked waitress.
Then it was back on the road for the final few hundred kilometres up to Ballina. Ballina sits about 30km from the important beach-side settlement of Byron Bay. Development in Byron Bay has been restricted of late thanks to the election of a Green Party dominated council. As a result, money has moved out to Ballina which has caused a surge in building and development. On the quayside, a brand new hotel had just opened and a large new apartment complex was just being finished. Our accommodation, the local YHA was a little more Spartan than these plush complexes, but as YHAs go, it was pretty impressive as it boasted a new little swimming pool and some comfortable double rooms.
We kicked back and relaxed for a short while before heading out to have dinner on the quayside at a restaurant nestled beneath the new hotel. The views of the last rays of the day’s sun setting on the estuary water provided a stunning backdrop as we ate, drank and chatted as the evening passed us by.
|The beautiful orange sunset over the estuary at Ballina. Whether the little town will be quite the same once they've finished building all the hotels and apartment blocks, I don't know.|